Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sylvia 3

Sylvia's classes are tough. Having your tango picked apart, that dance you've so laboriously put together out of what you've learned, watched, struggled through, discovered, blundered into, misunderstood, isn't pretty. Of course it's the details, how and when you put your feet to the floor, just where you put your feet, all of which can mislead your partner and prevent her from relaxing totally, but it's also the bad habits, like the feet moving through a sequence, more or less in time to the music but without regard to the feel of the music... Here, I'm beginning to realise that anything less than total attention to the music isn't acceptable, it's faking it, and I wonder what I'm left with for real. Well, perhaps it's not that bad, although it might seem so after class on a dull, cold afternoon in BsAs, far outside my comfort zone.

You can know more 'moves', become more technically accomplished, be faster or able to make beautifully elegant gestures but at the end of the day (or the night!) perhaps it's harder to dance every moment with real heart, real feeling, total commitment to your partner and the music, and more satisfying too. That's the rough sense what I'm being made to realise.

Perhaps it's good to think of a tanda in terms of a brief relationship or conversation. Absorb yourself in the music and give your partner everything. 'When you dance, put everything into it', as both Ricardo Vidort and Alberto Dassieu said. I've always thought of this as physical, but I'm beginning to think it means emotionally too. If your whole heart and intention isn't in it, better not do it. In relationships, big gestures sometime reveal not only a lack of heart and commitment, but also the will to conceal that lack. But then, maybe involvement, even temporary, isn't what you're after when you go out dancing.

Tete said: 'Enough of lies. Don't buy repetitive forms. If you want to buy tango, buy tango. For the sake of tango, and for the sake of all of us and with my heart in my hand I say to you: Dance the music. Because the music is the tango.'

(I hope 'Dance the music' is a good translation. Not, 'dance to the music' but simply 'dance the music'.)

'Repetitive forms' I assume means patterns of steps that are learned and repeated. Sylvie tells me that Tete also used to say that he didn't care about the steps. 'The steps don't matter. What matters is how you walk, how you listen to the music, the way you embrace your partner: this is tango. Tango is not steps.'

How you walk, how you listen to the music, the way you embrace your partner...

(& it's somehow odd to write all this because in writing the body is obscured completely.)


Dieudonne said...

Tango Commuter,

If I ever thought of starting a blog about Tango, no need to, as long as you are doing such a great job of it.
I wish that all spiring tango dancers could get what you are writing about.
Keep up with the good work.

Chris said...

Agreed 100%! I've seen no blogger do a finer job of showing UK readers the very different way that tango dancing is learned in Argentina.

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for your kind comments. This particular post was probably the hardest to put together, and I'm glad it made sense!

Writing helps: otherwise inconvenient truths can simply fade away. But I'm a bit concerned that these classes come over as a bit grim. Actually there was a lot of laughter too.