Expectations

postitleswirl

I’m livid. Hostile doesn’t begin to get at it.

It’s 30 minutes after midnight. I’m tired, I’m bored, I’m drunk, and all my friends have left.

NOW the DJ starts to play beautiful music.

I ask him why DJs do this.

Ismael seems to be a gentle, thoughtful, and positive person.

He tells me that the faster, rhythmic music is “easier” to dance to.

I say, “I think most beginner Marks are dancing too fast. They feel pushed by the music, they rush and they lose the connection.”

He agrees, and continues. To dance to dramatic, slow music he needs a revel who can move slowly, who has control. Since beginner women don’t have this, and will just fall into a series of steps, it’s easier to enjoy dancing with them when the music is fast, so that at least their falling is in the music.

So when he says what is “easier” he doesn’t mean what is easier for a beginning Mark to manage nicely, but what is easier for an advanced Mark to dance with a beginner girl. Or anyway, definitely with the “new” girl in the shortest skirt anyone has ever seen.

So I learn that my worst fears are true … The whole evening is structured around the proclivities of untrained girls. And the men who want to dance with them.

So it’s not my imagination. I have to slog through hours of music which sounds like a chorus of small dogs and ukeleles so that men can charm untrained girls.

Then what happens?

Well, what we see is that the girls “improve” by doing the same falling dance (breathe on them and they take four steps) churning out the same dull sequences no matter what is marked. They learn to do it a little bit more smoothly and sexier. But they are not learning to do a better dance.

They don’t even know what they don’t know. If the cool guys dance with them, they must be good dancers. You can see on a girl’s face when she thinks she’s great because they guy makes her feel great. This is a very short term program for the man. She has no motivation to improve. So we’re all going to be stuck with her doing that dance.

Why not raise the expectations? Dance slow, soften the embrace, so the girls can realize they don’t have control, and become interested in getting it?

Why not bestow your suave gifts on one or two girls for six months and train them so our community is getting better, instead of boringer.

It’s well known in education that high expectations are associated with improved performance in students of all levels and capacities.

 

I want you to know that you are not alone…

embrace orig crop

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

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Important Insights

Books

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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