Tango Isn’t for Everyone

When someone expresses an interest in learning tango, I often hesitate. I know tango looks fun, sexy and beautiful, but it can be a serious commitment. It’s a hardcore pursuit. Yes, some people casually dance tango as a hobby. But here’s the reality: tango is like a vampire that bites into your heart and changes your soul forever. Once it bites you, you will be seduced into an endless quest that steals your time, money, mind – and your heart. Therefore, be warned…

You better LOVE technique. If you have a passion for nitty gritty, detailed technique that teaches nuances of movement, leading/following, connection, posture and body organization, then you will be captivated by tango. The amount of technique to learn will deeply humble you. If you just want to have fun, remember that your partner’s idea of having fun is usually based on doing this skillfully. Most tango dancers don’t just “play around”. Technique is what makes the dance feel amazing to your partner. If you care about that, awesome! If you don’t, maybe partner dancing isn’t for you….

It takes money. If you aren’t investing in truly learning tango, you probably won’t be dancing much or enjoying it when you do. Private lessons, workshops, tango shoes, milongas, practicas, outfits – it adds up quickly and it’s quite addicting. You’ll drop serious money on private lessons. I know a guy who blew his annual tango budget by February. Tango is like a heroin habit. Only death and paralysis can stop it.

It’s a long commitment. Tango is not a dance that gets mastered in six months or five years. It’s not a “once a week” kind of a dance. There’s no “low hanging fruit” in tango. This is a multi-layered skill that endlessly unfolds for those who seek its elusive mastery. You’ll think you learned a move – and then you’ll spend years learning how to do it correctly. Ochos are only easy when you’re doing them wrong.

And it’s intimate. A good dance for me goes like this. “Hi, I’m Karen”. Seconds later, I have melted into his body and my lips are barely inches from his. It’s four legs and one heart – and we are slowly stripped into total vulnerability as we unveil ourselves through a 9-minute exploration of one another’s skills, potential and expression.

By the end, we know each other in ways we may only intuitively understand. I know if he embraces a woman with tenderness, command or caution. I sense whether he seeks the heart, mind or body of a woman first. I know whether he thinks or feels more. I feel where he is confident, where he is shy and where he is selfish. I sense what he hungers for and what he fears. I know whether he sees me as a conquest, a collaborator or an executor of his command. I know if he is a risk-taker, an explorer or an inventor. I know if he approaches tango as an artist, an engineer or an architect. I know if he is a witty conversationalist or a curious listener. I discover what makes him sexy, beautiful and profoundly captivating – even when all he is doing is “just dancing”.

Tango can be insanely difficult. Expensive. Toilsome. Humbling. And deeply unmasking.

It’s not for everyone. For some people, it’s not for them “right now”.

When I began, I was told that I didn’t find tango. Tango found me.

Let tango find you. And be ready when it does, for tango is a relentless thief. It will gently swipe away your time, money and perhaps your ego – if you have the courage to surrender it. Tango unmasks our true character, our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses and our magical unwrapped talents. But only for those willing – and able – to give tango what it asks of us first.

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Photo by Peter Forett

 

About Epiphany

epiphanies on life and spiritual living as I chase wisdom - one insight at a time.

Posted on September 12, 2016, in Dance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Agree…and having a hard time finding another dancer with the same mindset and journey!

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  2. the descriptions of tango almost sound like those of the highly refined martial art aikido . I have done both. both rely on inward and outward connection and can be highly addictive.

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  3. Albin Maksimovic

    Reading this article I just had to laugh !
    Every type of dance require some level of commitment, but people dancing tango are focusing on perfection in dancing and have forgotten that the main reason for dancing is to spread joy, socialize and have fun together with other people !

    For me the calculation is simple: you move in the rhythm + you have fun = you are dancing !

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    • Well what is making this true is only if you find a partner that have the same formula and then it somehow matches yours. your way of dancing Tango is not better or worse. It’s just different!
      People dancing tango ? don’t you?

