How to encourage beginning male tangodancers to stay
  This is a text originally written to a discussion group in 2002

* Subject: Keeping the men
* From: Eero Olli
* Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 12:05:36 +0100
* Sender: Discussion of Any Aspect of the Argentine Tango <TANGO-L @MITVMA.MIT.EDU>






I have one advice for those clubs who are suffering with high dropout rate for men.

I sometimes 'adopt' a promising new female danser and try to help her find her way in the world of tango. The new followers learn a lot from dansing with good leaders, and often both parties find these danses rewarding.

But the oppisite is seldom true. The new leaders don't have the same kind of opportunity to learn from the good followers. Probably, partly because, the good followers prefer the good leaders, and partly because they do not get feedback from the good followers, if they first get a dance.

I would suggest that the followers team together to adopt the men they want to keep in the club. If several of the better female dancers adopt two men each, and give them feedback after dancing, these lucky men are likely to STAY and DEVELOPE. Unfortunately, this is a long term project... you have be willing to stick with them for a year or two to see the results.

I our club several of women have their own protages, who get a little extra attention at the milongas. I think the women have several advantages with this:
1) they have influence on who are the men that stay.
2) by participating in the 'forming' of a leader by commenting on their
dancing, they help to create the kind of leaders they want.
3) By increasing the number of OK leaders in the club, they themselves are likely to get more danses with the good leaders because the pressure on the good leaders is going to diminish.
4) By having a good suply of OK men in the clubb will make it more likely that the at least some of them has the talent and dedication to become really good.
5) Trying to explain the leaders role to a leader demands a certain amount of reflection over the role of follower, which is likely to improve their own dancing too.
6) When followers see that they are not going to get THE dance they are waiting for, they have a 'project' they can attend to, thus making it less boring to wait. (and soon perhaps there are so many men that they need not to wait).
7) By adopting a leader the followers are making themselves more visible in the club, and hopefully getting more dances and more influence in the club.

Good luck,
Eero Olli



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