Why People Quit Tango

In case you hadn’t seen, Clay in Portland has set up this survey for “Why I Quit Tango.” You can set up filters for viewing the survey results, which I found very useful for looking at my local community. Ever wonder why some people drop out of your community? This offers at least a small collection of responses.

My own community had some unsurprising results: Critical or rude partners, too elitist, too cliquish, unbalanced ratio of leaders/followers, and too serious. I think this could describe pieces of any community, but it is a reminder that people have a lot of social reasons for staying in the community or leaving it. I find it hard to strike a balance between selfish enjoyment of my evening at a milonga and pushing myself (out of my introverted comfort zone as well as my desire for nice dances) to be welcoming and friendly to newcomers. Interestingly, the people from my community who responded to Clay’s survey had been dancing for several years already—so it isn’t just about noticing the new faces.

Anyway, food for thought.

P.S. I haven’t had a lot of time lately for thinking about my blog. I managed to dance several nights in a row last weekend and take a fabulous private lesson, but the rest of my time was taken up with work, homework, and some freelance jobs! It is a good kind of busy, but wow has it made a difference in how I see my free time! I am off on Thursday for my vacation, where I plan to avoid my computer as much as possible. 🙂 See you all on the other side.


4 thoughts on “Why People Quit Tango

  1. First let’s differentiate between people walking away from tango as opposed to leaving because they walked towards something else, like a new job, a new relationship etc. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

    It looked to me like most of the reasons given for walking away from tango had to do with not being accepted: Either by the “cliques” or by desirable dance partners.

    In the milongas, relationships are on display for everyone to see.

    If you are “not popular” it is painfully obvious, and that hurts.

    The usual dance solution to this is to be “inclusive” and “dance with everybody.” In most dances this requires an occasional 3 minute investment , but in Tango, it requires a 12-15 minute investment.

    So at a ballroom dance, and you have 2 “charity dances” in your 2 hour stay, and 3.5 minutes per song, you are looking at 5% of your time.

    In tango, 2 “charity tandas” in your 2 hour stay, at 12 minutes per tanda you are looking at 20%.

    With 4 times the “cost” for the same dance outreach, no wonder tango people don’t do it as much.

    But remember that for many people, tango is not just a “dance.” The Portenos recognize this, Which is why they have all the rules and customs. You dance the first and last tanda with your sweetheart. More than 2 tandas in a row means you are going for “coffee” afterwards. If a “couple” comes to the milonga together, you don’t ask the woman to dance. There is a huge romantic/erotic/sensual aspect to this dance.

    Sooo… in additon to the “dance” part of social interaction, one also has the “romantic/erotic” aspect, so some dancers will dance with those they might like to have a “romantic/erotic” relationship with (even if only in fantasy.) If you are exlcuded from this aspect of social interaction, it is painfully obvious that you are “not attractive”, and that hurts too.

    I think it is a wonder that we manage to make this works as well as we do.

    And of course, all IMHO, YMMV.

Comments are closed.