In the physical sense… “The voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.”

In a thoughtful sense… “Kindness and tolerance in judging others.”

There’s a ‘charitable’ campaign going on at this time, using FB via its Montreal Tango event page, to raise some money for a tango entrepreneur who lost a gamble on an event she organized. The organizer was Mylène Pelletier using her enterprise Air de Tango. Her event was “Montreal Loves Tango“. This is the second year she ran this event. Apparently she lost money in 2015 too.

I first became involved organizing tango evenings and events in Montreal in 1991. I have never witnessed such a ‘charitable’ scheme before. No one ever suggested to me (Graffiti Tango) that when I lost money on an event, that we should go to the “community” and ask for charitable support to relieve my financial suffering. No one ever did it for other significant organizers over the years either; here I’m remembering serious, continuous investors in the community: La Tangueria and Tango Libre. Has Studio Tango ever suffered a financial loss? You can count on it. Has Carol ever asked for charity? You tell me.

To date (and to my knowledge) no organizer/entrepreneur in the past has ever asked for ‘charity’ after a financial loss of an event. Nor has any individual ever come forward, as did Robert Blais on Mylène’s behalf, in order to ask for charity from the community. It’s a unique situation.

If you want to be charitable to Mylène in the physical sense, then by all means, feel free to open your wallet and give whatever you feel she deserves. If you want to be charitable in a thoughtful sense, maybe you’ll be kind enough to advise her not to try this event a third time. That would be charitable. (Let’s not forget that Mylène tried two years of ‘tango competitions’… to not much avail. At least she may be prone to leave things at two strikes.)

But hey! Weren’t Bernard Caron and Gabriel Gaumond co-organizers of this event with Mylène? If so, and if we are charitable to Mylène, are we also (by default) being charitable to those two guys? Is that why Bernard is partially leading this charity campaign??! Or were those two boys smart enough to finagle the entire onus of financial responsibility onto a mother of two children?!! …I’m just asking.

Many of the comments on the FB ‘charity’ post came from women. These women, that continue to participate in the tango scene, made mention of a plethora of other women who are now gone from the scene, and as such, voiceless in this discussion/situation. However, the remaining women brought some of their former colleagues perceptions to the discussion on FB. Essentially, many women felt that they had already invested in Mylène: her studio classes, her dance evenings/events and her tango accessories. To be sure, these women also recognized that they were investing in their own recreational pursuit. It didn’t pay off for them. They left. A huge discussion on this FB post remains as to how to get them back. Good luck. The women (in particular) that choose tango as a recreational activity are generally very intelligent and multi-talented. Very likely they easily saw how Air de Tango was being directed, by a woman. I would wager that the women lost in the fray of studio/enterprise mis-direction won’t be enticed back.

As to the other posts, postulating about an “association”, overseeing… what??! Good gawd! Save your breath and keyboard strokes; it’s absolute nonsense. Elsewhere on this blog I make reference to “the community of the hamburger”. Think about it, please. The hamburger is a culinary cultural entity in the same manner that the tango is a recreational cultural entity. Imagine an association dedicated to the refinement of the perfect “community” ‘Montreal Burger’; an association that brings all the burger entrepreneurs together to produce an acceptable burger that is worthy to be designated quintessential ‘Montreal’. Fuck. Are you freaking kidding?!?!! For those of you that don’t know, this ‘community tango/burger’ discussion/comparison dates back to 1993. Stop it; fer rice cakes!!! (I know you all mean well by your thoughtful, respectful, generous comments on FB; and thank you for that.) (You see? I can be kind and charitable in a thoughtful sense too –  LMFAO ;-)

I have been charitable to Mylène in the past. In the physical sense, I could calculate the financial value of the 2.5 years of time that I put into her development (free-of-charge) as a social tango dancer, a performance tango dancer, a teacher of tango, and an organizer of dance hall evenings. This value would far exceed the total expenses columns (only) for both of her “Montreal Loves Tango” events, combined. So I’m good with my donation to her in that charitable sense.

I have been charitable to her in a thoughtful sense sense too. FYI (and as only one example) I wrote a stellar letter of recommendation to a professional dance colleague who was (at the time) the Director of the Concordia University dance program, in order for her to enter into a university Masters dance program. Beyond that, I was charitably tolerant of her public disrespect of my contributions to her development in dance, for about fifteen years. So I’m good in the tolerance calculation too.

Has Mylène been charitable, kind, grateful and gracious in acknowledging me as a dance professional and my charitable contributions to her ‘career’ in tango? You decide.

Is Mylène a charitable person in general, worthy of specific financial charity in return for her entrepreneurial miscalculations? You decide.

