Sunday 7 December 2008

Why I Dance Tango

I am a social dancer. That's what I wanted when I took my first lesson.

I want to express myself musically, without making a big performance of it. I want to interact with men, and other women, in a way that gives me joy and doesn't weigh me down with burdens. I want to get all dolled up, once or twice a week, and feel graceful, and sensual, and fun-loving. I want a reason to wear pretty clothes and shoes. I want to do something with my body, and delight in it, and have it appreciated by other people. I want to do all this as well as I can, but without an obligation to anyone but me.

It's not that I value less the rest of what I am. I just want to expand what it means to be me.

As for why this dance rather than another one, this is the one where I don't have to fake.


Tangocommuter said...

Ms. H, to be a social dancer, and all you enjoy about it, is a great human ambition: I just can't think of another way to put it!

Learning to be a social tango dancer isn't easy. Partly the mechanics of it: jive and salsa aren't close-hold and don't circulate the floor. You claim your spot and dance in it more or less at arms length. It's fun, but it's not as... as human? as tango. In tango you share each other and the floor as a whole. Teachers tend to be performers, who dance in voids, and suggest performance rather than social dance.

I think it's still possible to watch the remnants of an older generation in Buenos Aires who never took classes, who learned by dancing, listening, watching. Now tango is cultural heritage here and is taught in classes. Can't put the clock back, but I'm wondering if we need so many classes. Maybe there are just too many of them!

msHedgehog said...

The possibility of doing it well is challenging enough to be interesting, and to have kept me interested and looking for constant, gradual improvement over a fairly long period of time. But I've been taught almost only by teachers who are exclusively focused on social dancing and don't perform at all, so I've bypassed some of the problems that arise from the what-works attitude and concern with appearances that performance brings. This was sheer luck, to start with, no merit in me.

Anonymous said...

There's a quote from Dharma and Greg
"I promise to always let you be you, and me be me"

Pretty much sums up what I want in a dance.

Henry said...

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Take a look and let me know what you think!

ad said...

I love this "feel graceful, and sensual, and fun-loving" - because that is one huge reason why I am loving tango right now. I have never liked my legs - they are neither long nor sexy - but when I tango, I feel like I have the most beautiful legs ever!