Aug 272011
 
Tango is a way to make something beautiful with someone you don't know yet.

photo by Romain Baillon

 

Dancing tango means lifting your heart toward other people, so it’s a chance to let go of what you have been hiding in the curve of your shoulder. It’s a path to touch your raw creativity. It’s an invitation to show your bright soul, and to dare to be absolutely fully present in real time action. Tango is playtime where you get to show your sass, your elegance, your very personal sense of sexy. It’s a social space where you can graciously receive others’ desire for you. You can learn Argentine Tango at any time in your life, and you don’t have to wear high heels or be skinny.

People say it’s healing, people say it’s addictive, people find themselves, feel connected, etc. etc. There are a lot of different ways to describe the experience … but real-time partner improvisation is something you’ve got to try!

Many people who’ve started dancing tango “just to meet people” have found themselves a few months later with a lot of new friends, a lot of delight, and a passion. In my view what’s special and healing about tango is the experience of total mutual concentration with another person, in fact several people, every night. But there are many other benefits..

If you’re a man, read the special stuff for men.

Tired of small talk?

Every night at tango socials (“milongas”), people enjoy each other without small talk. It’s a totally different way to get to know people. You can have a sense of community while maintaining your privacy.

Many dancers are singles, but for couples tango is a way to create emotional connection without words – anytime, anywhere.

It’s not too late to fly

Do you regret not being a trapeze artist? Tango movement imparts sensations of suspension, floating, and rushing through the air. But what makes tango especially elating is the experience of two people moving as one. And you can have this experience with multiple partners, several nights a week for the rest of your life. It’s not too late to learn Argentine Tango.

International travel

Do you travel a lot for business? Argentine Tango is danced nearly every night in major cities around the world. As a tanguero you will feel at home in the transnational culture of tango wherever you are. You’ll have something to do at night, and a way to meet nice people, from the first day you arrive in a foreign city. Tango is a safe and sweet way to get to know people all over the world, without needing to speak the language.

Sexy is how you Move

Dress up,  down, or in drag, but walk as a tango dancer and you’ll feel gorgeous and confident. Leaders will feel more masculine and followers more feminine than ever before. You can live your fantasies every night.

You don’t need any previous dance experience and you don’t have to choose just one role to play!

No one will ever say “you’re too old to be wearing that”

Tango is about being sexy, and there’s no age limit. Tangueras wear high heels, short skirts, deep slits, and sexy stockings into their 90s. Tango men express themselves with bright shoes, silver threads, and rakish hats. If you’re a girl with a fabulous closet and nowhere to wear it, tango might be the social scene you’ve been needing.

And lots of folks wear jeans, Pumas, and t-shirts. You can enjoy tango in any style.

Have you worked hard for a beautiful strong body, and want to find ways to show it off and enjoy it?

If you’re into fitness, you’ll find interesting challenges when you learn Argentine Tango. You’ll learn to use your body with very specific muscle control, with integration, and with elasticity. If you do yoga, you’ll excel at tango. If you do pilates, it will make sense to you. None of this is necessary to dance tango, but it will be interesting if you speak these languages. You’ll have a chance to feel and use your strength and flexibility, and have it appreciated in an elegant and respectful setting.

Tired of the bar scene?

Are you sober, or just don’t like to be around drunk people? Do you feel that socializing seems to revolve around alcohol, more than you prefer? Most tango dancers don’t drink while dancing, and those who do only have a little, as tango is better when you can pay attention.

The lack of expectation to drink also reduces the cost of the evening. You can dance and socialize all night for about the price of a movie ticket.

Diverse and inclusive community

A room of tango dancers includes people from 20-90 years of age, from many walks of life, and usually from many countries. We all dance together with grace and generosity.

It’s a social environment totally comfortable both for singles and couples.

 

 

BUT

“I don’t have any rhythm”

This dance does not require you to dance on the beat. In fact you can dance to any part of the music you want, and traditional tango gives you a lot of choices, including several rhythms and melodies. You can dance to the melody or change around from one part to another part of the music. As long as you like MUSIC you can dance tango. There’s no right way to interpret it.

