Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of humanity, connection, love, unity, harmony and beauty, 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 team, 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, accommodation, 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 the two dancers are immersed in music and find the connection between them. There cannot be tango between two beginners who do not listen to music, are physically disconnected and emotionally detached, focusing only on the steps and themselves and are not able to communicate their feelings. (See Tango Is a Feeling.) They dance like two individuals bickering and disagreeing with each other. In contrast, mature dancers are totally committed to each other. They focus on music, which resonates with them, stirs up their feelings and enables them to find the connection. As a result, they dance like two soulmates in perfect agreement. This agreement is what makes tango intoxicating.
What we are looking for in tango is the affinity and harmony between the dancers. 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. Novices tend to focus on superficial things like steps and impressions. But such external things are cursory and unessential. What is essential is the dancer's inner quality: his musicality, masculinity, strength, leadership, protection, thoughtfulness and finesse; her coordination, femininity, lightness, flexibility, obedience, agreeableness and adaptability; and the connection and harmony 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 oneness and harmony through commitment, submission, communication, understanding, cooperation and accommodation. A reader, after read my post The Gender Roles in Tango, remarked, "These seem to be applicable to real life relationships as well." Indeed, the concept of tango has a universal value. It reveals the way to achieve oneness and harmony in all kinds of relationships between individuals, genders, political parties and social groups, etc. (See The Lessons of Tango.)
Beginners need to turn their attention from the external to the internal. Instead of concentrating on the steps and themselves, they should focus on being one with their partner. Focusing on the steps and the self could cause the dancer to neglect his/her partner, or blame the partner for not doing so well and try to correct him/her, resulting in the incoordination between them. Focusing on being one with the partner, on the other hand, will cause the dancer to collaborate with the partner, or even be conceding enough to make the partner 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.)