Saturday, June 15, 2019

Upside Down Tango

Frank Scheck found the film confusing, saying, "You practically need an advanced degree in physics to fully comprehend the convoluted physical machinations depicted in Upside Down, Juan Solanas' dizzyingly loopy sci-fi romance. Depicting the Romeo and Juliet-style romance between lovers from twin planets with opposite gravitational pulls, this head-scratcher boasts visual imagination to spare even as its logistical complexities and heavy-handed symbolism ultimately prove off-putting."

Thursday, May 23, 2019

WIRED: Scientists go back in time to find more troubling news about Earth's oceans

Scientists go back in time to find more troubling news about Earth's oceans
A clever study finds communities of foraminifera, a hard-shelled kind of plankton, have transformed dramatically since the Industrial Revolution.

Read in WIRED:

Shared from Apple News

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Consent and Trust In Tango

Violating trust...will write this post later after I've formulated all my thoughts...

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Weekend milonguero private villa

Sent from my iPad

Sorry, comments cannot be over 8,000 characters

Michele, my personal opinion is that there is a general (societal?) assumption that people who perpetrate unacceptable behaviors understand what behaviors are unacceptable in social situations/social dance. We're talking about a minority of folks who perpetrate these behaviors, right? In our community of roughly 250 tango dancers, a figure which includes a dozen or two who rarely/never attend, with 100-150 "active" local dancers, 20-30-40 who attend events nearly every night of the week, there are probably 6-10 leaders (leaders vs. followers) that women have complained about/complain about exhibiting/perpetrating borderline to full-blown unacceptable behaviors. Some women in the community "complain-about-or-know-about-but-still-continue-to-dance-with-them", some women avoid these "problem" leaders, and unfortunately those new to the community are unaware, left to their own devices and unfortunate experiences to figure out who these men are for themselves, that is, unless, other women warn the newbies, as is often the case. My personal feeling is that a fair number of new followers leave our tango community and tango the dance for other social dances, early on (within a week or a month or a year) due to these unpalatable repeat experiences, versus other reasons like "tango is just not for me". Quantifying this number is nearly impossible. It's a gut feeling on my part. But, I do know of 2 or 3 who left, and another 2 or 3 who I was told left the community because of one particular repeat/serial perpetrator. We know of three women in the community who have experienced rather egregious harassing behaviors, one over a period of weeks, one over a period of months, and one over a period of many months. Unfortunately for our community, a number of (highly socially/grouply capitalized) people continue to support and enable and excuse this individual, a fact which has unfortunately caused a rift in the community, mostly involving boycotting of events, or dramatically curtailed attendance (by some) at events, or private/invitation only events. These perpetrator supporters feel that the unfortunate but very necessary public outing of the individual after many months of reports to people in leadership positions and no action being taken (a couple of instances of "the talk" did occur and she'll know who she is if she reads this) and being told to leave the individual alone and only seeing the individual continuing to grow in involvement and leadership and ingratiating oneself and rendering oneself indispensable and solidifying a self-anointed-self-appointed public national face of our community outweighed the seriousness of the harassment of these women. Community-level DARVO. Sorry to digress so much. And my apologies for continuing to write without paragraphs. I suppose my point is this: either these few men (6 out of say, 60 or 10 out of 100?) "know" what they are doing, are actively and premeditatively "taking liberties" (inappropriate non-consensual physical touch, physical proximity, or verbal comments being the vast majority of offenses), or they are completely oblivious of their behaviors, or that they are perpetrating these behaviors. (it's just who/the way they are aka Joe Biden effect) (and might benefit from a list of no's, but it's also probably these individuals who would never avail/think to avail themselves of said list) This, combined with the fact that social pressures mean these individuals are rarely confronted on the spot (on the dance floor by the party of the second part, or at the event that night by parties of the third part), and even more rarely are reported to organizers/(unstructured) community leadership. Our community, like most, has historically depended on organizers and teachers to respond to/deal with problems/complaints. In a vacuum without other teachers/organizers knowing of each other's problems/complaints. Or we sweep it under the rug. We have only recently (three months ago) made attempts at a comprehensive community-wide safe space policy, which resulted initially in a positively-worded safe space intention "statement" versus a full-blown policy, which I seriously doubt will ever come into being. Like most tango communities, we are very loosely organically organized and resistant to committees or boards or working groups or elected officers - which makes policy-making difficult/impossible. There has never been, to my knowledge, (in our community - or maybe any tango community, for that matter...) a listing or statement of "no's" or unacceptable behaviors. I take that back, here is a pretty blunt, albeit short list: Kudos to our beloved EsquinaTango for putting this out there. I'm not calling them out here - because they have done more than most - but there it sits, like most, pretty deeply buried on a website, never to be talked about or have a flashlight shone on it in any healthy constructive communicative ongoing ways. Like maybe in a class. Just "touched on", not beat a dead horse talk about it for an hour. Touch on it in a class once a month for five minutes. Post the "List of No's" on the wall or hold up a flyer at a milonga and just mention it. Mention that it's on the website. Sorry, again, I digress. Kinda. What can I say, I'm a wordy kinda guy, perhaps even prone to verbal diarrhea. (grin) People don't want to talk about it. They don't want to hear about it. They don't want to know about it. They think it's bad publicity for the community to talk about it openly. They think people will think there is a problem in the community. (I'll admit there is some validity to these concerns.) Head in the sand shut up we just want to dance normal (un) healthy human inter/relationships group social societal dynamics type shit.

So, a paragraph finally! Yes, I think there should be a long and brutal brutally honest list of no's and specific inappropriate behaviors. Perhaps a mix and negative and positive language. Perhaps touched on in classes. (Perhaps required by policy if teachers wish to operate under the wider community umbrella of the dancers by the dancers for the dancers.) Perhaps mentioned at milongas. (Perhaps required by policy if organizers wish to operate under the wider community umbrella of the dancers by the dancer for the dancers.) Perhaps periodic a few times a year "tango talk" or "men's tango talks" type tango talks about inappropriate behavior bad habits consent respect behavior-change here's what the womenfollowershumans are saying/don't like - you make me want to I want to try to be a better man/human being type shit. Perhaps incorporated into a full-blown code of conduct safe space policy document with what to do who to talk to if you experience something that feels creepy inappropriate and what will happen if you make a formal report and what to expect if you make a formal report and future perpetrators are maybe deterred from current and future creepy behaviors (or maybe deterred from joining the community in the first place) and it's all about consent and mutual fucking human respect because they see this (tango) community is no longer going to abide as in "This aggression will not abide, man."

Yes, most of us, most humans, don't need a list of "what not to do to other people" and general human etiquette/respect. But maybe now it's #metoo time for making a list and talking about it (or listening about it) even though it makes you/us all uncomfortable to talk about it but talk about it openly and brutally honestly because it's the fucking right thing to do. Y'all. Sorry, again, Michele to digress and get get my drift, I hope. And I'm sure it's not lost on you this was not so much a reply to your query, but a long overdue long pent-up diatribe dissertation on the subject. Thank you all (all y'all as we say) for reading and listening and pondering and wanting to be better human beings and acting on that.

Lastly, please forgive/overlook all my cis wording/syntax. It's meant for all, with an open heart and open mind.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Last Chance Tango :: Short Film Project :: A film about a man who meets the twin of his deceased wife and tries to connect with her by learning tango together

From Sonja Strathern's Kickstarter page:

A film about a man who meets the twin of his deceased wife and tries to connect with her by learning tango together.

Do you have a dance story? Everyone who learns to dance Argentine tango has a backstory. It usually involves an introduction, maybe like falling in love, and then the hard part involving years of work, like a long term relationship. Those who dance Argentine tango often invest in a life-long learning of technique. Tango is danced in an 'embrace' and fulfills a spectrum of emotional needs as well as being social and fun.

I wrote this story about Daniel, a man dealing with a tragedy, who is just keeping it all together in his life. At an event, he sees a woman named Sarah, who strongly resembles his deceased wife. Miraculously, Daniel and Sarah discover she and his wife were twins, adopted to different families. When they see a tango performance, Daniel asks Sarah to learn tango with him, hoping to connect with her and win her love. But things don't always turn out as planned. Will he get his last chance? Tango is not as easy as he thought.

I drew upon personal experience as a tango dancer, with the generosity and help of my local tango community in Eastern Iowa. I began learning tango ten years go in Houston, Texas, and asked my former teacher, Joan Bishop to be my actress to play herself. She volunteered her time and made the visit in February during one of our worst Iowan winters.

Complete info here:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Creating a Tango-Brand: The Role of Language in the Marginalization of Argentine Tango

From the very anonymous blog "Tango Voice".

