What makes queer tango different?
Not so much the composition of the couple, or the exchange of roles. What stands out is how people feel about the whole thing.
In my queer tango classes, when a pair makes a mistake they giggle and hug. Hetero tango students do not. When people crash on the dance floor at the milonga, they smile at each other as if to say “Wow, isn’t it awesome! We’re dancing!!!!!” When people are sitting at the milonga, there is no air of hunger or expectation. If they really want to dance, they can because most people dance both roles.
But the biggest difference is what it’s like to watch the men, which I can’t get enough of. Everything we say about tango – that the dancers are fully present, that they are lost in the connection, that they experience timeless ecstasy… These things are true, not ubiquitous. But the men of queer tango occupy that place. They appear consumed in the sweetest bliss, and it’s visible not only in their faces, but in the efforts of their bodies. There is no passivity and dependence in the movement, and less authority too.
I have to say that the girls are not in the same place. They look like they’re working hard, which is what women tend to do.
One thing I’ve noticed about queer tango is that men and women are not on the same path. I sense ambition. I do not think women will be satisfied for long with a hot hug. I predict women’s tango will stretch us, and tango.
Sigue la milonga! Sigue el tango queer!