Sunday, March 06, 2005

Men's practica

Men practice with each other lots in Argentine Tango, in Eugene, even at Milongas. Probably the most practical reason: it's an easier path to understanding the whole dance.

All Tango stage shows, and countless cheesy Argentine movies from the 1940's, include a scene with men practicing with each other, in the hope that they'll dance better, and be more likely to catch a woman. These are just cartoon images of courtship ... sometimes, I guess for 'literary effect', violence is added between the men ... you know, in case anyone was worried about their machismo.

Recently a few people proposed that, if men practicing together was a good idea, then we should hold special men's practica sessions, gatherings where the main purpose is men leading men. We have lots of good women leaders, but they find men physically very hard to lead. So we'll try a few of these practicas. Hopefully it will also help lots of the new men get more comfortable with empathy.

For probably the first six months after opening, we tried hard to give everyone equal experience in both lead & follow, right from the start. This is pretty much what Elizabeth was doing at the University classes, very successfully, so it seemed like we should follow her example. I still think we should. There are also countless social advantages to blurring the gender roles. People complain that beginning men shouldn't lead beginning men. I don't believe that, but even if it were true, it's definitely good for women to lead men right from the beginning.

There's a lot of subconscious resistance to all of this by really good leaders who have not put equal time into following ...


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