One evening, during a kitchen conversation with my relatives, the topic unexpectedly turns to my tango photos on Facebook: "Are you at least winning there?"
I explain that this is social tango, that we do not compete. "Wait, you mean, you're not even going to get a… a balloon?"
Indeed, what's the point of engaging in something, spending so much time, money and effort, if you cannot win? Modern culture is inundated with competition. Okay – sport is built on contest. But now, it seems, people compete in business, at work and in school. Even family bonds sometimes exhibit rivalry.
On the subconscious level, certain aspects of competitiveness are also present in social tango. When we go to classes, technique and practicas, we do so in order to get better. But it's one thing if I want to dance better than I did before, and quite another if I want to dance better than someone else.
What is the difference between social tango and competitiveness? Social tango is a dance "together" – together with the partner, together with everyone on the dance floor. Competitiveness is a fight for a place in the sun. Instead of dancing with the entire ronda, a "contestant" sets a goal to stand out and therefore dances "on their own," often using their partner as props.
The mentality of one's own superiority over others can also be considered as one of the variations of competitiveness. Here, the contestant usually believes that they have already won. The resulting behavior, unfortunately, is the same.
On the dance floor, we are all one team. – Semeon Koukormin
The first victim of competitive mentality at a milonga is traffic. Considering that a contestant's goal is to set themselves apart from others, the whole idea of dancing with the entire ronda is out of the question. Even if a contestant will move in the same direction as the ronda, their dance will still go against the grain. Choice of figures, amount of space occupied, contact with the partner, reaction to collisions with the neighboring couples – all this depends on the mentality: competing or dancing together. Mentality is something that is impossible to hide on the dance floor: if someone tries to stand out, then they will most certainly succeed. Many of us often see such situations at milongas:
· Enters the dance floor with his back, does not make sure that he is noticed
· Avoids eye contact, instead of letting the entering couple know that they are noticed
· Takes a long time (even an entire melody) standing in the ronda without moving
· Darts back and forth, clearing space for himself on a crowded dance floor
· Leads or follows grandiose figures, while others mill around "penguin-style"
· Gets angry and blames others when collisions occur