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Tango Elegance & Roots

Tango Fundamentals and Elegance

'A vertical expression of a horizontal desire',   'Two heads, four legs and one body' or  'a feeling you dance' ... these are attempted definitions of Tango; each of them is some what accurate but together even more so.  The Northern Hemisphere countries have a large tradition with Ballroom Dancing.  Because of that, it has become very easy to transfer the same ideas to other dances.  That's why students and teachers like to speak about levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced.  This is not proper for Tango.  In other dances the different levels are characterized by WHAT they do; in Tango the level is characterized for HOW they do it.  And of course it's a totally different criteria of evaluation.  Besides, Tango is a social dance more than a dance of competition.   A lion and a zebra (even though they are both animals, both grow wild and both live in the jungle) are different.  So they should be given a different treatment.  In the same way, it is not suitable to use the same 'model' for such completely different dances.  The most difficult thing about dancing Tango are Tango FUNDAMENTALS.  The difference between a very good dancer and another who is not very good is: Tango FUNDAMENTALS.  One more time 'it's not WHAT you do but HOW you do it'.   If it was necessary to use only one word to define Tango this world would be:  ELEGANCE.  So if there's not ELEGANCE, there's no Tango.  The majority of students, when they have the opportunity to  make a choice between a class for beginners, intermediates or advanced, will try the advanced one.   It's a mistake , of course, because what dancers really need are the FUNDAMENTALS of Tango.  Probably one of the best tips for every dancer is:  'attend the classes about very basic things' and using an English saying,  ' it will make your day' !


Tango Roots

It is also important to be clear about Tango roots and the philosophy of Tango.  Tango was born to be danced by a 'brand new couple' or by 'enthusiastic lovers'.  We have  'a  feeling' together and share something in common: LOVE.  But even when we are at the top of this feeling, not always is everything rosy.  Probably when we are madly in love, one of the most clear characteristics of this state-situation-soul connection at that moment is the INTENSITY of our different emotions.  If we are happy, we are extremely happy, if we are sad we couldn't feel worse.  We could also associate this with:  PASSION; but we should be very careful about thinking like that because even though passion is appropriate in that situation it also has another connotation which is very dangerous:  PASSION = RED & BLACK=DRAMA=RED ROSE IN TEETH = HOLLYWOOD and of course we are losing the way when we begin to think like this.  Tango is tragic, because life is tragic. Tango is not dramatic.  Tango from Hollywood is dramatic (but it is not our Tango).  DRAMA and COMEDY are the two faces of THEATRE.  And it was like that since Theatre was born in the Golden Century of Pericles in Greece.  In the Theatre, actors and actresses PERFORM.  Here we are with a very interesting association:  We can also perform a Tango, but either in a Theatre or in a movie, NOT on a dance-floor, NOT in a 'MILONGA'.   At Carnival parties or at Halloween people use costumes.  If you observe their choice when they need to decide what to be, you can read between the lines.  This way they are living their dreams, at least for a while. And as for Tango?  SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO LIVE THEIR DREAMS OF BEING GREAT PERFORMERS AT THE MILONGA.  The biggest problem is that unfortunately they don't know that they are as they are. Only some information heard over and over again would be able to bring the necessary help because it is not an individual problem; it is a Tango society problem.  And there are more red lights of danger flashing:  All those people who probably with their best intentions and also with deep love what they do, spread these concepts (plus those with not very good intentions do the same), encouraging others to go in that direction as well.  Once again, while dancing a Tango we are sharing a strong feeling with our partner;  this has nothing to do with an audience.