Since that time, I have only strengthened my opinion and resolve that tango dancing is no more about competition then sharing a feeling, or an emotion, or a conversation, or a sexual relationship with another person is. (Can you imagine, for instance, having a competition sex festival) Now, when getting ready to leave for a tango festival in some other city and a non-tanguero says something like, “Oh, are you going to compete?” I answer, “Look, competition dance makes about as much sense as competition sex–it’s not about competition. It’s about relating and connecting with another person.”
At this point some of you will argue that there is, and always has been competition tango in Buenos Aires. Yes, that’s partly true. There was some competition during the “golden age” of tango (1930-50’s), and again in the new millennium now that all the tourists are there to see it. But my guess is that there wasn’t much in between those two times. Furthermore, competition is not what sustained the passion and love for tango that made it endure during the down time before it’s resurgence. And competition is certainly not the driving force that makes tango thrive today in the same way competition sustains ballroom dancing. In my opinion, competition has turned ballroom dancing into a perverted and weird parody of itself–I only hope this doesn’t happen to tango.
Finally to rest my case, I have a little test. I ask everyone I meet from all over the tango world if they know who Paul Bottomer is. Not one person so far has known him. Well, for your information he is the “Four times undefeated World and European [Argentine] Tango Supreme Champion and World Cup winner“. And if you don’t believe me, just check his web site. But what relevance is Paul to the tango world? Is he, or was he really the best in the world? Was he, or is he even remotely as good as some of the great tangueros that you and I both know? Has any one of us ever seen him out dancing and enjoying himself at a milonga?
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