Here is the "About":

This blog has initiated to counter the prevailing tendency to misrepresent tango argentino in North America. It provides a clearer perspective on tango argentino, and the differences between tango practiced in Buenos Aires and the predominant representation of ‘Argentine tango’ in North America. Strategies for promoting a culturally accurate practice of tango argentino are addressed.

This blog is not a diary of personal tango experiences. This blog is about how tango argentino is practiced and promoted in North America compared to Argentina, in order to overcome the cultural divide.

Creating a Tango-Brand: The Role of Language in the Marginalization of Argentine Tango

Note: There are hundreds of embedded hot links in the original source document. I recommend reading the essay there. Click the link below to open a new window.

Original Post:

In Buenos Aires, porteños who dance tango in the milongas know the characteristics of tango dancing that are appropriate for the milongas (Tango de Salon) and the music appropriate for dancing tango (classic tango music).

In foreign cultures the characteristics of tango dancing and the music to which it is danced are adapted to local cultural proclivities. These modified varieties of tango are marketed under the 'tango' label and thus define tango for the community'. This appropriation of the 'tango' name hinders the diffusion of the Tango de Salon of Buenos Aires in foreign cultures.

In the early 20th century the first adaptation of tango to First World cultural tastes was Ballroom Tango, labeled as 'tango' within instructional curricula. However, its embeddedness within the ballroom dance subculture has marginalized its influence upon perceptions of the character of Argentine Tango.

During the 1980s and 1990s, tango stage productions traveling in Europe and North America created additional demand for learning to dance tango; the response to this was instruction in a simplified version of Stage Tango or in a version of Tango de Salon lacking an embrace. These versions of tango were marketed as 'Argentine Tango' (to differentiate them from Ballroom Tango), as 'Salon Tango' or simply as 'tango'.

In the mid-1990s Susana Miller introduced First World dancers to 'Milonguero Style Tango', which incorporated the embrace, thereby in this and other ways resembling the Tango Estilo del Centro danced in downtown milongas of Buenos Aires. Adherents to this style of tango saw it as authentic in comparison to what was being marketed as 'Salon Tango'. This created two Tango-Brands ('open embrace' or 'salon style' tango versus 'close embrace' or 'milonguero style' tango) that competed with each other in the tango marketplace, often accompanied by hostile interaction centering on the authenticity of each Tango-Brand.

In the first decade of the 21st century, promoters of tango adopted and marketed the new developments of the Tango Investigation Group (Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas) and others as 'Tango Nuevo', a genre of tango incorporating off axis movements, new orientations for movements associated with Stage Tango, and exploration of the elasticity of the partner hold from an enclosed embrace to an opened embrace to partial and complete partner separation. Thus, 'Tango Nuevo' became another marketable Tango-Brand.

In the mid-2000s, Tango Estilo Villa Urquiza, an interpretation of the style of tango danced predominantly in the outer barrios of Buenos Aires (i.e., Tango Estilo del Barrio) was marketed as another Tango-Brand in First World countries. To a significant degree it resembled the tango danced in the Salon Tango division of the annual Campeonato Mundial de Tango in Buenos Aires which, in part, facilitated its propagation.

In the latter half of 2000s, the One Tango Philosophy developed as a marketing strategy that attempted to resolve conflicts between different genres and styles of tango by subsuming all variations under the phrase 'There is only one tango'. In the application of this philosophy tango promoters were able to increase market share by simultaneously promoting several Tango-Brands while generally avoiding the reality that different genres of tango are adapted to different environmental niches (stage, practica, and milonga). In doing so, promoters of the One Tango Philosophy have been able to appropriate the 'tango' label for all Argentine tango dance variations, thereby competitively excluding and thus marginalizing promoters of Tango de Salon as the only tango suitable for the milonga.

Given the appropriation of the 'tango' label and near monopolization of the tango marketplace by promoters of the One Tango Philosophy, promoters of Tango de Salon are necessarily diverted from advertising the tango dance they offer as simply 'tango'. Two alternative strategies that may be effective in promoting Tango de Salon are to label this tango as 'Argentine Tango' or as 'traditional tango'. 'Argentine Tango' indicates that the tango danced in this environment is of Argentine origin and this labeling can promote discussion of this origin. This may be most productive for advertising to newcomers to tango. 'Traditional tango' advertises to dancers with exposure to some variety of tango that the tango danced in this environment follows the traditions of Buenos Aires milongas.

In Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango, tango is defined by its cultural heritage. Although it may be difficult to define 'tango' precisely [Definition of Tango: Where are the Boundaries in Contemporary Tango (Stage Tango / Tango Nuevo / Contact Improvisation Tango)?], porteños who dance at milongas know what constitutes Tango de Salon and when dancing crosses the boundaries of socially acceptable tango dancing (Codes and Customs of the Milongas of Buenos Aires: The Basics). Adherence to a larger set of codes associated with tango social dancing, including the music to which it is appropriate to dance tango, defines an event as a 'milonga' [Do Milongas Exist outside Argentina? (The Milonga Codes Revisited)]. These traits are part of the Argentine tango dance culture that is maintained by its practitioners. New dancers learn the characteristics of tango through a socialization process.

When there is transference of practices from the culture of origin to a foreign culture, the social milieu in which the practices evolved often is lost to a significant degree, and there is pressure for adaptation to the foreign culture. Some characteristics of the original culture are maintained, some are modified, and some are lost completely. This phenomenon has been evident in the transference of Argentine tango culture to First World societies (Trans-Cultural Diffusion and Adaptation of Tango Argentino in the 20th Century). Nevertheless, tango dancers from First World cultures who visit Buenos Aires and experience tango in the environment of its origin often have the desire to recreate as much as is possible within the First World cultural environment a niche within which practices associated with Argentine tango culture can thrive. This endeavor is complicated to a significant degree by the understanding and use (and abuse) of the terms 'tango' and 'milonga' within the resident cultural environment, which often hinder significantly the ability to communicate clearly the characteristics of Argentine tango culture and promote its dissemination. This is because promoters of a First World adaption of tango dance and music have appropriated the 'tango' name, redefined it, and marketed their adapted system under a created Tango-Brand. In this way this readapted system becomes known and recognized by the resident culture as 'tango' and attempts to promote tango based on Argentine culture must compete against the foreign transformation that has become the established and popular Tango-Brand.

This post examines the establishment of a First World Tango-Brand and the process by which this commodity competitively excludes Argentine tango culture in the social dance marketplace. The role of the selective use of language in achieving this outcome is emphasized. The discussion here is limited primarily to the use of English language terminology for tango, although the appropriation of tango terminology is essentially worldwide in part because English is the most common language of tango instruction outside Spanish speaking cultures and in part because most foreign language derivatives of Spanish tango terms are based closely on the original Spanish terminology. Strategies for counteracting the appropriation of tango terms by tango entrepreneurs are discussed.

The Use and Abuse of Tango Terminology has been discussed in more general terms in a previous post.

The Creation of a First World Tango-Brand after the First Wave of Transcultural Diffusion

In the early 20th century the initial exposure of First World cultures to tango was primarily to a form of exhibition tango that was described by audiences as 'sensual', 'provocative' and 'indecent' (Trans-Cultural Diffusion and Adaptation of Tango Argentino in the 20th Century). A First World interpretation of early 20th century tango is displayed in the performance by Rudolph Valentino in the motion picture 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'. Public interest in tango led to modification of the dance for instructional purposes, which eliminated most of the sensuality from the dance. Vernon and Irene Castle were instrumental in creating and marketing an Americanized version of the dance for social dancers. Versions of the tango dance stripped of overt sensuality were also introduced and became popular in Europe. A French version is shown in this video. Arthur Murray, a student of the Castles, developed a chain of ballroom dance studios that standardized the American Ballroom Tango that epitomized the Tango-Brand in North America. An example of the marketing of the American Ballroom Tango-Brand, complete with incorrect references to Argentine Tango, is shown here. In Europe the British ballroom dance establishment has been primarily responsible for the standardization of what has become known as International (Ballroom) Tango.

The 'tango' dance that has developed in the ballroom dance studios of North America and Europe bears little resemblance to the tango danced in the milongas of Buenos Aires [Ballroom Tango (American and International)]. The following videos demonstrate that: Tango de Salon, American Ballroom Tango, International Ballroom Tango. The Ballroom Tango is typically danced with a rigid frame, partners leaning away from each other, and rapid staccato movements. [See Ballroom Tango (American and International) for additional details.] In contrast, in Tango de Salon the frame is relaxed, partners are upright or lean towards each other, and movements are smooth. [See Tango de Salon: The Tango of the Milonga (Part II of 'Tango Styles, Genres and Individual Expression) for additional details.] Ballroom Tango also derived its own music for tango dancing based on First World popular music, adding drums to coincide with rhythmic changes and, for the most part, abandoning the bandoneon. (Listen to popular ballroom tangos such as Herando's Hideaway and Blue Tango.)

