Friday, 14 September 2007

dancing tango

19 Apr 2007

First, my apologies to Jayne for cutting and pasting part of my reply to her. But when I re-read it I felt that I should capture some of what I had said in the blog!

What I am finding here in Buenos Aires is that the dancing we experience in England is nothing like how it happens here. Tango is all to do with connection between a man and a woman. The dance for a woman is like being rocked in a loving embrace. It is seriously intense. The women always dance with their eyes closed and the milongeiros transport them to a state of ecstasy in the course of four dances which comprise the 'tanda'. Watching gives a sense of intruding in something which is quite private and intimate. I have had two of three special classes with Mariel (one of the top two tango instructors still in the city) and the method she teaches is amazing. Even in the dance studio we re-created this sense of connection, two bodies moving as one: the man's invitation to move in a certain direction, almost imperceptibly given but immediately understood, presenting the space into which the woman is to move, the gentle signal which is like a breath, and the move itself. Before the move is completed, the man presents a new possibility and invites his partner once again, so the movement is a continuous wave. It is like waves of intimacy in which the actual identity of the partner is irrelevant compared with the experience of being danced, postponed, proposed, teased, and appreciated. Both the men and women who attend the milongas get addicted, and the competition to dance with the best dancers is fierce.

My chance to dance has to wait until the best male dancers have made their selection of partners, by the 'cabeceo', the nod or gesture which engages the dance. The women left know that they will have to wait for three more dances before the tandra completes, and will increasingly be prepared to dance with less experienced dancers in the hope that they may make a discovery or achieve a connection. Most women who remain towards the end of a tandra will dance if asked, knowing that they will commit merely for one last dance before the tandra is completed. Well that is my chance!