Community I live in an extremely small tango community comprised of two cities in adjoining states in the desert southwest. The community of course is "follower heavy," and a surprising number of the people are self-proclaimed "teachers." Leads Teaching I'm weary of leads "teaching" me in a group lesson. (My solution is to call the instructor over to and ask what I'm doing wrong as not to be offensive and/or rude to the lead. The instructor more often than not, tells the lead to do something different.) What's even more upsetting is the lead teaching on the dance floor at a milonga. Climate At a milonga leads often only dance with one or two women consistently. Please don't get me wrong, people are not obligated in any way, shape, or form to dance with others. However, it goes beyond that. I've tried to do my part in building and supporting this smaller community. However, I'm weary of the behavior (I won't say elitism and snobbery, even though I truly feel that's what it is.) and feel the need to move on. A popular teacher in an adjoining state scolded me for not supporting the community (I've tried to), not being serious in my practice (Trust me, I'm pretty hard on myself), etc... However, this same man (when I "thought" I respected him a couple of years ago) actually said this to me: "Do you like men? You DO like men don't you? OK, I want you to try and FEEL the man in me." Seriously? *sigh* There are little cliques and many people are "less than friendly" with outsiders. I'm sorry, but isn't part of the milonga experience to meet people for conversation and perhaps a glass of wine? Interestingly enough, one night a few months ago a local news anchor visited a milonga with her friend going through a divorce. I don't have to tell you about the "swarm of leads" that were literally "standing in like" to dance with a raw beginner. Studio XYZ has a "tango performance group." They practice and perform in the community in what I consider to be a bizarre "stage tango" mix that includes lifts and spinning followers prone on the floor. Changing Teachers I've finally come to a realization that in order to improve my tango, I need to move on by changing teachers (group and private). My private lesson teacher worked at a dance studio for many, many years. However, he left the studio by a mutual agreement. Many people consider him a wonderful tango teacher. I wanted to support him and continued to take private lessons at his house. However, a number of things I ignored/overlooked finally struck me as "red flags." When he left the studio he was having issues with his knees as a result of being seriously overweight. He had to take a lot of time off and couldn't teach. Out of a sixty minute lesson, I was only actually dancing 15-20 minutes. His former studio hired a new tango teacher, and he actually asked me in a roundabout manner to take a lesson there and see what "he" was doing. (I think in any setting that's called "being a spy.") His feedback was always "You're thinking too much." Yes, I "do" think too much, but at the same time I feel I need constructive feedback to practice on my own and to attempt to fix what's broken/lacking in my dance. I changed teachers and it's made "quite a difference." Different Tango Communities There "is" a difference in tango communities. I've traveled some and have experienced this firsthand. Eventually, I'd love to travel to Buenos Aires. However, for the time being I feel I have to make the best decision in my little corner of the world and travel as finances and time permits. I'm Not Perfect I've been dancing tango now for four years. I've taken group and private lessons and attended about five festivals. In some ways, I know I'm better than when I started but in many ways I feel "stuck." I'm always looking for ways to improve my dance, but I'm sorry to say that what I was doing wasn't working. In my life I've felt it necessary to develop other interests. That's not to say I'm giving up tango, but I feel it's necessary to give it a "lesser importance" in my life. It's time to admit to myself that what I was previously doing wasn't working (and supporting my soul) and move on. My apologies if this sounds like a rant - it's not meant to be. However, hopefully writing all of this down and possibly getting constructive feedback will help me to discern what's right for me. I want to stay focused and on the right track, and most importantly not give up.