Managing with passion a tango subversion in the waltz city
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Managing With Passion: A Tango Subversion in the Waltz City. Paul Shrivastava Michelle Cooper. Prepared for the European Group on Organization Studies Annual Colloquium July 5-7, 2007, on Beyond Waltz - Dances of Individuals and Organization Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Vienna, Austria.

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Managing With Passion: A Tango Subversion in the Waltz City

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Managing With Passion: A Tango Subversion in the Waltz City

Paul Shrivastava

Michelle Cooper

Prepared for the European Group on Organization Studies Annual Colloquium

July 5-7, 2007, on Beyond Waltz - Dances of Individuals and Organization

Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Vienna, Austria

Passion Flower

Managing is rational, analytical, objective. Little space for subjectivity, passion, intuition (Gagliardi, 2007).

Yet, Passion as “desire and creative flow” is at the root of great human feats (Linstead and Brevis, 2007).

Tango offers a way for cultivating passion (Dey & Steyaert, 2007).

Goals:Feel Argentine Tango as a vehicle for managing with passion.


Getting into the body


Argentine Tango + Demo

Managing with Tango

Lesson and Community

Engage Body - Mime Introduction, Icebreaker

Engaging Mind, Body, and Emotions

Tango as a language

Mime Communication

  • Select a partner

  • Mime Introductions – No words

  • Stand across (line up), raise hands

  • Push, pull, raise, stretch

  • Sequential, Orchestrated, With Music

  • Count 20 (eyes closed)

Milonga Sentimental

Three Concepts

  • Embodied Learning

  • Emotional Infrastructure

  • Managing with Passion

Concept 1: Embodied Learning

Cognitive/cerebral learning


Holistic engagement of body, mind and emotions

Brings Focus and Clarity




Concept 2: Emotional Infrastructure of Organizations

  • Organizations have an “emotional infrastructure”, much like they have a physical infrastructure (land, plant and facilities, etc) and a technology infrastructure (info systems, equipment, processes, patents, etc.).

  • Emotional infrastructure expresses mood, work climate, culture, goodwill, beliefs, communications, mutual trust and authenticity

Concept 3: Managing with Passion

  • Passion involves danger, risk, creativity, enduring motivation, deep emotional engagement, and extreme actions. Passion engages with body, mind, and emotion.

  • “Managing with passion” includes finding your passion, learning passion skills, living passionately in organizations and managing with your body mind and spirit/emotions.

Argentine Tango as a Metaphor for Managing with Passion

Tango - Demanding physical movements, connection, and musicality,

Tango - Simultaneously engages body, mind and emotions.

Tango - A dance, a music, a culture and a way of life.

It can be a vehicle for develops skills in improvisation, risk taking, communications, and team work, leadership, community building

Argentine Tango

  • Three forms

  • Tango – slow, steady four-count beats, danced on 1 and 3

  • Milonga - faster, simplified steps

  • Tango Vals - 1-2-3 of waltz, but danced on the ones.

  • “Milongas” The word has three meanings

  • the dance milonga,

  • the music you dance the milonga to,

  • a tango dance party.

You can dance a milonga to a milonga (tune) at a milonga (party). And that's a great thing!

What Argentine Tango is Not

  • NOT Ballroom or International Tango. They are different from head to toe, in posture, embrace, improvisation, movement, balance, steps, and music.

  • NOT Stage Tango (also called "fantasia") which is more theatrical and exaggerated, done for audiences.

Puzzle of Two Bodies, & Four Legs

What is Argentine Tango

Personal dance - a “sad thought that you can dance”. It is “thought in musical motion”, “reflective meditative dancing”.

Partner dance – Improvisational, walking, turning, and embellishments while interpreting music and contrast, a puzzle that gets put together differently

Social dance – socialization and community.


Language of physical and emotional communication.

A reflective system of interpreting music and movement.

Short Tango Demo



Tango Aahs - Limitless surprises, make it so addicting. The addiction is treatable, but not curable.

It takes two - isn't just the man leading and the woman following. Interdependence, teamwork, mutual respect.

Tango Essence 2

No two couples are the same.

No two dances are the same.

