Treating the symptoms

2009 December 5
Pill Mosaic Redux II by Dradd., on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  Dradd.

I had a laugh when I read this part by MovementInvitesMovement. In their wonderful, provocative style, they wrote an entire post about something that I hinted at in a comment in my post about clothes and tango.

Some hard core dancers would say that if it gets too warm with the jacket on, you are waisting energy ;-)

When my beloved wife read that, her immediate reaction was: hard core dancers? Why didn’t you write milonguero? I see her point, while in our household, they can be considered synonyms, it opens for misunderstandings. Isn’t the clueless guy spinning around like a ventilador (we all know how that may turn out) from festival to festival hard core? Milonguero resolves the ambiguity elegantly by removing the cluelessness.

Now, I sometimes wonder if this obsession with sweat is an anglo-american thing, as all the posts I can remember about this have been from that cultural sphere, but that is probably just exposing my prejudice. Of course, you should take the natural precautions, just as everywhere else, but if you have to resort to sportswear to keep dry… I said it before, and I will repeat it now: Going to a milonga means going out, not, I repeat: NOT work out.

While learning to dance tango certainly takes a lot of effort, dancing in a social context doesn’t really require much effort. On stage is a different matter, of course, but there is an awful lot of steps and sequences you can do without getting all wet if you do it right.

One practical tip for those of you still tempted to just numb your body and go on as before: work on your pivots. Yes gentlemen, I am talking to you. It is frustrating to see so called advanced dancers throwing themselves and their partner around in order to make the next step of the giro on the beat, when all it takes is a little pivot. I don’t know about ‘most efficient’, but certainly a lot more efficient and clearly a lot more elegant.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 December 29

    The reason only anglo-americans write about sweat in tango, is because it’s not a problem anywhere else. I mean, everybody sweats, all over the world, even milongueros in Buenos Aires sweat. But:

    In Buenos Aires, a milonguero always has a handkerchief in his pocket ready to wipe away sweat from his forehead and temples between tangos, and he always wears his jacket during the dance, and it protects the woman from his sweat, if he sweats (it can get pretty hot on a crowded dance floor in the humid summer). It’s just normal to bathe and wear deodorant and do what you can to stay clean and dry while at a milonga in Buenos Aires. It’s second nature there.

    Here in Italy, and in the US as well, people are actually SURPRISED when I tell them this. They don’t even realize how sweaty and gross they get at milongas. I had one guy basically drench my hair with his sweat and I finally had to suggest that he carry a handkerchief with him at all times (after he apologized for the sweat). He was so amazed and enlightened by this innovative (ha) idea that it made me chuckle inside.

  2. 2010 January 1

    …but very few dancers, milongueros or otherwise, wear jackets at milongas in Buenos Aires! A few of the older, more formal ones, do, it’s true, but really it’s no longer that common. Shirt sleeves are the norm. Of course the older dancers have learned over the years how to dance with little apparent effort…

  3. 2010 January 1

    Another inside tip: It is allowed to take a rest/break every now and then.

    My experience is the same as Tangocommuter’s, it is not really that common with jackets. But there are indeed some more formal milongas where it is still the norm.

    @Tangocommuter: Isn’t the effort mainly before hand, i.e. when learning, not when dancing?

  4. 2010 January 2

    Many men take a change of shirt, which is so thoughtful.
    Ruben also brings a small towel.

  5. 2010 January 2

    Hm – this discussion is reverting into the one I was commenting on. Treating the symptoms instead of the underlying cause. If you dance well, you would only need these under extreme conditions. Shows are a different matter of course. Well, maybe that is part of the problem, too…

  6. 2010 January 3

    Some people dance with lots more energy than others–it’s their style. It doesn’t mean they are “trying harder” or beginners.

    And some perspire more than others as well.

    I love the old-fashioned custom of the man keeping folding handkerchiefs in both hands to avoid sweating on the lady, but you don’t see that much anymore, sadly.

  7. 2010 January 4

    Tangocommuter: In my experience, living in Buenos Aires for a year and a half, plenty of men still wear jackets in the milongas. They might take them off when they are resting but they always put the jacket back on to dance. This experience of mine was very recent, 2008-2009. It just depends on what milonga you go to and who you dance with.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS