It's funny the foreign tango dancers. (Yes, I know, I am one too.) I get some very interesting emails. It seems that they all want me to know about their CV of dancing. I am not sure why. I get emails or have conversations with people that are simply unbelievable. The majority of these conversations are with Americans, however I have had them with people from Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. The ones from the U.S. are the most intense.
They use phrases like: I am currently studying, I have studied with, I trained with, my intense work was with, I will be continuing the work I have done with, along with a list of teachers and sometimes with photos and videos. (I kid you not.) These emails to me are a joke, or tragic, or both. You would think they were trying out for the cast of a Broadway musical and not coming to Buenos Aires to dance tango.
First and foremost, I have many friends who are professional dancers. None of them ever talk about who they took lessons with. None of them use the words like "I studied with or trained with." They simply say that they took lessons from so and so. One is because they don't want you to know who they took lessons from so you don't go to them, and the other is because it just is not important to talk about. The only thing people ever ask me is where did I learn to dance, here or there.
You could take lessons from the very best for years and still be a lousy dancer. Witness all the people who come here year after year to study with Mr. Name Brand-Ex Movie and you see how clearly his $500 USD workshops turn out some of the worst dancers. They dance just as bad as when they came, they just learned new ways to do it.
Those of us who dance here, understand the gauge is not to brag about who you took lessons from, but how you dance. It is a clear of example of the buck stops there. People really don't care who you took classes from. The important thing is can you dance.
I think the other reason why they send me "supporting documentation" is because they don't agree with my blog posts or my tango-l posts. So by sending me their "supporting documentation" of all the people they have taken classes with, that should prove how much they know...I guess. It is all about being right rather than dancing well.
Most foreign men know that I will dance with them when they come here. Not all the time. Not every dance. But I usually will dance with them. They usually leave me breathless. I dance a tanda of vals with one of my favorite guys here, and I am sad when the 4 songs end. The foreign men not only do not dance to the music, they use every step they ever learned, and it feels like all at one. The vals should give you the sensation of skating, not an Olympic aerobic workout. No tango should feel that way.
Then there are shoes. The majority of women buy shoes that are way too high for them. They wobble into the milongas in their $300 peso Comme il Fauts or some other store that sells pencil heels thinking they look sexy. Shoes that are too high regardless of where they came from rob your balance and your axis. You are impossible to dance with.
Once in Flabella I told a girl that her heels were too high. She told me she didn't care because they were so sexy. She couldn't even walk in them, so how was she supposed to dance in them. I wear a 10 cm heel. After the accident I could only wear a 7, then I worked up to a 8. Finally a couple of weeks ago I was able to wear my 10s again. I still wear my 8s from time to time if they guy I am going to dance with is shorter. My ability to dance is not determined by how high my heel is. It is by how well I dance.
Somehow the concept of enjoying your dance gets lost. It becomes a competition of how many classes you have had, who you had them with, how high your shoes are, your tango clothes. All external things. Tango is of the heart. It is between two people. Not the whole world.