Outside of role balanced festivals and such (which is becoming a big norm), there is usually a big disparity of roles and gender in almost all tango communities. So the big question is, how can you get more men to dance tango? How do you grow your Tango Community? Well, there are solutions, both passive and active on how to do so!
The biggest complaint is not enough people but what do people do to try and help with this? The best thing is to encourage people, mention how it’s an attractive quality is how to dance, and specifically the dance you want (in this case), Tango! You need to encourage people to join, and especially if you are going to be at the classes, practicas, milongas, etc!
Encouragement is good, inviting non-dancers to tango events you’re going to is GREAT, and especially be willing to dance when you’re out with a group of people, even in non-tango events where there is music. Mention to your friends that it’d be fun to dance while you’re out with groups, out with dates, wine tasting, and more.
Does this seem aggressive? Yes it does, but I myself and many people I know got into Tango thanks to another person inviting, and joining/attending with the person that was invited. You can’t just invite someone once or twice and expect them to stay, you need to encourage them to go, and join them, give them re-enforcement, and question them why they miss a class where you were at.
Holding those responsible for attending and especially if you were there hoping they would be to, would give people a sense that they are wanted.
It’s tough to go to a party or group event/activity if you don’t know anyone, especially if you don’t know the skill/topic that is being taught/discussed! And it takes time to learn and branch out with new people!
So I’m saying, EVERYONE needs to encourage new people, friends, acquaintances, get to know them, and invite while also attending events! If your balance is off, it’s especially true for those of the opposite role to push new people, and attend with them! This doesn’t mean everyone shouldn’t always be doing this, if you want your community to grow everyone must!
This is what separates Tango from Swing, or Salsa in my community from observation. I hear about all my swing and salsa friends always talking about it an encouraging more people to join them and constantly willing to branch out and invite new people, and dance everywhere! I’ve seen their communities grow much faster and starting to flourish, but the Tango community seems to be stagnant.
I’m guilty of not encouraging enough, but it is what I’m striving to accomplish more to help grow this community, and help balance out the roles. Being someone who does Tango organizing, Tango DJing, Tango teaching, it’s hard to also be even more involved, but it’s something that needs to be done!
Advertise & Be Visible!
When it comes to Tango events, how do you know what is happening where? Usually the music is quieter, in venues that are more elegant and low key, and it seems like a quiet party. What about other dances? There is usually loud music, fliers all over, signs out front, and more to catch attention and the space they aren’t as picky. There are challenges between them, but one thing Tango needs is more visibility!
How often to you see fliers at locations for a Tango event? How about signs out front that is easy to read? Ever see random people dancing Tango on the street, in a restaurant, at a music event that isn’t Tango focused? RARELY! But i see people try to swing dance or salsa where ever there is live music, signs on the sidewalk for their events and more. So we all need to do the same! Tango isn’t just something you dance at a private event, a Milonga is a party, so any party can be your own Milonga!
What can you do? You need to see how you can make Tango more visible, for events, and in public, that you can do. Do you have fliers at the spaces advertising anything ahead of time? No, then see who can design something and get things printed and hung around! Is there a sign on the door saying “Tango Tonight” or something similar? Maybe there should be one, what would it take to get one designed and printed on something re-usable each event?
Maybe you need a neon sign out on the sidewalk! But those are expensive! Look into maybe making a chalkboard sign, and then drilling EL-Wire into it for lettering so people can read/see it from afar! Might require a bit extra effort, but there are creative people who can help make this happen! The more visibility there is, the better you can to passively show Tango is a thing! Then as you encourage and can bring people into the community it can grow and is visible!
Tango is tough, and requires accountability & encouragement to get new people to attend; especially, to have people stick with it! You also need to make it easy to identify and find and welcoming! But you can’t just do these things once, you need to be persistent as well! Keep dancing, contact those who missed out, mention tango dancing to friends and couples, get the word out!
I’ve read people saying classes are tough, things are taught the right way, norms aren’t followed, music needs to be more predictable, and many other little things that might get people to stick with Tango. But those are the small things that wont influence new dancers getting into the community as much as someone that they feel comfortable going with. Having a friend and someone you know attending and pushing you to go with them influences your comfort. Re-enforcing that you’re improving and getting feedback on improving, giving someone the feeling of accomplishment, is a much better driving factor to staying with it. It is a commitment on both them, and yourself, and it’s almost 2 month commitment for both of you before you can really stop holding each others hands. Might be a little less or more depending on the amount you go out dancing, but if you want to grow, you need to keep it up.
Encourage and commit, and making Tango more visible and accessible will go a longer way to growing a community and getting the dancers you want involved than anything else… except maybe properly having classes and stuff to attend, you need those first!