There is a lot of bickering within the tango community.
There is healthy debate, for sure – I love the tango blog world for that! But we also get so caught up in arguments that aren’t productive or are downright meanspirited. People argue about whose right it is to offer classes or milongas on this day or that; they speculate on the unspoken meanings of certain actions and decisions; they assume that others are out to get them. That someone is trying to steal their students, their milonga attendees, their control over this or that project or organization. Granted, what I have just described is mostly in the realm of organizers and teachers, but I wouldn’t limit my more general observation to them.
Beyond the quiet assessment of one dancer or another, there are snide remarks about other dancers’ style or character. There are dancers who avoid certain milongas because of other dancers who will be there. There are dancers who turn discussions about technique or style into personal attacks on others, either other dancers or the teachers with whom those dancers study.
What makes us so catty at times? Why are we so often suspicious of others’ motives? Is it inevitable that a social practice mixed with the business of teaching and running events and with the closeness of a small community is bound to cause problems? It’s true that I have been frustrated at times, but mostly because it seems like the people involved can’t drop their personal conflicts and foster a positive, healthy dance environment.
I am probably not immune to this problem, either. I listen when others are sharing the latest gossip about a tango relationship or a teacher quarrel. I get frustrated when I see events being run poorly, make my share of remarks about a particular venue I don’t like or dancers who I find terrible to deal with (although on some level I think this is healthy-community maintenance!), wish that there were ways I could step in to make things go more smoothly (easily seen as meddling, I know). I need to find that line between giving my 2 cents or my assistance and creating a negative vibe with my comments; I want to be one of the real community-builders, eventually.
But when it comes right down to it, all of the bickering and complaining just gets old after a while. It is an issue where I want to echo what I have heard from so many other bloguer@s: Just shut up and dance.