Tango Essence 3 Musicality

  • Essenceof the dance is in being musical,

    • stepping to music, moving to the music,

    • becoming part of the orchestra

    • emoting with the lyrics

  • Chris Bliss Juggling Musicality



Tango Essence 4

A culture of self-development,

A social community with mutual responsibilities

Tango Lessons 1 - Individual

  • Connection with self, partners, & community

  • Improvisation, Risk-taking

  • Communication (with eyes, smile, torso, legs, arms, hands, - body language)

  • Accepting diversity, difference, globalization

  • Balance – bodily + mental & emotional

Tango Lessons 2 - Group

  • Leadership - Leaders suggest, Followers embellish

  • Teamwork, Mutuality, Reciprocation,

  • Honoring traditions, & Innovating

  • Trust and community

Tango Embodying Management Concepts

  • Improvisation – Realtime choreography

  • Trust - Volcada

  • Risk - Gancho,

  • Communication – body and e-motional language

And Finally Community

  • Let’s begin creating one here and now

  • 30 Min Beginner lesson

    • Musicality – listen to the beat

    • Posture, Hold/Embrace

    • Walk in-line

    • Walking to the sides,

  • Tango Dancing in Vienna

Posture and Embrace

  • A frame, tilt but on-axis, and balanced

  • Awareness of partner comfort, weight, security, trust

  • The Tango Gaze

  • Open and Close Embrace, follower’s choice

  • Flexibility of embrace


  • Line of dance, Traffic responsibilities

  • Tango Ettiquette – asking, accepting

  • Tango Vocabulary – steps, turns, pauses, embellishments

  • Signalling – Feet/Legs and Torso

  • Steps – Weight Shifts, in-line steps

  • Walking on the sides

  • The Cruzada or Cross

Tango in

  • Thursday at Tangobar, 21:00 hrs Deutschmeistersaal in der Albertgasse 43, 1080 Wien Tel: 069911985214

  • Friday 22:00 hrs, Practica by Tango Almagro, Studio 0.1 (, Rienoesslgasse 4a, 1040 Vienna Info: 0676/318-94-68

  • Saturday, 19:30 hrs Milonga "El Firulete" at Österreichischer Touristenklub, Bäckerstr. 16, 1010 Wien, 1.Stock. Tel. 0664/1736976

  • MondayTango-Salon at the CIU (Centre International Universitaire), Schottengasse 1, A-1010 Vienna.Info: (+43)-664-13-19813

Tango and Your BrainNews Item, November 15, 2005, USA Today

  • Dr. Patricia McKinley, associate professor of physical and occupational therapy at McGill University, at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neurosciences.

  • Study compared Tango dancers with walkers among aging adults 50 to 80 years old

  • Results

  • Tango dancers got a boost in self-esteem right away

  • Both walkers and Tango dancers had better scores on memory tests, but only the Tango dancers improved on a multitasking test.

  • Tango dancers gained improvements in balance and motor coordination.

  • Explanation: Tango engages the mind, the body and emotions in complex and changing ways. It has all elements of neurologic rehabilitation: forward and backward movement, side-to-side weight shift, one-legged stance, balanced turns, speed changes, walking in a straight line back and forth, increasing step length in all directions, and turning in a narrow space, traffic management, musicality.

  • Tango satisfies the basic requirements for exercise adherence: it's fun, it's a group activity, and it has a tangible goal that can be perceived not only by the dancer, but by family and friends.

A One-Minute & Arguable History of 100 Years of Tango

  • Late 1800s, Originated in Argentina - Gauchos, Spaniards, Italians, Africans, French, Prostitutes, and Gangsters all contributed to its development.

  • 1900-20s, Gained acceptance respectability in Paris and then in Europe

  • 1930s-45, Golden Age of Tango, Big orchestras, Carlos Gardel

  • 1960s, Tango Nuevo, Piazolla and globalization

  • 1980s, Broadway, Neo/Alternative Tango, and Resurgence in Argentina


  • Barsade, Sigal G. and Donald E. Gibson, “Why does affect matter in organizations” Academy of Management Perspectives, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 36-59, February 2007

  • Collins, Jim, From good to great. Why some companies make the leap.. and others don’t, Harper Collins, NY, 2001.

  • Dey, P. and C. Steyaert,”The Troubadours of knowledge: Passion and invention in management education” Organization, 14, 3, 2007, pp. 437-461.

  • Fineman, Steven, Understanding Emotion at Work, Sage Publication, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2003.

  • Gagliardi,P. “The collective repression of pathos in organization studies” Organization, 14, 3, 2007, pp. 331-338,

  • Linstead, S. and J. Brevis,”Passion, knowledge and motivation: Ontologies of desire” Organization, 14, 3, 2007, pp. 351-372.

  • Savigliano, Marta, Tango and the political economy of passion, Westview Press, Boulder, CO 1995.

  • Shrivastava, Paul Managing with passion. Manual for CAPS 497 capstone course, Bucknell University. 2007.


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