Tango is the art of dancing in search of yourself. Who says tango is a partner dance? Tango is the loneliest dance of all. Yes, it yearns for a response however this might be the response of the raindrops falling on the pavement or the dancing snowflakes… Tango is a dialogue with the surrounding space, yet who or what carries through this dialogue is of no relevance to the tangueros. What matters to is the state. No, not even the state but the coincidence of various conditions that must necessarily include an attitude, for example, to oneself (clothes) and to the place (motion). An attitude that describes the rhythm of the place and the spirit.

Those who dance the tango must understand the spirit of the tango. How do we attain this – whether through mate, Chamame or the Church of Maradona – is not important. For the tangueros the tango is God, it’s the necessary condition for finding himself.

Therefore tango must not be simplified or degraded to the emotions that will excite those who do not get below the surface into the depths of the dance. Tango is a symbol of the life of the Argentinean. Do you understand what this means? Do you? Ha-ha! It’s no use to reason about tango not knowing its roots!

All right, I’ll tell you what the Argentinean is like. This is a man who does not exist because he’s to come tomorrow. Yet since he does not have his today, he’ll never come. He has a hundred of places where he can hide from you. For you he’ll always be a tomorrow, while he himself will always have his hundred places. The Argentinean is someone who always embraces (abrazo) someone or something. This something or someone might be coffee, for he spends hours drinking it, or wine, his friend, his neighbor or just a passer-by. Generally, anything that does not take away his today. To him everything else is tomorrow. He goes hand in hand with his today toward your incomprehensible tomorrow.

He doesn’t like to work and is even incapable of doing any work because his hands, his soul and body are full with whatever he’s embracing. He dances all the time, everything else is ‘Mañana!’. The Argentinean is born for one thing only – to tango, he is the one who has created this art.

But do not rush to Buenos Aires to see this. For Buenos Aires does not exist, it’s a myth. Only tango exists. Only a madman will come looking in Buenos Aires. He must know how to breathe, which is also true for any other location in Argentina: Salta, Bariloche, Mendoza, Cordoba ... All of these are different parts of the body of the Argentinean.

Tango is a trip in the unknown. If you haven’t understood what I mean yet, then do not take up tango, do not taint the soul of the Argentinean. If you are ready to seclude yourself, if you’re ready for a lonely journey and if you are not scared by the prospect of leaving the range of your everyday existence, then tango is for you.

Tango has a female face: it’s characterized by joy, disappointment, agreement, disagreement, love and spite. Tango is an expression of the space we live in. The space that appears and casts away. It’s a treasure that one has to find getting across eight rivers (ocho ríos).

Tango is a quest that bears the power of rhythm. It calls for power, and at the same time delicacy and attention. It’s a dance that’s on the one hand endowed with a form, and, on the other, a dance that has no beginning and no termination. It follows time constantly, displaying it and demonstrating its mutability. So although the 1940s are believed to have been the Golden Age of Tango, this is not in fact true. At this time all experiences had become uncontrollable and therefore emerged to the surface. Tango became vivid and memorable, however on the inside it became even more concealed and inaccessible.

There can be no Golden Age for Tango. Or rather – the whole history of tango is a Golden Age or, if you wish, a book of time. Tango should not be mastered technically, what’s important is to live in the tango style. Those who do not know the tango style will never be able to dance the tango.

Tango is about the ability to communicate with yourself, to express yourself. Tango is the art of filling, it surrounds itself with an aura, the key to which lies in those who have understood themselves through the tango. So, whether you like it or not, you have to understand the egregore of this dance! You need to know Borges and Carmelo Patti, who makes the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Argentina. You should know Arnaldo Etcharda who makes the best Malbec in Argentina, you have to understand why people go to church and pray to Maradona. You have to understand why the Iguazu waterfalls conceal the power of the mate.

Tango must not be approached hurriedly, superficially, one should go through a lengthy preparation before he can claim that he dances the tango. Movement is simply a backdrop to tango, it’s something that simply motivates us to approach and touch the tango. The most difficult thing about this dance is that there are no criteria for evaluating it, it’s so personified that we either have to become a part of its space or we have to leave it.

Never say about tango dancers that they dance well or poorly. Even if they haven’t yet mastered the content, they are still gaining experience. Do not show contempt for the dance for thus you are only distancing yourself from it. Better go and listen to La Chicana and understand that this is the land that gave birth to the basic symbol of freedom – Che Guevara. 


Questions and answers

The response of the raindrops and the dancing snowflake are all certainly good. But how can you get a response from your dance partner? The one who’s being lead does not always listen to the leader ... and, sometimes, he listens, but things don’t work out ... Especially when one listens to the music in the melody, and tries to follow the slightest changes of the rhythm, whereas the other can hardly manage it. As a result there’s no coincidence ... no experience ...

First you have to be properly trained and to know a little about the history of the dance. Before becoming a pair dance, Tango was an individual dance, where people (at first it was danced only by men) express themselves. We must learn to express ourselves before we start hanging on each other’s shoulders.

Were there any pair dances in the beginning?

There were bonding dances where each dancer performed the dance. Originally pair dances did not exist.

What do we need pair dances for? And if they are necessary, then what abilities can they realize under the right training?

Pair dance is a process of communication, where the body becomes the language. From this perspective it not only has the right to exist, but in fact represents a serious system of relations, which simply lacks the body language.

Are there any pair dances in the aboriginal people or the Japanese culture?

The aborigines don’t have any pair dances because in there culture there’s a dominance of either the male or the female principle; there’s no equality. And if there’s no equality, pair dance cannot appear. In the Japanese culture there are no dances at all, they have theater or rather an expression of qualities and states with the help of a whole range of conditions, a center, movement, and sound, where movement is above all playing. If we want to understand the Japanese culture, what we need to study in depth is theater.

I am vaguely familiar with the history of Tango. If I’m not mistaken initially it was really a dance only performed by men and it had a specific task and goal – the woman. However it’s not really clear why the woman got into this process (or probably something made her), she should have stood at the side quietly and felt it.

Why do women practice bodybuilding or box is a really relevant question, yet dance is for the woman an experience that she can personify, so she personifies it through tango. In tango the dance is a self-expression, that initially becomes an element of communication and then a part of an entire subculture.

22 may 2012

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