Category Archives: social skills

Don’t follow the milonga etiquette, just be nice!

“You said what?” Me
Only this last week I have found myself thinking: “You said whaaat..?” like 3897 times… haha… in milongas/classes…

via GIPHY

And so I thought it is a good time for a funny compilation of what not to say in a milonga/ class environment. Not though with the intention to repeat the well-known rules of milonga etiquette but mostly to show that it is simply a matter of good manners.

Most of these, I now think they are funny and I hope you will find them funny as well….

Things to say and NOT to say in milongas

Are you a good dancer who doesn’t get as many dances as you can?
Do you leave the milongas feeling a bit frustrated or discouraged?
Has that hurt your feelings or confidence?
Or has it made you think that most dancers in your community are just snobs or that you just can’t understand the opposite sex..?

Have you ever thought that it might have nothing to do with your dance skills, the community, the opposite sex’s mentality or your age and looks BUT with what comes out of your mouth?!? haha

Let’s see a few of last weeks examples:

YOU CAN SAY: Oh! dear it is a very warm night. It feels like a just had a work-out…haha
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: You are very sweaty, do you want me to lend you a shirt?

YOU CAN SAY: I went to X festival, it was really amazing…
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: I went to X festival and danced with such amazing dancers. Coming back though really sucks

YOU CAN SAY: Thank you!
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: You did great! You are following very well! or Oh! You know you have to talk to X he did this same sequence, only so much better… Why don’t you talk to him?!?!

YOU CAN SAY: How is your night going? Having fun?
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: How come you haven’t danced with me?

YOU CAN SAY: No, thank you maybe another time
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: “I am not dancing with beginners”

It is not about the milonga etiquette..!

Yes all of the above were in fact said some in milongas and some in classes, last week..! haha

Crazy week? Maybe!

What do you notice though?
What you can and can not say, has nothing to do with the milonga etiquette here, but more with basic social skills and politeness

In general, you don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable and awkward by telling them how sweaty they are..!
And you certainly don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings by sending them away, in a blunt way just because they are beginners. You don’t have to dance with them but you can decline in a nice way.
And yes maybe other communities are better than yours but you don’t have to be a snob now, do you..?

People choose their partners based on dance skill but also based on character.
Personally, I wouldn’t like to be stuck for 12mins with someone who is rude and/ or makes me feel uncomfortable… Would you?

Think about it… Do you have any examples of rudeness or social discomfort..?
Leave a comment below with your story!

Chrisa

Cabeceo– Old school OR a handy Social Skill?

You think cabeceo is uncomfortable? Then you better stay away from this style of speed dating… Shhhh Dating!

Shhh Dating–Bizarre new way of love

No small talk, no jokes to break the ice, not even asking the other person’s name…Silence!

haha
I only recently found out about this but it looks like it hit New York hard back in 2008…

Are you thinking: Why on earth would anyone voluntarily put themselves in such a tough spot?
Well, this what founder, Adam Taffler says in the article: “When you can’t small talk to someone, you connect with them on a much deeper level. It’s very intimate

Does that remind you of something?!?!
The cabeceo of course!

Cabeceo– Old School or a TRUE Tango tradition?

The cabeceo is indeed a Tango tradition… It is also though a red flag for many dancers all around the Tango world.

Haters roll their eyes saying: “Seriously..? This is 2017” while
Lovers, roll their eyes wondering: “Why do I have to go through the very unpleasant process of saying NO when I am not even looking for a dance?”

Hhhmmm… Now both sides do have a strong point..!

Haters are you ready for the path of SHAME?

Haters of cabeceo strongly push forward the fact that we are fast approaching 2018 and therefore we don’t need to ask for permission to get a dance.

You are absolutely right! 2017 is indeed almost over, and that naturally makes you wonder if we still need such an old school approach to our social interaction?

The REAL question though is: Are you ready to hear NO and walk the PATH OF SHAME back to your seat?

I am asking because interestingly enough in this very same group you find people who along with cabeceo they hate small talk, they can’t handle rejection… AND they are wondering: “Can’t we just dance?”

via GIPHY

If you are in this last category, please, prepare an honesty bath, for Christmas!

