On the Embrace and Inward Passion


photo by Dance Photographer - Brendan Lally (flickr)

photo by Dance Photographer – Brendan Lally (flickr)

I’m back, my friends.  I was travelling the Caribbean on a week-long cruise during the break, and it was wonderful.  There’s nothing like walking under sunny skies while listening to the Afro-Cuban beat of the island’s music.

I’m geared for Team Match on March 29th, (I wasn’t going to participate because Tommy was gone.  When he returned, I changed my mind.  I want to dance with him as much as possible before he leaves.)  I’m very, very excited for my Tango Argentino routine.  It’ll test my technique, muscle memory, musicality, following, and most of all, acting.

With that, it’s time to get into this dance.  What are its traits?  Tango Argentino sets itself apart in the following ways: 1) the basic step, 2) its relationship with the music, and 3) its general character and expression.  The first is easy to explain.  The most difficult adjustment I had to make was stepping forward with my left foot.  The man has to step back with his right foot.  Sometimes, I still have to correct myself.

The dance’s relationship with its music is unique.  Normally, you have to find the beat and maintain rhythm from there.  However, Tango Argentino doesn’t.  When you dance TA, follow the music.  For example, if the music is fast-paced, you’re probably going to dance fast-paced.  The rhythm is also determined by the man because he has to physically place you.  The music itself can be different, too.  You can dance it to conventional pieces, but my preference is orchestral tangos.  When I say “orchestral tangos”, I mean that the piece does not have an obvious beat.  I’ll provide some examples at the end of this post.

The steps and music are important, but it’s the character of the dance and acting that I love most.  A former dance teacher, José, summed up Tango like this: “Love me or hate me; just dance with me.”  For TA, this statement is emphasized if compared to its ballroom counterpart.  The latter is passionate, but the social aspect of the former allows more freedom of expression.  For example, the dance position is called “the embrace”.  Just look at the picture at the top of this post.  You hold your partner as if you were hugging them.  However, its much more than a hug.  I like to envision it as an expression between lovers.  You desire to be as physically close to him or her as possible, but you still have to dance.  To add another dimension, imagine you’re angry at your partner that moment.  Now, you have to dance.  Just great.  You know how to channel that frustration into dancing, but as it progresses, the feelings change from anger to emotional abandon.  And, well, just use your imagination from there.

Tango Argentino is a fiery dance.  It suits my boundless energy very well.  Through it, I can freely express feelings that wouldn’t be appropriate in other situations.  It all boils down to getting in touch with my womanly side.  Yes, that’s the main reason why I wanted to learn.

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Tango Argentino music

Tropilla de la Zurda by Carlos Libedinsky

Jalousie (Jealousy) played by the Luxembourg Philharmonia

Vuelvo al Sur by the Gotan Project

Querer from Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria

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