Diversity is a pleasant consequence and an important ingredient that contributes to the enjoyment of social tango dancing. It allows a social milieu of cultural, racial and religious backgrounds to converge into a shared activity that primarily requires strangers to embrace.
Tango dancing is a discipline that is learned. In the one hundred plus years of its existence, nobody has been born knowing how to dance it. The dance itself was not born, but begotten and conceived over almost forty years by a generation of men who seemed interested in bragging rights, territorial street warfare and chauvinistic control of socially marginated women.
Today, all that and what followed for the next hundred years, form part of a series of rituals embodied in a set of traditions which tend to influence the way we dance, the way we interact and the way we learn. Since the tango lessons are the initial activities where we all begin to venture into the tango world, participants from all sorts of life will benefit the most if tolerance, respect and integrity are high among their behavioral attributes.
Tolerance must be mutual to avoid conflicts that arise when people feel entitled to be tolerated no matter how questionable their behavior might be, while at the same time can’t tolerate suggestions that would make their presence pleasant and enjoyable for everyone else.
Mutual respect is fundamental to make the class environment and the social dance floor friendly places where everyone can enjoy their participation without affecting negatively the participation of others. This is a most difficult goal to achieve since it involves behavior, and behavior cannot be legislated, in spite of a society bent on imposing the whims of a few on the free will of the rest.
Integrity, as in honesty, is a quality that calls for the adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other accepted values. From a teacher’s perspective, integrity along with tolerance and respect, embody the necessary qualities to stay focused on the task at hand, the “I’m here to teach,” attitude hopefully to be matched by a learner’s “I’m here to learn” attitude.
Unfortunately, there is an abysmal difference between ideal settings and the reality of day to day interchanges among diverse human beings. From a learner who sends the message, “I’m not here really to learn,” to the teacher who acts as if saying, “I’m not here really to teach,” there are many unfortunate situations where struggling for control and dominance seem to dominate the tango agenda of many communities. Nothing positive can be derived from attempts to control people with guilt trips, sugar coated lies or false pretenses.
Personally, it is sad to hear second hand that some people consider being treated as adults a tough proposition, and use the smear in an attempt to discourage others from finding out what hundreds and hundreds of people keep coming back for. In the realm of becoming good tango dancers, some like it tough.