The need for a charter

The Argentinean Tango community [in France] has in recent years been the subject of two strong aggressions:

  • in 1997 the French Association of Master Dancers has attempted to take full control of the teaching of Argentine Tango.
  • In 2008 a study sponsored by the French Department of Culture was conducted concerning the perceived need to implement a national certification program of world popular dances in which group Argentine Tango was included.

In both cases , intense reflections resulted in the same set of inquiries:

  • What makes tango a dance like no other?
  • How can the Argentine Tango community ‘s identity be recognized and be heard by community organizations and in particular by the French Department of Culture?

Archives surrounding the 1997 interactions are lost; the 2008 exchanges however have been recorded on various forums and on the French Argentine Tango Diploma website; 3 main aspects are worth noting:

  • a need exists to “identify” a tanguera community while avoiding typical traps of representative systems, which are not adapted to the tango practice which is always either an art,  a culture or both , but never a simple leisure activity: this concept was at the origin of this charter
  • a need to own its own system of knowledge transfer; the DOC initiative had as a secondary effect to stimulate here and there a number of initiatives, reflections and propositions concerning the teaching of Tango. In 1997 the charter’s goals was to erase the disputes based on the diversity of styles in tango ; the 2008 charter has the difficult mission of maintaining the transmission of tango on the basis of personal and cultural values, thus resisting the authoritarian temptation of “certified” solutions.
  • The need to reflect on significance of the Association status. We can safely estimate that 90% of players in the Argentine Tango [in France] are non for profit associations (comparable to 501 (3) c in the US) . These in France enjoy a status which is totally compatible for social activities limited in time, such as Argentine tango – with a few thousand practitioners in France. The art itself however is subject to diverse interpretations as soon as it leaves the intimate context of the community. Setting up a network allowing the sharing of the Tango experience in all its forms, can ONLY lean on the existing embryo of a community feeling: this is the third aim of the charter

The development of Tango in the last few years [in France] is quite pleasing to those with more than 5 years of dance practice; nevertheless such a fast growth in interest does not eliminate the recognized slow learning curve of this art; it paves the way for a possible erosion of the quality of the practice of Tango. To maintain the social diversity among practitioners, is an important stake of the Charter.