Cabeceo is not the problem, and you have to admit to yourselves what the real problem is here!

I get it, I was shy too! But shyness, social anxiety, low self- esteem or low confidence will not just go away on their own.
They are social skills and like any other skill if you practice on them, you can get better, and enjoy your milongas way more.

Plus the milonga environment is much safer than a business environment and therefore perfect for working on social skills and confidence

Cabeceo can actually help you, if you want to avoid unwanted interactions or if you want to approach someone if you can’t handle rejection, if you can’t make small talk, and if you feel uncomfortable making the first move.
And eye contact is a skill you use in your everyday life, in your romantic and business relationships

Start your training here, now with me:

For those of you who have really no problems chatting with people or hearing NO, then go ahead, take the cabeceo out, just be civil.
Meaning you might think it is stupid but for other people it is psychological cushion, and you need to allow them that comfort.

Lovers, are you sure you are doing the cabeceo..?

It is funny because one of the most common chat, in the followers’ circles, is on:
“None of the good dancers are asking me to dance, I am always dancing with beginners…” or “I am dancing with the same people all the time”

Can you see what the root of the problem is here?
1 word and 1 phrase are causing the problem: ALWAYS and ALL THE TIME!

haha
I am not joking here, I am dead serious!

If you are spending the biggest part of your night on the dance floor with people you DON’T want to be dancing with, when on earth are you going to make a connection with the people you DO want to be dancing with?

 Cabeceo strategies #1: Stop mindlessly looking around.

That only attracts your friends and others with whom you usually dance OR people who don’t use the cabeceo so they don’t even care whether you are looking around or not

What to do instead:

Laser focus on the people you want to dance with.
If you can’t do that from where are sitting… Change spots!

Find a spot that you can easily make eye contact with the people you want to dance with. Try in every way to be closer to the people you actually want to be dancing with, no matter what your role is in the dance

Cabeceo Strategies #2: Don’t just dance with anybody. Use your time in the milonga to connect and dance with the people you want!

You need to switch your mindset about the milonga if you want richer dance experiences.

More dances DON’T make up for the entrance fee.
BETTER dances, good chats and music appreciation-time on the other hand DO!

Think about it this way, if you paid 15$ as an entrance fee, and you danced all night BUT you HATED half of those dances… Then I am sorry but that is crappy night.
If on the other hand, you paid 15$ and you danced 5 GREAT tandas, you chatted with friends, you met 1 new person, and you relaxed to the beautiful rhythms of Tango… THAT is what you call an awesome night.

Preparation and strategic planning won’t spoil spontaneity

As Phil Cousineau has pointed out in The Art of Pilgrimage: “preparation no more spoils the chance for spontaneity and serendipity than discipline ruins the opportunity for genuine self-expression in sports, acting or the tea ceremony”

You need to find the balance between setting up your options and being optimistically ignorant!

The goal here is not to plan everything to a T, trying to avoid all uncertainty and every surprise, quite the opposite..!
Become aware of your options of milongas in your community and of your options in those milongas–in terms of seating, partners etc. And then let the dance itself take over!

Plan for gaining the confidence that no matter what you will have a good time!

So for example: check out the milonga space–if you haven’t been there before.
Notice the people you want to dance with… where are they sitting, who are they dancing with, are they using the cabeceo–remember there are quite a few haters out there– etc.

Based on all that choose strategically where to sit, who to cabeceo, if/ when you need to go to the bar to chat with a potential partner and then OFF YOU GO!

Every milonga, every tanda, every dance is something special….no 2 are alike!
Use the comfort of a plan to be able to walk in the milonga and go with the flow

Join our community here at Bautanz, get that confidence back!

Dance and the Fear of becoming an advanced dancer

“One of the things I dislike about Tango is that many people settle in routines… I have settled too” J
“I am afraid that if I become a really advanced dancer, I will have nobody to dance with”, M

No no these people are not snobs, quite the contrary…

Translate to: “What if I spend all this time and money and end up dancing the same way?” OR “What is the point of learning new things if I am not going to use them?”
And you will see that you have probably fallen into the same trap!

