TangoForge Compañeros may already realize that I spend as much time with words as with muscles. There are two projects:
- Precision: Words organize experience, emotion, and theory to a decisive, sharp tool.
- Translation: Not only between languages, but between subjectivities, personal histories, social cultures. We must always attend to and work through differences.
This graphic has been on our home page for six years. For several of those years I have been aware that our students rarely, if ever, use the word ‘creativity’.
They use the word ‘freedom’.
In fact people use that word all the time about me. I watch it come out of their mouths and fall on the floor between us. It’s not my experience of myself. I recognize that I live an extraordinary life with an elite education, two glamorous careers, a dramatic series of international locations, and superlative collaborators.
For me this journey has never felt free. It has felt driven. I am compelled to manifest the ideas that come urgently to me, at the highest possible level. This occupation is financially dangerous and terribly and terrifyingly lonely. It requires a daily renewal of courage, commitment to imagination, and ferocious faith.
Creativity is hard work.
Freedom suggests something more relaxing and luxurious. Dilettante. A feast.
• • •
Marketing, which life requires me to master, is about understanding with ever-more clarity who is in the room with you and why. Unsuccessful marketing remains focused on the founders’ vision of what people ought to want, rather than understanding and respecting what they actually want.
When Roberto and I dance, you see freedom. We keep trying to sell you creativity.
The gap between those two words is a crucial failure to understand our own biographies and to articulate what it means to be artists.
I think we would both say that the key to freedom is money. Because we would probably translate freedom to security. That’s our life experience.
A mistake that people make is to see art vs. security as a choice. I promise you that it is not. The fire that Roberto and I find in one another is a fire that we did not cultivate nor light, and cannot extinguish. Among artists, most of whom are misunderstood and isolated, we are fortunate for the validation of our connection.
When I watch you dance, late in the dark in nearly empty rooms, I see that you too want something more than sensual sociality. I watch you reach for art, just as we do.
The difference between the desire for artistic freedom and its reality is not a magic crystal. It is probably not what you expect. If what you want from us is the formula for the freedom to express yourself, here it is:
expertise + discipline + physical training
The expertise is about total conceptual mastery of tango, which we share with you in our MasterCourse. If you just sit down and watch the ten hours two or three times, you will grasp the scope, structure, and consistency of technique across the landscape of tango. Not having a partner or not liking video are false obstacles. At my recent first workshop in France, students realized the possibilities of dancing from the elements “now we are free!” And they learned that with correct technique, they do not need to remain locked in a rigid frame in order to communicate and connect – “a revolution.” Liberté.
The discipline is the consistent, maximum effort compelled to manifest our intentions. It means also the discipline not to play it safe, to take risks, to reach beyond the place we are confident, rather than holding back. We are more willing to fall on the floor in front of you than to be limited or repetitive, and this affects how we take every step. If you want to be an artist, you must learn the discipline of devotion to your own expressive urges.
The real fact that gives us the freedom to move the way we do is our physical strength, the result of daily training. The boring and unappealing answer to your yearnings is that you need more muscle and more control over it. This is why we built our Exercise Center, to focus your physical training on strengthening and fine control of the most important muscles for tango.