Monday, February 12, 2007

Tango Politics

I have never been a member of Tango Vita. At the time I started dancing, the rifts had begun as well. I came into tango via Cafe Casablanca and support it fully. Because I did not want to feel that my loyalty was divided, chose not to become a member. The time has come to do something about that though. Through membership, my one vote will speak up for not just the cafe, but for what I feel is right. Slighting people is NEVER right.

David sent out a great email the other day. We need to continue to reflect on the purpose of Tango Vita in Victoria. At present, it seems to exist purely to promote a few members, ignoring members, teachers and venues. Here (in edited version) are some of his comments—in case you didn't see them. Think about it. Can we continue to call Tango Vita and association if it ignores over half of its paid members?

... but on this rare occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Tango in Victoria the Mad Hatters have put on their thinking caps instead to produce a What If scenario like this:

What If ...
A way could be found to heal the wounds that have been paining our tiny tango world so unnecessarily for the last few years.

What If ...
We could return to the good old practices that governed our tango lives so well for the first several years.

What If ...
We set them down as A Renewed Association's Ten Commandments

An Association which encourages ALL types of of tango styles to be danced and enjoyed in Victoria.

An Association which encourages ALL types of tango music to be played and enjoyed in Victoria.

An Association which uses its funds for the good of ALL members and Local Tango Activities.

An Association which schedules its own Events to complement, not compete, with other Local Tango Events.

An Association which offers variety in its own Events and encourages members to hold other events as well.

An Association whose Fair and Open Website lists ALL Local Tango Events and encourages members to contribute to its postings.

An Association whose Fair and Open Website lists ALL members who act as DJs and promotes ALL the Local Venues in which tango is danced.
An Association that treats ALL Teachers Equally -- and whose Presidents and other Board Members excuse themselves from teaching while holding positions of authority.

An Association that, as much as possible, tries to balance tangueros and tangueras together on the Board.

An Association that, as much as possible, alternates between male and female Presidents.

Justice for all requires a delicate balancing act. We know that emotions have been strong, feelings have been hurt, and positions have been taken which are difficult to change—but change is essential if harmony is to be restored. We believe just as strongly that recent Executive Boards—while trying to do their best for the small picture of tango in Victoria—have lost sight of the word's full and inclusive meaning. That meaning—the promotion and growth of ALL aspects of Argentine Tango, through an ASSOCIATION of lovers of the Dance and musica in ALL its rich diversity—was the collective beating heart of the handful of individuals who came together nine years ago to form the First Executive.

Recent decisions by the Executive Board of Tango Vita have suffered from narrowed vision. Their laudable attempt did manage to provide a place of refuge for a minority of members who longed for the feeling of security obtained by "the safety of familiar things in a home of one's own."

HOWEVER, what should have evolved and broadened into a true ASSOCIATION of ALL the rich talents and individuals that were the inevitable outgrowth of our first seven years of successfully encouraging Tango diversity in Victoria, instead became identified with a single and separate physical location.

It is undeniable that part of our local tango world still feels a need for such a haven BUT the "Cosy Haven" should be run by that group of dancers themselves, with a name and distinctive identity in the same way that Passion for Tango, and Mano a Mano, and Tango Caminar, and our own Tango Inspiracion have evolved.

The incoming, newly elected Board, might even see fit to advance a couple of months' rent to help such a "Cosy Haven" group get on its feet.

No longer tied psychologically to a single physical location Tango Vita would then advance into our Second Decade in a liberated state: an ASSOCIATION whose vision is broad enough in spirit to feel equally at home in ANY venue, and welcoming in a TRUE PARTNERSHIP the changes that are inevitable and desirable in any growing art form, and embracing equally ALL the Advocates and Promoters who bring about such exciting changes.

In fact, your two Mad Hatters (David and Diane) are NOT running for office because the New Tent needs NEW People. It needs tangueras and tangueros who bring only willing hearts and open minds. Lovers of Argentine Tango in ALL its magnificent forms of choreography, and music from ALL its golden eras. Tangueros and tangueras who can't wait to dance to that music.

For the entry cost of two milongas, take out a Membership if you don't already have one. Watch for the list of Nominees that will be posted. Ask those Nominees if they agree with our Ten Commandments for a Renewed Association. We feel confident that their answer will be a resounding YES—But if it isn't... Nominate Yourself. Come to the AGM. And Vote with both dancing feet for the last letter of the word VITA ... ASSOCIATION