As 1999 gets underway, we pause for a moment to contemplate the incredible growth of the Argentine tango in the United States. More and more tango cities continue to offer opportunities to learn, practice and enjoy the dance, its music and its nuances. Tango awareness of its existence has become more mainstream.
To the prestigious run of Forever Tango all over the country, including a record breaking season on Broadway, there is now the addition of spin offs and new propositions that cover the traditional and the modern. This is a well deserved recognition and quite an accomplishment for a social dance that less than fifteen years ago was doomed to die for lack of interest.
The outlook for 1999 is impressive. Forever Tango returns to San Francisco in March. A new and provocative dance concert called Tangoing has already gotten rave reviews in Los Angeles, because of the original and contemporaneous approach taken by a group of Argentine professionals residing in the US. San Francisco will have both shows playing a few blocks away from each other in April. As these are business propositions, those in the know trust that the city is ready for lots of tango excitement and they are betting their investment dollars to see that their returns are profitable.
Another business that is booming is the Tango Week. It appears that this will be a banner year for Argentine tango professionals who are being actively sought to fill in the numerous venues on the already busy Tango Week circuit. The pool of top talent in Argentina is not very deep so we expect to see a lot of new names and unfamiliar faces each with their own version of salida to cruzada. Some pundits like to say that the Tango Week is the Club Med of the tango dancer. For many, it is the once a year trek to another city to renew acquaintances, to make new friends, and to embrace other tango fellows at the milongas and classes. The more success a Tango Week has, the more tempting it is for others to try their fortune and their chance to live the dream of being the Tango King or Queen of a city. Sometimes things get nasty and across the country folks get thrown in the middle of family feuds. There is only a minority of people who actually get to see the ugliness of human pettiness and blinding selfishness that drive some tango promoters. However, most of us close our eyes, like when they play Chique near midnight at the milonga, and tune in to the music and dance, grateful that there is a place to dance, that there is somebody playing the music, and especially beholden that there is somebody to dance with.The point of it all is that we have choices and the power to make them. There are far more loving and gracious people across our tango nation than the few who try to make others feel unwelcomed or just plain miserable. To those who are in the majority, we are indebted and grateful for providing the human element of kindness and affection. And thinking of you we share our own personal joy. Jim Rendon of the Silicon Valley Metro Newspaper, set out to write about tango, and found out what we do worthy of public awareness fit to be published. This issue is therefore our way to say thank you for dancing wherever you are, and for letting us come into your life and participating in the experience.