Archive for the ‘EDITORIAL’ Category

SOME LIKE IT TOUGH   Leave a comment

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.

Posted July 10, 2002 by Alberto & Valorie in EDITORIAL

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THE GIFT OF TANGO   Leave a comment

Standing in the living room, we formed a circle and held hands. One by one we introduced ourselves. Some came from Texas, others from Chicago. Then there were the hosts, the family who owned the farm surrounding the home where the ritual was taking place. We were from California, and the words “traveling tango teachers” sounded awkward and somehow out of context with the spirit of the moment. Suddenly, and all at once, they began to sing a harmonious hymn that filled the room with sounds of purity, love and a heartfelt appreciation for the joy of being alive, surrounded by friends and family. Then, we sat down at the dinner table and celebrated Thanksgiving in the heartland of America.

We’ve been traveling quite a lot embracing our chosen vocation of preserving and fostering the development of new and established Argentine tango communities. We bring along our passionate love and dedication for the music, poetry and dance, empowering the force of knowledge to free the minds, to encourage the bodies to accept the closeness of other bodies for engaging in enjoyment of the music and joyful sharing of the dance. Returning to places we have been, where the Argentine tango already has a established presence, we have also discovered new fledgling hamlets. There, the desire to dance the tango is only surpassed by the energy and passion with which the people go out of their way to reach out, grasping as much tango as is humanly possible.

In retrospect, our intuition, our confidence and our faith in people has allowed us to establish a presence for the tango as far north as the city of Anchorage in Alaska, and as deep in the south as the city of New Orleans. Along the way, we met great people in Winnipeg, Canada, and found ourselves a family in the heartland of America. So, when Thanksgiving caught us wandering through the prairie, we never felt away from home. We never paused to question what does a traveling tango teacher do when the moan of the bandoneon and the whine of the violin, are replaced by the call of the turkey on Thanksgiving day .

We found ourselves holding hands with our new friends and their families, saying grace and feeling thankful that our lives are so blessed with the gift of tango. We are thankful for the possibility of sharing that gift with warm, gentle, generous and caring human beings who had morphed from total strangers to affectionate friends in the brief time it takes to embrace and walk a few times around the dance floor.

This is the kind of rewarding experience that reminds us about the quality of life that Argentine tango can bring to those who dare to be close. There is nothing like the shared intimacy of a sound, a scent, a gesture, a look, a smile, a tear. Intense moments that soothe the soul, energize the heart and make us feel alive, vibrant, inspired, and above all thankful. We have connected, we have made an everlasting impression, and there is a part of us that forever will be special. Step by step we keep navigating the dance floor of life. As we go around, there is always something or somebody who reminds us how important it is to be at peace with ourselves, to give each other the gift of tango, to hold hands, to embrace, to love the music, to absorb the culture, to teach by learning and to learn by teaching.

Posted November 27, 1999 by Alberto & Valorie in EDITORIAL

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