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Web 3.0 and the Argentine Tango: Commerce

Posted on Saturday, Dec 17th 2011

There is a plethora of obvious merchandise to sell to tango aficionados, and commerce is thus a very attractive category. From music to dance shoes to clothing to DVDs, the options are abundant. And, of course, we’ve been talking about travel experiences all along as possible commercial touch points. Other, less obvious commercial opportunities that have not yet been as well explored on the Web are ways to market private lessons, group classes, restaurant live shows, weddings, corporate events, and so on – methods through which professional dancers monetize their craft.

But let’s go even further.

There is no nightclub chain that is focused on the tango. There could be. It could provide venues to learn, teach, practice, perform, and socialize with the local community in a more systematic way. Today, local organizers host events in every community, but almost all these efforts are labors of love, and their commercial viability is suspect.

My assessment is that if there were a global organization that offered a more systematic flow of marketing and merchandising that included and involved local organizers as franchisees, there would be a higher degree of sustainability for the community as a whole. It could also bring in a much larger number of new people into the flow.

For that to happen, the level of marketing of the tango as a social phenomenon needs to be escalated dramatically. The methods of introducing, welcoming, encouraging, grooming, and delighting beginning dancers need to be substantially more sophisticated. As it stands, experienced dancers are notorious for not wanting to dance with beginners, and many a novice goes through discouraging put-downs on the dance floor. Unfortunately, it is just not fun for experienced dancers to dance with beginners, which is a reality that should be factored into the segmentation. There need to be events that are focused on beginning dancers, and others focused on advanced dancers. Today, the randomness factor often ruins the experience for both categories.

Here’s what a beginner class looks like:

And here’s an advanced class:

The needs of the dancers are different. Today, no one caters to those differences outside of the class. There are no “advanced milongas” and “beginner milongas.” Lack of segmentation, as always, is bad for business. In fact, there is often a resounding lack of business judgment in the arts world, and the world of tango is no exception.

This segment is a part in the series : Web 3.0 and the Argentine Tango

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The topic of teachers and beginners is an interesting one. I started 1 1/2 years ago and have experienced some of the situations you describe. I hav head great experiences dancing with more advanced dancers and learned more in one tanda than in a dozen classes. Getting new people involved is also a challenge. There needs to be a combination of good teachers, availability of classes and venues. I teach digital photography and Mac computer software to people, I would describe as technophobes, it is challenging and fun. I have seriously been thinking of adding elementary Tango to my roster, mostly because while by no means An expert dancer I am a very good teacher and feel that a cheap class through a community center would move people into the community where they could then refine and enhance their technique with more qualified teachers.

Bruce Sunday, December 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM PT