Tired of Show Offs

Dear Tango Tia: What is it with people who have to show off on the dance floor? Some guys will hold up traffic while they lead some fancy stuff or a bunch of spins, and some women will throw a leg up between every step that is supposed to look like a boleo. They don’t follow line of dance, don’t pay attention to the music, and in some cases, bump into other couples without even saying “Sorry.” Why doesn’t the host speak to them about helping keep the floor safe? Tired of Show Offs

Dear Tired: I know what you mean and have been the recipient of flying body parts more than once. There are always new folks learning showy tricks that they can’t wait to do on the floor. Show offs need attention, and don’t realize (or care) how dangerous it can be flailing around the floor. Astute leaders learn which men to not dance behind, and women learn which women look ridiculous kicking a leg up between every step. Those who want to show off, copy the show offs. It’s a never-ending cycle and a solution is yet to be found. Let me know if you hear of one.


  1. Mary Tango says

    That is a great way to handle it, as you have mentioned. Unfortunately, we do not have organizers who take that on, nor instructors. The gentleman I referred to above has been heralded as a teacher of tango for 16 years. His martial arts history carries forward, and I believe he begs more for admiration than correction. I’ve yet to see mice dance tango, and each one of us can tactfully say something, should we find a door.

  2. Mary Tango says

    We have more than one. The worst stands out to me, however. The last time I saw him at a practica, I thought of saying to his partner, “I know why you want to dance with him! It’s the safest place to be when he’s on the floor!!” – all in hopes that she would convey this unkind message. . . . Thank God I did not. I recently saw him in a mall, with a cane, walking slowly, without a single hair on his head remaining. I know chemotherapy well. My heart spoke to me, that I would never deprive him a single one of the many dances in his memory bank. I do believe that the Seattle warning is something that can be delivered full of consideration and kindness such that a person might want to conform to the kind of floorcraft that makes for a safe and welcoming environment.

    • bill swan says

      I take upon myself, as an old man, to explain to beginners the idea of lines of dance and the middle. So far every one of them has been thankful, not resentful. But these are normal, considerate people who want to cooperate, and I make and effort to show I am trying to be helpful. The case is not the same as with experienced dancers inconveniencing the floor. So I say, hard times do not undo bad manners, excepting moments of actual pain. Do you want your last memories to be of being yourself unkind and greedy? If so, I will let you. But I will feel sorry for you.

  3. bill swan says

    We have one floor in Seattle that follows what I am told is the traditional practice. The host speaks quietly to leads who are inconsiderate navigators. The second time the host has to speak with someone, they are warned that on the third time they will be invited to sit down and watch, but not dance any more. I have seen the second warning work. But I am told it is rarely needed. In fact, the first warning is infrequent, just enough to establish the idea. This milonga has the best navigated floor in Seattle, while another milonga is avoided by some, purely because of poor floorcraft.

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