I have to believe that my 11 years of tango are not in service only to sexist retrenchment but to something liberating. I think tango has shown me that there is indeed creative mystery to be revealed in our depths and that patient witness is what enables it to manifest. My belief is controversial that […]
I believe that there is a black tango and a white tango, like black magic and white magic. If we recognize that tango is a powerful thing, then we realize we can use it for selfish purposes or generous ones. We can realize people who are using it in different ways. Tango is not this or that. Tango is power, and a practice for relating to other people. You wield it.
Femininity is always a fantasy. There is no lasting escape from our strength and men’s frailty. (There are other ways to understand it, but these moments are also rare.) The respite and pleasure you receive from tango is a precious gift, a facet, a moment of “altered perception”, and an addictive drug. Like every drug, like every addiction, it is not reality, it is damaging, and you will come down. To get real with this retrograde gender activity you’ve got yourself hooked in to, you need to decide that you are not going to suffer. And there are other ways than leaving the milonga when there are too many women.To stop suffering the absence of fantasy-ecstasy-femininity requires that you accept all of who you are.
Tango dancers often brag about being a “Tango addict”. I was. I’ve broken my tango addiction. What is tango addiction? In my experience there are three forms of addiction. The first is when someone knows they have a harmful addiction, and they try to hide it from others, or deny it to themselves. (Binge eating, gambling, porn, pharmaceutical […]
When Argentine Tango is good –when the partners are able to maintain a sublime level of connection, moving as one– it is absolutely rapturous. It feels like [Hollywood] Movie Sex looks: smooth, passionate, consuming. This experience is so intense that it can trigger romantic emotions, the sensation of being in love – even though we […]
Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are now mastering this dance! You can make girls feel really good and happy. Girls are starting to look for you, snuggle you, hang around you. This feels great! You’re a nice guy; you are not planning to use your newfound advantage to become a womanizer, but you […]
Dancers who violate the ronda, execute moves unsafely, or have difficulty dancing on music recorded after 1950 are simply unskilled, and ideology is no protection from the resultant problems.
I can feel the hunger of the women. I know that hunger for tango ecstasy. I know it as an addiction, as a wound, as a sweet balm. I know that dancing with them won’t be enough. I can give them my best and they will still be hungry. If I have any responsibility for the event, this sensation drains me to the point that I desperately want to lay down on the floor and go to sleep.
While most couples are stuck with a single gender performance, a gay role-changing couple can explore gender performance and its relationship to their dance with far more subtlety and interest. And it’s not so crude as drag. Martin and Maurizio always dress as two elegant men and they wear men’s shoes. It’s in the physical expression, how they move, how they touch, how they look at each other, how they define and play with power.
I want to try to find a story of tango as a liberatory gender journey. For men, from fear of their own strength to sexual prowess to the decision to choose. For women, from inadequate object, to perfect femininity, and out the other side, beyond seduction and competition to a deeper power.
A term sometimes used for the lead in BsAs is ‘marcar’, to mark. He is an artist, drawing in the dark. The role of the Revel is to bring his mark to life, to witness and celebrate his creativity, to give it back to him, a little more beautiful than he imagined.
Tango is a chance to embody masculinity in a satisfying way, and in a way that fulfils women’s desire for certain romantic gender relations. We don’t want you to boss us around, but we do want to be admired and desired, to feel your masculine attention.
It’s painful to sit as a revel waiting to be asked for a dance. Marks feel a lot of stress in having to make the approach. And many people feel that the codigos and the cabeceo reinforce old fashioned gender roles about male privilege and female passivity. I’ve felt the anxiety that accompanies both roles, […]
If the leader doesn’t risk openness and vulnerability, if the leader falls back or contracts power, the follower has to extend too far across the emotional and physical gap. It’s very difficult for leaders to send their hearts forward, and much easier to pull the follower to them. This stance countermands a comfortable retreat to the intellectual side and requires a dramatic embodiment of an extreme and seemingly archaic gender role — the protector.
A feminist tango is not anti-man in any way, but it is pro-woman. It means we give each other the same gracious generosity that we habitually and unhesitatingly offer to strange men. It means we give each other more, and what that more can be is open to the imagination of every woman who has suffered the unique and poignant pains of tango.
On 19 April 2009, Duro y Vio organized two beautiful events at Spontaneous Celebrations to mark their departure from Boston. One was Boston’s first Queer Tango Milonga. The other was a Celebration of Women Leaders. Here’s the gorgeous slideshow from that event. Celebration of Women Leaders from vio saraza on Vimeo. Please do not repost […]
This research note examines the unique possibilities that tango may create as it becomes queered, and identifies ways in which the extreme gender environment of traditional tango is already queer. I distinguish three layers of gender experience in tango: drag, object desire, and inhabitation of essence.