An Email from Fiona Hutcheon


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I thought the following extract from Terpsichoral Tangoaddict’s Facebook page was worth sharing with you:

Tonight, some people asked me what I thought were the best ways to help a very small tango community thrive and increase their level of dancing.

I’m very far from being an expert on this topic, but here’s my initial answer (and perhaps some of you have your own suggestions).

1. Learn both roles.

2. Don’t get trapped in a teeny tiny niche: go to everyone’s practicas and milongas, not just those organised by your own teacher. In general: however much you admire him or her, don’t marry your teacher. You are an independent agent: you can take classes with other people, go to other people’s events, etc. (Be suspicious of any teacher who warns you off this).

3. Learn from as many people as possible, including visiting teachers.

4. Travel outside the community to dance with a wider range of people and to get a more realistic perspective on your own limitations. But don’t only dance outside your own community: if you want to have tango locally, you need to support it by turning up to local events.

5. Local tango is usually run on a non profit or almost-no-profit basis. Contribute what you can: host a pot-luck supper, bring a bottle of wine, give someone who doesn’t have a car a lift, provide a spare bed for an out-of-towner to stay overnight. Make people feel welcome, including teachers, and they will be more likely to come, even if their profit margins aren’t going to be huge.

6. If you care about what music you dance to, learn to DJ. People will be happy if you provide them with good music to dance to. And you’ll be happy to get to dance to that music too.

7. Accept that you won’t enjoy or approve of everything that is done in the community. If Jonathan is teaching them ballroom dance style sequences; if Judy won’t dance with you; if Jill plays electrotango at her practica; if James wrinkles his nose and facepalms every time anyone does a high boleo. . . take a chill pill. It’s not Buenos Aires. Be happy that you have tango in your community. Support it, help it to grow. Teach and promote and support the things you like best, stay calm about the rest. There really aren’t enough of you to make a civil war worthwhile.

8. Be nice to everyone, but don’t get too comfy. Realise how much you still need to work on and keep emphasising the basics: solo and partnered practice; attention to technique; musicality. Complacency is the enemy. Kick a few arses from time to time, starting with your own (this doubles as back boleo practice).

Support your tango community and improve your tango every
Thursday Practica at St Mark’s hall from 7pm, $5
Main St, Buderim