Archive for the 'Technique' Category

Milonguear – Dancing small

Posted in Dance, Norms, Quote, Technique on March 13th, 2008

Isaac brought up an important concept about social dancing on his blog – Milonguear. He quoted Cacho Dante, “Bailar bien no es igual que saber milonguear.” (“To dance well doesn’t equal to knowing how to dance socially.”) Talking about “milonguear”, the first thing that appears in my mind is “dancing small”. Many people would say, “Yes, of course. I know how to dance small, and I dance small too!” But most of the time, I doubt if people really know what they are talking about. Small is a relative concept, depends on different situation, the value of small changes. Same apply to the concept of “dancing small”. If there are only 5 couples dancing in a basketball field, then each couple taking 1m² of space can be considered small. If there are 40 couples dancing in half of a badminton court, then each couple taking 1m² is not small anymore. In this case, dancing small means only taking 0.2m² of space or less. Another example. Each couple on the floor takes only 0.25m² to dance, and you take 0.56m² to dance. Then even though you think you are dancing small, in this situation, you would be considered dancing big, just because you take more space than everybody.

So to “milonguear”, how small we are talking about? Just to give you an idea. Last week I danced 2 valses with a milonguero. It was during the peak hour of the milonga, the floor was very packed. We finished 1 vals in 2 meters. So after 2 vals, we progressed only 4 meters on the dance floor. Like many dancers, he liked to use giros (turns) in his vals. Even in such a small space, he could still execute his giros, without bumping into anybody. For me, he was and definitely can “dance small”.

Of course, “milonguear” is not only about dancing small. But dancing small is definitely one of the most important techniques to “milonguear”. It is not only a technique; it’s also an art. Many dancers don’t like to dance small (even if they can do so); because they feel it limits their expression and possibilities (step-wise), and thus destroys or minimizes their pleasure of dancing. My point of view is, to be able to dance small with your partner, and be able to do pretty much everything you want to in a small space is a matter of technique; but to be able to ENJOY what you do and EXPRESS yourself in a compact and small manner is an art.