day 91: down below: urban butterfly
Last night I was dancing tango at Villa Kreuzberg and I had such a great first tanda with one of my favourite leaders here in Berlin that I immediately decided not to let that be ruined throughout the evening. It was a Miguel Caló tanda sung by Raúl Berón and one of my favourite tangos, Qué Importa Qué Te Llore, was part of it too.
I hadn’t been at Villa Kreuzberg before, because it’s a bit far from where I live, but I have to say that I also hadn’t been missing much. Don’t get me wrong, the venue is fantastic since it’s a beautiful old villa, but the dancing I saw on the dance floor was not up to the usual good standard in Berlin. Considering the steep entry price of 5€ I’m not sure it’s worth it if you’re not sure that there will be a leader you like. There were many good leaders, but quite many poor ones too and the latter made the floor really chaotic. It’s bad already if good leaders create chaos by being inconsiderate, but much worse and much more dangerous if a significant proportion of the dancers on the floor just don’t have the skill for anything but chaos. Luckily I was dancing with someone who dances carefully in such circumstances, but with many other leaders I would have feared for my feet. In the early hours of the milonga at Clärchen’s Ballhaus on Tuesdays it’s similar, which is the reason why I often go there quite late.
Over the evening I turned down two leaders who I hadn’t seen dance before, because I really didn’t want to spoil the great start I had. One of them also got a “No, thank you” partly because he asked me in a way that I just find terrible. I was sitting and looking down at the floor, watching people dance while holding a drink. Especially the fact that I didn’t even look up when he approached was a clear sign that I didn’t want to dance with him. If I had wanted that, I would have looked up to see whether he is really approaching me or someone sitting next to me. This leader actually leaned down so that he would enter my field of vision whether I wanted to or not. He was setting himself up for rejection there. If he hadn’t made that mistake he would have saved himself the disappointment of an open “No, thank you”. The other leader also caught me at a bad time after just sitting down with a fresh drink. I was still danced out, eager to rehydrate, since it was quite warm on the dance floor.
However, it’s not just these two. In fact many leaders have little feel for the right moment to ask a follower to dance. Instead of asking a woman who has been sitting for a while, they pounce on someone who just came off the dance floor. It’s psychologically understandable if you have seen her dance just now and like what you saw, but in this case her “Oh sorry, I need a break just now” might be honest and not an excuse to soften the blow. If you in this case interpret it as real rejection you might miss out on a chance to dance with her later. However, sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish excuse from honesty, so it’s better not to ask at all in such moments and wait a tango or two.
Another leader who I had been curious about while watching him dance earlier asked me in just the right way. I had been sitting alone for a tango and although I was watching people dance I sometimes glanced sideways for someone to dance with. However, given the low illumination of the venue cabeceo was impossible and so I wasn’t looking around properly. He had to approach. If he had hovered about I might have interpreted it as indecisiveness and would probably have ignored it. However, he did the right thing and was coming right towards me. This made me glance up quickly to see who it was and when I was sure that I wanted to dance with him, I directly looked up at him. Only at this point he asked me whether I would like to dance, which I gladly accepted. He definitely measured up to what I had observed earlier, he had a nice soft embrace, focused on little steps and accentuated the music in just the right understated fashion, which gave the impression that he could show off if he wanted to, but that he was looking for something else. I had a lovely time dancing with him.
Generally I had a very nice evening and I can conclude that it pays off to be picky sometimes.
The picture I took in the afternoon at the subway station Turmstraße before shopping for some new trousers at the Ku’damm. It seems I’m having a monochrome week.