Supporting milonga organisers and schools during the coronavirus suspension


One of the four questions I posed last time was this:

What measures can we take to ensure schools, teachers and milongas survive that long? […] I personally would be willing to continue to pay for cancelled classes and milongas, in order to ensure their survival. I’ve heard some others say the same thing. Are enough of us of the same view?

I’m delighted to say the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ …

I can’t even count the number of discussions I’ve had with people about this over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and elsewhere. Clearly there are many tanguer@s who had this same desire.

There is now a Facebook group designed to make this a reality: Where do you NOT dance tango in London tonight?

The idea is this. We’ve encouraged organisers to create fundraising pages. Then, for each day that we would have gone to a particular milonga, we donate the normal entrance fee (or more or less, as we choose) to that organiser.

The group has a pinned post with daily milonga listings and fundraising links. At the time of writing, there are only links for three milongas, but we are awaiting details from other organisers, so hopefully there will be more very soon.

In this way, organisers continue to cover their expenses (most room bookings are long-term ones, with no refunds when events don’t go ahead), and maintain an income.

This is a win-win. We get to support the people who make dancing in London possible, and we also ensure their survival so they are still here when dancing is able to resume.

A similar approach can be taken with classes. Some schools are arranging technique-only classes, with no physical contact, while others are holding online classes. Supporting these will ensure we don’t get too rusty, and that teachers maintain an income.

Maintaining some semblance of dance

This is the very definition of a First World Problem in coronavirus times, but getting out of practice at tango is a little worrying! At 16 months in, it still all feels so very fragile …

I worried when I had flu some time ago and wasn’t able to dance for a fortnight. That was fine, but the prospect of not being able to dance for perhaps two months or more is something else entirely.

Steph usually only dances with me about once a month. We’re at such different stages. But she says she will dance with me more during the tango famine, so we’ll see!

There has been discussion about some small-scale informal dancing. Whether this looks responsible or nor will depend on how things unfold over the next couple of weeks or so. Similarly, it’s not clear yet whether private lessons will be appropriate. So much of this stuff is wait-and-see.

But one things we can do in the meantime is give back to those who have given us so much, and ensure they are still around when we need them after the crisis is over.

Image: Shutterstock

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