Tango is More Than a Dance

Tango Classes Brisbane

Tango is much more than a lovely social activity that you can dance to a variety of beautiful music.

It is a great means to gain a better understanding of your body and how it works. It can help you develop better posture, balance, mobility, flexibility and general control of your body. It will sometimes show weaknesses in your body that need to be rectified or it may show up a postural problem with your dance which presents itself via pain or injury.

Perhaps even more importantly, it allows the expression of our emotional state that may not always be so freely shared. To be able to connect with another during a dance is a privilege with many health benefits. It shows how we connect and relate to others, particularly those of the opposite gender.

When totally immersed in the music with your partner, the dance can become quite meditative as we become totally present in that moment. This can be very similar to other forms of meditation that one can experience, for example, during a Yoga class, running longer distances, walking through a forest or simply sitting on a mat. The benefits of these meditative moments are many. To allow the mind to be free of the general thoughts of daily life for even just a moment are priceless, especially with so much stimuli generally around us.

dance classes tangoConsideration and care for others is sometimes lost in today’s busy, always ‘on the go’ lives that we often experience. Within the dance, however, your time is fully given to your partner with total awareness and consideration to them. From where they are in space (their axis) and working with and around that axis, to the continual communication of invitation and acceptance. As we allow ourselves to be fully present in those moments, the deeper they become. We also learn to become aware and give consideration to those around us by allowing them space so that we all move harmoniously around the floor.

There is now increasing amounts of research that dancing (and often specifically Tango) has many other health benefits including helping with Parkinson’s disease and delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s.

All this from such a simple act of connecting with another dancing to beautiful music!

Tango: A Form of Meditation

Tango - A form of Meditation

Tango - A MeditationOver the years, many cultures worldwide have been using meditation to quiet the mind and get to states that are favourable to both psychological and physical wellbeing.

Tango dancing, as discovered by scientists after years of studying its functions, can enable a person to achieve mental states similar to that of people who meditate regularly. Also, it is likely that highly skilled Tango dancers are able to enter deeper levels of the mind. This coincides with the greater connection that a dancer has with his/ her partner.

The US National Library of Medicine conducted an experiment that aimed to prove that Argentine tango has similar effects as that of mindfulness meditation in terms of decreasing the symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress. For the experiment, they assigned 97 people suffering from depression to either a tango class, a meditation class, or neither.

Contrary to other types of meditation where you enter into some sort of sleep-like state, mindfulness meditation is a kind of meditation where a person is aware that he/she is meditating.

They have arrived to the conclusion that tango, just like meditation, can treat depression and manage stress effectively.

An even more comprehensive research was done by St. Mary’s College of California. Using an Electroencephalograph (EEG), they measured brain activity of dancers. They attached electrodes to the scalps of Tango dancers, as well as a group of volunteers who stand as a control group.

It was discovered in the study that just like in mindfulness meditation, tango dancers trust on internal focus and attention while dancing. Also, another thing that a person can benefit from meditation is not only can they decrease stress levels but they may also enhance their cognitive abilities.

Here’s how it works. As a person meditates, the mind relaxes and enters a state of heightened alpha-wave activity, the same waves that appear prior to sleep. These waves fill a considerable portion of the brain which ultimately settle in the frontal areas. If this is prolonged, the brain may exhibit theta and delta wave patterns as it enters into lower frequencies.

In conclusion, the study has proven that the more experienced a tango dancer is, the more powerful is their alpha state in comparison to other subject groups. Whilst all other subject groups did display an alpha state, the neural efficiency hypothesis has been perfectly demonstrated by the experienced tango dancers, suggesting that the use of mental resources is less for those who have more experience with the same activity.

Furthermore, just like with meditation, the more one practices tango, the more capable they are of entering these relaxed states. With more practice comes more chances of entering deeper relaxation states which ultimately leads to experiencing more positive qualities.

So…keep practicing!

Connection

Tango Classes Brisbane

Tango Classes Brisbane

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Source: http://urbanspiritual.org/2013/05/23/tango-is-life-part-1-connecting-with-yourself/

https://tangovoice.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/the-essence-of-tango-argentino/