Observar y ser observado

Do you have favorite local dancers you love to watch? Not the Tango Gods, just a friend or acquaintance you enjoy seeing on the dance floor.

I have these favorites, and sometimes they can be distracting! Just the other night I was on the floor having fun with a leader I like, but glancing at another couple I just wanted to sit down and watch them. I allowed myself a few seconds of distraction: They had a very, very open “V” embrace, without holding hands on the open side. I think he had his left hand behind his back, casually. They looked so relaxed and were playing around with something, I don’t remember what. What caught my eye was how much fun they seemed to be having, how they were so absorbed in their dance.

I love catching these moments. When I am sitting down, I often keep an eye out for certain people. I tend to enjoy watching couples dance – they usually have a great energy, and if they practice together they can look incredible on the dance floor. But they don’t have to be a couple off the floor, as some people just click when they dance together. Whether it’s an elegant, romantic tango, a quick and exciting milonga, a playful alternative … some people are just fun to watch.

Which reminds me, I’m not sure I really enjoy being watched. On some level it is flattering, but I recently noticed that if I see someone watching me I tend to switch in “performance” mode. I get a somewhat external focus, rather than focusing on me and my partner and the music. I do notice all of those things, but suddenly I am not dancing just for us in that moment – I start dancing for everyone who might be watching. It is especially ramped up when the people watching are visitors (and followers!). I may be shy, but I know that at some level I’m a performer and will cater to my audience … and when it comes to tango, I’d rather keep it social and not be aware of an audience at all!

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2 thoughts on “Observar y ser observado

  1. Hi MT, how are you?Well, a lot of my friends are “Tango Gods,” so to speak…Certainly, I enjoy watching a lot of people on the floor, and I spend a lot of time watching and admiring them, getting inspired and basking in the reflective joy of what they are creating and the relationship they are having on the dance floor.But when I dance they all disappear. I can’t be focused on anything outside of my dance besides obstacles. Otherwise I am not giving my partner–nor the music, for that matter–the attention they deserve.As far as being watched, I try not to pay any attention to it, because you are always going to be watched sometime if you are dancing publicly. They say that in a milonga in BsAs there is nothing that goes unseen. So I suppose it is best to dance at your best, always. And besides, there are usually plenty of other great dancers on the floor at any given moment so the pressure’s not all on you to be the representative.

  2. Hi Malevito, thanks for your comment!I also try not to pay attention to being watched, but every once in a while (in a small room, when the people are seated very close to where I happen to be when I open my eyes, when I have noticed visitors watching me, when there is a mirror!) it is hard to forget them. I guess that’s one reason why I like to close my eyes when I dance – to focus on my partner and the music.

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