The fear of becoming a truly advanced dancer

Think of yourself going to your local milonga. You walk in expecting to see familiar faces and looking forward to dancing with dear dance partners.
There are a few people who you love to dance with, because your dances are just amazing. There are others that your dances are fun but not amazing.
And then there is that extra category of people… The really advanced dancers. The dancers you wish danced with you, because they look really spectacular on the dance floor…

Now lets think a few months from now… Say you have taken some more classes and put some hours of practice in.
You are starting to feel more confident. There are all these new things that you have learned and you want to use them during your dance.
Maybe you have learned some new sequences, or you have refined your musicality or technique.

You are now walking in the milonga feeling inspired, in high spirits and with high expectations.
First dance is with a good friend and a good partner… Usually an awesome way to start the night…

But things are not going as you expected…

You are feeling restrained.  Something is off.
Things are working but you are just feeling disconnected. You are trying to use the things you have learned but nothing is working…

This is terrible! And the worst part is that your partner is feeling the same way.

Next tanda no change. Things are just getting worse and worse.
The milonga ends and you feel frustrated: “I took all these classes, I practiced for all this time and for what? What on earth is going on?”

A few milongas go by and bling here is a thought: “Of course I have to adjust my dancing to the level of my partner. Of course nobody is as advanced as I am now”

And down the rabbit hole you go!

via GIPHY

Why this marks the end?

Here are a couple of reasons that you need to pull yourself out of that mindset:

  1. It is not very nice to start with.
    It sounds a bit like you are doing people a favor. Your intention is of a kind and gentle nature but still people might feel you pity them. If they pick up on a vibe like that say bye-bye to those partners.
  2. The above statement might be true when it comes to intricate sequences, musicality games, or demanding routines…But YOUR technique, and how much you are enjoying YOUR movement has nothing to do with your partner–nasty, rude weirdos excluded
  3. It leaves you with no incentive to get any better. If you aren’t going to be using any of the new things you learn then why learn them in the first place, right?
  4. It enhances on the fear of: “What if I spend all this time and this money and end up dancing with same people the exact same way”
  5. It instills the idea that Tango is action-reaction when in fact it is a 2 people coming together to create something beautiful
Stop sabotaging yourself..!
Become the dancer you know you can be

Action Step #1: Change of mindset

Stop counting your level in how many classes, dances, festivals, hours, years you are in…

Action Step #2: Accept the responsibility for being advanced

It is not the years nor the sequences, the embellishments or the number of festivals.
But being able to take responsibility for the overall experience of the dance.

An advanced dancer knows if their dance is bad, why it is bad and what to do to fix it.

In Tango an advanced dancer knows very well that:

  • When things work out it is on THEM
  • But when things DON’T work out it is AGAIN on them

Action Step #3: Go from action-reaction to connect and create

How you connect with someone is a marker to how advanced you actually are.

Beginner way of connecting: My partner pushes and I push back
Advanced
way of connecting: Energy offered, absorbed–>movement created and energy is offered back and absorbed

Leading and following are interrelated at a much higher level than just action-reaction

Action Step #4: You CAN inspire

People are not only inspired by great teachers. They are also inspired by someone who puts in the effort, the time and the courage to push his/her limits and grow to a really advanced dancer.

By “ordinary” people who commit to something they are passionate about. People who want to be great at a hobby because it is valuable time spent on themselves.

You can inspire someone by living a richer–in experiences–life on and off the dance floor!

If you want to be an advanced dancer, we can do it together..!

