Predators in tango

Оn gender roles and abuse
When I was telling a non-tanguera friend of mine about the captivating qualities of tango, she asked, "Don't you get so wound-up when dancing sometimes, that you get aroused?"

The question is justified – looking from the outside there seem to be all the reasons for it: the lights are dimmed, there is a beautiful woman in my close embrace, and the music – bursting with passion – is adding fuel to the fire and stirring up emotions. But in order for a person to get aroused, his thoughts have to be headed in the direction of sex. Libido is, first of all, a psychological phenomenon, and only then – physiological.

What is the difference between tango and lust? The difference is in the general direction of your thoughts while dancing. If your thoughts are about sex, then your energy will reflect this; dance will only serve as a cover. Dance or lust is like looking her in the eyes or staring at her boobs; it's a conversation on the level of souls or a primitive desire to possess flesh.

Sex is a wonderful thing. But, as my driver's education instructor used to say, "If you're driving a car and making love at the same time, you're doing both things equally bad." A partner, who is really dancing, gives all his attention to the dance: the energy interaction with his partner, music and navigation. Communication alone is fully loaded: continuous dialogue, interpretation of intent, movement corrections, reconciliation of energy – all this in real time, and all this to music! There's simply no airtime left for any images or thoughts of skin.
If you're driving a car and making love at the same time, you're doing both things equally bad.
In my opinion lust has no place at a milonga, even if you both previously agreed to it. But what is absolutely unacceptable on the dance floor is predatorial lust, when a woman agrees to dance unaware of what awaits her. Here are some symptoms of predatorial lust:

False tango – when physical expressions of lust and unnecessary contact are masked as dance moves.
False compliment – when physical expressions of lust are posed as a compliment to the woman.
Forced proximity – when a man forcefully keeps the woman in close embrace.
Insensitivity – when a man pretends to not notice that his partner doesn't like this direction of energy in his dance.
Irritability – when a man gets offended or reacts with irritability to his partner's remark that something does not suit her.
Corruption – using one's status (guest, teacher, maestro), level or gender imbalance to justify permissiveness and impunity.

How can you avoid such situations? Hone your ability to perceive and feel energy when looking at the dance of those partners, with whom you would like to dance. In many instances lust is, unfortunately, difficult to spot; the difference between lust and tango is, for the most part, in energy. But you can feel this energy if you observe the dancers closely – your goal is to feel what they are both feeling in this moment. Here's a playful composition – is she smiling because she is really having fun, or is her smile masking shame for what's going on? Here's passion and drama, parada-pasada, he looks at her – what do his eyes say? What are they dancing about? Is she enjoying it?
If you pay close attention to your feelings and learn to fully trust your instincts, you can avoid predators entirely, guided solely by one look. Cabeceo. Half a second is more than enough time to hear your intuition and to make the right choice.

And even if you've made the wrong choice, it doesn't mean that you're stuck with it now and have to suffer. You don't owe anything to anyone. I appeal to the weaker sex, knowing that you're much stronger than you believe. If you suspect something is wrong, do not doubt yourself – you're just fine. If the dance is unpleasant then it must be stopped. The whole point of dancing is to feel even better than just sitting and watching. Do not be afraid to break some social code – your dignity is more important than all of the unspoken social contracts. Do not be afraid that people will stop inviting you – on the contrary, showing courage in such difficult moments encourages and inspires others – both women and men.

If you want to prevent these incidents from repeating, then tell about what happened to the organizers – they will only be able to do something about it if they know. I used to be afraid of confrontations and equated them with scandals and fights – raised voices, emotional attacks and aggression. But the essence here is something else entirely; confrontation is when I openly tell others how I feel. I don't attack, I don't offend, and I don't demand anything. I openly tell those, whom I deem necessary, about what's inside of me.
Do not be afraid that people will stop inviting you – showing courage in such moments encourages and inspires others.
Sometimes it's not easy to do, especially in emotionally charged situations, but it's exactly the solution, which benefits everyone involved. First, when I tell others how I feel, I free myself from these emotions, I let them go – this is important, especially when the emotions are not so nice. Second, the person who receives this information attains a new perspective – he is given an opportunity to change something. But exactly what he chooses to do with this information – to change or to defend his righteousness, to apologize or to get offended – is entirely up to him.

A man is, first and foremost, a gentleman. Especially this is the case with a man on the dance floor; tango roles are distinctly polarized so that he could embody his masculine, and she – her feminine. A real man will never allow himself to violate a woman's dignity: tango is based on mutual respect and a man's care for the woman. A woman should, first and foremost, feel safe: when it comes to the navigational choices of her partner, and when it comes to the content of his thoughts. And it's a man's responsibility to provide this safety.
Author: Aleksey Vays. Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
Write Close
Subscribe to Simple&Elegant Blog to keep in touch!
By clicking the button, you consent to the processing of personal data and agree with the Privacy Policy
We use cookies and other metadata to provide the best experience. If you don't agree with the Policy, you can leave the site.
Ok, thanks!
Content is coming soon
We are working hard to make your tango and life better!
While you are waiting for it you can
Dream Team
Video, Editing, Directing and Creative Support - Daria Ermolaeva
Video Operating - Vladimir Kutakhov

Animation and pictures - Evgenja Chernikova
Logo and icons - Anastasia Rotar

Photo - Anya Semenyuk, Daria Ermolaeva, Viktoria Fedirko, Maria Mosolova, Dmitry Volkov,,,,,
All photos are used with the permission of their owners and/or have an open license.