Poor looking rich dancers



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Stealth wealth

In Greece, there is a saying that goes like this “You can’t hide money, love and coughing!” The meaning is that like cough someone who is rich or in love cannot hide either of them with their behaviour.  Although I agree on love and cough lately I realized that money can be hidden. Actually, there are a lot of people who might be rich if you see their personal finances but they look like normal everyday people. They dress up casually, drive normal cars, live in the next-door house and go to work every morning like all of us. It is the concept of stealth wealth.

If you search in the Internet you will definitely find a ton of resources explaining both the concept and the reasons why someone who is rich should look like “poor” as they say.  From a brief look into some of those videos, I realized that looking “poor” while being rich is a concept that can easily apply to Tango dancing as well!

Dance assets

So who can be considered rich in Tango? In personal finances, there are two categories of assets that can make someone rich. The first one is the “public” ones. The ones that are obvious to other people. An expensive car, a luxurious house, expensive clothes, etc. can all be seen by everyone. They are the richness that can’t be hidden. On the other end, there are “private” assets, which can be back accounts, investment portfolios, real estate properties rented, etc. These are assets which are obvious only to a few select and close people like your family and maybe a couple of friends. In many cases they are only known by their owner and obviously tax services (at least I hope so).

What can be the obvious “public” assets in terms of your dance? The most obvious can be your vocabulary. From then on, people who know about musicality can maybe identify your musicality assets and maybe your technique ones. However, in many cases, your musicality, emotional expression, and technique are dance assets that can be revealed to their fullest only to your partners as well as your ability to create a nice connection, and your embrace which are even more hidden. Yes, anyone can see how you embrace others but they can’t know how that actually feels if they don’t experience it themselves.

Rich and poor dancers

Therefore a rich dancer can have all the above on different levels and depending on the ratio between the public and private assets they have they can be seen as rich or poor. I mean, someone who is only using basic vocabulary but has a super nice embrace and the ability to create amazing connections through their presence and grounding is an example of a dancer who might look poor but be rich in reality.

On the other hand, a dancer who is making sure to show off their vocabulary while also having a nice embrace and connection can definitely be seen as a rich dancer. Be careful here. The difference between those rich dancers and the previous ones is that they choose to flaunt their wealth. They try to make it obvious to everyone. It is like a person who is driving a new Porsche in their multi-thousands costume and going for dinner in the most expensive restaurant.

Why look poor?

So why would someone rich want or should look poor? When it comes to money, it may make sense to not flaunt your wealth so that you don’t attract attention and limit the potential danger of being attacked, robbed, conned etc. But this doesn’t make sense in dancing right? None can steal your dance assets. So… here are 4 main reasons not to flaunt your dance wealth.

  1. First of all, other dancers view you as equal. When people view you as equal it is much easier to open up and to connect with you. As already written in the language analogy, if you talk with advanced vocabulary people will see you as distant and therefore it will be much more difficult to approach them even if you are willing to. When you dance simply anyone can relate to your dance. Your dance is something that anyone can understand. It looks easy, everyday and casual and this makes it easier for people to approach you, open up to you and eventually connect with you. When you try to show how good are your back sacadas and boleos in every other step, common people… average dancers… will eventually distance themselves and be intimidated and anxious when they finally dance with you. If this is your goal… then go on.
  2. You are not seen as an ATM. Another very interesting point mentioned in one of those videos is that when you look poor, people around you don’t see you as an ATM. If you show your status as a rich dancer then everyone will want to dance with you. Obviously, not all will dance with you but everyone sees you as an ATM ready to provide them with the pleasure of dancing with them. This may make it difficult for you to simply socialize with dancers that you might not want to dance with. It will also lead you to the behaviour of trying to hide from the crowd in milongas, isolating and fencing yourself from everyone else. Eventually, you are missing the fun part of the milongas, by avoiding to socialize with people just because you will feel obliged to dance with them.
  3. Lack of diversity and growth. This social isolation eventually leads to another problem that may not be so obvious at first glance. If you isolate yourself in a group of elite dancers and hide from others you end up listening only to their opinion. You end up not knowing or assuming many different things about the other dancers and in the end you become trapped in a small circle of dancers which deprives you from exposure to diversity. If there is one thing that helps any living creature to grow and evolve is exposure to diversity. Eventually, this isolation will hinder your development and lead you to a stalemate.
  4. Focus on what matters. Finally, if there is one common theme among the previous reasons, this is your accessibility as a dancer to other dancers and the ability to connect. In other words when you choose to dance simply you choose to focus on what matters in your dance life in general. If you see your tango as a social dance and care for both parts (social and dance) then you learn not only to appreciate the dance skill but also the social part of it. It took me some time to realize that maybe the social part is even more important than the dance alone, but once I realized it, it changed my perception of the dance.

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango comes from El Senor del Tango and is called “Patotero sentimental”. The theme of the song is about a young rich boy who has it all but has not yet experienced real love. I guess the parallel is obvious. Showing off your richness is a decision for a dance and lifestyle that might lead to many different destinations but also it might isolate you form other. Choose your path and walk it.

So how about you? Is your dance rich? In which way? Do you show off your dance wealth to everyone or reveal it only to your partners? Have you ever felt isolated? How often do you see such alienated and isolated people on the social dancefloor? Let me know…

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