 

 

 

 

Dancing and the Fear of making mistakes

Hi, Chrisa here,

I was teaching a beginner’s class last Thursday. At the end of the class I said to the leaders: “Practice this little routine, but don’t worry if you make a mistake… Tango is improvisational! Routines don’t matter, they are just tools”

I look at them and as I expected (after having said and heard THAT same phrase for years) they are looking at me like this:

via GIPHY

hahaha
In the past I would have gone through all these terrible and overused cliches, you find on the internet:
“There are no mistakes in Tango, only surprises”
“You must embrace the opportunity mistakes create”
“Mistakes are a way to success”

Instead I said something a lot more reassuring:
“You know what, I know I just made this even worse. I know you just want me to give a sequence, ask you to practice it a million times and send you off to the dance floors of the world reassured…. We will learn sequences, many beautiful sequences. BUT when you start making mistakes while practicing, remember IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

A mistake is NOT failure, it is a LESSON

The truth is we all hate making mistakes.
It is not really the mistake itself, but everything else around it.
The confrontation, having to start over, not knowing how to fix it and looking stupid…

The problem is, mistakes are unavoidable. They are bound to happen…
It is not a matter of if but when you are going to make a mistake.

So the best way to deal with them is to prepare for them, first, mentally.

Making a mistake DOESN’t mean you are a failure. It will only become a failure if you give up.

So with that in mind let’s see how we can prepare and bounce back from mistakes.

Action Step#1: Keep a record

When you are practicing keep a record of it.
I used to take notes. Writing down everything that was happening during my practice
Recording what exercises I did, with what intention and how I executed them.
I wrote down what worked, what didn’t and what changes I made for it to work. How the movement felt before and after the change… Everything!

This is actually how I came up with Intelligent Tango

Now I use a camera as well, but that notebook, and 2 more after that, have been my faithful friends during for many years

How that helped me?
Anytime I made a mistake and felt lost, I could go and trace my way back to where I started from and find possible mistake points which I would then revisit, and attempt to fix them.

Action Step#2: Mistakes turned into sequences

Our biggest fear, especially as leaders is that we will not be able to lead our partner, we will ruin the other person’s dance and we will end up looking like fools in front of everybody.

Be proactive!
Take any sequence. Practice it the same way you learned it in class. Then think of all the possible mistakes that can happen, and use them one by one to create a new sequences.

This is how I got the idea for these 2 videos on Improvisation:
Argentine Tango Improvisation #1
Argentine Tango Improvisation#2

And this is a great practice for followers too, as they can have a better idea of the many different paths a leader can choose from during the dance.

Action Step#5: Practice Smart–>Combining Tango drills to an activity you are very good at

Bet on diversity

Tango might still be “Under Construction” for you but there are other activities you are really good at.
Maybe you are doing other dances, or swimming or martial Arts… All these activities have ONE thing in common they are all MOVEMENT.

Find things that all of them have in common and focus on them while doing your activity.
For example say you want to practice your back steps and you are really fit because you love exercising.

Instead of just walking around the room getting frustrated because you are loosing your balance or you are breaking your posture… Make a COMBO of a Tango drill and fitness, like this:
Argentine Tango Technique– Don’t leave the gym yet

While you are doing an activity you are good at, you can notice the details of the movement that are valuable for your Tango progress. Then you take those details and you use them while doing your Tango drills.

This way you will shorten the frustration period and save yourself from going around in circles, because you will know what you are looking for!

Action Step#4: Build a good a network of teachers you can reach for advice

So first of all, talk to your teachers local or visiting. Reach out to them, ask them questions, use their suggestions in your practice AND follow up with them.

Every teacher wants to work with people who care. Show your teacher that you care and then they will share all their resources with you.

Be careful though, you don’t want to take advantage of them.
This is where your records can be of great help.

  • Make notes of your teacher’s suggestions– their actual words, not what you think they said, classic mistake
  • Compare what they are saying on a matter to your experience so far
  • Practice in the way they suggested. Make notes of the experience
  • Compare the before and after
  • Talk to your teacher, presenting specific actions and results.

The more specific and clear your questions are, the easier it will be for your teacher to guide you.

Lastly, offer something back. Now this doesn’t have to be some monetary exchange, but maybe you can find an interesting article on something you know your teacher would enjoy. Or a book or a video of another dancer you found interesting.

I have gotten book suggestions, TED talk suggestions, practice videos even movies sent to me by students and I love it!

I am sure your teacher will appreciate it too!

Action Step#5: Find a community that supports experimentation and diversity

Learning Tango is one thing. Having a community, a group of people you can rely to when you make a mistake and you feel stuck is something different.

