When in early April I contemplated the idea of writing about how tango professionals were affected by the COVID-19 crisis, my hardest decision was whom not to include. I have met close to a hundred tango professionals over the years; all have a unique story to tell and all have lived an unusual life. Each would have made an interesting subject. I felt, however, that my story had to be limited to a small group. I wanted a representative range of people. In the interest of timeliness I needed quick responses to my enquiries. The result was seven portraits of tango teachers and organizers in Argentina, on both coasts of the USA, and in Europe.
Now that we’re in the fourth month of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown in the USA, it’s time to take another snapshot. After a horrible spring with so many people becoming sick and dying, it seems the spread of the virus is finally under control, at least in the USA and other parts of the northern hemisphere. The number of infections has been on the decrease. The economy is slowly opening up. But just as things started to look a little brighter, society has been pushed over the edge by demonstrations about ongoing racism. We’re taking to the streets in protest, and are often forced to abandon social distancing, one of the most important precautions to lower the risk of spreading the virus. Medical experts are now warning about another spike in the pandemic as a result of these mass gatherings and police violence.
In short, while we have started to breathe a sigh of relief, we still don’t know where this pandemic is heading. Can we continue to slowly return to a normal life? What impact does the ongoing uncertainty have on the economy, on our health, our jobs, our social life?
These are questions that make me wonder what the situation is now for tango professionals. How are they coping now after the first devastating impact of this crisis? What has changed for them? Are they hopeful about returning to their jobs? What do they think about teaching on Zoom? How do they perceive Argentine tango? Let’s take a look.
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© 2020 by Andrea Bindereif