More on reinvention

2009 January 28
by Simba

Onion by oschene, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  oschene

After discussing my short post on reinvention in the comments, I decided to write a new post discussing the matter. Here is the quote again:

“Those who don’t understand [Tango] are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.”

– Henry Spencer (about Unix)

First I thought of it as a warning against setting out to reinvent or improve something that you do not fully understand, as it will be futile. So do not assume, that because you know the six fundamental building blocks of tango, you are ready to reinvent tango. Chances are you will fail miserably. If you miss something in tango, it could be that the fault is not with tango…

On a second level, there are clearly some very talented dancers that do things that might be considered as (re)invention. And this is where it gets interesting. Without wanting to disrespect anybody, I was hoping the quote would trigger questions like:

  • Is tango reinvented by someone?
  • If so, by whom?
  • Do they understand tango?
  • If tango is reinvented, is it for better or worse? And in what way(s)?
  • When you add something new, what is left out? And what is new?
  • Do we need to reinvent tango? What would we want to achieve?  What would reinvention of tango mean?

Not so easy to answer, I think.

PS: Thanks to koolricky for biting 😉

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