I am sure you can find teachers who create a inclusive spirit in their classes if you look for people, who:

There is no way you can avoid mistakes… But you can at least build system that will allow you to predict them, prepare for them and swiftly bounce back from them.

We can be there for you if you want us to, just join the community of bautanz.com by subscribing below..!

 

 

Dancing and the Fear of Rejection

Does any of this by any chance sound familiar?

Leader: “I go to the milonga to dance. I hate small talk… why we can’t just dance.” or
“I just can’t deal with rejection.There are all these scenarios of what might go wrong going on in my head and I end up stuck. The cabeceo doesn’t work for me, btw…it just doesn’t!”

Follower: “I can’t say NO to someone, even if I know dancing with them will be unsatisfying. What if I end up sitting there all night?” or
“I have been dancing for a while and I have  been told to be a good dancer… I really put an effort to look good, happy and confident… but except for some  leaders that I know nobody else asks me to dance…”

The Fear of Rejection

The fear of rejection, is in fact part of our genes. It is something we have inherited from our ancestors who formed and valued tribes.
Being part of the tribe was extremely important since being a cast off could easily lead to death.

In those good old days, you had to actively pursue being part of the tribe if you didn’t want to end up in exile…and possibly…hm…dead!
Thankfully, that is not the case anymore! haha

Our bodies and our minds though being  super clever have kept this very fear, still in us to keep us active AND safe.
Being afraid of getting rejected from a group we care about, is THE very thing that will make us take action to become better and stronger within our group.

You, right now…: “So this is a good thing?
YES! But only if you don’t let the fear blind you.

The biggest problem for most of us though is that we started dancing for that very reason:
“it is a great way to overcome shyness, anxiety, insecurity, etc… The structured environment allows us to be someone else or a different part of ourselves, helping us work through these issues”

Only to find out that for us to successfully “work through these issues” we need to fight the battle with rejection face on. 

Lets put a scenario together…

We have our leader, Tom, who walks in a milonga alone, rushes through to the bar, sharing some shy hellos.
He is orders a drink and looks around on the packed floor, thinking: “Ok, here we go… You can do this!
An hour and a few mediocre dances later… He is looking around on the dance floor, thinking I have no idea how to this… Why am I putting myself through this s@$t..?

Tom is now starting to feel bewildered… The place is getting crowded, his partners seemed unsatisfied and the last time he tried the cabeceo nobody matched his gaze.

Tom (thinking): “I don’t get it… There are followers here who look completely unavailable. If you don’t want to dance, why are you here? Or they would rather dance with some horrible dancers… I mean I am not great but I am not THAT bad! Maybe Tango is not for me…”

At the same time at the other end of the pista….

Mary, has been sitting for 3 tandas straight. She is feeling devastated.
It is another Saturday night, that she has put in all this effort to find the perfect outfit, put make-up on, come in with a good vibe, smiling to everyone… And FOR WHAT?
To get asked only by her friends and some horrible dancers who copy ridiculous patterns off Youtube and then push-and-pull you on the dance floor to show off..?

She is now looking around, half smile on her face, thinking: “There is no point to this… Nobody wants to dance with me”.
Her eyes are glazing over as she is trying to figure out, what she is doing wrong…!

So what do we have here?

We have 2 dancers struggling with rejection.

Tom is afraid to step away from the bar, start talking and meeting new people or even just holding his gaze long enough until the followers get it.
And Mary is afraid to step away from her group, and start meeting new people. PLUS she is afraid to say no, in case she doesn’t get a chance to dance at all.  Without realizing that she is missing the chance to say yes to other dancers.

In the end they are both so frustrated and bitter, that no matter how much they try to be part of the party, it looks as if they are not even there.

Tom and Mary have a choice to make:

  • Either they start poking their heads out of their comfort zone, taking action against being rejected
  • Or they sit there watching all those other people doing that very thing and enjoying their time in the milonga.

If you are a Tom or a Mary ask yourselves:

“Cabeceo is hard. Getting more dances is hard. Becoming part of a community is hard. BUT what is the alternative?

