Experience the “real” tango…

postitleswirl

I was sitting in the milonga, just watching and listening. And after so many years of doing that, my experience deepened again, to another level of knowing what Argentine Tango is.


For a long time, I’ve known it is an emotional dance. It invites and stimulates feelings of intimacy, affection, passion, intensity, delight, and so much more. It is a vessel which can receive, tolerate, and give balm to my sadness, rage, loneliness, loss, and lostness.

But Argentines say that the music itself brings emotions into you, and this is why they emphasize that to understand tango you must learn the language, even the old Lunfardo words and phrases. You must feel the pathos of the songs in order to fully experience the emotion of tango.

Yesterday the music tore my heart out. I felt for the first time the history in the music, the sense that this song had been with me for a long time. The faces of my loves passed before me. I felt their fingertips slip from mine. I heard my hope and pain and loss in these familiar songs. My heart sang along, was crushed, and wept.

Into this torrent of mixed emotion I stood, I reached for a partner, and let my whole body take me into the music, into all those feelings, into an embrace with another being who is surely as full of emotion and sensation as I am, and who is generously willing to share with me, wordless and trusting, this experience. The joy and hope and sadness and loss all swept through me as I danced.

At one point I cried as I danced, and yet although I felt my body impaired by the intensity of emotion, I wanted to keep dancing. Dancing, continuing, made all this whole. Kept it all alive, and kept me alive where I might have felt crushed.

I felt myself in my own history, accompanied by this music, music that has been with me my whole life. And I felt “now I understand Argentine Tango.”

What was the song that moved me so? Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”. Where was I dancing? Alistair’s innovative new tango space, Liquid Tango.

I will not belabor the point that to experience the depths that tango offers and promises, we must dance to music that evokes our own history, memory, and emotion. Our music, the music of our own cultures and lives and loves.

 

9 December, 2012

I want you to know that you are not alone…

embrace orig crop

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

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Important Insights

Books

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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