Several years ago, I ended my relationship with a local tango social club organization where I was on the board of directors. More recently, two other local organizations ended their relationship with me as well as the university tango club and festival I run.
And I’m perfectly okay with it.
Many in this tango community, and across other communities in the U.S., have devoted themselves to peddling a sugary-sweet icing that lacks the foundation of a rich, sturdy cake. It’s like they iced an empty cardboard box for show, as do food photographers. Those constantly indulging in the icing rarely improve, and in some cases, actually decline. It is temporarily satisfying but only leaves you with a sugar crash and no real lasting sustenance.
And what do the purveyors of the icing care about this community’s longevity? They don’t. They take people’s money, pack up their goods, and move on to the next town.
The majority of the established community doesn’t even know it’s not good for us, and, like with sugar addiction, we can’t stop. I spoke out then, calling for more substance, more foundation, less icing, more cake, … and was ostracized.
So, when two local organizers decided to no longer support my work that, in their minds, conflicted with their sense of entitlement and ownership over the community, I was hurt and confused.
I wanted to quit.
I came to realize this was my chance to be someone who can sleep at night because I know what I’m offering doesn’t harm our community’s chances of real growth by selling them some sugary nonsense.
I knew that moving forward with only half of the community's organizer support would be difficult. Thankfully, many in my community supported me, including other local organizers who refused to be bullied or participate in the bullying.
To that end, if you’re interested in weekly stage shows, buffet dinners, and classes on acrobatic dance, I’ll be happy to refer you to the local organizers here that do it well.
As for me, I welcome all other dancers looking to get nourished on the foundation of tango... human connection.
I am certain our best tandas lie ahead.