By naming the dances 'American Tango' and 'International Tango' there has been no apparent intent to communicate that these derivative dances are what is danced in milongas in Buenos Aires. The modifications from the Argentine source are obscured and apparently have been of little interest to the ballroom dance community throughout most of the 20th century. The nesting of Ballroom Tango within a social dance environment including other ballroom dances (e.g., waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, rhumba) and the absence of instruction in and practice of milonga customs (Codes and Customs of the Milongas of Buenos Aires: The Basics) indicate that with the inclusion of a dance called 'tango' in the ballroom dance studio there has been no attempt to recreate a milonga environment; the 'milonga' terminology was not used in the ballroom dance community throughout most of the 20th century. Thus, there apparently has been no conscious intent to deceive participants regarding the Argentine tango dance and musical traditions in this environment. Nevertheless, in the appropriation of the 'tango' label, naïve participants may have incorrectly assumed that the ballroom dance was at least similar to the tango danced in Argentina, although one may assume that a simple inquiry to a ballroom dance instructor would correct this misconception. However, this situation changed with the reintroduction of ballroom dancers to tango of Argentine origin beginning in the mid-1980s, as is discussed below.

The Second First World Exposure to Argentine Tango in the 1980s and 90s: Initial Propagation and Nomenclature

The international touring of the tango stage production 'Tango Argentino' in Europe and North America in the 1980s and 90s, as well as other stage shows such a 'Forever Tango', created exposure to a modern form of Tango Escenario (video), a genre of tango of direct Argentine origin that was different from the American and International Ballroom Tango to which First World communities had been exposed for decades. This genre of tango was often referred to as 'Argentine Tango', correctly recognizing the cultural heritage of the dance. However, it was incorrectly assumed by many First World viewers that the tango danced on the stage in these shows closely resembled the tango danced in the dance salons of Argentina. Demand for instruction in the exhibited dance from First World audiences led in many cases to the creation of a modified accessible form of Stage Tango (video) including many elements that were not characteristic of the Tango de Salon of Buenos Aires (e.g., 8 count basic, lustradas, high boleos, ganchos and sentadas). Typically absent from tango instruction was the embrace that is omnipresent in Buenos Aires milongas (Variations in the Tango Embrace – 'Open Embrace' and 'Close Embrace' Styles of Tango: The Evidence from Buenos Aires Milongas) and the development of improvisational skills. Many tango instructional videos of this period (e.g., Osvaldo Zotto & Mora Godoy) taught tango as a series of set sequences, neglecting the improvisational nature of the dance.

During the first 10 years or so (mid-1980s – mid-1990s) of re-exposure of First World cultures to a tango genre of Argentine origin, labeling of the dance was not entirely consistent. The Stanford Tango Weeks in the 1990s, which invited some Argentine instructors to teach, were instrumental in the early propagation of tango; the modifier 'Argentine' was not specifically attached to the 'tango' taught there. Daniel Trenner, who was influential in the spread of tango in the US and elsewhere during the 1990s, did not specifically label tango as 'Argentine' in his 'Tango Catalogue', although it was clear that the tango promoted in music and instructional videotapes had an Argentine origin. In contrast, Janis Kenyon promoted tango in Chicago through the Chicago Argentine Tango Club and the International Argentine Tango Congress [1995], thereby specifically labeling the 'tango' as 'Argentine'.

As they were in the first generation First World derivative of tango, ballroom dance studios were instrumental in the propagation of the second generation derivative of tango of Argentine origin in that they had dance floors available for hosting tango-related events (workshops and milongas). Often these tango events were hosted by organizers who were largely independent of the ballroom dance community, although some ballroom dance instructors (e.g., Paul Pellicoro in New York; see also 'Paul Pellicoro on Tango') were active in promoting a tango dance derived from Argentine sources.

The ballroom dance community has been more consistent in its labeling of different genres of tango since the re-exposure to tango of Argentine origin in the 1980s. Ballroom Tango, the first generation modification of tango of Argentine origin, has been labeled as American Tango or International Tango, depending upon the variation taught, or it has been referred to simply as 'tango', especially when listed as one of several dances taught at a ballroom dance studio (e.g., waltz, foxtrot, and tango). The second generation derivative of tango of Argentine origin modified for ballroom dancers to be suitable for First World cultural proclivities has been labeled as 'Argentine Tango'. This latter tango derivative typically has been taught in ballroom dance studios as a series of named set sequences, possibly with a distributed step list, as is standard in the teaching of ballroom dances in general. Almost always absent from instruction in 'Argentine Tango' in ballroom dance studios is teaching tango in an embrace and teaching of improvisational skills. There may be exceptions to this generalization if the instructors of Argentine Tango in ballroom dance studios have visited Buenos Aires and have been had tango instruction with Argentine social dancers of tango (in particular, milongueros) (e.g., Lois Donnay in Minneapolis).

In contrast to the ballroom dance studios (and some Argentine stage tango dancers) promoting 'Argentine Tango' as a set of fixed figures, American dance instructors Daniel Trenner and Rebecca Shulman (often teaching partners) promoted 'tango' (identified as of Argentine origin) in their workshops and instructional videos as an improvised dance; nevertheless, the embrace characteristic of Tango de Salon was largely ignored in the earlier videos (exception). Popular instructional videos in Trenner's Tango Catalogue, e.g., by the (Mingo) Pugliese family (no longer available) and by "Tete" (Pedro Rusconi) also showed improvisation in tango; the Pugliese videos circumvented discussion of the embrace whereas the Tete videos focused on it. These instructional videos were influential in the 1990s because tango workshops (and even more so resident tango instructors) were few and far between.

Within the range of variation of the tango that was taught in North America during the 1990s, some instructors (e.g., stage performers such as Juan Carlos Copes and Osvaldo Zotto taught more elements of stage tango, and some instructors (e.g., Trenner and Shulman) taught a tango that was similar to the variant of Tango de Salon common in the outer barrios of Buenos Aires (Tango Estilo del Barrio), but without an embrace and including some antisocial elements such as ganchos and high boleos, as well as ronda inhibiting movements such as extensive foot play (e.g., lustradas) accompanying paradas. The term 'salon tango' was sometimes also used by tango instructors and organizers to categorize the variants that were less like Tango Escenario, giving the (erroneous) impression that this represented the Tango de Salon danced in Buenos Aires milongas. Some North American tango instructors [e,g,, Daniel Trenner] emphasized the distinction between 'stage tango' and 'salon tango'.

Thus, in the first 10-15 years after the reintroduction of North America to tango of Argentine origin, both 'Argentine Tango' and 'tango' were used as labels for identifying and promoting the dance, and the Tango-Brand most commonly marketed to consumers was a mix of Stage Tango elements and Tango de Salon elements danced without an embrace (Salon Style Tango, Milonguero Style Tango, and Tango de Salon in Buenos Aires and in North America).

The arrival of Milonguero Style Tango and the Creation of the 'Close Embrace' and 'Open Embrace' Dichotomy

In the mid-1990s Susana Miller from Buenos Aires began touring in North America to teach a stylistic variation of tango she christened as 'milonguero style tango' (translation of the Spanish 'tango estilo milonguero'). This variation of Tango de Salon resembles the way tango was danced by many dancers in the downtown milongas of Buenos Aires during the 1950s (Tango Estilo del Centro); it is also within the range of variation of the most common tango stylistic variant danced in the milongas of Buenos Aires today. She used this particular terminology to differentiate it from the predominant style of tango danced in North American milongas at the time, which had been labeled 'salon tango' (aka 'salon style tango'). 'Milonguero style tango' was different from the 'salon style tango' danced at North American milongas in that the embrace was maintained (in a forward leaning posture) throughout the dance, movements were compact, and elements adapted from Stage Tango, such as ganchos and high boleos were absent from the dance (video). (Additional details on stylistic differences are reported in Salon Style Tango, Milonguero Style Tango, and Tango de Salon in Buenos Aires and in North America) Promoters of 'milonguero style tango' often emphasized that their stylistic variation of tango was an accurate representation of tango danced in Buenos Aires milongas whereas the North American 'salon style tango' was not. Although true as stated here, this does not take into account the 'Tango Estilo del Barrio' commonly danced in the outer barrios of Buenos Aires in the 1950s and still danced there and elsewhere in Buenos Aires today, which has a longer stride, a more upright posture, and an embrace that opens for giros and ochos (video). In the perception of North Americans, the maintained embrace of 'milonguero style tango' was the defining feature differentiating it from 'salon style tango', in which no embrace was incorporated into the dance, which often led to the dichotomization of North American tango into two labeled classes (i.e., two marketed Tango-Brands), the (redundant) 'close embrace tango' or 'milonguero style tango' and the (oxymoronic) 'open embrace tango' or 'salon style tango'. [Note: Not all proponents of the 'close embrace tango' identified themselves as teaching 'milonguero style tango', primarily because of the absence of the forward leaning posture.] Due to the assertive claims of 'milonguero style tango' being authentic and 'salon style tango' being inauthentic, and the defensiveness of dancers of the 'salon style tango', there was often conflict between advocates of each stylistic variation and sometimes fracturing of tango communities along stylistic lines; i.e., there were two competing Tango-Brands.