“I have two left feet”

People do this dance well into their 90s. If you can walk, you can learn Argentine Tango. Remember that this is a social dance, which means the goal of classes is to get you to have a good time and give a nice experience to another person, not to perform for an audience. You may have seen spectacular tango choreographies performed on a stage or for television, but most of the tango that is danced every night around the world is improvised and does not require physical fitness.

That said if you have done any kind of exercise involving your core, you will be well-prepared for tango.

“I don’t like tango music”

While it’s true that many tango events emphasize traditional music, it’s possible to dance tango to any music.

learn Argentine Tango

 

So, should YOU learn Argentine Tango?

It’s all pretty hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it yet – but that’s the case with descriptions of most things you haven’t experienced, isn’t it?

Tango is a new way to experience yourself, and other people. Connection is a physical experience of being one creature with another person. You are forced into “Flow” in a way that displaces all distractions and stress. You work with your mind, body, heart, and other parts all at once so you feel unusually whole and fully present. And you experience the thrill of total mutual concentration with another person. You are not alone, you are in it together, you understand something in the same way, and you are committed to collaboration.

It’s sort of like being inside a poem together, trying to figure it out together, and then sharing intense moments of recognition and beauty.

You experience all this with some friends who you meet often, and also with strangers, with whom you can “connect” without any small talk. With some people you’ll experience sensuality, with others exhilarating athleticism. Each connection is different. You’ll dance in different kinds of spaces, which bring out different moods in you and the other dancers. And you’ll dance to different kinds of music, which link to different emotions and sentiments. As a tango dancer you’ll have the chance to meet local people and have nice experiences wherever you travel in the world.

Some things to know about tango:

  • It’s not necessary to have a regular partner.
  • It’s not necessary to wear high heels or dress up.
  • It’s not necessary to have a good “sense for rhythm”. Tango is open to each dancer’s own musical interpretation and you are allowed to dance very, very slowly.
  • It’s not necessary to be young, skinny, in good shape, and beautiful. It’s not usually portrayed in advertising, but the reality is that more than half of the people dancing tango globally are over 50 and do not have any prior dance experience or fitness regime. Tango appeals to professionals and intellectuals who feel the need for something social and physically expressive, and to people from many different backgrounds who just do not like small talk.
  • Tango is a safe environment in which the context of connection is highly structured: nonconsensual touch is forbidden, and people part respectfully and sweetly after about 15 minutes of dancing.
  • Tango is an excellent clean and sober activity which requires so much concentration you might not even notice that alcohol is often for sale at tango events. Most dancers feel tango is better without alcohol, and drink very little if any.
  • There is a Rainbow Queer Tango Scene in most major cities in which the heteronormative tango roles and images are completely ignored.

But tango is not for everyone. It’s not a dance that you can just show up and do occasionally, “for fun”. It’s a serious hobby, more like rock climbing than like salsa. At first when you start to learn Argentine Tango it’s very hard, then it becomes interesting and exciting. It takes some patience and commitment before you can start to appreciate where that hard work is going. People who do have an athletic or dance background are usually surprised at how challenging tango is. Tango uses a fascinating mix of relaxation and strength, which even professional ballerinas and contemporary dancers find challenging. Experienced ballroom dancers need to adjust to tango’s naturalistic aesthetic. MuscleMen and Crossfit types have to learn to use their muscles very subtly, which is a whole new kind of control.

You might be surprised at who tends to learn Argentine Tango fastest:

  • Geeks (engineers and programmers) who are very analytic, and do not have a lot of athletic movement habits in their bodies.
  • Yogis who have learned to work with a lot of physical paradoxes and who love and trust their bodies.
  • Martial artists who realize that our physical power comes from legs and earth.
  • Pilates practitioners who appreciate fine control of muscles.

If you’re curious to know more:

  1. Watch our video, Tango Beyond the Clichés
  2. Visit our Studio in Berlin Mitte.
  3. Ask any question to office@TangoForge.com.
  4. Of course you’ll want to go to a class and meet other beginners soon, but you might want to get started at home. You can learn Argentine Tango alone or with a friend with our private practice courses.

Experience TangoForge

photo by Vikas Narula, photo editing by TC

To show you how we teach, we invite you to try a typical week's classes.

We start with a Biomechanics class to build the technique skills we need for the week's Improvisation theme.

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The whole Lexicon of Tango is available in our 25-session video masterclass,
Learn about TangoForge Online Education.
 27 August 2011