Tango Topics will close on December 31st, 2020.
After that, the site will go dark, and ALL of its content that has been developed will disappear in short order right after that.
To be clear: What will happen to Tango Topics ? It’s going off-line, for good, no exceptions on Dec 31st at 12:01.
What will happen to all of the content I’ve built over the last 5 years ? It will get stored on a hard drive and it will not see the light of day after that.
What about all the content aside from the videos ? I will retain a working copy of the site, as well as a copy in HTML format but it will get deleted.
Personally ? You may wonder what’s going to happen to me and why am I leaving Tango and why am I giving up Tango Topics ?
Read on: A lot of things have happened and/or been going on for the last year or three and I’ve reached my point of “DONE”.
1.) I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say as far as Tango is concerned.
2.) I feel spent and worn out.
3.) I feel wholly unappreciated for what I have brought to the table.
4.) I feel like no one wants to hear what I have to say.
5.) I constantly see that most people only want steps, patterns, and figures and they don’t want to understand what they’re doing and why.
Over the years I have gotten a lot of feedback that I’m too wordy, or that I am too expensive, or that Tango Topics is too expensive, or I’m too harsh as a teacher, or that I’m inflexible as a teacher. I have taken all that feedback, modified my behavior, my teaching practices, the body of work that I’ve created to reflect all of that. I have lowered prices, I have changed the content to be more appealing. I have dropped the word count unless you really want to read it. I have made things more accessible. And still it’s not enough. At some point you have to look at the writing on the wall and realize it’s not what people are saying, it’s YOU. I realize that no one wants me around, no one wants to hear what I have say, and that’s been never more clear than the feedback that I’ve gotten during the pandemic in the form of watching the free videos I’ve placed on youtube. Or I should say the LACK of views. The view counts have been abysmal, and what’s worse if you dig into the metrics you see that most people watch for about 5 minutes and then they turn off. That tells you something. It’s told me no one wants what I have to say. Done.
Part of the reason I started Tango Topics was a direct response to the fact that I wasn’t getting hired to teach, if ever. Still another reason I started Tango Topics was to get my ideas on tango out to a greater populace than just my local dancers of wherever I was at the time. I was on the road more often than in a specific place, and it made sense to start creating content for students to read, remind themselves of all the things that I taught them while they were in my presence than not. Still another reason was because of what I refer to as Tango Politics. There are two sides to this phrase. One side of it has to do with tango teachers and how they seem to work on the scarcity model of business. They don’t like competition and they don’t want other people taking their students away from them due to the scarcity model. Further if you as a visiting teacher don’t speak the language of push/pull/flashy/spectacle tango that gets branded as ‘social’ tango which is not social tango at all then you’re shit out of luck and you have nothing of value to teach anyone, and you shouldn’t be teaching at all. As a result, nasty things are said about you, you’re banned from milongas, and pretty much persona non-praeceptor this becomes an impenetrable wall and dark hole from which there is no escape. The other side of Tango Politics has to do with the personalities involved which I get into below.
In the end the fact is that the tangotopics project is making very little money, very little. It costs about $2200 dollars (US) a year to keep this site online, and the subscription fees don’t cover that, and over the last 5 years those subscriptions have been falling off. I can not continue to invest more money when no one wants to hear what I have to say. The reality is that I can’t sustain to give this stuff away for free and not make money at it. I need to eat, I have bills to pay, and I want to go do other things. I can’t live like that anymore. I can not continue to do something that no one wants to hear, and not make any money. At some point you have to look at the handwriting on the wall and move on. I am moving on.
On the flip side through Tango Topics I have had loads of notoriety. I have met some interesting people. However, sometimes that notoriety isn’t good sometimes and it’s very damaging to me personally, and mostly I’m not getting the kinds of interest that I wanted, read that as NOT getting hired to go and teach somewhere!
And finally, I have spent most of my mental energy thinking about, dreaming about tango, eating, starving, farting, shitting, pissing, breathing, bleeding, not sleeping, living out of my car for tango (for 2 years at the beginning). Enough! After 15 years, nearly 20 hrs a day…enough is enough. I’d like to have a home, a bed, a regular life, and a nice experience where tango never enters the conversation. So to sum it all up, I am tired of being poor, homeless, wandering from place to place because I’m not making enough money to live in one place. I need to do something else for these last few years of my life, and that something else is not tango.
That’s why I’m giving up on teaching anyone anything about dancing tango and what I’ve learned as well as Tango Topics.
Ok, so why give up social dancing as a whole ? The social reasons are very plentiful but below are two of the more prominent ones:
The dances that we can experience are loads of fun, but those dances that are fun, and transcendental are fewer and fewer for a wide variety of reasons. The reality is that the better that you get, there are fewer and fewer partners to play with that get what you’re on about. This is a cold hard fact.
Then there’s the other side of personality “Tango Politics” which is: who you talk to, who you don’t talk to, who you dance with, who you don’t dance with, where you sit, if you go to a milonga, if you go out social dancing….if you don’t support an event or a class or workshop….. Jesus, it’s like effing high school out there and I absolutely HATED high school, so why on earth would I want to continue to subject myself to this stuff ? The fact is that I don’t.
The reality is that Tango is socially awkward unless you’re in the in-crowd. If you’re on the inside, then everything is love and wonderful and people are fabulous and generous and amazing and, and, and, and, and. And if you’re not, then suffice it said, it’s offputting, disenfranchising, and disheartening. Here’s a good example: You walk into the Milonga. You see people that you’ve danced with before, and you say “hello” to them and they walk by without acknowledging your presence. You’re persona non-grata. It’s like you don’t exist. And then once you put your shoes on you basically become a wall fixture for 90% of the evening. Do that enough times and you’ll begin to question your sanity as to why you’re continuing to engage in this environment. I’ve seen all of that happen and I’ve been party to it on both sides of it. It’s awful. Now couple that with the fact that most people hang, pull, and push. Their embrace is compressive and forceful, they lag, they’re slow to respond, they wander all over the floor, and have no understanding of what they’re doing socially or why. They want to live in the fantasy land that what they’re doing is perfectly fine when it’s not. They want to believe that it’s everyone else and not them. It’s easier to blame than to make the determination that there might be something wrong with them. Now put all of that together and what you’re left with a less than positive deluded experience of reality.
If there was fun in this, I don’t remember it now.
Which leads me to the nagging feeling that I have been having for a long while – What In the ACTUAL Fuck am I doing here ? And that’s when it hit me, I don’t have to be here, I am choosing to be here. I am choosing to stay in a hostile environment where I am not appreciated for what I bring to the table, struggling to find customers, and struggling to find success. Hmmm, I have a choice, either continue to struggle or not. I choose ‘not’. Yes there will always be struggle in anything I do however if I have the choice not to struggle or to struggle and do something that I love. I choose to go elsewhere and find happiness and fulfillment doing something that doesn’t cause so much personal and professsional strife.
You’re probably wondering why not take a break ? Right ? A break is not going to do it for me. I need to stop. It’s not making me happy. I am not generating my own personal happiness anymore with regards to tango. I am frustrated at the point of after action. I am not pleased with the social aspects and the level of rudeness. I’m not making any money and I need to make money.
So that’s it that why Tango Topics will go dark in short order, and why I am giving up Tango as a whole.
Thanks for reading.