Sunday 7 November 2010

Tango and the Internet Umpire for beginners

Argentine Tango is not standardised. It has a long, complicated history over a hundred years and at least three continents. There is wide variation in details of technique. There is wide variation in look-and-feel. There is wide variation in methods of learning and teaching. There is tremendous variation in quality.

There is no commercial system for teaching tango. There is no coaching qualification. There are no labeling rules. There are a few brand names knocking about, which do the mundane and mildly useful job that brand names do, as far as that goes, but that isn't very far.

Some people are a lot more fun to dance with than others, and if you get more skilful yourself, and especially if your musical ear gets better, the way that changes your experience of other people's dance and your own is complex and sometimes surprising and not always straightfoward or predictable.

There is quite a lot of information available on the web to help you assess what it all means. Some of it's true and some of it's false. Some of self-serving, some of it's wise, some of it's silly, some of it's mistaken, some of it's recycled half-understood platitudes, some of it's rumour, some of it's funny, some of it's useful and some of it's made up. And, obviously, if you understand what the internet is, are literate and have a trace of common sense, you already know all of that.

I don't always, or even usually, feel that I know which is which. I just have current working hypotheses and theories (some strong, some weak), and I try not to make stuff up. What I want to say is this:

No matter what you attempt or in what order, you will find someone on the internet to tell you you're doing it wrong. The only umpire of such sports is you.

Enjoy the journey.

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