The Tango Investigation Group and the Creation of the Tango-Nuevo-Brand

By the early 1990s Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas had begun exploring new possibilities in movement derived from the basic elements of the tango dance. They called themselves the Tango Investigation Group. Mariano "Chicho" Frumboli, and Norberto "El Pulpo" Esbres were also instrumental in developing new tango movements. Many of the distinctive new movement possibilities these investigators developed were introduced by them and other tango instructors into tango social dancing, e.g., off axis movements such as volcadas and colgadas, new orientations of stage tango elements (e.g., linear boleos, enganches, piernazos) (Is Tango Nuevo a Form of Stage Tango?), and partial and complete separation of partners during the dance (soltadas). The primary investigators of these new variations in tango did not differentiate their dance as a distinct style or genre of tango, but rather considered themselves only to be building upon traditional roots and participating in the natural evolution of tango (Tango Nuevo: Definition of the Dance; see also Merritt, C., 2012 – Tango Nuevo, University of Florida, Gainesville FL). Despite the objections of its founders, the system of analysis of tango movements developed by the Tango Investigation Group and their colleagues and disciples became known as 'Tango Nuevo', a terminology that has proven to be useful for tango entrepreneurs in their promotion of what was soon to become a new and popular Tango-Brand worldwide (Helsinki, Finland; Berkhamstead, England; Irvine CA, USA; Tauranga, New Zealand). New music (beyond the classic tango music played for dancing tango in the milongas) was introduced for dancing (e.g., the 'nuevo tango' of Astor Piazzolla and followers, electronica) and became incorporated into this 'Tango Nuevo' culture. Popular practicas nuevas in Buenos Aires, such as Practica X and El Motivo became the breeding ground for the propagation of this tango subculture (Milongas and Practicas: Cultural Tradition and Evolution in Buenos Aires Tango Social Dance Venues).

Although the Tango Investigation Unit evolved during the early 1990s, the terminology 'Tango Nuevo' was not used widely in North America to describe a distinctive genre of tango dancing until the early 2000s. Arguments regarding the 'open embrace' versus 'close embrace' dichotomy were still active at this time, and the 'flexible embrace' of Tango Nuevo (i.e., shifting between an embrace and an open hold and even partner separation) added another dimension to the differentiation of stylistic variations in tango, so that in North America in the 2000s three distinct 'styles' were recognized, i.e., three Tango-Brands: 'salon style tango', 'milonguero style tango' and 'tango nuevo' (Tango Argentino de Tejas; Wikipedia). Among dancers, elements of Tango Nuevo were often incorporated into 'salon style tango', although inventive entrepreneurs also added elements of Tango Nuevo to 'milonguero style tango' to promote 'nuevo milonguero' as the modern evolution of Tango Estilo Milonguero [Tango Estilo Milonguero Nuevo (Nuevo Milonguero)].

Villa Urquiza Style Tango adds to the Tango Tower of Babel

In the mid-2000s in North America, new life was breathed into what was typically labeled as 'salon style tango' by rebranding it as 'Villa Urquiza style tango', referred to in 1999 in the Buenos Aires daily newspaper Clarin; translated into English). (See Tango Estilo Villa Urquiza). In North America, tango instructor Ney Melo was instrumental in promoting the Villa Urquiza Tango-Brand; his efforts included posting a series of videos on YouTube. The 'Villa Urquiza style tango' brand was a more accurate representation of the Tango Estilo del Barrio that was danced in the outer barrios of Buenos Aires during the Golden Age than was the North American 'salon style' Tango-Brand in that it typically incorporated the embrace, although dancers at North American milongas tended to concentrate more on incorporating giro with sacada variations and additional embellishments into their dance from 'Villa Urquiza style tango' rather than adding an embrace to their 'salon style tango'.

This differentiation of 'tango styles' into discrete Tango-Brands provided fuel for the development of diverse tango instructional programs, through which tango promoters enticed dancers to learn all three categories of tango in order to become a complete tango dancer. (Unfortunately, examples of this are no longer available because this separation of tango into distinct styles was a marketing phase that is no longer popular, although the 8th Style Tango School in Seattle used to promote classes in each of three of the aforementioned tango styles – see The One Tango Philosophy: Truths and Consequences)

Nevertheless, underlying the promotion of three (or four) Tango-Brands were controversies about which tango style was better or appropriate. Close embrace tango (Milonguero style tango) was advertised as the 'authentic' tango danced in the milongas of Buenos Aires, 'Villa Urquiza style' tango was closest to the stylistic variations displayed by dancers in the annual Salon Tango competition in Buenos Aires (Tango Buenos Aires Festival y Mundial); 'open embrace tango' (North American 'salon style tango') had the advantage of being better adapted to the North American mindset of dancing learned sequences without an embrace, and Tango Nuevo was promoted as the modern (sometimes inevitable) 'evolution' of tango.

The differentiation of tango dancing into different styles led to the creation of tango festivals that promoted a particular Tango-Brand, e.g., the Miami Tango Fantasy (stage tango), (video), the Denver Tango Milonguero Festival (video) [see also The Rise and Fall of Tango Milonguero in North America in the 21st Century (Highlighting the Denver Tango Festival)], and the Montreal Tango Nuevo Festival (video).

Although labeling of 'styles' facilitated advertising, this trichotomy created divisiveness among proponents of different Tango-Brands; in particular, Tango Nuevo was frequently criticized by dancers of other Tango-Brands as creating hazards for collision on the dance floor (Is Tango Nuevo compatible with Tango de Salon at the same Milonga?). The divisiveness among Tango-Brand identifiers was counterproductive for tango business enterprises. Thus, the intelligent marketing solution for these divisions was the development of the One Tango Philosophy.

The One Tango Philosophy and the Consolidation of Tango-Brands (The One-Tango-Brand)

The One Tango Philosophy (There is only one Tango; The One Tango Philosophy: Truths and Consequences) has its roots in the philosophy of Tango Nuevo. The primary architects of Tango Nuevo (Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, Chicho Frumboli) have argued repeatedly that Tango Nuevo is not a new style of tango, but rather is closely connected to the tango of the Golden Age and only explores new possibilities for movement within the existing framework of traditional tango, thereby contributing to the ongoing evolution of the dance (Tango Nuevo: Definition of the Dance; see also Merritt, C., 2012 – Tango Nuevo, University of Florida, Gainesville FL).

The perspective that all stylistic variations and expressions of tango are unified through a common ancestry and subsequent evolution is embodied in the One Tango Philosophy. The basic tenets of the One Tango Philosophy are the following:

There is only one Tango: The argument here is that all genres of tango (i.e., Tango de Salon, Tango Nuevo, Tango Escenario are related and making distinctions between them is artificial. Limiting the free expression of this variability is restrictive to creativity. This philosophy fails to recognize that Tango de Salon is tango adapted to the milonga environment, Tango Escenario is tango adapted for the stage, and Tango Nuevo is tango adapted for the practica nueva (Tango Styles, Genres and Individual Expression: Part I – A Rationale for Classification by Niche Adaptation).
Tango is Inclusive. The One Tango Philosophy recognizes diversity and is inclusive; thus, all genres of tango are acceptable for dancing in any setting – the stage, the practica, and the milonga dance floor. This perspective is also extended to tango music in that any music to which tango steps can be executed is considered acceptable in any of the tango environmental niches. This tolerance for inclusiveness does not necessarily extend to the recognition of the right of minority opinions and practices to be respected. The minority in tango communities that often is not respected is the subcommunity of tango dancers desiring to model the milonga environment after the milongas of Buenos Aires, i.e., dancing only Tango de Salon to classic tango music and abiding by Argentine tango milonga codes in general [Do Milongas Exist outside Argentina? (The Milonga Codes Revisited)].

Tango Evolution: The argument here is that tango has always evolved and continues to evolve to this day. Tango variants such as Tango Nuevo are evidence of the inevitable evolution of tango. The assumption here is that whatever form of tango dancing evolves is acceptable and should be tolerated. However, this free expression of tango often hinders the free flow of the circulating ronda and the exploration of movement possibilities often impinges upon the personal space of other dancers on the floor. The logical fallacy in the tango evolution argument is failing to recognize that not all variations that evolve are adaptive and that environmental (including social) pressures select against maladaptive evolutionary tango experiments. What is practiced today may be absent tomorrow. From another perspective it should be noted that what may function in the tango classroom or practica may be dysfunctional on the milonga dance floor.

