Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating idea, philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, 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 people or 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, reconciliation and compromise. If you share this conviction, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.

Together we can awaken the world.




August 7, 2009

Obligation


Sam, Max, Rebecca and me stayed at the same hotel when we attended a tango festival in Seattle. At the opening night Sam offered the rest of us a ride to the welcome milonga. It was a ten minutes drive. Since tango was the reason that brought us together, the conversations in the car naturally centered on tango.

"I am fed up with the attitude in the milonga."

"I know what you mean."

"Some women are so arrogant. They think they are too good for the beginners."

"Men too. I often sit there for hours but nobody come to dance with me."

"I remember the time when I just started. It was rough."

"My sister quit tango because she doesn’t like the hierarchy in the milonga."

"Well, this is the process everyone has to go through. It's a part of the tango experience."

"But why people have to be so snobby?"

"Everyone comes to have a good time. If they are good, it's only natural they want to dance with equals."

"Don’t good dancers have an obligation? If others didn't dance with them when they started, how could they become good?"

"Better be nice to the beginners. You never know how good someone can become in a couple of years."

"But people don’t dance to please others. They come to enjoy themselves, and dancing with the beginners doesn't help..."

"So you don’t think good dancers should dance with the beginners?"

"Well, it depends..."

"How long have you danced?"

"Seven years."

There was a moment of silence after that. I felt tension.

Then, the topic changed to something else.

2 comments:

  1. As a 13 year veteran, I do dance with beginners to encourage them. But quite frankly, one tanda will be more than enough for a while. I monitor their progress and only continue to dance if they improve.

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  2. I'm a beginner, I've been dancing 7 months. And while I'm very pleased when more advanced dancers (okay, technically that's almost all the dancers) ask me to dance, I understand that the milonga is their social outlet too. They are not obligated to teach, or to endure a painful off-balance embrace etc. at the milonga. That's why practicas exist. In practicas I do think more advanced dancers have some obligation to their tango community to help dancers, new - intermediate - and advance - develop their dances.

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