Polly's Tango Talk

It’s Just A Dance…

Well…tango may enter our life as “just” a dance and we may approach it in the beginning as “just” a dance, but for those who become ensconced in its intrigue, music, culture, customs and delightful complexities, it becomes much more. More than we ever imagined.

Did you enter tango because your significant other enticed, bribed or dragged you to a class? Did you stumble upon it accidentally? Was the music your introduction? Is “it” something you have “always wanted to learn? Is your perception of tango the same as when you started? Did you come seeking a lifelong (or night-long) partner? Do you occasionally shake your head in wonder at where tango has led or is leading you? Has being part of a unique community inspired you to dress the part, partake several nights a week, become active in organizing local events and/ travel to dance? Do you blog, IM, or twitter your thoughts about technique, philosophy, history, trivia & music, idols? Has your eyesight become blurred from YouTube viewing of lessons and/or performances?

For the inspired devotee, tango inspires a depth and breadth of feelings and emotions that sets it very far apart from other dances. (This may sound presumptuous…until it happens to you.) Tango affects how we think and feel as well as how we learn to use our body for silent communication.  It teaches us to consider the safety, comfort and pleasure of our partner as well as our own, and encourages us to dance our individuality while enjoying a strong connection with our partner. Tango music can make us weep, swoon, sigh, smile, ponder, reflect and respond to its delicious nuances. Favorite songs can make us feel as if the music were written just for us.

Acquiring correct technique can challenge even the most gifted dancer and mastering the basic skills occupies the majority of time of those who are serious about becoming an excellent partner.  And what fundamental skill is tango based on? Walking. What could be simpler.

When a beginner hears that tango is a “walking” dance, they may think, “That sounds easy. And then spend the rest of their tango life learning how to “walk.”  Tango can become a way of life off the dance floor as well as on the floor and we may seek every opportunity to participate in current happenings. Would we have believed someone if they had told us what might happen if tango captured our interest? When we attempt to explain the multiple attractions to a non-tango person, do they ‘get it’? Nope. They just listen politely and secretly think that we’ve gone a little goofy. (Perhaps similar to how we may have once thought of someone who seemed obsessed by a Dance!?) Even the most passionate enthusiast may have originally thought of tango as “just a dance.” (Yup, been there.)

1 Comment »

  1. Ballerino Edward Villela once said if you can merely stand in ballet’s first position, you can dance ballet. His next words were, “it takes 10 years to learn to stand in first position.” For tango, if you can take the embrace at the start of the dance, before moving, then you can dance tango.

    Comment by bill swan — January 6, 2011 @ 6:29 pm | Reply


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