Tango belongs to the world. The argument here is that although tango has its historical roots in Argentina, the propagation of tango to the rest of the world permits non-Argentine cultural influences to modify tango (see Organic Tango). Notably, this allows the infusion of traits from other cultures to create a tango hybrid that is more palatable for marketing in other nations. This hybridization of tango is most readily apparent in the creation of a new genre of music classified as Tango Electronica or, more broadly, Neotango, in which the bandoneon and utterances in Spanish of phrases referencing 'Buenos Aires' and 'tango' culture are added to First World electronic music lacking a tango rhythm (e.g., Gotan Project). Alternatively, First World cultural practices may be infused with elements of Argentine tango culture, e.g., by holding a 'milonga' in which dancers are invited to wear fantasy costumes (video).

In following these principles of the One Tango Philosophy, tango entrepreneurs can appeal to the healing of divisiveness among Tango-Brands that exists within tango communities by encompassing all this variation within the One-Tango-Brand. This celebration of tango diversity allows a tango teaching academy to offer literally several dozen courses to attract tango dance students, offering them a taste of the extensive variability of the tango dance. Both 'traditional' and 'alternative' milongas can be offered to appeal to dancers who respect or do not feel the need to respect Argentine tango music traditions. First World holiday theme tango social dancing events can be held to allow tango dancers to have the comfortable environment of their own culture while making a superficial effort to engage in the practices of a foreign culture. This catering to the tango consumer is designed to build a large consumer base, thus possibly monopolizing the tango market and thereby especially competitively excluding tango enterprises designed to replicate Argentine tango cultural traditions.

Notably, this One-Tango-Brand does not advertise itself as 'One Tango', but only as 'tango', thereby effectively appropriating the 'tango' label and instilling in the mind of tango consumers the misleading impression that, for all that is offered, 'This is tango'.

The Role of the One Tango Philosophy in the Marginalization of Tango Based on Argentine Cultural Traditions

In Buenos Aires, the tango danced at milongas is Tango de Salon, as exemplified by Tango Estilo del Centro (aka Tango Milonguero) (video) and Tango Estilo del Barrio (aka Tango Estilo Villa Urquiza) (video), with variations within and between these common dance expressions. These variations in tango dancing have shared characteristics – embrace of partner, maintaining a circulating ronda on the dance floor, respect of the space of other couples on the dance floor, and avoidance of attention-capturing conspicuous movements characteristic of Stage Tango. In addition, in Buenos Aires there are characteristic customs associated with the milonga environment such as playing only classic tango music of the Golden Age for dancing (Music Played at Milongas / Tango Social Dance Venues), the structuring of music into tandas with cortinas, clearing the floor during the cortina, gender segregated seating, and use of the cabeceo for dance invitation (Use of the Cabeceo and Gender Segregated Seating in Milongas in Buenos Aires and Elsewhere in the World). [For a more extensive review of milonga customs, see Codes and Customs of the Milongas of Buenos Aires: The Basics and Do Milongas Exist outside Argentina? (The Milonga Codes Revisited).]

First World tango dancers who have experienced the environment of Buenos Aires milongas, or who have been educated regarding the customs thereof, often wish to recreate as much as is possible the Buenos Aires milonga environment at a First World milonga, i.e., be able to achieve a peaceful connection with partner in the embrace while dancing to classic tango music. Ignorance or disregard of milonga customs is common among First World tango dancers who have been given instruction in Tango Nuevo and Tango Escenario; the practice of these genres of tango dancing on the milonga dance floor, with their inherent tendencies for conspicuous space consuming movements and lack of connection to the progressive ronda, creates conditions that disrupt the atmosphere sought by aficionados of tango as danced in Buenos Aires milongas. Freedom from these disruptions can be achieved by segregation from the larger First World tango community, as is done in Buenos Aires where, in choosing milongas and practicas to attend, dancers segregate themselves by age, style of dancing and sexual orientation (Milongas and Practicas: Cultural Tradition and Evolution in Buenos Aires Tango Social Dance Venues); however, First World political, cultural, and economic conditions make initiating and maintaining this segregation difficult [Factors Affecting the Survival of Argentine Tango Cultural Traditions in Non-supportive First World Cultural Environments (The Dominance of Tango Extranjero)].

In the competition of the tango marketplace, application of the One Tango Philosophy, unless guided by inept leaders, will attract more dancers than a tango enterprise guided by dancers seeking to replicate Buenos Aires tango traditions. The One Tango Philosophy does not verbally reject Argentine tango traditions, but rather gives lip service to them in its espoused inclusiveness, offering Tango Milonguero (perhaps modified by include elements of Tango Nuevo) as an instructional option, often with the caveat that this is how one would dance by necessity when floor conditions are crowded, while simultaneously reinforcing the notion that Tango Nuevo and perhaps even Tango Escenario are acceptable models for dancing at a milonga when floor density is low, as long as one respects the space of other dancers on the floor. (Notably, this respect is rarely achieved in practice.) Thus, the One-Tango program becomes a one stop shopping site for tango consumers. What is missed in this eclectic but erroneous representation of Argentine tango is that not only is Tango Milonguero the primary style of dancing at Buenos Aires milongas even when floor density is low (video) in part because partner connection in the embrace is a defining feature of tango (The Essence of Tango Argentino), but also that the milonga is not appropriately a showcase for display of conspicuous step repertoires (Codes and Customs of the Milongas of Buenos Aires: The Basics). Also, even though such seemingly quaint milonga customs (by First World standards) such as the cabeceo may be mentioned in passing, the failure to impress the value of this and other milonga traditions on tango students creates an environment in which the cabeceo is poorly understood (if at all) and, thus, direct approach for dance invitation to an unwilling partner becomes a commonly experienced milonga practice. A catholic attitude towards music for dancing at a milonga also functions to disrupt the connection with music that tradition-based tango dancers seek in their dancing. The ingenious approach of the One Tango Philosophy is that it is designed to avoid the contentiousness of the 'open embrace' versus 'close embrace' and 'classic tango' versus 'neotango' conflicts by democratically allowing tango diversity at a milonga. However, in an attempt to accommodate all, this eliminates the possibility of creating a Buenos Aires milonga environment for those seeking it. The larger participation in an all-inclusive One-Tango program within a tango community usually inhibits the growth of any tradition-based tango subcommunity, because the larger number of tradition-ignorant dancers often results in the influx of One-Tango students into an advertised 'traditional milonga', thereby disrupting the coherence in the practice of milonga customs sought by tradition-based dancers. Thus, attempts at creating a tango environment supportive of Argentine tango cultural traditions may (and probably will) fail to materialize, unless corrective action is taken.

However, the greatest assault of the One Tango Philosophy upon Argentine tango cultural traditions is through the appropriation of the 'tango' label. There may have been an economic advantage in years past in advertising instruction in Tango Nuevo or Villa Urquiza Style Tango, but in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century these labels are used much less often in advertising in North American tango communities. There has been a collective (most likely economically-based) decision to advertise all genres of tango dancing simply as 'tango'. Even the philosophy stated 5 or so years ago that 'There is only one tango' is no longer stated explicitly (see There is only one Tango; The One Tango Philosophy: Truths and Consequences), except perhaps to leave a vestige of this bold statement in Spanish ('Hay solo un tango') in small print on the home page of a promoter's website. [The Organic Tango School also has toned down its rhetoric regarding the 'the lines between stage & social dancing, past & present, and the Argentine vs. non-Argentine way … have been abused' (see Organic Tango).] The absence of a need to explicitly state the One Tango Philosophy indicates the battle for tango supremacy has been won and that the heterogeneity and 'evolution' of tango styles and genres that ignores adaptation to the milonga and neglects Argentine tango cultural traditions has become, with rare exceptions, the de facto 'tango' of the First World. [Perhaps it appropriately should be identified as a new genre of tango called Tango Extranjero, but most likely this nomenclature would be regarded as confrontational rather than insightful by the tango community at large.] In this passive aggressive strategy of subsuming all genres of tango under the 'tango' label without differentiating them by niche adaptation (Tango Styles, Genres and Individual Expression: Part I – A Rationale for Classification by Niche Adaptation), promoters of Argentine tango cultural traditions who assert that only their view of tango is culturally valid, thereby correctly implicating the One Tango Philosophy as misrepresenting (at the very least) the tango of Argentine origin, may be branded as politically incorrect and divisive forces within tango communities, which will hinder their efforts at promoting their tradition-based version of tango.

