Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.
February 4, 2013
How You Dance Matters
Our desire to realize our potentials, to conquer the unknown, to expand the limits, and to possess more, is a part of what drive us. This very nature is the cause of our accomplishments on one hand and abuses on the other. Our society is full of such abuses - unlimited personal freedom, selfish individualism, heartless capitalism, militant feminism, ultra conservatism, ultra liberalism, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, radical sciences and technologies, monopolist business practices, extravagant lifestyles, violent entertainments and sports, bank fraudulence, gun lobby, over spending, over taxation, overuse of natural resources, man-made climate changes…
All these result not in a coherent and harmonious human society, but conflict, inequality, polarization, hatred, hostility and war. We go from one extreme to another without realizing that all forms of extremism come from the same human nature within us - greed, self-interests, ignorance and intolerance. We are unable and unwilling to consider interests and perspectives beyond our own. We cannot see the whole picture of which we are only a tiny dot. We rely on might and power to solve problems, and we do not understand the consequence of unbalanced approaches. (See Tango and Integrity.) Our relentless pursuit of self-interests could lead to the destruction of human civilization, if we let our greed and ignorance go unchecked and unbalanced. This is not alarmist talk. Given how rapidly and radically the world has changed since World War II, how long can Mother Nature support our greed and mankind remain peaceful with each other? (See The World Needs a Different Philosophy.)
I am not the only one who worries. Whether you realize it or not, tango’s popularity today reflects the universal nostalgia for the missing peace and the rebellion against the dehumanizing reality of our times. Tango is fascinating to many because in tango we have found a different reality - common interests, togetherness, interdependence, connection, mutual sport and complement. In tango we have regained the joy in cooperating, comforting and complementing each other instead of competing with each other. In tango we have found a refuge void of animosity and conflict, a shoulder that we can rely on, and a way to reach harmony through communication, collaboration, accommodation, conciliation and compromise. In tango we have rediscovered the wisdom of Jesus who taught love, Gandhi who advocated nonviolence, Lao Tzu who pleaded simplicity and naturalness, and Confucius who argued for the golden mean. In tango we have found peace, love, fraternity, intimacy, cooperation, equality, and a better world that we wish ours could become. (See The Freedom in Tango.)
That is why people are attracted to tango. That is why I am sad to see that tango, too, is polarized by the extremist tendency to make this dance of love a dance of show, a dance of exoticism, a dance of political correctness, and a dance for profit. By so doing they not only change the essence of the dance, but also betray its idealism and degrade tango from a dance that teaches the world to love to that against its ordained purpose, from that sublimates the humanity to that debases it, and from that symbolizes the world we want ours to become to that reflects the world we want to change.
Many people now take the responsibility to keep the natural environment clean and natural resources wisely used, because the Earth is our only home. Should we not also take the same responsibility to keep the human environment clean and the society stable for the same reason? People new to tango need to awaken to the fact that how you see tango affects how you learn and dance it. You may see it as just a dance, or you may see it as a dance that teaches the world to love. You may learn just how to do steps, or you may learn how to be one with each other. You may dance to show your ego, or you may dance to show your love. You may reinvent tango, or you may let tango change you and through you the world. How you dance matters, because by which you will leave an impact, either way. (See Tango and the Outlook on Life.)