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Estimating dance-scenes

Michael Cysouw
Enrico Massetti
Christian
Garrit Fleischmann


Date:    Tue, 11 Nov 1997 12:36:07 +0200
From:    Michael Cysouw
Subject: estimating dance-scenes

Enrico wrote:
>Buenos Aires has 10 million habitants, I am not aware of any market
>research that studied how many of them dance tango, but tango is part
>of their elementary school education.....

Hmmm: literally speaking it is mostly *not* part of their elementary school
education. It is though part of the local tradition, which causes most
people have some acquintance with tango: to the music, to the poetry, or to
any other part of the culture that is felt to belong to the large complex
called 'tango'.

The danceform belonging to this cultural complex is probably the lest
widely known aspect in BA. Everybody knows that it is a dance, a lot of
older people will have danced it long ago, a few of the older people still
dance it, and the last ten years a new generation of dancers is arising. My
feeling about the new dancers in BA is that they have to learn tango just
as we have to in Europe. It's not in their blood, they have to work and
practice as well.

>Just to stick to BA (these are the hard numbers I have), there are
>6.5 million
>in BA who receive cable television, and can watch "Solo Tango", the 24 hors
>tango only channel.  The average ratings are 1-2% for this channel during any
>day, which means that several tens of thousands of portenos/portenas choose
 to
>watch tango over the other 79 available cable channels at any time of the day.

I will not bother you to long with my opinion about the level of dancing on
'solo tango'. To shortcut: I think they are substituting quality with
quantity.

>Our tango community in Tampa, Florida, is about 50-80, Victor, our teacher,
>dreams of when it will reach the number of 200....

The Netherlands have about 15 milion inhabitants, in roughly the same area
as the larger urban Rio de la Plata region. There are 22 weekly practicas,
and this november there are 30 milongas, two of them with live music. Other
figures a bit more problematic, but I estimate the amount of halve-year
courses currently taught somewhere around the country about 70, with a mean
praticipation of =B115 persons. On top of that there are this november 8
special-occasion workshops. It is very hard to estimate the amount of
active dancers, let's say defined as people who dance at least once a
month, but it will be somewhere in the order 3 (meaning between 1,000 and
10,000). I don't think that the *active* dance community in Buenos Aires is
much bigger. Two danceshows about tango (although both are *not* the
traditional kind of tango-'for export'-show) made by dutch tango dancers
are currently touring the country.

And then there is of course the rest of Western Europe: Germany, Belgium,
France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Great Brittain: All these countries have
an active tango community, all within easy reach in an area not even as big
as Argentina, but much much denser inhabited. Tango is showen regularly in
the media: television documentaries, newspaper articles, magazines with
special issues about tango etc. Local teachers give low-level performances
to show tango to those people who still seem to have missed the massive
activity going on.

I hope to have convinved you that the dance community in Western Europe is
quite comparable to the Argentinean, in numbers as well as in impact. Of
course the larger cultural tango-complex does not exist here, but I doubt
whether that has any influence on the knowledgablity and proficiency of the
*dance* scene. I even suspect that because of the implicit knowledge the
larger part of the people in Buenos Aires have of tango, they will think to
know something about the dance as well without ever making some effort to
see whether they are right. They often aren't: Just take the popularity of
Ricardo and Nicole as an examplar.

bye
Michael Cysouw
Nijmegen, Holland

PS. Thanks to 'La Cadena' and his hard working editor JDvA for some of the
figures.


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Date:    Tue, 11 Nov 1997 02:07:13 UT
From:    Enrico Massetti
Subject: Re: estimating dance-scenes

Enrico wrote:
(in Buenos Aires) tango is part of their elementary school education.....

Michael wrote:
Hmmm: literally speaking it is mostly *not* part of their elementary school
education. It is though part of the local tradition, which causes most
people have some acquintance with tango: to the music, to the poetry, or to
any other part of the culture that is felt to belong to the large complex
called 'tango'.

Michael, you caught me "pushing the envelope", but I guarantee you that now
they have some (experimental) program in which they teach tango in school to
elementary school kids.
It was on the news on, guess where, "Solo Tango", it was cute to see these
8-10 years old kids doing walks and ochos with their partners!

Michael:
My feeling about the new dancers in BA is that they have to learn tango just
as we have to in Europe. It's not in their blood, they have to work and
practice as well.

Thanks God!  The Argentinean gentleman doing back ochos with me in the class
in BA was not better than I was!

Michael:
I will not bother you to long with my opinion about the level of dancing on
'solo tango'. To shortcut: I think they are substituting quality with
quantity.

Perhaps it's not so easy to fill a 24-hours format with "solo tango" when the
best dancers prefer to be paid to perform in shows, or to teach instead of
"giving away" their dancing on TV....?  I can assure you that it is much
better than the once-a-year ballroom-tango competition I can see on my US
public television station!


Michael:
(In the Netherlands) There are 22 weekly practicas, and this november there
are 30 milongas, two of them with live music. ....
It is very hard to estimate the amount of active dancers, let's say defined as
people who dance at least once a month, but it will be somewhere in the order
3 (meaning between 1,000 and
10,000).

WHOW!  When did all this start?  I've been away from the old continent for
only 15 years, but I regurarly visited, usually once every two months, and I
did not notice it was happening!

