Tango is not my profession in the same sense that your profession is for you.
For instance: everything you do in relation to your profession is effort, while in my case it is effortless; you most likely work at your profession all day hoping the day ends so you can stop working, while in my case I finish my workday looking forward to dancing more and better the next day. Sometimes you get sick and call work to take your day off. I take care not to get sick so I can dance my best every day. I shaped my life in such way. I trapped myself into my life like Sisyphus is condemned to roll his rock up the mountain everyday, but while he is tortured by his perpetual meaningless task, I am immersed in a sea of joy and purpose by doing mine.
Teaching is part of that process too. Together with my students, we search for ways to improve our dancing. If you improve your dancing it benefits all of us since we will eventually be dancing on the same dance floor at the same milonga. A milonga is an environment, a closed ecosystem in which all parts affect the whole. If my students dance better, I can dance better too, and when I dance better, my students can dance better. It becomes an infinite spiral of perpetual improvement.
Does it mean that I do not deserve to be paid for what I do -dancing as an example of good dancing and sharing my passion and knowledge about Argentine Tango with you- since work is a source of pain for you and what I do gives me pleasure?
Instead of seeing the money you give me as payment for my services -Argentine Tango instruction-, for my knowledge about Argentine Tango and work as an Argentine Tango teacher as merchandise, you can think of it as an investment in your dance, in your Tango. Everything you do to benefit me, benefits my dance, my Tango, Tango as a whole, and your Tango, your dance, and your wellbeing, while every deserved thing you deny me is only going to deprive you of Tango, sooner or later. I pledged my allegiance to Tango, and it includes you if you are Tango too.
If you are a new student, you can appreciate now what you’ll get if you join us: a wonderful group of people studying, researching and training together to become better Argentine Tango dancers, better milongueros, and better in every aspect.
When you drive your car, you will eventually have to get gas, and you won’t argue or ask for discounts at the gas station, and the reason of that is plainly that you are dealing with a giant, powerful and rich corporation that is inaccesible to you. You may bargain for the price of gas with the cashier at the station, and he will shrug his shoulders and look at you with a “you are mad” expression. If you have no money for food or medicine you may ask your government to assist you. A government is also big in resources. You will need to find, in the labyrinth of its bureaucracy, the doors and the hallways that will take you to the correct office to get the necessary public assistance.
I have no other help than that which I and those who love me unconditionally give me, besides your collaboration.
You can’t drive without gas, you cannot live without food and medicine. If you can live without Tango, without dancing, do so then.
It is true that I give you deals, offers and discounts. Consider it a part of my generosity, of my urgency (time is a scarce resource) with presenting to you a different approach to life that I know, from my own experience, to be better than the one currently accepted by the majority. Anything that I give you does not have any other source than my own body, my dance and my life. There is no other way of life better than being generous. That is why I dance.
I see dance as the unstoppable productivity of existence. To not be generous is to repress the fountain of life that springs out of me. I have no choice; but please do not abuse my generosity: I will stand against such attitudes primarily to value and honor those who care for me and what I have chosen: Tango.
You should not banalize Tango. You maybe came to my classes tempted by an outrageously low price, thinking that you found a cheap source of entertainment, and while Tango is extremely entertaining, it is much deeper than that.
Don’t be shallow and say that you had fun dancing Tango; you never did anything more profound in your life: it is to be intimately connected at all levels to another human being in a beautiful way.
Dancing Tango may be very entertaining, but Tango is not an “entertainment”.
Please don’t ever say that Tango is an “addiction”. Tango is a way of existing.
It all depends on what you want from yourself. If you want nothing, nothing is what you’ll get. If you want a fulfilling life, it will cost you your whole life.