Linguistic Strategies for Promotion of Argentine Tango Cultural Traditions in Face of the Takeover of the Tango Name by those Misrepresenting Tango

The appropriation of the 'tango' label in the creation of the One-Tango-Brand creates significant communication problems for promoters of Argentine tango cultural traditions in First World environments. If those believing that tango has evolved for the modern world had chosen appropriately to rebrand their product as something new, perhaps calling it 'Nuevo', leaving the label 'Tango' for those honoring tango traditions, then each brand could have its own niche, with Tango dancers attending 'milongas' where Argentine tango cultural traditions are practiced and Nuevo dancers attending 'neolongas' where an evolved dance adapted to 21st century First World cultural proclivities is practiced.

However, the origins of tango misrepresentation preceded the creation of the One Tango Philosophy. Certainly the introduction of First World audiences to tango shows in the 1980s and 90s provided a skewed perspective on tango of Argentine origin. For an even more general audience, popular Hollywood motion pictures in the 1990s such as 'Scent of a Woman' [1992], and 'True Lies' [1994], as well as more electronica infused tango dance scenes in movies in the 2000s such as 'Shall We Dance' [2004] and 'Take the Lead' [2006], none of which depict tango dancing appropriate for the milonga, have assisted in creating a popular faulty image of tango. In North America, the popular television show 'Dancing with the Stars' has presented an even more distorted image of Argentine tango to naïve audiences. Thus, without much conscious attempt to learn about the characteristics of the tango dance, potential North American consumers of tango have been primed to accept in instruction a version of tango that is very different from the Tango de Salon of Buenos Aires. For those with little or no prior exposure to tango who actively seek information regarding tango dancing, YouTube searches using the terms 'tango' or 'Argentine tango' produce numerous examples of tango exhibitions that do not represent Tango de Salon (YouTube as a Source of Tango Information). Likewise information presented on websites of tango instructors typically provide images of tango as a performance dance rather than as a social dance (The Representation and Misrepresentation of Tango in Website Images in North America). Given the characterization of tango dancing in entertainment venues and popular media, there is no reason for tango entrepreneurs of the One Tango Philosophy to create a new name for their dance offerings, and significant economic advantage in capitalizing on preexisting erroneous perceptions regarding tango dancing by appropriating the simple 'tango' label.

This puts promoters of Tango de Salon at a disadvantage in labeling their tango dance in attracting new dancers. If they call their dance simply 'tango', as would be justified, it becomes necessary to make the effort to explain that the 'tango' they are offering is the tango of the milongas of Buenos Aires. Another option would be to advertise the tango offered as 'Tango de Salon' or 'Tango Milonguero' but this kind of labeling is too esoteric for a tango naive audience and too limiting in scope for those previously exposed to the One-Tango Brand who wish to express the diversity that One-Tango offers on the milonga dance floor. Both of these strategies necessitate making a distinction of the Buenos Aires milonga 'tango' from the 'tango' most likely to be offered by promoters of the One-Tango-Brand, a dance laden with exhibition moves, likely to be danced to Neotango music, without incorporating the embrace. When exposed to a simple tango dance focusing on close connection with partner and classic tango music, devoid of exhibition moves and excessive ornamentation, the novice tango student is likely to be either confused, bored, or resistant with regard to this image, which conflicts with the dominant representation of 'tango' in First World cultures. If the promoter of this authentic social tango describes this tango as 'authentic', this creates the risk that this message will be carried to the purveyors of the One-Tango-Brand, who may respond that tango has evolved beyond this historical image and requires neither the embrace nor classic tango music nor the eschewment of exhibition moves (provided they respect the space of other dancers) to be enjoyed by contemporary dancers in a modern world. In some cases, claims of authenticity will be met with hostility by promoters of the One-Tango-Brand, who feel threatened by the exposure of their misrepresentation. Since the message and/or imagery of the One Tango Philosophy is repeated by numerous tango entrepreneurs, including many instructors of tango from Argentina, the simple Tango de Salon of Buenos Aires has only a minority representation in the First World tango world. One need only attend a typical First World milonga to recognize this. Thus, the image of Tango de Salon has become a weak signal in a tango environment replete with the relentless resounding stimuli of flashy moves, not requiring the uncomfortable invasion of personal space imposed by an embrace of one's partner, executed to familiar sounding First World (influenced) music.

Because the 'tango' label (i.e., Tango-Brand) has been coopted by followers of the One Tango Philosophy, in First World cultures there is confusion and miscommunication when a tango organizer respecting Argentine tango cultural traditions promotes (only) Tango de Salon as the social tango of the milongas. Nevertheless, there are several available options in using specifically crafted language to overcome this obstacle.

One option is to specifically advertise what is offered as 'Argentine Tango'. (This is the option in English, although equivalent language is available in other languages, e.g., 'Tango argentino' in Spanish speaking countries.) There may be hesitancy in taking this approach because tango is of Argentine origin and it is redundant to state that it is Argentine. Also, ballroom dance studios have labeled as 'Argentine tango' their version of a tango dance derived and modified from Argentine origins (usually some variation on North American 'open embrace salon style tango' taught within the framework of a step list), with the adjective 'Argentine' used to differentiate this dance from the 'tango' (no modifier) that is the Ballroom Tango that bears little resemblance to its Argentine ancestor with the same name. One might think that using the terminology 'Argentine Tango' would imply to the potential tango student that the tango dance offered is the ballroom dance studio adaptation of Argentine Tango. It was certainly true that in the 1990s in North America, when 'open embrace / salon style tango' was the de facto second generation derivative of the tango danced in Argentina, tango dancers often wished to distance themselves from the ballroom dance studio nomenclature and even interpretation of the dance. However, in the 2010s, the situation has changed significantly. 'Argentine Tango' may be offered as a course in many ballroom dance studios, but these enterprises are typically segregated from the tango community at large. Ballroom dance studios usually do not sponsor milongas even if they offer courses in 'Argentine Tango', and the number of dancers who are simultaneously involved in ballroom dancing and tango community sponsored milongas is limited. Thus, the stereotypic image of the ballroom dance version of 'Argentine Tango' is no longer so prominent in North America. Since the simple label 'tango' with no 'Argentine' modifier is used by One-Tango-Promoters, who believe that 'tango belongs to the world' and can be shaped by non-Argentine influences and still maintain its core qualities as a dance emanating from Argentine culture, reinserting the modifier to promote 'Argentine Tango' reasserts that the dance is of Argentine origin, and this labeling (i.e., recreating an "Argentine-Tango-Brand') can be a springboard for discussion of Argentine cultural traditions with respect to tango, as well as serving a filtering function in redirecting misguided students seeking (American or International) Ballroom Tango.

Another option is to brand Tango de Salon in First World cultures as 'traditional tango' (or equivalent in another language) and to advertise social dance events as 'traditional milongas', implying for the latter that at least some of the most prominent milonga traditions of Buenos Aires milongas are practiced (see The Role of the Milonga Organizer in Creating an Environment Promoting Argentine Tango Cultural Traditions). Although these terms have been abused either intentionally or unintentionally (the latter by those lacking sufficient knowledge of milonga customs), the inclusion of the modifier 'traditional' also opens the door for instructors to educate naïve tango students regarding Argentine tango cultural traditions, although it may run the risk of turning off some young people who tend to be more impressed with modern interpretations than with embracing tradition. Of course, one may still need to deal with One-Tango-Brand promoters who claim their instructors are thoroughly versed in Argentine tango tradition (and, of course, building on this tradition to evolve tango to be relevant in the modern world), but in reality One-Tango-Brand promoters usually breeze superficially past tango traditions in their enamorment with tango evolution and thus offer limited exposure to tango cultural traditions. Not simply calling Tango de Salon 'tango' can be seen as acquiescence to the One-Tango-Brand promoters who control the language of tango in the First World. Nevertheless, this is the reality of First World tango marketplace and promoters of Tango de Salon need to deal with it.

Considering these branding options, it may be best to adopt both strategies, advertising 'Argentine Tango' to those with no prior tango dance experience, and advertising 'traditional tango' within a community of tango-exposed dancers. In adopting this dual strategy, naïve tango interested people can be readily informed that the tango dance they select to learn is from Argentina. For experienced dancers who appreciate Argentine tango cultural traditions and make choices about tango instruction and milonga attendance based on advertising, use of the 'traditional' label provides them with more accurate information regarding the character of the dance and the music they will encounter.


In First World cultural environments, where exposure to tango is not normally part of the socialization process, visual and auditory images of the dance (and its music) are attached to the label 'tango' by advertising, mass media and the interpretation of the dance by arts and entertainment enterprises. These images are used by tango entrepreneurs to establish a marketed product or Tango-Brand.

In the 100 years since the introduction of tango to the First World, the public image of tango as a dance has changed. The marketing of tango to potential dancers has attached various accessory labels to tango in advertising which, in association with the visual and auditory images accompanying these labels, have created numerous Tango-Brands.

