Thursday 1 July 2021

Where do we go from here?

I have not written for a long time, but even those who do not follow me on Facebook can imagine what it has been like in the past 15 months: Tango has basically collapsed and apart from a few months last summer and early autumn, we were not allowed to work at all. These restrictions have taken their toll and I am in a quite bad condition - physically and mentally. 

Still, 2020 was manageable:

Our Indiegogo campaign last June went well and we sold a lot of digital content or vouchers for classes. Some friends even made donations - which we did not ask for, but that were welcome nevertheless. Your help added up to more than double of what we received from our government in 2020. This was is a wonderful sign of solidarity and we are super grateful.

Our financial situation last year was also aided by the fact, that many events and classes had been payed in advance. When the lockdown started, most participants agreed to re-schedule and let us hold onto their money. Unfortunately, many of those classes and events had to be delayed much longer than anticipated and some have still not taken place. 

But as restrictions were lifted a bit in May, we were now able to work-off a few of our teaching obligations:

  • Bootcamp - finished after 15 months
  • Tango-Teacher-Training - finished after 1 year
  • Mini Vals Seminar - finished after 8 months
  • Local courses - to be finished next week

The Damocle’s sword of refunds has now become a little less threatening and I am very relieved.

There nevertheless still remain: 

  • Many vouchers for privates and other classes bought in our Indiegogo campaign
  • Pequeña that was re-re-scheduled for June 2022. With all costs (djs, venue…) still awaiting us.
  • Quite a few local dancers who have not yet completed their classes from 2020 and who will hopefully do so in autumn.

But in most German regions, regulations are still strict and apart from small classes for tested and vaccinated dancers, nothing is possible. No real milongas, no events… Travelling to other countries is still difficult as well and organisers are not yet inviting us for workshops. And even when they do: it takes many months - up to a year - from scheduling a weekend until earning a salary!

So, given that there will be very few opportunities to generate new income in 2021, our car died and that there are still some studio renovations to be finished, this year remains difficult. Much more than 2020.

We will nevertheless not start a new funding-campaign, as some of our friends suggested. 

It is now the responsibility of the governments to give us back our lives and livelihoods. We have complied to all regulations and the incidence rate in Germany has dropped to 5,1. But now the hysteria is raging again and new lockdowns are discussed for autumn and winter. Despite the fact that 80% of the population (including me) will have had their vaccinations by the end of summer. This makes planning for the nearer future almost impossible. 

I also observe that many people have retreated from tango. After 1,5 years of abstinence, they have acquired new interests and are not finishing courses or signing up for new ones. Others might never overcome their fear of the virus. The tango community has shrunk to a few passionate survivors and classes fill up even worse than 2020 when there were no vaccines and no antigene-tests. Who knows how many years it will take to re-build all this!

In any case: If we are not given back our right to earn a living soon, I do not know, whether we will survive as tango professionals. Detlef is more optimistic than I am, so let us hope that he is right. 

In the meanwhile, I have taken up an exciting and challenging new work, writing a roleplaying campaign set in 15th century Florence and Dante’s afterworlds. You can read everything about it here.

If you want to help me and Detlef, please feel free to buy our digital content, sign up for our classes and tango-holidays and invite us for workshops in your community. We are not scared of travelling.