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August 07, 2010

Un tango dedicato...

Un tango dedicato...

Originally uploaded by micmac71

This photo made me think about the question one of the guys asked me at practica recently. He wanted to know what was my "favorite move."

"Move?", I said.

Around us a bunch of the college kids, er, students were practicing colgadas, volcadas, linear boleos, ganchos, hauling the girls around the floor in scissors splits, and other assorted acrobatics. (I really get fed up that that is the only thing people teach as tango these days, but that's off topic right now.)

"I really don't think about moves when I am dancing," I said.

He clarified: "You know, what do you like to use when you really want to express yourself."

I wish I could have shown him this picture and asked him if he thought the dancers were "expressing themselves."

In practica and lessons, dancers are training themselves. And if you have energetic, talented, ambitious dancers, they will naturally build an aspiration around their tango. It is normal.

So what do they aspire to?

At the beginning it is easy to think that the goal of tango learning should be to learn more steps, and to advance to the most challenging (and presumably most rewarding) maneuvers. And if the maneuvers are hard to do, people will tend to spend more time trying to achieve them, just because they can't do them yet. It's normal. But it's a wrong turn, and eventually (we hope sooner than later), tango dancers get over it and look for something more serious and meaningful in the dancing rather than doing tricks.

That made me think about my own tango goals.

I realized that I do have a constant aspiration in tango. It is sort of an unarticulated, even to myself, idea of what is a good (not even great, just good) dance, and it's what keeps me coming back to tango to find it again. And that aspiration is to find a point of calm stillness between my partner and myself, where we are both listening to each other, both waiting for each other's next movement, both being on the same page in what we hear in the music, and, basically, moving totally together with mutual full engagement.

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen... it takes the right partner, the right music, I have to be in the right "mood" (I guess), and such moments don't come around every month. But that's dancing tango, in my view. Not doing "moves." You need skills to dance the way I'm talking about, but moves are deeply subordinated to the experience of being with the partner.

I think that this photo resembles my aspiration.

Posted by joegrohens at August 7, 2010 04:12 PM


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