Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating culture, idea, lifestyle, and philosophy. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, 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 species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. We are humanists. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation and compromise. If you share this conviction, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.

Together we can awaken the world.




December 14, 2011

Tango and Romanticism


When people comment on someone’s tango dancing as doing gymnastics or acrobatics, they are referring to a lack of romanticism in the dance. Gymnastics is an athletic exercise involving skilled physical movements for developing muscles and strength. Acrobatics is a circus show of physical feats, such as flipping in the air, balancing on one hand while doing the splits, and bending the body 180 degrees backwards. These exercises are designed to show what human bodies are capable of for sportive and entertaining purposes. They are physically challenging and difficult to do, and are not intended to be romantic and comfortable.

Tango, on the other hand, is a dance that displays the gracefulness and beauty of the human body in harmony to the music. It emphasizes the artistic aspects of the movement such as emotions, musicality and aesthetics, rather than the physical aspects of the movement such as strength, speed and tricks. What matters most in tango is how soulful, musical, graceful and elegant rather than how physically challenging, difficult and thrilling the movements are. Tango is created to be a romantic and comforting dance that involves feelings, emotions, tenderness, intimacy, sensuality and romanticism. It serves the need for affinity between men and women and is suggestive of a passionate, exciting, fulfilling, and idealized romance. In the soul of tango is romanticism, which distinguishes tango from gymnastics and acrobatics.

If we take romanticism away from tango, what's left is a sport or show. Unfortunately, in a culture where games rather than classics, sports rather than art, and technologies rather than humanity are the main influence, that is what tango increasingly becomes. People, especially young people brought up in this culture exhibit a lack of depth and lasting quality. They focus too much on the flashy form rather than the substance, and constantly seek changes and novelty. To retain tango’s classic, simple, romantic and elegant style, we have work to do. One of which is to reflect more romanticism in our dancing and teaching, for example, being simple, going deeper, slowing down, showing more feelings, and focusing more on the gracefulness and elegance rather than tricks and degree of difficulty of the steps. Fashion will be outdated, but never will be romanticism, because it resides in the humanity. We only need to awaken it.

2 comments:

  1. Paul,
    I read everyone of your articles here and I love everything you have to say. It is as though you read my mind. As I read your blog, I find myself thinking "Yes! that's what I mean! that's exactly what the problem is!..". It is as though we are on the same wavelength.

    The problem is I know tango communities where even though they know about these issues, they would ignore it, go on about their business as usual. It is so sad that in our society we are so gravitate toward instant gratification, don't want to cultivate anything that is hard but meaningful.
    Thank so much for sharing your thought.

    With regard,
    ......

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