I’m good.

4 thoughts on “Charity

  1. Unfortunately, English is not my primary language and I can’t express my thoughts with all the subtleties you can deploy yourself, so bear with me and my apologies in advanced. This being said, I have found your comment quite vitriolic and harsh against a person well respected in the community. Why do you need to be so rude and so merciless ? And you even seemed to enjoyed it…You seems to look at Tango just on the business perspective. It is your right. But other may have a different perspective and I urge you to respect not to consider them as dummy inferior people.

    As for the idea of an association, i think personally you are completely offtrack and I don’t see how the very harsh language you use contribute to make your point (it rather shows your emotional reaction to this case). You misunderstood some basics concepts about how communities works and can grow. Your analogy of “montreal hamburger” is irrelevant in that matter. The power of cooperation is something that has been proven over and over again. Of course, if you see Tango purely as a way to make money, then your point is defendable and you have interest to see other fail (and rejoy maybe). May I suggest you to consider this idea of Association as a way to improve the experience of many many people enjoying Tango for what it is (to me in any case). You could even yourself benefit from it !

    Thank you for letting me express my thought, even if I completely disagree with your point of you. I am looking forward to have constructive discussions with you .
    Claude Dumas (by the way that it your name ?)

  2. mon cher Claude,
    I suggest that you re-read the entry. Truth can be “rude” and “merciless” at times, if you allow yourself to be offended by truth. No where do I suggest that any one is “dummy inferior people” – your attempt to insult me won’t work, because truth is on my side.
    The truth of the matter is that many women quit Mylène and her enterprise; if you followed the FaceFook thread you would know this. The truth of the matter is (also) for 15 years I waited for Mylène to acknowledge her primal tango roots, with Graffiti Tango (me). She still refuses to do so. We’re more than twenty years on now mon cher Claude.
    For your information, I left the “business” of tango in 2004. Since then I no longer have a “business” interest in it, here in Montreal, nor anywhere else.
    “As for the idea of an association”… why don’t you start one? I have no interest in it, “emotional” or otherwise. Your “concepts about how communities works and can grow” may be useful. Why not show us? Be a leader, if you will, if you dare step into ‘the Montreal tango spotlight’.
    I decided to approve your comment after 5 years mon cher because I was at Outremont Park recently (08/2021) and I believe I saw you. But you know what I did not see (for two consecutive Sundays)? I did not see any organizers, teachers, or studio representatives, other than those associated with Elias. No other “business” people from Montreal Tango came out to support the first events since Lugubre Legault shut down the entire fornicating province a year and a half ago. So I began to think… where’s Claude’s idea of a community and how it can come together at the first moment people are allowed to dance together in public?  
    Elias’ event was not announced in Bernard’s Tango Express. It was only announced on one (of two) Montreal Tango FaceFook pages. Why are there two Montreal Tango FaceFook pages mon cher Claude? One of them is now operated by two “karens” who will not tolerate any discussion of a “community” nature. The other is operated by a suburban wine momma, who again, can only tolerate her own narrow-minded opinions and fetid writing style. 
    It seems you have your work cut out for you mon cher Claude! I wish you good fortune. One last point if I may; it seems that you wrote your (2016) comments without informing yourself of who I am or what my accomplishments are. That’s another reason why your comment did not receive ‘approval’ on my site. FYI, my name is Joseph; welcome to my site. If you wish to peruse the pages “Sur les traces du tango”, I believe you’ll learn a lot about my previous efforts to generate a community atmosphere here in Montreal.  cheers

    • hello. Interesting that you approve my post 5 years later, kind of funny actually :-) I don’t remember the context of all this, to be honest, it is so far away ! Everything has changed now. Everything. Socially I mean. I wont make any political comments here, but to my humble opinion, if I am allowed to express an opinion, there are far more urgent matters to focus on, namely restoring the Rule of Law, freedom, democracy and the right to express our opinions without being censored by social medias + newspapers, even if they are “à contre-courant”. The society is deeply divided as we have never seen, this is very dangerous. For me, it takes precedence on everything else. Maybe, if we EVER go back to the previous world (I doubt we will if we follow the trend and if everybody continue to kneel down), we may have the opportunity to engage again in constructive discussions about Tango communities, for the common good. For now, Tango is essentially dead and I sincerely wish it will live again in a not too distant future. Sincerely.

      • Claude, congratulations on your improvement using the English language; very impressive! I am in agreement with you on all points, starting with tango-is-dead until the urgency-of-censorship and restoring aspects of educated, democratic processes. If you seek an ally working towards your objectives in these areas, then I would be happy to join you. If I may, I will send you a direct message via e-mail. cheers

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