It’s deep connection with self and another, it’s cerebral and completely free of mind, it’s masculine and feminine. It’s sensual. It’s physical. It’s movement meditation. It’s tango. Come give yourself this lifetime gift…
For those who have not been stung by the Tango Bug yet, or those who have tried it but lost interest, this probably sounds exaggerated or foolish, even. But allow me to change your mind.
More often than not, what comes to mind when people hear ‘Argentine Tango’ is ‘Dancing With the Stars’ or Al Pacino’s tango scene in ‘Scent of a Woman’ which, by the way, is pretty impressive. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s NOT. Well, at least, it’s not all that. It’s way more just a mere dance. The more you get to experience tango, the more it becomes apparent that tango is life.
So how and where did tango begin? The origins of tango roots from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is a port city which is why it was flocked by immigrants around the early 1900s. Different people coming from different countries with varying cultures have settled in and called themselves Porteños. It was the fusion of multiple cultures, styles of music and dance, instruments and ideas that bore Argentine Tango and allowed it to thrive for the years to come.
Alright, so enough of the history lesson. The point I’m driving at here, however, is that tango is not about the traditional Ballroom stereotype it has been known for – with its false eyelashes, spray tans and pomp a-la sequins. Simply put, Argentine Tango is a soulful, modest, improvised dance created by a diverse wealth of cultures, arts and influences.
Tango is meant to be danced, not performed. It should not be choreographed. You are not going to dance in order to impress or be watched by an audience. Tango is all about self-expression with the use of body language just like any other social dance.
To be able to express yourself and connect with your partner, presence is required. This presence is otherwise known as “connection”. In tango, there are three most important types of connection and they are:
- Centering yourself (Connecting with the floor) – this type of connection simply means to feel your weight and feet on the floor. It’s being aware of your physical and mental state where you align your spine, release your body tension and clear your mind of any thoughts. Listen to yourself. So, the next time that you are idly just standing on the bus stop or waiting in line during lunch-time, try turning your attention to the soles of your feet and recognise the fact that whilst gravity pulls the weight of your body downward, at the same time, the floor holds you up.
- Building Relationships (Connecting with your partner) – when you master the art of centering yourself, it enables you to connect with others and build relationships. As I have mentioned above, tango is not about technicality or choreography. It is about self-expression and feeling the music. It becomes even more magical when we connect with our partner and become more responsive to them.
- Connecting with the universe (Connecting with the music) – tango is a walking dance. It is an improvised walk that is relaxed yet vibrating with expressive energy. It is elegantly smooth but varies with the beat and the pulse of the music.
Whilst we recognise that tango is a man and a woman’s elegant walk to tango music, we must also remember that tango is a feeling expressed through dance. If there is lack of emotion shared between a man and a woman in embrace, then it is nothing but a series of synchronised motion. Music is your source of emotion and emotion is what you share with your partner communicated through the embrace. All that is going on while you are walking through the music makes up the fundamental ingredients of tango.