A tango community where I once lived had a problem. When I arrived there, I was astounded by conversations going on while dancing. The garrulous dancers were entirely veteran men and women dancers!
The word “conversation” should not need to be defined, but let me clarify: Walkie-Talkie Dancing is not occasional sighs, or a few chuckles, a once-in-a-while “wow” or an occasional blurted “that was fun.” Walkie-Talkie Dancing is an ongoing conversations while dancing.
Walkie-Talkie Dancing usually stops when a person learns a bit of tango etiquette. But seasoned dancers? No excuse.
This post is for new dancers who have to decide for themselves if their local veteran dancers (role models) are modeling the best habits or not.
If you already agree with a no-talking rule, go to the bottom of this article to the section called, “How to effect change in your community.”*
Analogies for talking while dancing:
>>Talking while at the theater, the opera or during a piano recital (rude)
>>Talking about how your day went at work while making love (boring/bizarre)
>>Texting while driving (dangerous for those around you)
>>Talking so loudly at a restaurant that everyone around can hear your conversation. (Self-absorbed)
All of the above examples are social behaviors, just poorly executed.
Multi-tasking creates a priority list, and dancing is not the highest priority. Tango is about Mindfulness, Music, Movement, and the eMbrace. Mumbling-while-bumbling is not part of the 4 M’s of Tango. A conversation creates an overload of competing priorities, especially your partner and those who can hear you.
Texting on the dance floor? Just as mentioned above, Walkie-Talkie Dancing is like texting and driving. It’s called the “ripple effect” on the highway and accidents are more likely. On the road it’s against the law. On the dance floor, it breaks tradition with a century of tango etiquette.
Double Trouble: Don’t be a “bystander.” A “bystander” in tango is someone who stands next to the dance floor and holds a conversation that competes with the orchestra. Standing near the dance floor also causes dancers to wonder about the bystanders’ apparent intention to enter. Miss Tango Etiquette weeps when people do this. :-/
*How to effect change in your community
If you find yourself with a talk-as-you-go dancer, I recommend these nice-as-you-can-muster ways to request silence:
• “Sorry, I am really bad at multi-tasking; I cannot dance and converse at the same time.” (A woman said that to me when I was a beginner! Lesson learned!)
• “Oh, I love this orchestra! Listen! Wow!”
• Just remain silent if your partner asks a question. This is my most-used technique, but I look at her and give a tender squeeze to say “hold that thought.” A friend of mine simply says, “Let’s talk about that when we finish” to avoid appearing rude.
• If you really like the dancer, tell them your preference, preferably in a conversation away from the dance floor. If you do not enjoy the dancer, it’s just another reason to avoid their gaze.
Photo credit: Postcard of tango dancers. https://bellaargentinajewelry.wordpress.com/tag/argentine-tango-fashion/
Also, find real copies of old tango postcards at https://www.delcampe.com
Event Organiser from in USA