6256  R-E-S-P-E-C-T (and definition of "Social


Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 15:47:20 -0200
From: Shahrukh Merchant <shahrukh@shahrukhmerchant.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] R-E-S-P-E-C-T (and definition of "Social
To: tango-l@mit.edu

David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com> says:

> In the interest of civility of discussion on this list, I would like to suggest that we all think carefully about our use of certain loaded expressions. Two that come immediately to mind are the terms "traditional tango" and "social tango".

> ... and perhaps it is insulting to those who dance "modern tango" to be told that they are not dancing with respect for the traditions of tango.

Hi David,

Of course, both as a list reader and certainly as a moderator, I would
endorse any attempt to make the list more civil.

However, while I would always try in my own posts to avoid having people
feel insulted even indirectly, I really don't think that claiming a
certain difference between "nuevo tango" and "traditional tango," or
claiming a certain definition of those or any other terms, is
*automatically* offensive to others who may feel that they do a good job
straddling both forms (or who believe that they are really part of the
same form, etc.).

Some make take issue with the claim, and contest it, and that is fine
and even healthy (not just for the list, but really for Tango in
general). Tension is not always bad--a lot of tension is healthy, and if
it is all avoided or resolved simplistically, life becomes boring.

In this sense I would agree with Myk in Canberra who asks, rhetorically:

> What insult? Why is perceived _difference_ an insult?

The problem only comes up when it takes an offensive personal tone or
degrades to a personal attack (by which point it's generally become
infantile and/or mindless anyway).

Returning to Tango, however (as opposed to Tango-L) ...

> Similarly, the use of "social tango" to mean only close embrace, or at least to exclude a number of the modern tango movements, appears to reflect ignorance of the fact that modern tango is not based on choreography and patterns. It is not "show tango". Rather, it is purely lead-follow, is danced socially for your self and your partner, and is based on invention to a degree at least equal to that of close embrace all the time tango

I think the term "social tango" is appropriately defined quite literally
as "Tango suitable FOR SOCIAL DANCING." What you state above includes
some of the elements but not all. E.g., "is danced socially for your
self and your partner," is true enough but I would say instead, or
rather in addition, that social tango is:

(1) FIRSTLY danced in a way considerate of everyone else on the dance
floor, i.e., that not interfering with the enjoyment of others with whom
you are ostensibly sharing space takes precedence even over the
enjoyment of your partner (but not her safety ... though that should be
a corner one should avoid painting oneself into!);

(2) SECONDLY danced for your partner's enjoyment (if necessary
curtailing your own);

(3) THIRDLY danced for one's own enjoyment. (Those who take pleasure out
of being successful in (1) and (2) above already have a great head start
in (3).)

As far as "modern tango movements" go, they are not less social because
they are modern by any means, but their character (spatially "bigger,"
faster and more flowing movements, etc.) make it harder to do in even a
semi-crowded setting satisfactorily [cf. (2) and (3)] while not making a
nuisance of oneself [cf. (1)], unless one is really tuned in to ones
surroundings and is rather skillful. So of course it can be equally
social, but in fewer circumstances and with more skillful and tuned-in

> Although we may differ in our preferred styles, I think that we should respect our fellow dancers and think carefully about our language.

Agree 100% (and not just on Tango-L).


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