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February 8, 2011



There seems to be a survey of sorts doing the rounds recently. Apparently one of the reasons for people (no mention of beginners or experienced so probably both categories) quitting tango is the “cliquishness, elitism, and divisive politics” in tango communities.

Let’s face it, at a deeper level tango is not an easy dance and not everyone is suited for tango. Having taught some beginners in the past I can certainly say that almost anyone can derive pleasure from learning/dancing it at a social level. However, if we look at the survey results less critically, are the reasons cited not what one can expect at any social endeavour? Or is there anything unique about tango which supposedly brings out the worst in people?

  • In life, there are bound to be people who we can more naturally bond with and form friendships. It is only natural that one socialises more with friends more than “acquaintances”, no? Maybe to some, this is cliquish?
  • For some strange reason, people do have different musical tastes. If not, it will be so much easier to DJ at a milonga, no!? 😉 Seriously though, as a tango community grows in size, choices should be available. As a last resort, become an organiser if you want something desperately! If there is a demand, market forces will ensure sustainability.
  • Finally, just as anyone can choose to dance with he/she wants to, on the opposite side of the coin, another person can exercise his/her right to decline. It is altogether very easy to generalise with a bruised ego but why not think from the other person’s perspective? After all, anyone can have had a bad day and who’s to say that so-called “senior” people have not carried out their “community service” in the past?

What’s the big deal with being politically correct all the time anyway? Why not have the conviction to defend your views or preferences (music, preferred way of dancing) and be open about it, in a civilised manner? I personally feel the basic common denominator is to treat people with respect, and respect that people will have different views from your own. Let’s do without the back stabbing and insinuations once and for all.

Then again, perhaps crying wolf says something equally about the wolf-criers themselves? For example, if in a particular tango community, no one wants to work with a particular organiser, does it say more about the said organiser or the community? Are there divisive politics at play, or a divisive individual?

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  1. Feb 8 2011

    It just occurred to me that there are probably some people in every community that many tango purists will like to get rid of, one way or other… Like the ones who are perennially teaching the beginners on the dance floor!?Sadly, a likely reason they may quit may be: “I am too good for my community.” 🙂

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    Feb 13 2011

    I am curious about the story behind this post. Hope all is well with you 🙂

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