Wicked Problems in Tango

In our Context Circle meeting on Sunday, we pondered what are the “wicked problems” we face in the tango community?

The purpose of this thread is to crowdsource these.

I may not totally be understanding the concept yet, but here are a few thorny and complicated questions that I think are worthy of deliberate and sustained investigation.

What ideas do you have?

  • How might we design practicas to foster deeper exploration?
  • In the absence of milongas and competition, what are the sources of motivation to develop your tango?
  • What are the ingredients of safer tango communities?
  • How can we make tango’s benefits available to the next generation?
  • How can we heal the distance/divide between musicians and dancers?
  • What kinds of structures and formats productively engage/empower more experienced dancers in helping beginning dancers grow and improve?
  • What is the role of video in tango learning?
  • How can we better include [women, older women, Black people, those with a history of trauma, youth] in our community experiences?
  • How do we invite dancers to participate in and cocreate their community (instead of consumption mindset, complaining, entitlement, withdrawal)?

cc @mara @Tracey @Korey @daniel @daniela @avikbasu @davidp @Terez @carolanne @Thorsten


A few others came up in my 1:1 with Korey this week:

What are the images we would use to accurately depict tango to newcomers? Do the images you see of tango reflect your lived experience?

What are the adjectives you use to describe the legacy of tango’s history and culture?
(We used badassery, underground, counter-culture, gritty)

What are we learning about healthy and unhealthy sexual desire through tango?

How will you know when your relationship with tango has come to an end?


Here are some more ideas that came up as I was working on some interview questions:

  1. What role do can tango elders best play in the lives of younger people? What are the obstacles to this? What types of social architecture supports this?
  2. What are the biggest/deepest/most profound problems/challenges/opportunities in tango that the next generation needs to solve/address?
  3. What is the role of friendship in tango? (e.g., tango learning, increasing quality/skill/excellence, growing community, social dancing) In what ways is forming friendship facilitated, or disrupted, by the way we currently “do” tango?