Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search 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 community and people. 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.
March 18, 2014
The Affinity and Harmony between Partners
Tango only happens when both partners are immersed in the music and find the connection between them. There cannot be tango between two beginners who do not listen to the music, are emotionally detached, physically disconnected, focus only on themselves or the steps, and are unable to communicate what they feel. (See Tango Is a Feeling.) They dance like two individuals bickering and disagreeing with each other. In contrast, mature dancers are mutually committed and emotionally connected. They focus on the music, which stirs up their emotions and enables them to identify with each other's feelings and find the connection. As a result, they dance like two soulmates in perfect understanding and agreement. This agreement is what makes tango intoxicating.
What we look for in tango is the affinity and harmony between the partners. A good tango partner does not have to be good-looking, but he/she must be a good match to you so dancing with him/her makes you feel the chemistry. Novice dancers tend to be attracted to superficial things like appearance and fancy movements. But such external things are unessential. What is essential is the dancer's inner quality: her femininity, lightness, softness, flexibility, obedience, agreeableness and adaptability; his masculinity, strength, dependability, protection, musicality, thoughtfulness and finesse; and the connection and understanding between them. Those who pursue the vanity and ignore the essence cannot find tango, just like they cannot find love. People often compare tango to love because the two share a common theme. (See A Dance that Teaches People to Love.) They both involve a relationship between a man and a woman in which the two sexes play different roles but complement each other. They both aim at achieving harmony through submission, devotion, understanding, cooperation and accommodation. A reader, after read my post The Gender Roles in Tango, remarked, "These seem to be applicable to real life as well." Indeed, the concept of tango has a universal value. It reveals the way to achieve harmony between people, genders, political parties and social groups, etc. (See The Lessons of Tango.)
Beginners need to change their focus from on what is external to what is internal. I do not mean that the steps are totally irrelevant. But as you tango your attention should be placed on being one with your partner rather than on the steps. If you only focus on executing the steps, it is easy to forget about your partner, or blame him/her for not doing so well and try to correct him/her, resulting in two partners uncoordinated. If you focus on being one with your partner, you will try to collaborate with him/her, or even be conceding enough to make him/her feel at home, so the two may become one in the dance. Tango is like marriage. What makes it work is not pressing your partner to follow your will, but being cooperative and accommodating. Novice women often feel comfortable dancing with a milonguero, not because the novices know their stuff, but because the milonguero knows how to accommodate them. Surrendering, adapting to and being one with your partner, therefore, are more important than doing the steps. (See Tango Is a Relationship.)