After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tango: The Dance

Tango is known as the dancer's dance because it is difficult, profound, complicated, and needs years of practice. It’s not a matter of learning a basic step and rhythm with variations, but of connection and expression. One’s tango is rarely technically flawless, even if perfect emotionally. As we become aware of our feelings coming out in the embrace and with the music, we long for more ways to articulate them—and so are always in search of different steps, greater technique, deeper understanding—a lifelong pursuit.

It can also be a way we can learn to be physically close to other people for a limited time without expecting more. We can be in the moment, that Tango Heaven point in time when everything comes together, when all is right with the universe and our part in it. When such harmony reigns, I am grateful to the God who gives it to me -— the music, the space, the connection, the ability to trust the lead or follow of another human being who I may not even know.

With whomever you dance and however you dance, dance is a gift.


La Tanguera said...

Dear Cherie,

Very true, what you say above. You know, I think something that makes learning tango pretty complicated for many is that, since it is technically complex, many people get flustered with the difficulties of getting the steps right, forgetting about the importance of musicality and connection. This is also related to an issue you raise in the post about Clay's survey--the fact that people seem to care about 'getting right the other stuff' first, before even caring about the musicality.

I, personally, had a bit of this experience myself in my first "tango stages". I remember being so overly-concerned about "following right" that my tension would prevent me from connecting and listening to the music... and maybe, I had not understood what this implied, either. But as my technique progressed and I relaxed, I found out what was truly critical for me to really dance (and I came to the moment of illumination that I had been placing too much weight on the technique, too little on the other aspects of the dance, thinking that they were already under control, and obvioulsy not realizing how ignorant I was about them).

And ironically enough, once I paid attention to the musicality and the connection, I was able to improve technically even more, since I had suddenly reached another level of understanding of what I was doing... :-) I guess Tango cannot be learned in linear progression... it is, in itself, a walk, a giro, a rocking step, a corte here and there. Maybe that's why it is such a beautiful and challenging experience at the same time.


Cherie said...

Hi Tanguera,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
For better or worse, we do need technique to express ourselves and the music. We can feel a brickload, but if our bodies can't do what we want, the strong feelings and emotions remain unexpressed.
No one ever said tango is easy!