Personal Reflections on "tango vivisentido" ("lived-and-felt tango")
Why should we always dance the same way?
This article was published on the magazine Punto Tango Nº 31
Tango dancing was born in Paris.
This article was published on the magazine Punto Tango Nº 32
Tango has depth.
Social tango, as opposed to stage tango (a visual show for observers), is a way into our innermost selves. There are very few life experiences that make us so aware of how we express ourselves. In addition, tango provides us with the never-ending possibility of creating and recreating this awareness in each tango step we take. Salon tango is an interior experience; it doesn’t say to an audience, “Look what I’m doing.” Rather, it says to one’s partner, “Feel what I’m feeling.” This is a privilege and a responsibility, which I try to transmit to my students.
The more one knows, the more one enjoys.
Let’s be aware of what we can do. This way we will have more possibilities at hand and will be freer to explore them. As time goes on, different options become apparent: to repeat a movement, to change it, to stop doing it or to do it in a different way. For example, as we become conscious that the leg does not walk by itself, we learn to decide where, how and when to place it. We learn how to check our posture. We take the time to form a comfortable embrace before beginning to dance. Let’s not rush into learning steps. Let’s take the necessary time to understand all the factors involved in feeling, communicating and creating our own personal style.
Awareness of movement. Body language.
In an embrace, a man and a woman will “speak “ tango. Movement will be the language. That is why the awareness of how to manage your own body and to understand your partner’s improves the “dialogue” through which you speak and listen to each other. The more you are aware of your body and its possibilities and limits, the more resources you will have to express yourself.
How do I dance “my” tango?
In the end, we all dance our personalities. There are as many ways and expressions of dancing as there are the people who do it. Dancing tango is literally to “hand over your body and soul.” That is how the embrace becomes warm and comfortable instead of stiff. It is how posture becomes elegant and natural instead of fake. It is how the lead becomes subtle instead of arrogant and forced. Sooner or later, these elements become clear to the leader and the follower. So, for more than one reason, dancing the tango means “standing” in front of your own life. It is a way to share and to give of yourself, if only for the three minutes that a tango lasts.
We are not the same before and after having fully danced the tango.
Dancing tango may be understood as dialectics. This experience, besides being cathartic (I have danced with women who cried after having danced a sequence), is a movement that is constantly recreating and surpassing itself.
About “the new” vs. “the old” tango, and dancing “unembraced”
“New” is often sanctified as a synonym of “advanced.” This simplistic assumption turns easily into: “if something dates from long ago it should be ignored or discredited.” We currently dance to pieces of music that date back to the 30s or older. There are orchestras and tangos that have existed for seventy years or more and that are still popular. The question that must be asked is, “In how many years will people still be listening to the “new” music of today’s groups?” As for the embrace, I personally feel it is a better way to communicate expression than a simple linking of arms. For me, the tango is not a mere recreational exercise. And so the “tanguero” embrace is the best one, not because it’s ours, but because it’s a true embrace. This is what tango dancers from all over the world come to Buenos Aires for.
“Pugliese, Pugliese, Pugliese”
It is through this popular saying that good luck is evoked and bad luck exorcised in Buenos Aires. And so it occurs to me to associate the choice of this name with the magic of Pugliese’s music and his unsurpassed interpretative style. It was through Pugliese that the tango became immense, endless. And so, as tango is a voyage, I have decided to make the trip with Osvaldo Pugliese.
“Microclimate” tango. Tango for the inner-self and for one’s partner. Tango is a dance of concentration which does not depend on an audience. It is not an exhibition. It absorbs the dancers in the world that they create during the three minutes that a tango lasts. Essential tango is without specific goals. It is minimalist and intimate. Quoting his own words: “I try, by holding my partner securely in my arms, to make her perceive a lead which is soft, clear and precise. This is because she is a woman, not a robot or a puppet, Although It may be easier to give orders and to obey, that is not my proposal. I don’t generate a good dance because the woman accepts orders submissively. When dancing, I try not to produce a self-indulgent monologue for myself, which could be degrading for her. I try to create a dialogue between the two of us. If my partner feels comfortable, protected and encouraged to express herself freely, then that tango will be well danced. So for me, a man should dance not by imposing his decision, but by proposing a joint creation. There is a complicity, which unites the two dancers and makes them move as one.”
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