Now I just need somebody from Milan, my home town, to tell me that there is a
lot of tango also there, and then I really will feel I am now an "emigrant",
i.e. somebody who is not completely settled in his new home, and doesn't have
the old home to go back to, because it has changed behond recognition in the
meantime!
The producer of Forever tango (I forgot his name) wrote that tango comes not
from the "immigrants", but from the "emigrants", perhaps this is the reason
why I got involved in it!

Michael:
I hope to have convinved you that the dance community in Western Europe is
quite comparable to the Argentinean, in numbers as well as in impact.

Impressive!!! Can anybody try to come up with some numbers for Germany and
Italy, I'm very curious?  They don't need to be fully accurate, a good
approximation will be enough.

bye
Michael Cysouw
Nijmegen, Holland

Ciao

Enrico

PS. Thanks to 'La Cadena' and his hard working editor JDvA for some of the
figures.

PS thanks to the company I work for, for the viewing audience numbers of "Solo
Tango", and other demographic data of Buenos Aires, we measure television
audience in BA, these numbers are pretty accurate, as they are the result of
multi-million dollars investments over several years.

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Date:    Wed, 12 Nov 1997 15:27:05 -0500
From:
Subject: Re: estimating dance-scenes

> Enrico Massetti asked: Can anybody try to come up with some numbers for

> Germany and Italy, I'm very curious?  They don't need to be fully
> accurate, a good approximation will be enough.


I really don't know about Italy, but a cursory count of weekly milongas in
Germany came up with 110. There aught to be 20 more in Austria and
Switzerland. In German cities like Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Munich or
Stuttgart you can visit a local milonga every night of the week.

If you can read some German, try and see http://www.tangoplaza.com for more
information.

Ciao

Christian
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Date:    Thu, 13 Nov 1997 04:21:35 +0100
From:    Garrit Fleischmann
Subject: Re: estimating dance-scenes

Enrico wrote:
--------------
Just to stick to BA (these are the hard numbers I have), there are
6.5 million
in BA who receive cable television, and can watch "Solo Tango", the 24 hors
tango only channel.  The average ratings are 1-2% for this channel during
any
day, which means that several tens of thousands of portenos/portenas
choose to
watch tango over the other 79 available cable channels at any time
of the day.

Our tango community in Tampa, Florida, is about 50-80, Victor, our teacher,
dreams of when it will reach the number of 200....
--------------------------

Michael wrote:
-------------------
I will not bother you to long with my opinion about the level of dancing on
'solo tango'. To shortcut: I think they are substituting quality with
quantity.
[...]
The Netherlands have about 15 milion inhabitants, in roughly the same area
as the larger urban Rio de la Plata region. There are 22 weekly practicas,
and this november there are 30 milongas, two of them with live music. Other
figures a bit more problematic, but I estimate the amount of halve-year
courses currently taught somewhere around the country about 70, with a mean
praticipation of =B115 persons. On top of that there are this november 8
special-occasion workshops. It is very hard to estimate the amount of
active dancers, let's say defined as people who dance at least once a
month, but it will be somewhere in the order 3 (meaning between 1,000 and
10,000). I don't think that the *active* dance community in Buenos Aires is
much bigger. Two danceshows about tango (although both are *not* the
traditional kind of tango-'for export'-show) made by dutch tango dancers
are currently touring the country.

And then there is of course the rest of Western Europe: Germany, Belgium,
France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Great Brittain: All these countries have
an active tango community, all within easy reach in an area not even as big
as Argentina, but much much denser inhabited.
-----------------------



Germany has 80 million inhabitants.
I know that Stuttgart, Bremen and Berlin there are Milongas
at every day of the week, and in a lot of other cities there are weekly
milongas.
Here in Frankfurt and the Rhein-Main area, there are 2 weekly Milongas
and a couple which are every 2 weeks. I would estimate that
there are about 500 active dancers (who go out dancing more or less
regularly).
But there is a hard core of dancers of about 100 who go dancing
at least once a week.
A lot of these 'Tango addicts' (like me) travel to other cities
like Karlsruhe, Kaiserslautern, Marburg (which are roughly in a
120km radius) to go to a Milonga quite often, and to
special occasions much further (I am calling them 'Tango tourists').
And I know that in other german towns, it's similar, since they
also come to our Milongas.
And by the way, lots of germans go dancing in the Netherlands too,
especialy in 'El Corte' in Nijmegen (where Michael is coming from :-) )

Well, back to estimating:
I know from friends that in Berlin there are about 15 teachers
who give regular classes, and about another 15 who do workshops.
They estimated that only in Berlin, ther must be about 2000
people taking classes, and perhaps 3000-4000 people who
dance on a more or less regular basis.
I would guess that the average tango community (apart from Berlin)
has about 200 regular dancers and that there are a minimum of
50 AT communities, we get 10000 plus Berlin,
so in total a minimum of about 13.000-15.000 regular dancers in Germany,
probably much more, and I would guess about a 10th are really
addicted 'Tango tourists'.
I know that these are rough estimations, perhaps someone else has
a better idea of the real numbers...

The nice thing here is, that because of the dense population,
you easyly get in contact with dancers of other AT communities...


Enjoy dancing

Garrit Fleischmann

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Garrit Fleischmann Nov.97
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com