Thursday, December 4, 2008

I've started this blog because I'm a tango dancer and a writer and I have a lot of opinions: Opinions about this wonderful dance and the people who dance it. Opinions about what makes a good follower, a good leader, a good teacher and a good DJ. Opinions on the the music and the etiquette. But mostly because I'm passionate about all things tango, I need to feed my obsession by not only dancing, but constantly thinking and breathing tango.

I've been dancing for 8 years in the North American tango capital: Portland, Oregon. We have a unique community here. What makes us different is not our great dancers, teachers and DJs, but our Portland soul. We are, for the most part, welcoming and supportive of one another and the beginners who are drawn to learn our dance. Different styles co-exist at the milongas. Experienced dancers dance with beginners, leaders seek out followers who are not dancing and ask them. For the most part.........

Where ever there is a large group, there are going to be sub-groups and little cliques. It seems like the dancers most likely to not "get" the Portland groove have moved here from other communities. Also, as Portland has become tango-famous, it has attracted a lot of people who think they have what it takes to be a teacher here. While they may possess the technical skills (some do not) they seem to lack the understanding of what Portland dancers are all about. We already dance at a high level thanks to many home-grown, experienced teachers and a community that understands that one must constantly be learning and growing in this dance. But most importantly, the community supports the teachers who support the community. If you dance only with the chosen few, don't expect any but those chosen few to attend your classes. Also, expect to be pretty bored after about 18 months and move on.

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