If you love Tango and therefore you still think it is worth becoming part of a Tango community,  there is NO alternative. You need to deal with rejection and that means bringing in a strong combo of social and dance skills!

Action Steps for happier Milongas?
  • Change your mindset about what a milonga is.
    You shouldn’t think of the milonga as solely the place to dance. The milonga is where you see Tango in action. It is where you get inspired by other dancers and inspire other dancers. The milonga is the place to meet new people and reconnect with friends through a chat or a dance.
    Getting there with a altered mindset will help you reevaluate how you spend your time in the milongas
  • Find a good way to socialize, whether you are going with a group or without
    Here is a video that could spark a few ideas: Tango Festivals Networking Vol.1
  • Focus on your strengths! What are your strong points, is it musicality, is it smooth embrace, is it a good walk…? What is it?
    Find it and bet on THAT! The milonga is NOT the place to practice or correct the things you are not good at, it is the place to have fun with the things you do well!
  • Find a way to bounce back from rejection. Nobody likes hearing NO, or sitting there for hours before someone asks them for a dance.
    Rejection SUCKS! It happens though to everyone and you have to find a way to bounce back from it.
    One way to do so, is to focus on how are YOU are feeling when you are dancing Tango. What YOU are doing to get better and why YOU are doing it. Instead of looking for other people’s approval.
    Here an article on how to deal with shame: Dancing and the fear of shame
    And a video to make you feel a bit better: Focus on what you have
  • Practice smart! After you have pin-pointed what you are having trouble with, start building diverse practices around it. What I mean by diverse?
    Practices that are not strictly based on Tango BUT include elements from other activities that you do. This way you will get better, faster.
    A quick example: I have a student you has trouble with finding the beat. But he is a very good windsurfer. So I asked him: How to manage to follow the rhythm of the water and wind when you windsurf?
    And he said: “I listen to it with my body and then I let it guide me”
    Then here is your answer, forget about downbeat, upbeat, 1,2,3… Listen with your body and let the music guide you.
Is this worth it?

I think it is… Obviously! haha
Jokes aside though, if you do want to learn how to handle rejection better, if you want to be able to connect with more people, battle shyness and get more confident not only in the milonga but in life, learning and doing a social dance is a great way to do that.

I think it is worth it therefore, not only because I love Tango and dance but because I think that it can open up doors for you to great opportunities.
Opportunities that don’t stop on the dance floor or the door of your dance studio. But expand to asking someone out on a date or asking for a raise by building up the courage to create change!

If you want to learn how to practice smart, in order to enjoy your Tangos more but also to get more confident, courageous and creative, join our community of Bautanz by subscribing below and share your thoughts, experiences and troubles. I will be delighted to help!

 

Are social skills your #1 Tango pain?

What is your #1 Tango pain?

80% Leaders and followers say balance and posture would be their #1. Interestingly enough social skills follow tightly behind.

What does social Tango pain look like

(Real conversations:)

Him: “I want to dance with better dancers, but they won’t even look my way”
Me: Do you know the people we are talking about?

Him: But, my community is a rather young community (Invisible script#1: I am too old)…I say hello to some of them
Me: Well, why don’t try to  get to know them first. Chat with them without asking them to dance. Good dancers with a nice personality are likely to win over great dancers with an awful personality
Him: But isn’t there an easier way?

Or

Her: I want to be asked by better dancers. I feel like I am invisible to them
Me: Do you know any of them?
Her: Well, I am not a regular here, I feel more comfortable going to X milonga with my group (Invisible script#1: I don’t like to dance with strangers really, I prefer my group)
Me: Then they might not dance with you because they don’t know you.
Her: But they have seen me around (Invisible script#2: They should see me but I can’t approach them)
Me: Why don’t you go over to the bar–where good dancers spend their break–get a drink and say “hi!” to them
Her: Me? No, no I am follower, I can’t ask them to dance
Me:You won’t. You will only say Hi
Her: But I am woman…plus my cultural background(Invisible script#3: I am woman, men should come after me)

Or

Him: I have accepted that I won’t be part of the cool kids group. So I just dance with the people who like dancing with me. (Invisible script#1: It has to do with who you know in the milonga)
Me: Well, have you tried to make a connection with anyone from that group
Him: I was planning to once but feeling, it would end badly for me, I decided against it in the end.
Me: How did you know though that it would end badly for you? You didn’t even speak to the person?
Him: I don’t like rejection…(Invisible script#2: I don’t like to hear no for an answer, so instead of bettering myself I will ignore the other person all together)

Did you notice that all three of them before the even listened to my answer, they stated their hesitation. They set the limit,  supported by an invisible script.

