No Champagne for Champaign (English)

I was told that my English writing is terrible. Probably true; in my professional life, I am using English quite often but in a tech and sometimes, even worse, in a standardization context.

Anyway, I am not writing much anymore on this blog. The usual suspects of themes (codigos, music, you name it) became kind of old. The interesting stuff would be about tango encounters and more experiences. But first of all I am not a talent in describing these things (as Terpsi), and stories where usually a second person is involved do not belong to me alone.

Having said this, sometimes I come upon things which are stranger than usual, and when I say strange I mean somehow, well, creepy. And as I saw there were some page accesses from the US (perhaps due to the English title of the post) I decided to provide an English version (it is not a translation, this would have been boring).

We Europeans have our share of Milonguero-style, slow motion close embrace evangelists. But as we in Old Europe say, things in the US are usually bigger. Take Tango Voice of America, one of my favorites with his marxist-style, self-citation-riddled seemingly endless texts.

Or, to come to the point, the latest oeuvre on In Search of Tango, titled „Champaign Milongueros“.

Some time ago, the German magazine DER SPIEGEL published an article about the way religion works.  One of the things which made their way into my memory was the part about coherence of such groups. In short – the higher the obstacles the group sets for members, the stronger the binding forces. It is like my grandma said – no cost, no value. This strategy also works like a filter, keeping the flaneurs away. Or rather, increasing the density of intensive practitioners.

An old Chinese proverb says: „if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is most probably a duck” – clear, so far?

We do have those “secret” milongas for invited people only. But a publicly announced group, including 20-hour introductory courses with examination at the end – wow.

Maybe there is a lack of offerings for people who like separated seating, invitation by cabeceo, and all the traffic rules – I am sure, Tango Voice’s banning “exhibitionism” is among them even if not mentioned, well.

I for myself have nothing against some tantra tango now and then, as part of a healthy mix. And trying to create biotopes is legitimate. The problem starts if inhabitants start to molest their surroundings. Perhaps I am unfair in assuming that creating a protected space for Milonguero style lovers will not be the end – but.

Let me guess how the story could continue: As soon as such a group has a handful of members, they will probably start to influence other organizers, pointing at the people they represent. A little bit of adaptation here and there, nothing big in the beginning. These things will, however, add up as, well, extremists are usually more persistent, louder, and more activist than the average person. In the best case, it will lead to a fragmented and polarized tango community. In the worst case, the Milonguero sect will have taken over the whole local community.

Yes, it is possible that I am just paranoid and full of negative thinking. If so, I blame it on Tango Voice and the likes of him, the really traumatized me. Perhaps it is in my scientific genes that I am extra sensitive to the smell of religious zeal and mind control (think of Captain Saru from Star Trek Discovery with his threat senses). I for myself live in a larger area with a healthy mix of different tango styles and offerings.  I read, however, of areas which have become a undead, boring monoculture with only slow-motion tango to the ever-same EdO tune, where any forward motion in the ronda dies before the first piece of a tanda is even finished, leaving people rotating in-place not matter what the music says. But fun aside: Even if I enjoy some Milonguero style tango now and then, I would not become member of such a sect just to be on the safe side, not allowing some Milonguero style high priest to body-count me for more leverage – don’t feed the dark forces.

Ein Gedanke zu “No Champagne for Champaign (English)

  1. Funny you mention religion, since the split in doctrines usually come after the founders have passed — for Christianity the splintering into denominations, for Buddhism into sects, and for Islam into the Sunnis and Shia. Dancers in the ’40s have no problems with every style being represented, and being mostly self-taught they could not be reined in. Modern tango diversity have reduced, and the one True Path is always drummed into every beginner to copy and clone themselves after the current crowd favourite. But you know something? Without a little rebel and dirt it just won’t be tango.

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