Sydneytango milongas
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How to attract guys.

OK so the point of this post is that I see that there is a chronic shortage of leaders at most milongas and practicas and lessons in Sydney. The early closing of the BASH registrations except to leaders (which I applaud) illustrates this well. And yeah, when I talk about leaders, I’m really talking about Men.

I think the Sydney tango community has to do two things

a)    Attract more men to tango events
b)    Attract more men (and particularly younger men) into learning tango in the first place

So what can be done?

Is it simply an economic thing? Would followers have an equity problem if, with availability of a discounted entry price to men, more men turned up to more events? What do organisers think about this? I’m not for a moment suggesting that anyone shirks an entry fee, and there are discounts, yes, for synergy members. But if more men are going to go to more milongas a week, there is going to be a cost implication.

Conversely, if the gender imbalance remains the way it is, there will be more and more followers sitting patiently at milongas waiting for maybe just one tanda in a whole night. How is that going to encourage followers to stick it out? Numbers are just not going to grow. Followers don't bother going to lessons where the gender imbalance is too wide. And it doesn't take much to throw out the balance.

As far as attracting more men into tango, we know there is a very steep learning curve for leaders, and unless followers/partners are very patient, it can be quite disheartening until one’s two left feet are under control. Many would-be leaders just give up. This could be helped with more lessons, more frequently, but again, surely there’s an economic issue here.

I guess I’m wondering how much the “market forces” have an impact on gender balance, and how much the community can manipulate market forces to drive up male attendance.

Perhaps you don't think there's a problem?

What do you think?

- Lurch

Re: How to attract guys.
Yes, there is a problem of male shortage and it is not confined to Argentine tango but to other formats of partnered dance. To change the situation, one needs to look at a wider and more difficult solution - change the attitude in our culture towards dance. No, I have no quick and easy solution. Just saying. 
The BASH tango weekend event, in which I play a very humble role in coordinating the free workshops and non-tango activities, offers free tango lessons to local beginners in the Southern Highland region. I'm expecting a good turnout of local beginners, and I expect the local women to bring their men along and vice versa. 
Perhaps in a similar vein, more Sydney milongas should include free lessons like many milongas used to do in the past. There is better equity in making such enticements available to both men and women rather than offering discounts to men. Women have always been serving the tango community at milongas by their presence in numbers alone, not to mention their tolerance of less than satisfactory partnering at expensive festival workshops and seminars. Let's not forget that women attract men. If the women don't come to tango, there will be even fewer men there. Or maybe, maybe, let's organise a BASH-like weekend in the Sydney surrounds for tangueros and offer free lessons to beginners. Just saying.

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