Everyone who understands tango knows that it’s not about steps. It’s about the experience of flying, embraced, inside music. (!) We know that the embrace, like any good hug, is beautiful on its own. But the embrace alone, standing still, is not yet tango. It is when we touch the notes with our steps, or our flying legs, that we experience the miracle of connected motion: This is Argentine Tango Improvisation.
We are thrilled to announce the next step in our work to encourage Real Improvisation from the Elements: A video series in YouTube which shows the systems of variations for every tango movement. Today we launch our channel of 1-2 minute videos showing variations of every element in the Tango Lexicon. Technique instruction is still found in the KnowledgeBase and MasterCourse.
Music by Cuarteto SolTango.
Why is Improvisation important for Intermediate and Advanced Dancers?
In the same way that physical disruptions of the embrace can disrupt the experience of connection, so can too much repetition of sequences. The delight and charm of tango do not arise from mere mastery of a physical relationship or good choreography, but from taking a wondrous journey together.
The wonder is improvisation: the discovery of sympatico relations between Argentine Tango improvisation and music.
We can dance the same songs every night for years because of the possibility to discover new relations between movement and music. We can do this because each dance is unique, because we create it anew each time. Argentine Tango improvisation must be authentic and spontaneous or tango becomes rote and dead. Either partner can kill it: The Mark through routine and the Revel through automatisms.
Are you improvising or trying to memorize?
Most Marks are frustratingly stuck with a small number of sequences. Most Revels realize this after dancing several tandas with any given Mark. No matter how much she enjoys the sweetness of his embrace, or his technical skills, the wonder fades away.
Most Marks berate themselves for inability to remember new sequences from their classes, and may give up on classes because they feel it’s a waste of time. Most Revels stopped going to classes a long time ago because there wasn’t much in it for them.
In truth, keeping Argentine Tango improvisation alive is not about memorization. For Marks it’s about using variations of the movements they already know. For Revels it’s about moving in a way that makes space-time for your partner to think and change.
The current historical moment says that Argentine Tango Improvisation is considered less important than elegance and social behavior. But we are all getting bored of dancing only ochos, giros, and crosses and to achieve the psychological state of Flow we need a strong compulsion to mutual concentration, which wanes when we only dance familiar routines.
To restore our inheritance of the complete repertoire for Argentine Tango improvisation is a communal project. Marks can’t introduce new elements unless Revels work to be ready. You can be part of this global movement to restore our beautiful tango to its full glory.
Stop memorizing sequences*
and start improvising from the elements of Tango
*or being annoyed with yourself for not being able to remember them.