The back room

postitleswirl

At the moment, my favorite place to dance is Milonga Popular’s “Candle Floor”. The second room is overseen by DJ Gökhan Aksakalli, who plays almost entirely music that I want to dance to. It’s dark. The dancing here is languid and sensual. Pairs of all (and often mixed) levels explore Organizer Sven Elze’s first commandment: Embrace! People are making out on and off the dance floor. I feel free there. I meet my partners here to practice, and I also train by myself, dancing tango moves solo for balance, aesthetics, and improvisation (and pleasure, in fact!)

Lately I’ve been training with Antoine Gallix. He turns out to be a beginner, although I didn’t notice this for a few weeks. He moves like the dancer he has become through several genres, I respond with tango.

I didn’t notice because despite knowing only about two steps (ochos and sacadas) he is dancing so much tango, indeed much more tango than many of the purported “elites” of social tango, with whom I cannot survive a tanda anymore. Some of them are dancing frantically in the front room. (In fact their vocabularies aren’t much bigger than Antoine’s, having abandoned most of our inheritance of the tango Lexicon. They just do it faster.)

Antoine stays connected and attentive to me. No matter what happens, he never abandons the movement. He always uses his body and modifies the embrace to build a shared balance with me.

Because of our commitment to connection, our movement sometimes takes us to a shape not listed in the Lexicon. At first this embarrassed me. I take a great deal of pride in clean, precise, structured tango movements. But then I realized that the thing to be proud of is the deeper lesson and gift of tango, which is a technology for uniting our bodies and communicating. If this technology allows us to do something I’ve never done before (especially with someone who’s relationship to tango is relatively young), I should be proud of my mastery of this art, not ashamed to have deviated from its narrow aesthetic.

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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2020 TangoForge

6-19.February Wellington NZ
7-9 February Bruges Neo Tango

…DISTANCE…

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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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