Monday, June 9, 2014

Why is it so difficult to be a beginner in Tango? (published in Gancho, June 2014)

Tango was born from longing/missing. It’s called Argentine Tango, but it was born among the homesick immigrants brought from all over the world to Latin America to become slaves in the New World. So, actually, tango is a worldwide heritage, born in Argentina.

Tango was born from feelings and life into expression that manifested itself in music and dance. Therefore, through its very nature, tango reflects the feelings and lives of the dancers.

This is why, maybe, it’s so difficult to be a beginner in Tango. It gives that strange feeling, a mere intuition, that, if you give into it completely, you’ll be seen mask-less against your will; and you can’t control that, so at first you fight it. Do you recognize this feeling? : D

I’ve always thought (ever since I’ve been dancing tango, I mean) that tango and life are such similar experiences, governed by the same principles, that the way you live reflects the way you dance and, at the same time, the way you dance reflects the way you live your life. So why not simply merge the 2 experiences to improve them both?

I was once asked how do I teach the feeling of tango to my students and at that point I couldn’t answer. I thought long and hard about it and after a while it just hit me: you need to get to know the people and their lives so that you can give in tango the same feeling they have in their daily lives. Only then they open up and really understand it, then they slowly start to bring their life into their dance and soon after that they start to bring their tango into their lives.

When, as a beginner, you start dancing your tango the same way you live your life, you stop focusing on the steps, then you just dance.

It’s neither an easy process, nor a short one and some don’t have the patience to go through it. Sometimes the teachers don’t have this patience to get to know their students and then they keep learning mimetically and evolve slowly and dance only with their bodies. Sometimes the students don’t have it and become just copies of others. But sometimes a miracle happens and teachers get through to those who really want to learn and they begin to dance their own tango. For me, as a teacher, these are the most rewarding moments and I’m grateful to have had a few!

I still consider myself a beginner, I still learn a lot from each person I meet and dance with, or simply talk to. I still haven’t made all the connections between my dance and my life and I probably will never get to the end of it since both experiences evolve continuously.

So, I just want to say to all my fellow beginners: tango is the X-ray of our personality. In tango we can’t lie. Give yourselves the chance to discover who you are : )Have patience with yourself both, in the dance and in your life. You’ll be surprised to see how much you still can learn about your own personality and also how much you can heal through this. And when you feel that you’re losing patience, remember that you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk…

And tell me: would you share an experience in which you realized how your life influenced your tango? Or the other way around? If yes, I’ll share one of mine too ; )

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