Neoliberal Tango

Most of us are familiar with deskilling in manufacturing. It means designing the production line so that each worker does only one small job over and over, and it’s easy to train anyone to do that one thing. This increases flexibility and power for the company while decreasing the meaning, opportunities for development, and power of workers. Deskilling also applies to retail, where workers are no longer experts on what they are selling, and do not provide personal service to their customers, but just stock shelves and ring cash registers. I observe that the deskilling of manufacturing and retail depend on the deskilling of the customer, who is no longer able to assess quality of products, nor repair them.

Tango is not a place for aggression

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The video proclaimed “if you dare to move your legs (or to enjoy the movement of your lady’s legs) you deserve to be restrained and to suffer.” And it had the intended effect which was to intimidate even the best dancers in the Wellington community from executing certain movements.



Berlin’s venerable dance-hall, Clärchens Ballhaus, is endangered. The building is protected, but the activities which fix it in the fading constellation of Berlin Bohemianism, are not.

What is the Evil Sequence?

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I first observed and wrote about the Evil Sequence in 2016. Now I hope to shine some sunshine on it, and hope we can grow some more beautiful things with new awareness.

Near Death Experience

I sit in vigil at my beloved’s bedside, guarding his corpus against the authorities who seem to be practicing careless amputation (“ganchos aren’t tango”), bizarre bloodletting (“voleos aren’t elegant”), justified with dishonest claims about tradition. I stay awake to intercept the doping administered by ill-trained volunteers who appear in the night, zombies muttering insipid reactionary truisms ingrained by tango’s Fox Newscasters…

Ignorantia juris non excusat

traffic stop cop

Repetitive marks disrespect the genre and our community. We need to respect our inheritance by keeping it alive. And we need to grow our community by challenging our partners to concentrate and to increase their knowledge and skills.



The message of elegance is exclusive, repetitive, and actually not that interesting. People who have musicality, emotion, and improvisational intelligence to share with us, but who may not see themselves in suits, heels, or extreme postures are driven away by these cliché images which indeed are only one of many facets of Argentine Tango.

Carlos Libedinsky’s Tango

“I started to play and compose because I felt the traditional tango could coexist with the sound of our times. I was interested in Tom Waits, Massive Attack, Air. A group of friends encouraged me…it was not only me who wanted new music.”

No more Mastery


Instead of going to a milonga as a dancer, for the first time I just went out as a writer. In a weird affirmation, someone came to sit and talk to me about writing. I also danced. He was a a visitor, attractive, in town for one of the marathonic events, and was recommended by […]

The Pleasure Principle

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Dancers who violate the ronda, execute moves unsafely, or have difficulty dancing on music recorded after 1950 are simply unskilled, and ideology is no protection from the resultant problems.



So I learn that my worst fears are true … The whole evening is structured around the proclivities of untrained girls. And the men who want to dance with them.

Prayer for Virtuosity


Tonight I have 80 square cm of paper with me, and it’s more precious to me than any man here. I am trying to figure out what to I’m seeing, staring at it, praying my desire will be kindled, but I cannot want any of these dancers.

No crash trance


People attending this event have a genuine interest in tango being creative. To the extent that couples on the floor emerged from the depths to pay attention to one another, they seemed to feel enriched by others’ movements. Here, if you do something extreme, people smile at you.

The hostile period


If this were a serious project, I would be able to say “You need to move your arm so I can do my job here. Thank you. Ok let’s go rock the house.”

The evil sequence

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These days in Berlin 50% of Marks do this sequence within 5 seconds that my eye lands on them. (I spent a couple of weeks sitting with my stopwatch in the milonga checking my perceptions.) Another 35% do it under 30 seconds. That leaves just 15% of the dancers in the milonga who are not doing this sequence ad nauseum… Not very many of the 15% are advanced dancers who are doing something else. When you look at the dance floor at any milonga, you see this sequence constantly, in dancers of all levels except rank beginners.

Fundamentalism Embodied: I try it, as a Mark.

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Day Four of the tango festival. I’ve had it with being Diva Freak. I can only keep it up for so long without a single person telling me they’re grateful to see some freedom and creativity on the dance floor. I lock into close embrace, and I stop dancing with men. Because every man who marks me […]

Tango Fundamentalism

real miniskirt

The New Victorian boys like to say that they don’t need a big vocabulary because it’s all about the music and connection with the partner. And those dancers who do still use the entire tango repertoire are accused of not caring about connection and emotion in the dance. “The music is leading,” say the New Victorians, one of several truisms by which the New Victorians glorify simplistic dancing. None of these truisms necessitate eliminating movements.

Follow the music, and other evasive truisms


I’m having conversations with people about this restricted “marathon-style” dancing. There are several standard explanations,  all of which are truisms,  applicable to All tango,  and,  as I’ve pointed out before,  ultimately matters of level,  not style. “What’s important is the connection.” “it’s about the music” It’s important to be safe and respect the line of […]

The uninvited.

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We didn’t do it on purpose. A2 and B2 wanted to get together again and we settled on Thursday.  They suggested organising a group to go to to Tangoloft. But when we checked it wasn’t listed.  So we put the word out to go to another one,  unknown,  inconvenient,  and  brief.  Then B2 called […]

And then it’s over

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Tangotourist in Europe, Summer 2014 An abrupt ending to an endless weekend. I can’t tell if I liked it or not. But I’m sad it’s over. There were some people I am glad to have met. We were all languishing in the abundance waiting for it to warm up, tying to get it there, and […]

Milonga Popular

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 A major benefit of dancing tango is walking home through cities quiet for dawn. Even if the milonga was uninspiring. Milonga Popular is run by the hopelessly hip youngsters, the ones still seeking satisfaction in righteousness. Actually not quite. This milonga reminded me of the first El Yeite, which later […]

I don’t think that’s style…

About Tango Styles

Here we go again. My third post on style. The first one is here, it’s meant to calm new people. The second one is here, it’s a bit of a vent. I’m not being difficult.  I really don’t get it. People in Australia are constantly saying to me “Eventually I want to learn all the styles, but for […]

Tango bigotry

Tango Bigotry

Why are some of us so intent on putting down others’ way of dancing? While encouraging entrants to celebrate their love of tango and have fun, the upcoming Australian Tango Dance Challenge “forbids” ganchos and lifting the legs (they must have meant to say feet) “above the knees.” Why would a tango competition forbid moves […]

What’s in a style?

breakfast at tiffanys

People talk A LOT about different styles of Argentine Tango. They talk about what looks good, what’s “authentic“, which moves shouldn’t be done while dancing socially… I’ve written before that I think style is something you create on an individual level, from your choice in shoes to the sassy way you tilt your head when […]