September 27, 2014
One of our Tango Mojo tangueros wrote in a great question on an aspect of dancing in crowded milongas, and I wanted the help of an expert male colleague to answer it. So I called on Manuel Patino in Atlanta, and today I'll pass along his advice.
Here's the question from our member in New Jersey:
"In general, I cope ok in crowded milongas. It's just less pleasant when people start closing in on me (i.e, in an uncontrolled environment). Some of the NYC milongas can be pretty chaotic.
"What I'd really like to learn is how to stake my ground - without being a nuisance - so that people don't move into my space. I see advanced/professional dancers do this - perhaps something about their attitude/aura?"Manuel responds:
"Basically my advice is to be assertive, but not aggressive. All my advice is predicated on a dancer’s being confident in himself and his partner. Take the space you want when the opening occurs. If the dancer in front of you tends to step back a lot, be careful but move in on him so he has to bump into you (not your partner) rather than step on you or kick you. Same tactic can work for a dancer that crowds you. In any case, each situation is different and sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and it's best to find another spot to dance in. Use your whole body to occupy space, do not shrink. Happy dancing and may all your pupils find friendly spaces!"
I bolded "Use your whole body to occupy space, do not shrink", because I think that's a very important concept for many of you.
Tangueros, if you tend to shrink or feel intruded upon in crowded milongas, try using Manuel's advice, and let us know how it goes!
Your comments are welcome below.
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For more help with dancing in crowded milongas, tight spaces and traffic jams, CLICK HERE.