Today’s #Tango Thought 048: Age
For women, age does matter. Sadly.
The fact is that the younger and prettier you are, the more physically attractive you are, the more likely you are to get dances. That’s fact. I mean we’re dealing with ‘men’ here so … well do the math! However just because said younger and prettier girl gets the dance does not necessarily mean that said Follower will keep it. A good number of better leads, will actually over look said younger and prettier girl because they know that said Follower can barely walk, turn, embrace, or for that matter breathe properly. That is, unfortunately, only about 10-20% of the available L/leads in the room.
Understand something that skillz always trumps beauty, always. I know that your experience says otherwise. Because from your perspective said younger and prettier is getting all the dances, and you’re still sitting. What you fail to realize is that (as sexist as this sounds) said Follower is the ‘flavor of the moment’. Eventually there will be another ‘flavor’, and that one you’re getting all persnickety about right now, will be sitting next to you a week from now wondering the same thing (‘what happened ? I was so popular last week….’).
Your only winning move, the thing that will constantly trounce beauty, is to work on your skills, constantly: Work on your balance, your stability, your embrace, not to hang, not to pull, not to push. Work on your forward steps, your side steps, your back steps. Work on being an INDEPENDENT follower where you do not need to hold on to your lead in order to move, you do not need your lead to stabilize you, you can walk, turn, and cross BY YOURSELF! If you can’t do that, then you have issues that need to be resolved before you are going to get what you want.
There are other caveats to this line of reasoning that need to be addressed such as your ‘Tango Baggage’ (Vol 3 – Truism 1146) before you can trounce beauty completely. However, working on your skills, constantly and showing up diligently for classes every week, and dancing as much as possible in practicas, is a good start. That and more than a few private lessons with more than ONE tango teacher! And one more — Two words for you: Follower Technique videos, classes, workshops.
There is another pathway to ‘dancing‘ where age has no meaning. It means learning to lead. And the mature dancer knows and understands that this is a viable possibility. It’s just one that a good number of them do not wish to think about. Some view it, for a variety of reasons, as either too much work (not so by the way, it’s the same amount of work just in a different area), as ‘unladylike‘, or something akin to not ‘real‘ dancing. All of this is of course is fallacy to be certain. It’s a reason not to go deeper, not to fully understand the dance, to take it out of the black art of gender specific dancing, and instead fully take responsibility for one’s own movement, and truly understand what you really want to doing. There is one major side benefit to swapping roles, and that’s you’ll finally understand the other side of the embrace and it will inform you to improve your gendered specific role in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
One point of note, a good portion of Followers will hear this advice above as Follower Bashing. So the thinking goes, here you have one more male lead teacher/dancer blaming the follower instead of what’s happening for the lead (or so you assume), that doesn’t Follow (I do, and socially!), doesn’t know diddly about how to Follow (I teach this stuff frequently), that hasn’t danced in heels (Not so. I used to own a pair of black velour comme il fauts in my size), and doesn’t take the Lead to task for what’s going on for them! All not true. As evidenced here, and here. And here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here just to name a few. This site, equally points out the issues with BOTH roles, not just one. This stuff is a lot to take in all in one bi/yte. and it’s hard enough with just one role to hear just one piece of the topic, where there are multiple issues that need to addressed.
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The Tango Topics Opinion: Let’s get something straight, we live in a society that glorifies youth, and disposes of people of age. That sucks. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Youth sells. Age does not. It’s not sexy. And sexy sells. At the same time for a woman of a certain age, there is something to be said for age, wisdom, patience, and grace. Look, men are going to be men, and there’s no denying that. You can’t get around them. Ok, you can, but there’s a different way to deal with this stuff instead of beating yourself up that you’re not 25 and not getting all the dances in the room. Chillax, pick your partners very carefully, and while this may mean sitting more than you would like especially when you want to dance to a particular milonga tune, be patient and relax. Enjoy the music, and get the tandas that you absolutely want. Don’t go after every tom, dick, and larry. Choose your Tom’s very carefully. Very. Focus on the quality of the dance as much as you can not the frequency. That and private lessons wouldn’t hurt on a weekly basis. That said, one thing to note is to get out of your local scene and travel as much as you possibly can. The more you travel and the more that you see the tango world, the less it will feel stagnant in your local scene. One thing to try is the Encuentro Scene in Europe. It is where a lot of women of a certain age are showing up. Just a thought. Anyway, YMMV. Smile.