Monday 28 March 2016

Enquette: Gender and Role Balance at Tango Events

In the last 10 years, many events with balanced numbers of men/women or leaders/followers have been created: Marathons, Festivalitos and Encuentros Milongueros and private events.
This has positive results (everyone present gets to dance more) and negative consequences (long waiting lists for followers).

As a tango organiser who has been promoting this concept, I want to evaluate the current situation and initiate discussions about alternative concepts - if there are any. 

Please note that I am aiming to discuss the topic "gender/role balance at events" and not the pros and contras of pre-registration events as such. So if you just want to rant about supposedly elitist or inviation-only events, my questionnaire is not meant for you.

This questionnaire will be open until June, 5 2016. I am planning the publication of the results in September.

Thank you for 
taking you time and participating here.


Anja said...

Dear Melina, thank you for posting this topic at your blog. A balance of male leaders and female followers at festivalitos, milonguero festivals etc. bring a nice atmosphere to the tango event. It is an uplifting feeling to be part of the event if you are able to get the admission for participation. It is also making you fall to the ground if you try again and again to attend the same type of events but never seem to get a chance to get in. It would be much more nice to present a see through politic for registration, such as: "only registration as couples"; "there will be a waiting list for single registration both leaders and followers," (it would be fair to make a waiting list for single leaders too, or to make them registre earlier, there could be a fixed date for single registration, then one could avoid the fruitless waiting and make the frustraion for not attending less; My question to you: "How many new dancers do you accept to your arrangements?" "How do you select between leaders/followers you do not know, when deciding who should attend your events?", "How do you assure to get "the right*" people into your events?" By rediscovering this, maybe new leaders could enter the milieu.
*by the right people I mean dancers who respect your terms for obtaining a nice event; códigos.
Warm wishes
Anja Bobzin Mathiesen

Melina Sedo said...

Dear Anja,

thanks for the comments. Actually you should have made this remarks in the questionnaire. Did you fill it out?

As for your questions:
1. New dancers: Depends on the events. Even at our FCA (which is is a closed event only for people whom we know) will be at least around 10-20% new dancers every year. But in this special case (being a private Festivalito CON AMIGOS) it will be new people whom WE have PERSONALLY got to know during the year before. Very rarely someone gets in as a partner of someone else who was invited.
2. We KNOW a lot of people, as we travel to new places all the time. So the chance is very high, that we will know up to 99% of the people who apply, depending on the sort of the event. As I said: for the FCA, we only invite people that we know personally. If we don't know someone who applies to another event (like Pequeña), we spend a lot of time, trying to find out, if this person will fit into the fold: asking other friends, asking them personally where they usually dance or about their general ideas. Sometimes, we might not admit this person right away, but put him/her on the invitation list for the next year, so that we have a chance to get to know him/her during the year. We travel so much, there is mostly the chance for that.

In general: there are NEW dancers (leaders AND followers) at EVERY of our events, many of them people, who have not ever visited a milonguero event ever before. But it will always be people whom we know to be good social dancers. And it depends on how you define NEW.

For example: our newest event - Pequeña - was uniquely created for the purpose of integrating NEW people into the fold and bring them together with experienced Milongueros. There will at least be 40% NEW dancers, some of them also (relative) beginners. So, in this case, these are people who are NEW at Milonguero events and/or relatively NEW to tango and/or NEW at one of OUR events...

As for filling up the events:
We usually fill out any event to 70-85% with couples. The rest is reserved for single leaders/followers, depending on how much registered in the first place. It usually takes a little longer to "fill up" the free leaders places, but this is also done in a couple of days. From there on, there will be a waiting list for leaders, followers and couples. But the waiting list for followers is usually much longer and often, leaders cancel on short notice. Then we frantically have to search for new leaders. This won't happen at Pequeña though, because there our leader's waiting list is now very long as well. :-)

Oh, and just to inform you: we overbook leaders slightly, as it is our perception, that leaders actually are LESS willing/capable of dancing than followers. We believe the saying that followers are more easily tired because of their high heels to be a myth. Most likely created by men, who just want to have more choice. ;-) Go at any encuentro and you'll see 100% of the followers sitting around the dance floor ready to dance. But at least 20% of the men will not be there, as they are standing at the bar, drinking, smoking, chatting... or they are not even there because they decided to go to bed. So: go figure! ;-)

All questions answered?