Luring the leaders (3)

Competition between tango events will increase, but average quality will not, unless the demand for experienced leaders is fulfilled. Organisers have the option to accept this challenge together or, alternatively, fight each other pointlessly by, for instance, offering free admission to leaders. In our not-for-profit Amsterdam milonga we accept breaking even just barely, but paying guests to show up is where we draw the line. Even if such a measure would prove to work for a while, other events would quickly copy the idea and before we’d know it, leader rates would go up!  We need cooperation and ideas. A lot of them.  

There is an abundance of teachers, online courses and YouTube instructions to get you started in tango, so the key barrier to becoming a tango leader is motivation: you wanna lead, you gotta bleed. However, people’s motivation is determined by their expectation of likely success. Sally Potter’s movie, The Tango Lesson, did great work to convert people to tango. Sally, playing herself, obviously loved dancing and looked conveniently like the girl next door, signaling to women: you can do this if you apply yourself. Men, watching the same movie, had three problems: 1. Pablo Veron, 2. Pablo Veron and 3. Pablo Veron. They had to take solace from the lesser supporting roles, like, you know, Gustavo Naveira.

Let’s throw in some crazy ideas. The ones we all came up with until now didn’t do the trick. The first item of action seems to be to position Argentine tango as an alternative to more popular mainstream dances, like salsa. Let’s call it ‘CoreTango’, which we shall present simply as: a combination of forward steps and sidesteps, the occasional back step and oh, yes, some turns. After all, what do they know? Secondly, we need to lower the psychological and cultural barriers for leaders to enter tango, therein, growing the market as a whole. I am thinking of an original Netflix series, centering on a Joe Average hero and conveying the idea that being a tango dancer is an amazing journey of transformation. It must run seven seasons and I am offering to play the part of the hero’s father: old, but kind of young looking.

The idea behind my suggestion is to send aspiring leaders two messages: one that says that normal, average looking guys are acceptable dancers and another one that repeats season after season, that each office worker, farmer, builder and factory man is able to dance ‘CoreTango’ because it is not so difficult! We can explain the details after they are hooked. In parallel, we shall require from all milongas in town to ‘adopt’ ten young leaders each year, showing them the ropes for twelve months, providing buddies and mentors, as well as patient practice partners, wearing Kevlar protection. During this apprentice year, they will have apprentice status and can enter all milongas in town for free, wearing their special badge. Our milonga is totally fired up to adopt the first ten leaders. Now who of you will be calling Netflix?



Story posted by: Martin van Kesteren

About the author: Event Organiser, Writer from Amsterdam

Published: 11 Nov 2019 @ 17:05

Last modified: 12 Nov 2019 @ 12:58

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Luring the leaders (3)
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