Go!

postitleswirl

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It’s striking. Every time I talk with someone about having finally found the dance partner I’ve been looking for, and my plans to return to Berlin to try working with him, people respond with intense encouragement. “Go!”

Many people have gone on from that point to offer assistance. I feel that I am surrounded by angels.

I’m a bit surprised by the ferocity of their response. At first, I felt the decision was very selfish, but there seems to be going else going on, which I am trying to understand.

Psychologists tell us that when a response is stronger than warranted, it has sources external to the situation at hand. In this one, it seems obvious that their response is not just about being happy for me. It has something to do with them.

Probably a lot of people wish they were free or daring enough to change their life to follow their artistic dreams.  Many feel stuck where they are and unable to consider such things. Some people may touch the knowledge that they have not had the chance to develop artistic dreams.

I am not that into the concept of  ‘vicariousness’. Many tango couples offer this to their students –an image of art, romance, and glamour. Plenty of that around. There’s a power in the responses I’m receiving which I don’t see elicited by every beautiful [voluntarily] impoverished tango artist.

I don’t think it’s me. 

I think it’s something about the palpability of the risk, the visibility of the calculus.

It’s not just the weather that’s at stake in my return to Berlin for the winter. It’s taken a few years to build friendships, spaces, infrastructure, and a business here in Sydney, and even a fledgling open-minded tango community who keep my spirits up. In Berlin I’ll be a newcomer again, head-to-head (if not eye-to-eye) with some of the most respected dancers in the world. And everyone knows that no partnership is easy, even if (or especially if) it’s inspiring enough to cross the world to make. Perhaps its that last which is most moving for people. I am daring at something which could well fail under the very best efforts of both parties.

“You’ve got to try”, they say. After looking so long, on the brink of retiring my tango dreams for lack of an artistic match, this is a chance not to be missed. My friends don’t have to be dancers to get that the dream is more precious than anything I might risk, and that it’s rare to have a clear shot.

If you want to help build the catapult, I’m open to any ideas you may have.

And I think there’s something about tango here, something relevant to Rebel Tango…

I don’t think anyone chooses Argentine Tango (or anything else in their lives for that matter) for passivity, obedience, properness, or authority. But that’s what we get. We choose self-expression, we get rules and hierarchy.

And I don’t think anyone stays because it’s a nice hobby. We stay because tango pierces through to our soul, in ways we cannot understand or articulate. And every time we enter that grim room of factions and territories, smirks and smug scowls, we know exactly what we are after.

My daring decision resonates with everyone I speak to who has kept walking that gauntlet of calculated kisses, acting for their desire in fear and trembling, hoping against recent evidence for the dance with wings and singing hearts, opening that inauspicious black bag one more time.

This is what social theorists call “agency”. In a lifeworld constricted by mortgages and media consolidation, we are hard put to manifest higher forms of our humanity, like making art. Indeed we are hard put to define freedom, let alone act on it.

When we stride forth into the dark, black bag in hand, resigned to the incomprehension of our friends, fully intending to stay up too late, unable to rationally justify any of it, but with perfect clarity and courage toward our intent, we defy the limits and circuits which have become our landscape. GO!

 

 

 

a clear shot, at anything, is rare

 

When I originally wrote this post, I didn’t mention Roberto’s name. Here’s the first photo, by Boris.

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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