In our community, we take extra steps to make sure everyone feels welcome.  We all step up to welcome, encourage, and support beginners.  We check our own biases.  If we find ourselves only talking to/dancing with people who look and act like us, we push ourselves outside of our boundaries, to grow as individuals and to grow our community.  All ages, all colors, all gender identities, all political persuasions are welcome; hate and intolerance are not.  We are all accountable to check ourselves and to check each other.  We build relationships together, we make mistakes together, we grow together.

1. Be Inclusive.

Walls surround us, both visible and invisible.  Breaking down walls through a tango connection is an act of radical trust.  We practice building trust and breaking walls daily in our microcosm of tango as practice for breaking down walls, building connection, and building trust in the larger world.

2. Practice Radical Trust.

We are enthusiastic about tango history and tango music. While we honor the legacy of countless composers, musicians, dancers and organizers who helped create, nurture and pass down tango to new generations, we also recognize our responsibility to make tango our own. We are not accountable to our tango forefathers to recreate a form of tango that has existed in any particular past or place.  Like all art forms and traditions, tango is constantly evolving. Tango began as a folk dance:  it was of those people, at that time.  Our tango is what we want it to be for us, today. 

3. Take Care of Newcomers.

Detroit Tango Manifesto

The culture of a community doesn’t just happen.  We actively build it.  This manifesto includes tenants that we think are important to name, discuss, and embody. 

5. Connect Inward, Then Connect Outward.  

4. Champion Creativity.

6. Honor Everyone's Right to Show Up how they Choose.

7. Honor Tango's Roots while Making Tango our Own.  

Tango is not a collection of steps.  It is a creative way of connecting.  We work to improve our technique so that we can better connect with each other; we don’t dictate which movements people should or shouldn’t include in their creation

Take care of new people so they come back.  Greet them, invite them to sit with you, introduce them to dancers near their level, explain the culture and codigos to them.  Thank those who have helped you grow on the dance floor by passing it down the chain. 

In Argentina, a milonga is a place to dance; a place to listen to music; a place to connect with friends; a place to get a drink and eat; and, perhaps most importantly, a place to feel a part of a community.  Everyone shows up for their reason, and everyone’s ability to meet their own needs in this shared space is our goal.  Whether on the prowl for cabeceos or chatting and laughing at the bar, if we are doing what brings us joy, we are all contributing to our community’s success.  Additionally, everyone’s personal preference of formality or informality is welcome.  Show up as you are so that our community is an expression of all of our members’ best selves. 

First and foremost, tango helps us connect to ourselves, to our own movement, to our own breath.  We do the solo work so that when we do connect with a partner, we have more freedom to move, improvise, and create together. 

8. Make Tango Conventions Work for Us.

We’re grateful for the culture and conventions that come with tango and the feeling of community and predictability that they create.  We also encourage each individual to ask which ones serve us and which do not.  If we are all choosing to spend our free time and our disposable income here, we all deserve to decide how we occupy and interrelate in this shared space, as long as it doesn’t directly negatively impact anyone else’s experience.

9. Make the Mirada and Cabeceo Work for Us.  

The mirada and cabeceo should be symmetrical (not gender dependent), respectful (freely used to accept/refuse without pressure), and effective (used to help, not hinder us to get dances!)  When used in this way, we respect them to build predictability and, accordingly, safety in our community.   We also honor everyone’s right to do what works for them.

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