To my mind, there are very few absolutes in tango. Tango is many things to many people. Tango can also be One thing to some people. And all of that is fine and good. What I am having less and less tolerance for is people who have absolutely no tolerance for others. I have read in blogs, heard in milongas, and read on facebook from some folks that Tango IS X and only X and anything other than X is not Tango, but some other dance that should not be allowed in a milonga.
Come off of it.
Tango is a wide range of styles, preferences, movements, music and dance. Some of these things I personally don't care for too much. But I still acknowledge them as tango, just perhaps not my tango. However I embrace a wide range of these elements. For example, I am a close embrace dancer. It is what I prefer and enjoy. However, some of my favorite leaders either go in and out of open and close embraces, or they really enjoy open embrace. So I have learned and am practicing open embrace. I even took a private lesson with an excellent open embrace dancer/teacher for the sole purpose of being able to improve an area that I know is a weakness so that I am a more versatile dancer. Does this make me a tango heretic? I don't think so. I think it opens up doors and possibilities.
I read from one blogger who was complaining about an open embrace move and how it was not tango and how it ruined the moment for her. However, from the comments that followed it came out that she did not actually know the technique of how to follow the move. Perhaps if she learned it then although the move might never be her favorite, it might not be such an earth shattering break for her if it is lead. Instead of reviling this move (which is not any sort of aerial or lift or other "stage tango" step, but it is a more nuevo move that requires a break of the embrace and for the follower to be on her axis and responsive in a particular way), it might have been more productive to say "hum, well, that was awkward. I should ask so-and-so in practica what exactly he expects from his follower when he leads that."
If we homogenize tango, and take out everything that is "not" tango, I wonder if we would be left with anything? Mostly because I don't think that everyone would be able to agree as to what IS tango and therefor everything would be weeded out.
The normal human reaction to that which we don't understand is usually with fear and derision. But instead of reacting that way, wouldn't it make more sense to pause and reflect as to what it is that is making us upset, and maybe by understanding it, we could accept it. You don't have to love it, or even like it, but acceptance will take you a long way in tango, and life....