Everyone in a Tango community should be focused on growing the community at large, creating better dancers, better leads, better followers, better understanding of what Tango is, the music, the culture…it’s a packaged deal! Below are just a few things that are taken for granted and end up hurting those newcomers.
1. Encourage and Lead Accordingly to the Level: When advanced dancers (and by advanced, I don’t mean the ones that have been dancing for many years and can do 5000 different steps, but the ones that really understand Tango) dance with a less advanced dancer they should focus on leading according to the level. So many times I see advanced dancer trying to lead a boleo to someone who has had 2 lessons! Really, advanced dancer? Less advanced (specially beginners) will get turned away because they will feel they cannot follow. We need to encourage and welcome them, not repel them.
2. No teaching at Milongas: Similar to #1 above, someone who is learning goes to class to learn; they then go to a Milonga to dance and have fun, not to hear from teachers or non-teachers that they are doing somehting wrong. Instead, you should lead and follow accordingly (read #1). The result of this is that new dancers (and sometimes more experienced get turned away). There is a reason why this is on EVERY TANGO ETIQUETTE flyer! Teaching at a Milonga is a NO-NO!
3. Focus on your Local Community Too: Yes, attending Tango festivals to meet and dance with other dancers is really fun and is encouraged; but don’t do it solely for the reason because you believe there are no good dancers in the local community. If dancers focused more on the local community, better dancers would be created without having to travel so much!
4. Beginners want what they see: I have said this many times, but if a beginner goes to a Milonga and sees the majority of dancers doing boleos, ganchos, colgadas, volcadas, back flips, etc…, that’s what they will want! But if the majority are dancing with the music, as one, with a nice embrace, eyes closed (followers), THAT’s what they will want. Focus on the latter!
5. Dancing with the Stars: I also believe that most non-tango dancers have a misconception of what Argentine Tango is. They see Dancing With The Stars and that’s what they think. It’s not until they actually see social Argentine Tango that they realize is nothing like Dancing With The Stars! We have to put Argentine Tango out there, on the streets for people to see it.
5. Introduce new people to Tango: One of the best ways to get people into Tango is to bring them to a class or social. By them coming with a friend, they will feel more likely to attend and start. As for organizers and teachers, we need to be careful not to saturate the existing community. Rather than starting a new Milonga, why not start a new beginner class and introduce new dancers to the community.
What are your thoughts?