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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Are you really there for your partner?

I was initially attracted to tango by what I saw and heard when couples were dancing. Obviously, it was an observer's response. Then, I tried to recreate what I had observed.

Like the peeling away layers of an onion, it dawned on me much later that the experience of genuinely dancing tango is largely private, unseen and incredibly satisfying.

Good technique can be taught and developed ....
... frequently listening to tango music will improve your appreciation and response....
....... both will enhance your dance a great deal.
But, in my view, they won't get you beyond a certain point unless you have the right attitude.

So .. what is your state of mind when you dance tango?

Does the music compel you to seek out a dance partner? (Or do you dance to whatever music is put on?)

.... then, are you really present for your partner?

Do you listen to your partner throughout the dance?

..... so, are you always doing your best to connect with your partner and his/her response to the music?

Is your dance governed by the music and your partner? (Or is the next figure your dominant thought?)

.... once again, do you really listen to your partner at each moment of the dance?

Are you prepared to give yourself to your partner? (This implies trust, of course.)

.... and is it your intention to make each part of the dance pleasurable for your partner?

If so, and if your partner is doing the same, then chances are that you may both experience a lovely connection.  You know the sort I mean?  It leaves you floating on air at the end of the tanda (and just a teensy bit sad), as though you were returning to reality from another dimension.

So, what do YOU want when you dance tango? Just a bit of fun on the dance-floor? Or do you want more?



  1. Hello PP,
    Firstly I would like to say thank you for expressing your ideas and thoughts as a woman.
    As I am new to the site but I am very interested it what people are thinking of in the world of Tango Right now and how they are Feeling right now in this so called environment of Milongas.
    What captures my imagination is the lack of interest that is out there and why no comments at all to date on such a simple question.
    So, what do YOU want when you dance tango? Just a bit of fun on the dance-floor? Or do you want more?
    I am a single male so I am happy to use the term that single and married women use with me and that is they want that connection so when they choose to dance a close embrace I am happy to bring them in and lower my right hand further down their back and comfort them.
    Me personally I find this a bit sleazy when dancing with married women but it is what they are looking for in this so called connection.
    I use the term sleazy because that is what I feel like and I feel as they are cheating on their partners who maybe at home or they have their back to us as they cannot watch their wives\partners dancing with other men and to be honest I do not feel very uncomfortable dancing a close embrace with a married woman. With a single woman that feeling is total different and becomes a moment of tenderness.
    So when I write this I am writing with a very limited view of the this larger world of tango, but I am sure that this small world is not different to other small tango scenes out there so to I will put my two cents in and say some and it could be the minority women of are looking for More.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. And welcome to the world of tango.

    You asked what I want when I dance tango. Genuine connection with me and the music.

    For me, and for many others (married or otherwise), a close embrace is not at all sleazy. It's simply an important element of that connection. Of course, there may well be a sleazy person or two at a milonga, just like anywhere else. But, I can choose not to dance with them.


  3. Thank you PP,
    At least in a small and selected blog I can see the Passion you have.
    It is a shame what pull us in, is the one thing that pulls us so far apart and for me the connection is the music we call Tango, this is what I consider being the embrace not the person you are dancing with.
    If I could use this analogy the music is the life beat and breath we take as people and the people we dance with, are the vehicle we travel this journey with. Sometimes the ride can be bumpy and at other times quiet smooth and yet it is the same person we dance with.
    It does not help when you are an Australian and you try and apply BA rules and traditions that just do not fit our life style, our culture and yet we drive this thinking for the music, Passion, Connection and not forget the embrace, these things could be the same but yet are so different for women, men and cultures.
    For me this community is small and very connected, the people we ask to dance with are the same one’s we see week in week out at classes and at all the same Milongas, how rude would it be if you were to say No to someone you were at a class with that week and also in the coming week.
    So what is this connection one looks for in the dancing when one looks for the best embrace the best musicality the best awareness and add to the mixture that “Connection you have” it self-defeating in a community that is not growing or evolving over time.
    Which brings me to ask what is it that drives people to look for something that may not be there or are they escaping from or trying to fill a void because it is lacking in their lives. So this so called connect could it be a feeling maybe you should be asking what feelings are people try to awaken, arouse and maybe trying to rekindle in their lives. These are just my thoughts again.

  4. People come into the tango scene with a variety of expectations. Many have seen ‘show tango’ and want to be able to dance like that; some want to add to their already developed portfolio of dance styles (ballroom, salsa); some come looking for a partner; and some have seen salon tango somewhere and been mesmerised by something intangible. Everyone starts with no experience in either the dance or the tango connection, some progress to what I call mature tango dancers, others remain fixated at a certain stage because they like it that way. Hence the range of opinions that emerge about things like connection, Buenos Aires tango culture, social tango, and even the embrace.

    Connection is not about lowering the man’s hand to provide comfort, as you described, Anonymous. It’s about two people dancing as one, guided by the music. Whether the woman is married or single is irrelevant; it’s not about a personal relationship. I have danced with literally hundreds of women in Australia and hundreds in Buenos Aires; most are looking for the same thing – to commune with me as we respond to the music - to feel that we are absorbed by the music – its cadences, melodies, emotions – and to commit our trust to each other for the tanda. Tango is a sensuous dance, but it’s not a sexual overture – in each of those thousands of tandas, I certainly know I’m dancing with a woman - I can feel the female energy, but it’s had nothing to do with eroticism.

    So do I dance with ‘the person’? I certainly do. She is not a vehicle for me to deploy so that I can have fun, she is someone I choose carefully. She has to be willing and capable of going on a tango journey with me, to trust me, to listen to my body, to feel the music, and to express her female energy. I want to feel her response to me and to the music. I don’t say “no” to women, nor they to me, because I use the cabeceo exclusively. I get to choose, and the women get to choose, i.e. choices, not rejections. That’s one of the benefits of generating a Buenos Aires culture in a tango community – the codes of the milonga protect the dancers. And by embracing a Buenos Aires tango culture in a small community, dancers will be able to grow in their understanding of connection, the embrace, the dance, and the fundamental elements that make tango what it is.

  5. I like what you said, Bob: She has to be willing and capable of going on a tango journey with me, to trust me, to listen to my body, to feel the music, and to express her female energy.

    That statement gives women lots to consider before accepting an invitation, which I feel many forget. I know I think seriously about who I want to share ten minutes in an intimate embrace. If I intend to surrender completely to him and the music, I can't have any doubts about my ability to trust him on our tango journey together, listening to his body while feeling the music, or I end up withholding my female energy. The result is hoping for the tanda to end quickly, not being present in the moment.

    If a woman is looking forward to the end of a tanda, she shouldn't have accepted the invitation in the first place. Too many are so eager to dance, they settle for anybody, and regret it in the end. Observing the dancing is a good way to avoid disasters.

  6. Very good answer, Bob. This is also my opinion!!!!!


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