Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tango Drama: Just Say No - Please!

Tango drama -

 It is hard to resist.

 It is impossible to avoid.

 Which teachers are feuding? Who is sleeping with their student? Who is dating whom? Who has broken up, and who is to blame? Who is cheating on their spouse? Who are the sexual opportunists? Who are the dance creeps and stalkers? Whose feelings are hurt and by whom?

 Some people enjoy the drama. I am not one of them. If you are another who does not appreciate Tango drama, I have a few suggestions:

 1: Don't date within the Tango community. If you choose to disregard this advice, don't talk about your relationship with others in community. And be aware that if you break up, especially if it is a hostile breakup, one or both of you will probably find yourselves uncomfortable returning to familiar Tango haunts.*

 *I made one exception to this rule, 16 years ago when I began a relationship with a former student. But we kept it so private that when we got married 5 years later many in the community didn't even know we had been a couple.

 2. Don't gossip about other people in the community. Thoughtful news is one thing - salacious gossip is something else. Who just got back from Argentina is appropriate to talk about; who they slept with while there is not. If someone starts a conversation about another Tango dancer that drifts into unpleasant gossip, smile and change the subject. Be aware that if you talk about someone in your Tango community it WILL get back to them.

 3. If you have a personality conflict with another dancer, handle it yourself. Do not drag the rest of the Tango community into your personal relationship problems. The exception to this is the groper or the stalker. Such antisocial behavior, if it persists, needs to be brought to the attention of the local organizer. And if you have any reason to believe the behavior is part of a larger pattern, your fellow dancers should be warned. And teachers and organizers need to be willing to warn and, if necessary, ban serious offenders.

 4: Support your local teachers, but don't involve yourself in their drama. It is fine to praise your favorite teacher, but avoid criticizing other teachers.

And teachers: Avoid criticizing other teachers and promoters, even if they trash-talk you. Don't try to embroil your students in a competition between teachers.

 These are rules that I have developed over 20 years as a Tango dancer, teacher and promoter. Every time I have broken them I have regretted it - except the one time that led to marriage. (in Tango there is always an exception).

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