Tango often gives conflicting messages – go left but lean right, be strong and yet soft, be present and yet follow, give and yet yield. No wonder half the time it’s such a mess to sort out when you first start.
And yet, what draws you to the dance is the first steps you take, hands stretched out in front of you with the other clueless beginner. Just, moving and trying not to step on the others feet. That is the Tango you first encounter and it is neither technically, nor visually appealing. But what draws you to it is the mode of communication. The ability to say everything without words, the ability to deliver an idea with the body rather than talking or thinking of something. That is what drops us into the whirlpool of time, effort, frustrations and elations that is yet to come…if you stick with Tango.
See, Tango picks its characters, its lovers, its haters, its obsessives and its preachers. It’s entirely a love hate relationship, whether you never want to dance it because it’s “boring”, “slow”, “for geriatrics”, “sad”, “depressing”, or whether you find yourself years into the dance wondering if you ever knew how to even walk properly. Every part is up for dissection, and let’s not get started on the days where your butt sees more action than your legs.
I was watching a beautiful stage Tango performance recently and just marveling at the amount of moves I’ll never be able to do. Also wondering why we get shown one thing but taught another. Tango at its most developed and advanced rivals any other art form and literally knocks it out of the park IMHO. The need for synchronization and flow, the communication that is so tangible and expressed, the music that tugs and plays with your heartstrings. But it is at its core not about how exact the placement of your leg is, or where the line of your frame is, or whether you managed to embellish 10 things within the phrase of the music, it is what it feels like. The things you take away on the dance floor are the feel and elation of being able to understand and play, with the music, with your partner.
What is my current goal? To unleash the best potential of whomever I’m dancing with, to give justice to the music and to be able to express myself. This trinity is what I believe will shape my dance far into the future. It demands personality this dance, it demands a soul, and it demands you to bare it all.