Argentine Tango versus Contact Improvisation

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imageFundamentally tango and contact use a lot of the same skills,  and can support one another in the mechanics of connection.

But as a practice they are different and this difference is substantive and should inform dancers’ choices.

Tango has a Mark and a Revel.  The agreement is that the Revel will not interpret; she will reveal and illuminate HIS creativity.

In contact improvisation,  the partners are simultaneously and constantly interpreting.  There are no roles or differentiated responsibilities. There is no intended interpretation,  only a constant contact in the present and openness to the future.

The clothing and environment of contact are designed to accommodate constant changes of direction,  and the dancers,  who eschew shoes, are prepared for chance encounters.

Tango safety relies upon lanes and lines of dance,  and further upon the navigation and authority of the Mark who protects his partner and respects the other couples.  A revel who adds her own interpretation is dangerous and disruptive.

Both dances are fine,  and appeal to different people.  Women who cannot find interest in revealing a Mark’s creativity should stick with contact,  or Mark tango.

Contact dancers who want more structure might like tango.

 

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.

I invite you to join my resolution to take a look at the dark silences of Argentine Tango in our lives. It’s time.

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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.

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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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