Saturday, 9 May 2009

Tango on-line 2

More thoughts on setting up videoconference links with some of the older generation of Buenos Aires dancers. Thanks to Jantango in Buenos Aires for the idea and support.

This technology could offer wonderful possibilities, even perhaps a programme of weekly sessions at which we can meet and interact with older milongueros and milongueras and share their long experience of the dance. It will require camera, PC and projector at both ends, and a translator. The sessions, with demonstrations, dances, questions, answers, can be available on DVD afterwards.

A quick guess at costs: private classes with a couple in Buenos Aires often cost around £60 an hour, so a two-hour session, plus equipment rental and technical support might cost in the region of £220. Technical costs at this end might be minimal as the equipment is probably easier to come by, and room hire would be around £25. So a two-hour session could cost as little as £250, around £30 each for four couples.

Obviously there will be shortcomings, and if you are serious you will take a flight to Buenos Aires to get the real thing! Videoconferencing is limited, and might be a bit confusing to begin with, but one thing I'm sure of: these people are genial and very happy to share their experience, and many are experienced teachers and great communicators. To spend a few hours in their company will be very enjoyable, and the best possible guide to tango as a social dance. I hope we can set up a trial session this summer to get an idea of what can be done, how effective it can be, and plan a series of sessions, perhaps four sessions with different couples, in the autumn.


Game Cat said...


It sounds like a good idea worth exploring. Not sure how far you've progressed with this so far, but a couple of initial thoughts :

1) I understand specialist providers are strongly pushing this to corporate clients in London, partly as there are so many banks in the City and boosted also by the cut in corporate travel expenses. Am sure they will be happy to work out a customised solution.

2) While there are big screen "at the meeting table" set ups, you may need a larger screen and wider-angle cam to take in enough studio floor space. Not sure to what extent this is done today and how effective.

3) You may want to set up a trial in London, linking two studios, just to check how it looks before you rope in figure out how feasible/ effective/ what works and doesn't work.

Tango commuter said...

Many thanks, Game Cat,and glad you think its worth exploring. I don't know anything about it yet. For the time being I'm just floating the idea.

I know the recession has led to a boom in videoconferencing, and I also know that specialist providers cost money, probably lots of money. I don't think this project would offer so much if sessions had to involve a lot of people in order to pay specialist providers.

I assume a projector can be connected to a PC with the right graphics interface, and that the image can be projected onto a white wall. I don't know if the usual software, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (which costs), or Gmail chat or Windows Live Messenger (free) are adequate for an enlarged image. & then the camera requirement is another issue. Most equipment is designed for monitor-to-monitor chat.

Definitely necessary to trial it in London first!

I'm just hoping to get in touch with someone who knows more about this. Jantango suggested it, and knows someone at the University of Illinois who is also interested. Perhaps some ideas for setting up a link at minimum cost will come from there.

Game Cat said...


This is London.....there's a good chance that someone who knows something about the tech, or has access to this tech, is either already dancing tango or is no more than a couple of degrees separated from such a person. Try broadcasting on FB and/or Linked In. Or even blasting on Tango UK.

Wish I had the time right now to help out. I'll put out a couple of emails to pple who may guarantees, but what the costs little.

Tango commuter said...

I figured there might be connections around. I'll cast the net a bit wider and see what it drags in.

& many thanks for your offer to try and get info. VC obviously isn't a substitute for a trip to BsAs, or for getting some of the older couples over here, but it might be a practical solution. Any scraps of information about the technology would be helpful. I guess we're not yet at the level where you can don a special suit and feel you're leading/being led... Now that would be weird.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be quick and easy to setup a VC using a decent webcam running over skype? Quality probably isnt perfect but I dont think VC quality is ever that good?