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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Dancing as equals

While chatting with a local lady in El Arranque (a milonga in BsAs) about the nature of ‘connection’ in tango, she said that “the man and woman need to dance as equals if they are to truly achieve connection in tango.”

This made me examine my mentality when I dance with ladies whose skills and experience vary greatly. For example, many of the women with whom I dance at milongas in my home city, are those that I have taught or currently teach - including beginners. Elsewhere, including in BsAs, I have danced with some women who force me to work hard to simply maintain my axis, and with others who are acclaimed ‘maestras’.

The question I had to ask myself was: "How can we dance as equals?" For me, it's about how I approach the relationship with the woman I'm going to dance with. If there's any thought, for example, of superiority on my part or inferiority on hers, then the relationship we are seeking is doomed from the start, and there’ll be no chance of that elusive connection in our tango. If I have any feeling of anxiety or intimidation when I dance with women who are clearly more experienced and skilled than me, then I won’t experience connection with them in the embrace.

And this is what I found in BsAs - the women I danced with love tango. Some sang in my ear. We danced for each other - there was nothing in our brief relationships that suggested anything but equality. We used all of our skills to bring the music into our dance, and we brought ourselves confidently into a collaborative relationship. I felt we were dancing as equals – and that’s the only way tango can be danced, in my opinion.

There is no reason why this mentality can’t prevail wherever I dance tango – but it needs to be shared – the women need to feel this way too: they need to feel self-confident and they need to trust.



  1. As you state, and also is my opinion, the only way to really enjoy and feel those 3 minutes is to dance with a partner of, more or less, your own level, to dance as equals. But, if you get a litlle intimidate when you feel she is much better than you, don't panic, don't let your mind become blocked for you'll get in a vicious circle and that will be worse. Let you self go and dance just like you, at this point of your experience, know; lisen and feel the music and get in again in the magic of this dance.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Constantino. I agree totally.

    A further angle to this topic:

    To dance as equals requires each person to be a willing, perhaps enthusiastic, participant in the dance.

    Take this milonga scenario as an example:
    A woman accepts an invitation through a sense of obligation after a direct approach by a man whom she doesn't really want to dance with. I believe that she is unlikely to bring a sense of equality to that dance.

    The solution, of course, is the cabeceo.



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