Invisible scripts are the real pain!

Our scripts can be incredibly powerful. We might really WANT to do something–really want to dance with better dancers or be better dancers ourselves–but our invisible scripts get in the way.

This doesn’t happen of course only in Tango, we see it every day unfortunately.

For example, I have this friend who has managed to get fit and loose weight in a short period of time. So people now run to her with the classic question: “OH MY GOD! You look amazing, what did you do?”

When she answered seriously: Diet and working out.
The answer was: “No way. I have been doing that all this time, but nothing, you must have done something drastic. I could never do drastic things, I prefer to stay healthy…”

When she answered in a ridiculous way: Well, I only eat cucumbers for dinner and carrots for lunch
They would come back with something like: “You know… That’s it I don’t really like vegetables”…hahaha

And when she went for the more honest approach: It is a long process to change my life as a whole and better myself.
They just walked away and she manages to remain sane!

Save yourselves NOW for social Tango pain

Personally I think you–we–now have two real options:

  1. You can stick to your invisible scripts, such as:
    “I don’t want to be like one of those losers, who change the way they dress, how they walk and talk. People should like me for who I am” or
    “If I train hard enough, good dancers will recognize me” or
    “I just need some more experience and practice then I can ask better dancers to dance”
    And keep your fingers crossed that your milongas will get better, BUT don’t hold your breath on it.
  2. Start eliminating TODAY those invisible scripts and decapitating labels you have created for yourselves. Realize that talent and technical skills are not enough, but social skills are increasingly important in a SOCIAL event such as a milonga.

I admit, I myself chose Option 1 in the past. It made sense to me plus it is the easiest one. I ended up frustrated with my partners, with organizers, with the community, with the whole tango world. Until I realized, I was mad at myself!
For what?
For not realizing the logical sequence people follow in a milonga, when choosing a partner:
FIRST they dance with their life partners, then with their FRIENDS, then with the people they LIKE and then, if the milonga is still on, with someone new.

So, build on your social skills! Invest in yourself, in your Tango, in your personality.
Become a friend with someone BEFORE you ask them to dance.

Action Step#1: Get rid of labels
Such as:

  • “I am an introvert”: Introvert doesn’t mean, I go to a social event, sit in the corner, all by myself and not talk to anyone
  • “I don’t like rejection”: Nobody does! Learn how to use the cabeceo, to minimize the “NO”s
  • “I am an ALL or NOTHING type”: So you would either wait for a ONE great dance instead of working to change MANY mediocre dance experiences to great
  • “I am too old”: Nothing to do with your age. There are people much older than you, who dance non-stop all around the world
  • “I am a woman”: I am too! I still talk to people.

You get the idea?
Be brutally honest with yourselves, take down those unnecessary labels that are holding you back.

Action Step#2:
Talk to 1 NEW person in your weekend milonga.
Hey! If you are not planning to go to a milonga, sometime soon, talk to someone new in your job, in the cafeteria, as you are waiting for the bus.

The truth is we all want to get better.
We want to be able to go a milonga without having to check who is going to be there.
We want to be able to enter a social event knowing 1 or 2 people and leave knowing almost everyone

Also we know that all this is essential not only to our Tango but to our life in general.
But we still allow those invisible barriers to hold us back.
Start taking those barriers down in a milonga, and enjoy the benefits in your whole life!

-Chrisa

P.S: I found this video by Ramit Sethi extremely helpful. It includes easy scripts for starting a conversation, keeping it going, and politely ending conversations (even with ramblers). Plus, a live social-skills tear-down about how to make small talk, and the powerful concept of the Story Toolbox.