Progressing Around the Dance Floor - Line of Dance

Igor Polk, 2005 June 15

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Tango Etiquette, a practical advice

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Dancing on the Edge

I think that there is even more important thing that keeping up with the line of dance - it is maintaining the line of dance "as close to the edge as possible".
Practically nobody dances as close as possible. In most cases, there is enough room to bypass a couple ON THE RIGHT SIDE, which I often do. Sorry.

One just have to set up his mind "I am stepping as close to the edge as possible, I am!".
If one can.
You have to find pleasure in it. It means finding pleasure in dancing in strict line.
I do not think that this advice will work, even noticed. It looks like small floors and over-crowded milongas work better then ideology.

Wide and Wild Dancers vs Beginners

I can dance compact and I like it. But it seem to me that many declared a war against "wide and wild" dancing. This is not good. Of course, if we are talking about beginners, that is another matter, but I do not see emphasis on that.

In my practice I have found that a couple standing still on one place is more of the obstacle that a wild fast moving experienced couple. We all have to move. Here and there. Making a space for everybody around. Than a way to progress will be found easier.

And most problems are created by people who rigidly dance 8 count the way it is taught by most teachers. Beginners. They blindly step back ( invading somebody's space ) than side ( again invading somebody's space and moving away from the edge, so the whole room becomes smaller), and so on.

Why to Progress

Most people think that it is some sort of a rule. No. It is fun.
Many tango moves are done in line. In the strict line. And that is fun. Rotational movements become richer and more satisfying if they are done progressing in a direction. It is more fun, not some sort of rule. It is pretty difficult. Comparable is only dancing on one spot the whole dance - dancing on a square when you even do not have space for 8-count.

Again it all comes not to the rules and "etiquette" but to the level of dancing. It all happens naturally. Good dancers do not have any problems. I guess the direction of the line of dancing came out of our embrace asymmetrical position. Of course, beginners should be taught how to behave on the floor. The best remedy is to make classes from the very beginning address "progression" issues: it is not enough to tell, it is required to teach! If people do not know how to dance in line, if they do not care about staying at the edge, until they have enough personal experience, all the talks about "line of dance" are just air vibrations.

There is a collective of dancers on the dance floor

I like to see the dancing floor as a collective of dance partners. We are all dance partners and dancing together in one huge connection. So the relation to other couples can be similar to the relation within a couple. Dance floor is a dancing organism. We should "feel" other couples, their bodies and legs. We should establish connection with them the way we establish connection with a partner. No connection, no dance.

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This thoughts should be developed further.

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My name is Igor Polk. I dance Argentine tango in San Francisco.

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