Why I don’t ask Marks to dance…

postitleswirl

The line of dance is not the only thing that circles. So do the arguments about tango. It feels more productive to use the term ‘spiral’, because then we feel we are getting somewhere, either spiraling out away from the familiar territory, or getting in closer to the deep truths. Pick your direction. (But please don’t spiral in the line of dance.)

If you’ve never heard of the cabeceo, start here. If you want to know the various reasons why a modern girl might use it, check this out. If you want to know about the power of your desire, and how not to feel passive, read this. Then come back here, for the latest articulation.

Seeming to refute my arguments about marks’ grounds for choosing when to dance and with whom, I’ve heard lots of marks say that they like it when revels ask them to dance. Or at least they don’t mind.

A lot of girls ’round here do ask (I’ve even seen them demand), and sometimes that means that certain marks don’t seem to get to choose for themselves much. I don’t like it when my sisters elbow me out this way, but I won’t resort to the same behavior. Not because I am attached to moral high ground.

Basically, I get less.

The few times I have asked a mark to dance, which is still less than 10 times in 8 years, and mostly involves very close friends, I have inevitably regretted it, because I feel a loss in the dance itself.

Fábian Pérez tango paintingI believe this dance is deeply gendered. It may be an accident of history, this cultural fusion from a time of desperation. It may be evolving in many liberating directions, but it is constituted by, indeed recognizable through, the enactment of two roles. One party creates and the other enjoys, consequentially. (Which is why I call her the Revel.)

The pleasures we receive include sheer physicality, but much of what is being exchanged is rooted in the gendered fantasies of power and beauty that these roles enable us to achieve. Tango is an edgezone for enacting these fantasies.

These fantasies allow us to play with constructing, enacting, and receiving desire.

I once accompanied my friends to a fetish party. It was a queer event at which any gender combinations were welcome. It was an SM-friendly event at which some people would be spanked. I made the faux-pas of wearing a rhinestone collar with a pretty little chain dangling from it. My friends laughed at me. “You don’t bring your own leash.” Apparently, the act of attaching the leash is probably the hottest part of a domination interaction. And I had thrown away that potential moment. Fetish games, for those who’ve never played, are about everything but sex. They are a playpen in which the game is to acknowledge, prolong, exaggerate, and fantasize about the powers that inhere in interaction.

We better get back to tango…

If a mark has decided he wants me as his revel for this tanda, that desire is part of what I get to experience.

And it’s clear to me (if not to my mark friends who claim to like being asked by revels), that if I’ve usurped that experience, his dance comes from a different place (or from no place).

It is NOT the same dance with a different start.

Sure men like “easy” girls who advertise their availability. They are never going to say “don’t offer yourself and make it easy for me”. But we know they’re at their best in a chase.

 

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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