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January 15, 2009


Wishes for 2009

Note: Here are some of my thoughts, drafted a few hours before the start of 2009.

As we count down towards 2009, what are your wishes tango-wise, wherever you are?

Well, here are some of my thoughts.


On the milonga front, in 2009 we will see a revived (and hopefully sustainable) milonga on Tuesday nights, DJ’ed by yours truly. 🙂 At the same time, it seems that Thursday nights at Bobby’s is at least shaping up to be a monthly affair. This then brings us to the end of week, with consecutive milongas on Friday and Saturday nights. This means that we will have a curious situation where there will be a maximum of 4 milongas(!) for 1 week in each month. This is quite a big increase from what it was like for most of 2007 until start of 2008, when there was a maximum of only 3 milongas in a week every fortnight (with 2 milongas happening on the same night in those weeks).

Seems a bit worrying, no, especially when we have not seen a corresponding increase in the number of dancers?

On the surface, it does seem that there are too many regular events for the small market in Singapore, especially with back-to-back milongas near the weekend. However, I am slowly coming to the view that perhaps now is the “right” time for different organisers to provide alternate offerings at the same time. In fact, now that each group has been given ample time to establish its own brand, theoretically each group should be able to stand on its own without fears of “poaching” from competitors. In the end, I believe that market forces will be the best judge to carry out a Darwinian culling in one form or other.

Till now, my personal principal has always been to avoid unnecessary clashes when scheduling milongas. After all, if one milonga is doing well, another taking place at the same time will suffer necessarily. It is silly to have such competition, given our already small community. Having said that, if it happens that all events are well attended, which can happen if each event manages to attract a different loyal following (and this is beginning to to happen) , we are likely to attract more new bloods and hence more people are likely to stay in the scene. More students means it will be more worthwhile for local teachers to invest their time to teaching, and for organisers to consider inviting good teachers. A win-win for all. A rather “simple” road to tango prosperity that does not really require an MBA to see, you may say… 😉

I do believe that healthy competition is ultimately beneficial to the tango community.

Let’s imagine: two studios running side by side. If one is able to consistently maintain high quality and bring out good students, then the other will need to get its act together to retain some form of respectability, no? In the end, the benefactor is the community who will receive better quality of service. This is much better than dominance from one party or the other, where a very probable eventual outcome is stagnation.

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