Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating culture, idea, lifestyle, and philosophy. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. We are humanists. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation and compromise. If you believe in this cause, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.

Together we can awaken the world.




August 5, 2009

Why People Quit Tango



Seldom we see people quit tango because of tango. Most often we see people quit tango because of people. When we dance tango we dance with people, and people are much more complicated than the dance itself. People have different interests, needs, style preferences, skill levels, philosophies, biases and attitudes, which are not easy to accommodate. People can be nice, kind, considerate, friendly and encouraging. Yet they can also be selfish, inconsiderate, rude, mean and discouraging. People can be as open-minded, tolerant and acceptant as they can be opinionated, discriminative, arrogant and snobby. And people have egos. They are easily hurt and difficult to forgive. It won’t take much misbehavior to damage a relationship or a tango community. To be a social dancer, one in fact has more to learn about people than what one has to learn about tango. Sure, it is important to improve dance skills. But it is even more important to improve ourselves as persons, our skills in dealing with each other, and our dance community on which our tango experience, whether good or bad, depends. Tango is an intimate dance; therefore, a friendly and cooperative culture within the community is particularly important. (See Exhibition Versus Fellowship.)

14 comments:

  1. Me gusta creer que bailar el tango nos hace mejores personas, pero no estoy seguro que eso sea verdad. Excelente post.

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  2. Improving our dance skills and improving us as persons is one and the same. If someone quits tango is not because of people: it is because that person is not really interested in tango. If what you want is tango, that is what you get. If you do not really look for tango, you are going to get less than it.

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    1. Marcelo,
      I have the feeling that we don't go to the same places ! I think that it would be very easy if dancing with somebody would just depend on you.
      As much as I know there are 2 people involved.
      As a woman, try to be big and ugly, or old, even with a good level, I'm afraid you will not get all you dances and "plachar" a lot. "Planchar" : special expression invented to say that you sit so much that you iron your dress !
      I have examples of that women that I like to lead as they are so reactive and interpret so well the music, even if I lead with hills and if I' 50 pounds less than them. But they don't get dances.
      I know lots of people who were less attracted by swing & Co or salsa, but who preferred to switch as tango was already to hard for them or they were bored to see a big part of the people unhappy because of the competition.
      M

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    2. You really believe that, don't you.

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    3. You are missing the point of the article. Just because a person has wonderful dance technique, he/she may lack dance etiquette and social graces.

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    4. I agree 100% with you..our Tangueros think they are Gods on Earth..I am leaving Tango after almost 8 years ,all because of attitude of our Dear Tangueros!!!!

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  3. I like this: a reassuring and useful reminder of the social aspects of social tango

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  4. Would should remember also that in the U.S. most tango communities are quite small. A small community requires much more of each of it's members to remain active and to grow, making a pleasant past time often seem like another job. Many people take "time off" from tango for varying lengths of time simply because of burn out.

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  5. That's an interview I made some months ago in La Gazzetta Tango.
    I speak especially about the different kind of people how have it hard in tango and the lack of kindness.
    ---
    http://marielleb.blogspot.fr/2013/06/entrevistita-marielle-gazzetta.html

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  6. I respectfully disagree with Marcelo. Improving dance skills is *not* one and the same as improving us as a person. For decades now I have been observing some very skillful tangueros be snobbish and discouraging of newcomers. I've seen antisocial behavior in a supposedly social dance form, especially directed toward less experienced dancers. One technically skilled man recently said to a woman, "Don't ever dance with a man who isn't an excellent dancer, because he will corrupt your style, and then none of the good men will ever dance with you again." What an ugly, elitist statement, certainly not coming from an "improved" man. Social means being kind. And respectful. Of everyone. These attitudes are what Paul Yang is addressing, imo, and he has done it beautifully.

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    1. Richard, you put my thoughts into writing better than I could. The tango snobs are ruining the Argentine Tango community. I admit it, I'm a beginner. I was a beginner in salsa too, but salseros are welcoming of newcomers, and few use their advanced dance skills to lecture the less skilled or teach while on the dance floor. I got better at salsa partially because of that welcoming attitude. I don't get that from the milongas I've visited. Dancing with an advanced dancer should encourage you to get better, not discourage you into thinking it's hopeless.

      Marcelo, I recognize your name, we're both in the same metro area. I haven't taken any of your classes yet, but I hope you're addressing this issue. Argentine Tango is difficult enough, partially because it's a very different partner dance, so we don't need the snobbery that appears inherent in the community. Simply, an advanced tanguero can either look down his/her nose at the beginner and get snippy about the mistakes, or instead model good dancing, laugh off the mistakes, and encourage the beginner to keep going. The latter is what will keep people dancing Argentine Tango.

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  7. Well put. Tango is an intimate dance and it is easy to offend and be offended. We have to be on our best behavior when we enter the tango embrace but sometimes it can take years to learn that like it did for me. I was very crude when I started but tango refined me and made me into sugar:-)

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  8. Shut your eyes! Imagine a soul to soul connection! Feel what you feel! Free your creativity and be joyful! Celebrate life and your connection to your fellow humans! Dance as if your life depends more on it! Tango is a spiritual experience!

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  9. I am not that long into Tango. It is about one year now. I never really thought about stopping, but I also had experiences, that have made me question myself. Maybe it is because everyone is looking for something else in Tango. Some for the "perfect wave", others for a mate, others to be a virtuoso in stepps and figures. Tango can be really good, if we go beyond our ideas, how something or someone has to be. Then it can be surprisingly pleasurable. Maybe social dancing and dealing with people means, that we are open and commit ourselves to a dance or dancer for a tanda, I don't know. If quitting Tango is about people, but if it is that, than maybe it is like in real life and we should be sure, that we will attract dancers, that fit with us and we can spend some joyful moments. And the others.. never mind

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