Tango Story: After The Lockdown
Picture by Marta Kossakowska
Story | Martin van Kesteren | 16/03/2020 | Views: 570 | Comments: 0 | Shares

Most of you realise by now, that we are all going to get COVID-19, eventually. Too bad we don’t know exactly when, so the bugger will be in the herd until all of us are immune. I’m sure you’re all fed up with virology and statistics, so let’s think about the post-COVID-19 tango world. By the time we go to back dancing, when the health authorities say the number of ICU’s is not a bottle-neck anymore, the tango community may see itself as divided into dancers who are cured, and dancers who are not sure if they had it. If we call the first group the Positives, the ones who tested positive for COVID-19, the others will soon most likely be referred to as the Negatives (or Don’t Knows – you pick one). Now, imagine a milonga filled with these two categories of dancers.

Lying on my couch in Netflix mode, I can hear Richard Attenborough’s serious voice, as he describes the 2020 international crisis of tango species and their interconnected, vulnerable ecosystem of milongas and teachers, tragically unfolding: ‘After the ghastly tango corona winter, dancers are hungry for embraces. Milongas throw their ‘back-to-dancing’-parties. Summer is in the air, bustling with animal kingdom activity. The tango dancer’s instinct to throw himself into another dancer’s arms is in conflict with his instinct not to catch a potentially deadly disease. Not sure if he is immune to the disease, he prefers dancers who are virus-free’. Sir Richard’s voice goes up to a more jocular, ironic level: ‘The corona-free dancers are carelessly dancing with anybody, and for a while, they become very popular’.

In a graver tone of voice, he continues: ‘Following their instinct to find partners, dancers, mostly male, adopt a dubious strategy: they pretend to have conquered the virus, end up infected, and some elderly dancers are rushed off to intensive care, during the COVID-19 come-back in September 2020. This seriously affects the trust of Negatives, in particular followers, who turn in mass to dancing Chacarera. Soon, male dancers vastly outnumber female dancers. Large numbers of them are sitting on the side, not dancing at all, or dancing with each other and leaving early. Many milongas incur losses and soon enough, one of them tragically decides to launch a ‘Corona-free’-milonga’, which does surprisingly well, confirming suspicions about tango dancers’ principles.

Attenborough’s voice drops to dead-serious level, when his narrative runs to its conclusion: ‘Test results become a common requirement to get on the list for international events. Northern Italy has lost some of its attraction, but demand for events in Groningen, the most corona-free province in the Netherlands, is soaring. Local milongas enjoy increased popularity, in particular in Amsterdam, with its broad base of trusted regular dancers…”. I shake my head, waking up. I may have been watching too many episodes of Our Planet, on Netflix, during isolation, or, I may be running a fever. Lets’ get the thermometer out.

🚫 Please contact the author for permission to use this image.