Many people take beginners workshops in Tango, some come to our events and Milonga’s in the Tango community but only a few keeps coming back. – Why is that?
I have for some time thought a lot, about how the Tango community of southern Funen (which i am a part of) could be better at integrating new dancers.
What we as establish tango dancers, dj’s and event makers can do to help them get the best experience when they first enter our community and how we get them to keep coming back.
I remember when I first started dancing Tango; just dancing during the workshop was intimidating. My partner and I actually attended the same workshop 4 times before moving on.
– Why 4 times? Someone might ask.
– Because it was safe.
Nobody had the time to look at us, they were too busy fighting their own battles or feet!
And the first Milonga “oojh boy” I do not dare think about it. It was terrifying.
I had to lead my partner, thinking what steps to use. Keep the pace and the direction on the dance floor, trying not bumping into other couples, fighting to hit the beat of the music on every step. And there was no space – the floor was packed!
I survived and we are still dancing the Tango but now and again when I enter a Milonga the fear creeps up my back and I think of all the excuses not to dance. A crowded floor at a Milonga can still be terrifying. Actually, I believe itis quite common that especially the men get the shakes. But eventually we get over it.
I don’t have all the answers to how we get newcomers keep coming back but I have some ideas and one of them is The Milonga “Tango zoZozial”.
The name Tango zoZozial are inspired by Café zoZozial coffee in Svendborg that also is the actual location for the Milonga but it’s also a statement about the intension behind the Milonga.
Tango zoZozial is meant to be a Milonga where Tango music, Tango dancing and socializing is what it’s all about.
I like to call it social Tango; a place where the music and the dancing is what brings us together but also a place where everything is a bit looser than an ordinary Milonga. A social Tango where everybody talks, dance, socializes and let go of everyday trouble. There is nothing wrong with a regular Milonga where it’s all about dancing, Tango zoZozial is just a little more easy going and hopefully less intimidating to newcomers in Tango community.
Tango is by definition a social dance and the fact that you change dance partners during the Milonga, makes it very social but we can do it better. We can make an effort to dance with dancers we do not know and especially the newcomers with less experience. It is my sincere hope that many of the new dancers will attend Tango zoZozial and that the experienced dancers will give them their time of their life by taking them to the floor.
And the music … yes, the music. There is so much fantastic tango music and so little time.
In my opinion, the music played at a Milonga must be selected based on the dancers’ level of experience with Tango.
And It is essential that I as a dj play music that is accessible to new dancers, with a simple, good and clear beat and I keep doing it for at least the first half of the Milonga.
It is my sincere hope that “Tango zoZozial” can show that if we really try it will happen.
2015 – Tango dj AppleJack