Charity or investment?


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One of the doubts that came up in the discussion about trophy tandas was the doubt of the dancer who is receiving the trophy tanda whether the other dancer dances with them out of pity or obligation (naming it usually as charity tanda) or whether they really want to dance with them.

In this post, I am not going to give you hints or answers to that question. Instead, I am going to show you that the answer does not depend on the intention of the advanced dancer but rather on the actions of the lower-level dancer. This means that the answer to the question is not up to the better dancer. But let’s start with some basic economic ideas.

Charity vs Investment

There are many ways that rich people can help poor people in society. But the two that we are interested in here are charity and investment. In charity as we all know rich persons donate money or resources to poor people without expecting something in return. The act of charity is done simply because of altruistic reasons.

Moreover, charity can happen and have an effect even on poor people when it is done on a mass scale. I mean, an organization can gather 1 million Euros from a donation of a single rich person, or 1 million donations of 1 Euros from simple everyday people. This means that everyone is capable of being charitable. Everyone can donate even if they don’t have much but the power of the act comes from the scale that it happens. So it can be kind of contagious. If you see what your peers are doing you are compelled to do the same because you don’t want to be the guy who is stingy and mean to other people who need your help.

Investment on the other hand is done by rich people when they wait for something back in return. There is no investment without an expectation of return somehow. The most common form of investment is employment. When a person gives you money to do a job they expect something back in return. Investments always have a risk. The people you invest in, might not always bring you the return you expect. That is why a keyword in investments is diversification. Instead of investing only in one person, you spread the resources among multiple expecting that the ones who will yield some return, will cover the ones who did not.

Reacting to the loneliness on the top

One of the elements of Tango that makes it addictive is variety. The more embraces you meet the more good dances you have the more you search for the next one. However, as you progress and improve this dopamine rush and satisfaction is getting harder to get. The more you are able to give, the more you expect back and that is what often leaves you unsatisfied when you dance with a dancer who cannot meet your needs.

As in many other social structures tango communities form a pyramid where on the top stand a few exceptional dancers and as you go down you find more people with fewer skills. It is therefore natural to see two kinds of reactions from those at the top. The first is to limit their dances in terms of quantity so that they maintain the quality they want to get out of them. They would dance with a select few of the people at the top or near it and neglect the rest.

The other reaction is to try to move more people closer to them so that they can get pleasure from more dancers in the longer term. These dancers would often dance with lower-level ones, even reaching to the bottom layers of the pyramid. The thing is that this action seems like a charity. The advanced dancer who dances with you doesn’t expect a return back… at least not during your dance. But maybe they expect something back in the long run which makes it an investment. However, no dancer who dances with a better one can know if this is out of charity or as an investment and nobody can ask that. But even if they ask… is the answer of the better answer what really matters here?

It’s up to you

Here comes the role of the lower-level dancer. You see… You can always wonder if the better dancer danced with you out of charity or pity or whatever else… Or you can answer the question with your own actions. How? By increasing your return! Yes! If you now can give back a minimum return as a pleasure to your better partner but you work, improve, study, and exercise and in a year this return is bigger then the charity tanda is no longer a charity tanda but an investment one.

At the moment of the tanda, the tanda is defined simply by the intention of the advanced dancer. It’s only based on their mindset. Some might do it just out of altruistic reasons and some others might see something in you and expect a return back. Maybe not immediately…but in some time. However, no matter the intention the final answer to this is only given by you in the long run. If you improve and get closer to the top… then the tanda is an investment otherwise if you simply think that’s all I need and I don’t care to improve…. then the tanda remains a charity.

It’s therefore pointless to wonder why the better dancer danced with you. They cannot answer it and even if they do… they might be wrong… you can always prove them wrong… because the ultimate answer is only up to you!

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is called “El dia queue me quieras” and talks about the day that the protagonist was loved! Although it doesn’t provide an answer to your question of someone who danced with you did it out of charity, pity, investment etc. it can be taken as a kind of advice. Just enjoy the “day” (the tanda in our case) and live it for what it is. Don’t question yourself about other peoples’ motives… after all, you are the one who can answer!

So how about you? Do you ever wonder if a tanda you danced was out of charity, investment or anything else? How do you answer the question? Do you really care? And how about if you dance with a lower-level dancer? Has any tanda that you danced as a charity proven to be an investment after all? Let me know…

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