After the initial First World exposure to tango in the 1910s, ballroom dance instructors rapidly transformed the tango dance of Argentine origin, removing most of its sensual elements, into a ballroom dance acceptable to First World cultural tastes. In the absence of exposure to the tango of Argentine origin that could provide a point of reference, this transformed dance could be referred to simply as 'tango'. However, with the somewhat different influences of Vernon and Irene Castle and later Arthur Murray in North America and the British ballroom establishment in Europe, over the decades there eventually developed two different ballroom Tango-Brands – American Tango and International Tango, respectively.

During the second exposure to tango of Argentine origin in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a modified version of the Stage Tango of Argentina was introduced to First World dancers. This version of tango was referred to alternately as either simply 'tango' or 'Argentine Tango', with the latter terminology preferred by the ballroom dance establishment in order to differentiate it from the 'tango' adaptation already taught in ballroom dance studios. This modification of the tango of Argentine origin typically was taught as a dance with large conspicuous movements, memorized sequences and no embrace and, thus, had only a superficial resemblance to the Tango de Salon danced in the milongas of Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, there was some variation in this second generation modification of the tango of Argentine origin and those instructors who taught a dance with fewer stage elements and more improvisation (but still lacking the embrace) referred to their version of tango as 'salon tango'.

In the mid-1990s First World tango communities were exposed to the 'milonguero style tango' (tango estilo milonguero) of Susana Miller and her disciples. This version of tango included a maintained embrace and was devoid of large conspicuous movements and, thus, resembled the predominant variant of Tango de Salon danced in the milongas of Buenos Aires. The resulting contrast between 'milonguero style tango' (also called 'close embrace tango') and the pre-existing 'salon style tango' (also called 'open embrace tango') led to conflict between the competing Tango-Brands that was often divisive in tango communities.

In the early 2000s, Tango Nuevo, characterized by off-axis movements, reorientation of existing tango movements, and extensive variation in partner connection (including separation of partners during dancing) gained popularity in First World cultures and led to the creation of a new Tango-Brand. With its large expansive movements that were often unpredictable and thus hazardous to other couples on the milonga dance floor, the Tango-Nuevo-Brand was in stark contrast and therefore at odds with the Tango-Milonguero-Brand, and conflict within tango communities heightened to a significant degree, especially since Tango Nuevo represented tango dancing in Buenos Aires milongas even less than the pre-existing 'salon style tango'.

With the North American invention 'salon style tango' losing in popularity to the Tango-Nuevo-Brand in the late 2000s, it was rebranded (with minor modifications) as the more verbally enticing 'Villa Urquiza style tango'.

A solution to the tango community divisiveness created by market competition among Tango-Brands was incorporated into the One Tango Philosophy, which ostensibly drew upon the arguments of the founders of the Tango Nuevo movement (who rejected the 'nuevo' label and argued that 'there is only one tango') by marketing all Tango-Brands (eventually without using brand names) under a single umbrella and therefore coopting the 'tango' label. This inclusiveness was expanded to include non-Argentine cultural influences upon tango as integrated components of the marketed product. This sequestration of the 'tango' label was particularly harmful to promoters of Argentine tango culture (i.e., mainly those who promoted Tango Milonguero), who could no longer label their dance simply as 'tango' without drawing contrast with the artificial mixture of different tango genres and foreign influences under the single 'tango' banner.

The successful marketing and often monopolization of tango within tango communities accomplished by followers of the One Tango Philosophy necessitates the development of an alternative strategy for the advertisement of tango following Argentine cultural traditions. Two options for labeling the dance and music associated with it are 'Argentine tango' and 'traditional tango'. Although the terminology 'Argentine tango' has been used widely by the ballroom dance community to differentiate it from the 'tango' of ballroom derivation, the relative independence of the ballroom dance community from the tango community in most locales should minimize confusing the two uses of the nomenclature. Adding the adjective 'Argentine' to 'tango' reinforces the notion that the dance is of Argentine origin and opens the door for conversation regarding this connection. This terminology probably would be most effective in recruiting newcomers to tango. However, for those who already dance tango, this terminology may appear needlessly redundant or suggest an association to the ballroom version of 'Argentine Tango'. For this more tango-experienced group, use of the terminology 'traditional tango' and likewise 'traditional milonga' for the social dancing event communicates (hopefully unambiguously) that Argentine tango cultural traditions are respected in this environment. It is the connection to these traditions that need to be emphasized in order to differentiate these efforts from the misrepresentation of tango so commonly marketed throughout the First World.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Melina’s long overdue post on gender and roles in tango

From Melina's Two Cents...

This post is written from the perspective of a female tango dancer, teacher and organiser and primarily addresses women. But it is my belief that the thoughts expressed herein are of great importance for everyone: men, women, straight and gay people, consumers, organisers and teachers. Because something is not going so well in our little tango world.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Why Donald Trump Could Win Again

From Dave Eggers at the Guardian, quite a grimly riveting (and very long) look at Trump's actual appeal (via one of his rallies in El Paso, Texas). Eggers doesn't offer happy news, but I think it's a piece that needs to be read. Below is the beginning section and then a few random paragraphs that particularly caught my attention. Tom

"At the end of Trump rallies, order breaks down and people are tired. To those seeking to shock, injure, annoy or make a point, it’s go time. In El Paso, on the US’s southern border, at Trump’s first campaign-style rally of 2019, two people unfurled the flag of the Soviet Union.

"This happened inside the El Paso County Coliseum. I was outside in the parking lot, with about seven thousand others, shivering in the frigid desert night. Inside, Trump was winding down his speech and people were leaving. Suddenly there was a commotion at the exit. A pair of young people wearing black were hurrying out of the building, holding the large Soviet flag, being chased by a pack – a posse – of cowboys. I have seen some curious things at Trump rallies, but none stranger than the sight of four cowboys running after two people carrying a giant red USSR flag, hammer and sickle and all, through a parking lot in El Paso.

"When I say cowboy I mean cowboy. Though we were deep in Texas, only a few in Trump’s audience were wearing cowboy hats, or adhered in any way to our mental picture of a cowboy. But these four young men did. They were clean-shaven and short-haired, they wore cowboy hats and cowboy boots and snug unfaded Levis. They ran after the Soviet flag-bearers, trying to grab it and in that way – I presume – sap it of its awesome power. But the communist sympathisers were fast and crafty. They weaved through the crowd with alacrity, while the cowboys moved awkwardly, their cowboy boots a bit too stiff and their pants a bit too snug.

"A swarm of rally attendees followed the melee with their blue-lit phones. Soon a trio of police officers entered the picture. Two of them slowed the cowboys, allowing the communists to leave the parking lot. “USA! USA!” the cowboys chanted to the disappearing flag-bearers, and much of the crowd joined in.

"It was a spectacle at the end of a long night, and it briefly enlivened the crowd outside – who showed up too late to get a spot inside the warm Coliseum and thus had to watch Trump’s speech on a giant screen in the cold. It was one of so many unexpected happenings that day in Texas, but at least cowboys v communists we can understand.

"This was 11 February 2019. A week before, Trump had given his State of the Union address, in which he made his case for the wall and painted a dubious picture of El Paso as a lawless city, which had become safe and prosperous after a wall had been constructed in 2009, separating it from Mexico. Many El Pasoans, including Mayor Dee Margo, objected to this characterization, citing statistics that disproved Trump’s statements, but Trump did not correct himself and did not back down.

"Instead, he took his case to El Paso, a city that shares a vast symbiotic metropolitan area with Ciudad Juárez in Mexico and bills itself as the largest binational urban area in the world. El Paso’s population is 80% Hispanic, and is considered a Democratic stronghold. The city’s most famous politician is Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who unsuccessfully ran for Senate against Ted Cruz –but in the process gained a national following and has been considered a viable candidate for president. O’Rourke is young – 46 – and eloquent, and has the kind of charisma that brings to mind JFK and RFK and Obama. With his thick salt-and-pepper hair and lanky athleticism, he looks like he’s fallen from a bough of the Kennedy tree. He had decided to hold a counter-rally directly coinciding with Trump’s speech.

"It was Trump’s first rally since he was soundly defeated in the game of shutdown chicken he played with Nancy Pelosi in December and January. Holding a rally head-to-head with O’Rourke, in O’Rourke’s backyard, after insulting the city of El Paso on national television, seemed like a very bad idea in every possible way. But Trump has always done the wrong thing and has usually been rewarded for it. So that we can explain.

"But how to explain that about half of Trump’s audience that night in El Paso were people of colour, most of them Latino? How to explain the fact that Trump attracted 15,000 supporters to his rally, while O’Rourke garnered only 4,000 people to his event, held in his hometown, on the same evening? How to explain the thousands of Trump supporters who held signs – given to them when they entered the Coliseum – that read “Finish the Wall”, when Trump has not yet begun any construction on said wall? And how to explain the Trump campaign’s decision to follow his speech with the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want?”

