Copycats

Once upon a time there were originals in tango.  Milongueros wouldn’t think of copying another’s steps, so they created their own.   Today everything in tango gets copied.   Some try to copy styles.   Xerox invented copy machines, but there is one thing for certain — they can’t copy a feeling.  

The copycat business is booming in tango.  Festivals provide copy centers known as classes or workshop where copying is easier than being original.  Originals take too much time; copies will do.  

A few months ago I found sites that copied my videos among others for, what else? — copying.  I also found someone with a new tango website who copied my article without permission, although the site states otherwise.  When I wrote the author, I was told that she didn’t copy my article and would never copy anything without permission.  It remains on her site where she writes about the “milengueros.” [her spelling]

The latest discovery was finding my Tango-L post from years ago used in a festival program under another teacher’s name.  I have tried to get information about who is responsible for the plagiarism to no avail.  I suppose I have to accept the fact that anything on the internet is out there for the copycats of the world to use as they wish.  If it’s related to tango, someone is going to copy it and use it for their own benefit whether we like it or not.

As author of this blog, I have a right to protect what is mine.  I share my posts, photographs, and videos.  This blog is the result of years of work.  If I discover more copycats, I will make the blog private.

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4 Responses to “Copycats”

  1. justin Says:

    I hope it never comes to that… as its been a great experience to learn from you and be able to read posts about the real tangueros/as 🙂

  2. Relja Dereta Says:

    Unfortunately, there will always be those who don’t appreciate the work and effort of others… But your work really matters, and I hope the tango world doesn’t lose access to it because of a few careless individual.

  3. Paul Says:

    Janis, this post ties in with your previous one on “homogenized tango”. There you describe your impressions of growing uniformity in the Mundial de Baile’s qualifying rounds of salon tango. These are, of course, performance events where the prime objective is to impress judges by showcasing technique. As you suggested, however, competitive events such as these and the preparation that they require may be moving Argentine tango closer to international ballroom dancing codes and practice that better enable competition judges to validly compare. The question remains whether this creeping uniformity has any detectable influence on non-competitive social dancing. At all events, there does seem to be an unfortunate trend among some dancers to ape competition and demo style as if this were meant and suitable for social dancing.

    However, I am a little sceptical about the suggestion that milongueros never copied from other dancers. Copying is a normal developmental stage in the learning of any new skill. In literature, music, the visual and performing arts, the same phenomenon can be observed where apprentices faithfully copy past masters. The more talented then move on to discover a unique voice of their own while most will more or less replicate what has been handed on to them.

    That said, it is aggravating to find that others are using your blog content without either due request or acknowledgement.

  4. jantango Says:

    I have seen some of the current trends among exhibition performers being copied by social dancers. As in fashion, some follow the trends to be “in” whether it’s good or not. One example is women placing their left hands on the man’s waist. I suppose if the new trends are good enough for world champions, then the copycats will follow along.

    As one milonguero told me, there were older dancers he admired when he was young. He watched what they did and then made it his own. He copied the elegant style, not figures. It takes a good dancer to know one. I will say that milongueros del centro have things in common: a smooth walk and turns, and a love and knowledge of the music they dance. Each brings his personality to the dance which makes him unique. No two dance the same. There was and is more copying of figures in the clubes de barrio where the men want to shine.

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