Grit and Tango

A few weeks ago, I listened to one of my usual podcasts- the Freakonomics Podcast, specifically the episode featuring Angela Duckworth and her new book "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance" ( ). This interview so interested me that I started listening to the audiobook version of the book, which I highly recommend. This will not be the only time I write about this, it is just a first pass at some thoughts on the dance.

When everyone seems to be obsessed with accomplishing more, faster, how does a pursuit like Argentine Tango fit in? This has always vexed me, teaching tango at a ballroom, where the business model is about creating a sense of accomplishment fast- preferably on the first visit to the studio. Some dances lend themselves easily to this idea- in a single visit, you can grasp enough of the basics of salsa and swing to get out on the social dance floor. These dances have communities that can constantly replenish with new members by holding introductory, crash-course style lessons before social dances.

But tango? Even if you are a natural, it will take several lessons before you have a general understanding of the movements you'll encounter on the social dance floor. And even if there were a crash-course before social dancing, the nature of the tango community would make these newcomers unwelcome on the social dance floor with their limited tools for floorcraft- that is, if they could even get on the floor with cabeceo in use.

So how do we keep newer dancers in the community? How do we introduce this dance we love to others when the barriers to entry are so high? What keeps you coming back to the dance floor? Is the reason so many people claim "addiction" to tango because only the most dogged stick with it in the long run?