"El Paso is a bustling city surrounded by desert, everywhere touched by white dust and bright sun. In the morning, I watched the area around the Coliseum, as early arrivals to the rally parked their cars. Their licence plates read Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, even Florida. One giant RV arrived bearing every flag made to celebrate Trump, Pence and the making great of America again. These fans, who started lining up at 9am for a rally scheduled to begin at 7pm, were the kinds of people we assume Trump attracts: that is, white people.

"The Coliseum, less than a mile from the Mexico border, is near a working-class neighbourhood of small ranch houses, and many of them had opened their driveways and yards to attendees’ cars, generally charging $10 for parking. As the day went on, I stood at the corner of Paisano and Shelter, where the rally-goers had to pass on their way to get in line outside the Coliseum, and the crowds arriving defied all expectations. There were Latino families. There were African Americans. There were biracial couples. Young South Asians and Pacific Islanders. About half of the people rushing to get in the long line that stretched far down Paisano were people of colour. A good third of them were under 30.

"As I watched the line grow, I met two T-shirt vendors who had parked their carts, full of Trump hats, hoodies and pins, in the path of the attendees. Angel Gaudet and Skaheen Thompson, both from South Carolina, have been following Trump to his rallies since his 2016 campaign. Gaudet and Thompson don’t work together, but have seen each other on the trail and consider themselves friendly competitors. And since Trump announced his candidacy, business has been good. Selling Trump gear – especially MAGA hats, which they say are by far the bestselling item – they can make as much as $2,300 in one day.

"Over the past few years, they have become Trump supporters, but have nuanced views about him and his policies. “I like that he makes it happen,” Gaudet said. She is white, wore a pink hoodie and her hair was dyed green. She spoke with a drowsy, raspy drawl. “His mouth, his overall attitude, is fucked up,” she continued, “how he talks about people or to people sometimes. Sometimes I guess he gets caught up like anybody else. But overall he’s like, ‘If you ain’t for us, then we ain’t for you. Get the fuck on.’ You know what I mean?”

“I love that,” said Thompson. “He’s for America 100%. It’s America or no way. I love that.” Thompson is an African American man in his early 20s. He was wearing a camouflage shirt under black overalls, with a large pin on his chest depicting a cartoon boy – a mashup of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Trump himself – urinating on the CNN logo.

"People continued to walk past us en route to the rally. Mothers and daughters in University of Texas-El Paso sweatshirts. A man wearing an Uncle Sam costume. Groups of young men and groups of young women, and couples holding hands and dressed up as if the rally were a night on the town. A middle-aged blond woman rushed by in a head-to‑toe suede outfit, fringes flying as she crossed the street, the lights of the Coliseum beckoning.

“I really think Trump can help put order in this world,” Gaudet said. “Because right now it’s just a mess. And I think he can do that because of his attitude. He just, he don’t give a damn if the next person gets mad or not. As far as becoming a president and putting shit in order, I think he could be that dude to put shit in order.”

"A man walked by wearing a sleeveless denim jacket with a rendering of a grim reaper on the back. The staff of the reaper’s scythe was an AK-47, the blade an American flag. He stopped briefly to inspect the merchandise. I asked Gaudet and Thompson how, as self-employed entrepreneurs, they got their healthcare.

“Right now I don’t even have healthcare,” Thompson said.

“I go to the emergency room,” Gaudet said, laughing.

“I just go to the emergency room,” Thompson agreed.

"I asked if they would support higher taxes for millionaires if it meant that people like them would get free healthcare. Gaudet didn’t hesitate. “No, because one day we might be the millionaires....”

"....Ted Cruz finished his brief speech and introduced Donald Trump – the crowd roared at those two words – Jr. There was momentary deflation but then real enthusiasm as Trump Jr appeared to Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”, a song most assuredly not authorised to be played at a Trump rally. Now sporting a beard, Trump Jr mentioned that he had just been in Texas a week before, on a hunting trip with friends. The crowd loved it. He denigrated socialism and the crowd loved it. His stage presence and comfort behind the microphone were remarkable, and portend trouble for those opposed to all that Trumpism represents, for it’s obvious that Trump Jr could run for office in Texas, and many other states, and win. He would trounce Cruz or John Cornyn in a primary. He is young, he shoots guns, kills animals, and has the same arrogant charisma as his father. He worked the crowd masterfully and, unlike his father, he is concise and disciplined on stage. Those worried about a Trump dynasty continuing with Ivanka should look beyond her to Donald Trump Jr. He has said and tweeted countless xenophobic and plainly ignorant things but, unlike his sister, he leans into controversy, not away from it. He has fire in his belly and seems to be enjoying his notoriety more every day...."

"When O’Rourke spoke, he was eloquent and passionate about American immigration and the unique ways that El Paso has historically coexisted with Mexico. There was no teleprompter visible, no notes, no podium even, and yet he strung together sentences startling in their lyricism. He noted the little known but remarkable fact that the border cities of the US, San Diego and El Paso among them, are among the safest large cities in the country – safer than interior cities such as Chicago, Detroit and St Louis. “El Paso,” he said, “has been the safest city in the United States of America, not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants, but because we are a city of immigrants.”

"Periodically he translated his own speech into Spanish, and though he spoke beautifully to a rapt audience, and though his case was utterly convincing, the verdict of the night had already been made, and O’Rourke had lost. Across the street, Trump had come to O’Rourke’s backyard and had attracted a crowd at least four times larger. And when O’Rourke was finished, and his audience had left the field, Trump was still going strong at the Coliseum...."

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Crazy Scale of Human Carbon Emissions

Current data (from direct measurements of the atmosphere to historical records of industry) tells us that between 1751 and 1987 fossil fuels put about 737 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Between just 1987 and 2014 it was about the same mass: 743 billion tons. Total CO2 from industrialized humans in the past 263 years: 1,480 billion tons.
Now, let's relate that to something a bit easier to visualize. A coniferous forest fire can release about 4.81 tons of carbon per acre. At the low end, about 80% of that carbon comes out as CO2.
In other words, to release an equivalent CO2 mass to the past 263 years of human activity would require about 1.5 billion acres of forest to burn every year during that time.
That's 6 million square kilometres of burning forest every year for more than two centuries.
Except that is for an average output, spread across 263 years.
Estimates of today's CO2 production go as high as about 40+ billion tons per year. That'd take something like 10 Billion acres of forest burning each year, which is about 42 million square kilometres.
The entire continent of Africa is a mere 30 million square kilometres. So AFRICA plus another third, on fire, each year...every year.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

My Top 5 Most Played Tango Songs

Based on iTunes play counts...

"Café de los Angelitos", Rodolfo Biagi, Alberto Amor, 06/15/1945

"Cuando Se Ha Querido Mucho"con Jorge Ortiz (also recorded on 06/15/1945) is up there, too, as is "Indiferencia" (09/10/1942) with Jorge Ortiz as well.

"Yo no sé por qué razón", Enrique Rodriguez, Armando Moreno, 05/13/1942

"Verdemar", Carlos diSarli, Oscar Serpa, 09/16/1955

"Nostalgias", Osvaldo Fresedo, Héctor Pacheco, 11/21/1952

"Malena", Anibal Troilo, Raúl Berón, 08/18/1952

Sunday, January 27, 2019

how much co2 does the u.s. emit into the atmosphere each year?

I went back to an old post on this subject...I had gotten the math wrong and re-calculated it...or so I thought. I was still wrong! Y'all are supposed to be checking my math. #newmathvictim #it'sthesimplefuckingunitconversionsthatkillmeandnowthati'mgettingoldandmybrainisgoingdownhillit'sevenworsetypeshit

Here it is in metric tons, tons, pounds, acres, square miles, and last but not least, Ford Expeditions.



[source: u.s. energy information administration]

5140 million metric tons
5665.880133 million tons
5,665,880,133 tons
11,331,760,266,800 11 trillion lbs
5500 lbs/expedition
2,060,320,049 expeditions
110.7 sf/expedition
228,077,429,370 square feet
43560 sf/acre
5,235,937 acres
640 acres/sq mi
8181.152052 square miles




Monday, January 21, 2019

Fwd: [New comment] Why I Quit Tango (a survey)

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: TangoClay <>
Date: January 21, 2019 at 4:15:04 PM CST
Subject: [New comment] Why I Quit Tango (a survey) Sister Elle commented: "Love and Hate relationship with Tango. I have been trying to come back to Tango every year for last 10 years. I dance for about 1-2 months then I go away because my energy is more for extroverted Lindy Hop (Which I'm currently trying to learn) or salsa"