A gentleman wrote to me about this photograph (taken by me standing on a chair) of dancing couples at about midnight on a Friday night in Devon:
“What we loved about the line of dance photo was the beauty of men collectively dancing together,and fair play triumphing. So suitable for most Englishmen, when they're given the option.”
I think 'fair play' is exactly the right notion for tango. It is play - it is not art. It can, optionally, be sort of competitive, when people feel like it, and that's totally fine and all part of the fun and satisfaction. But when it comes down to it, it's play, and not playing fair doesn't make you a creative genius, it makes you a sociopath, or at least a pillock. It makes you, in short, a cheat, and not fun to play with. You play as well as you can, and if it's better than someone else, everyone respects that. But you play fair.
The above rather lovely line of dance is exactly what you would expect British dancers to do, given the choice, if they just behaved normally and made tango their own, something they do for fun in their own warm and fuzzy way for their own reasons, and might do rather well if they put some work in - instead of treating it as some exotic bullshit that isn't supposed to make sense.
My correspondent - who is visible somewhere in the photo, but I don't know where as I don't know him by sight - described this large-scale cooperative dancefloor as 'particularly moving', and added:
As the under-13 street cricket club in my car park say, "You got to do it properly! If you don't do it properly, it's Not Out!"“I think you might be surprised how strongly some of our men feel about this. They don't like the men who try subtly to cheat the system.”