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    • Obviously you’re not a tango dancer my friend and if you are then you’ve wasted your time ;))

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    • Laughing too. Hopefully there’s a little room for the less pious….and less time for the Narcissistic search for the partner that is of your same “mindset and journey.” Honestly…. get over yourself.

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    • At a Sunday practica at the Madonna Inn, a wonderful venue in San Luis Obispo, I overheard two young men talking with each other while standing at the bar. One said to the other, “They’re dancing tango. They’re not suppose to smile.” Well, the not suppose to smile is, in my opinion, not correct, but the observation of unsmiling dancers is. I think there are several reasons for this, not the least is that it’s not always true. A few dancers do smile – as I find myself doing – in the simple joy of connection and dance, but for most of us, this extremely difficult dance requires so much concentration to execute so cleanly, “effortlessly”, sensuously, elegantly – not to mention the requisite navigational skills for the leaders – that the immediate joy of the dance is either lost or never discovered.

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  4. A nice post … so true. I enjoyed reading and thinking. Looking forward to reading more…🙂

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  5. I’ve been dancing tango since 2004.
    Guys, ypu ‘re not going to meet the girl next door like you would at a swing dance or a Country Western Bar. Tango is full of Divas, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

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  6. I started tango when I was 74. I loved the musicality of Tango, however I thought I was not a desireable partner. My problem, everyone was more than helpful and my teachers were so good. I’ve remarried to a man who has neve damage to his legs and balance problems. Is there hope here for a Tango couple?

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    • Tango Instructor of 21 Years

      If your husband wants to learn and you are patient with him, working with a good instructor in private lessons could be very good physical therapy for your husband and a fun and healthy activity for you two to enjoy together. May you enjoy the dance for the rest of your lives!
      -Tango Instructor of 21 Years

      Liked by 1 person

    • I fully believe that anyone who loves tango can find a way to enjoy dancing tango – even if it means making some modifications or accommodations. I believe that what and how two partners choose to dance tango together is totally up to them. I believe a good professional can help you modify the dance as needed to make it fun, doable and fulfilling for you both. Tango on, my dear…🙂

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  7. Shimkeun h. Gonzalez

    Nice article. It is true…tango cost a lot to learn. What’s worse for me is I have to hire a dance instructor for every milonga I want to go cause here in manila there is only 1 guy who is hobby tango dancer. The ratio of male and female is like 1: 40. So, most tanguera in manila end up hiring a d.i. tango for us takes fortune… I really wish We have more guys to dance here. I want cabiseo. A real one…..

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  8. Carmelo Darmanin

    Tango is for every one. Tango was born in the poor suburbs of Buenos Aires. For the average Argentinian the milonga was a moment of great Joy and Celebration. People learned tango by going to milongas every weekend. Close embrace tango is danced by all argentinians, and IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO LEARN. Lately all sort of complicated moves in new forms of tango have appeared creating a lot of confusion and a lot of disappointment in many people who tried to dance tango. There is now an industry of teachers, it feels like someone is trying to reinvent tango with a lot of unnecessary complications, and of course lot of money to spend to learn the new forms of crappy tango. I enjoy immensely the milonguero style simple and elegant that fills me with passion and joy and satisfaction to share what I know. To those who want to deform this great dance I can only lift the two fingers salute and tell them to go to hell. To those who want to experience the joy of tango go on, book a flight to Buenos Aires and that will be the beginning of your beautiful journey to discover the passion, the joy of Tango.

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  9. Karen wrote: “You better LOVE technique. If you have a passion for nitty gritty, detailed technique that teaches nuances of movement, leading/following, connection, posture and body organization, then you will be captivated by tango.”

    That’s true only for people captivated by tango dance classes.

    It is not true of the social dancers of the milonga.

    Ricardo Vidort: “Today people teach in methodic ways, but the tango, the real Tango Salon, does not have method, because it is a feeling. Technique and choreography are only for performance, this is tango which has been learned for hours for show business”

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  10. Totally agree but not that many people truly give themselves over to it…there are many hobbyists. Nothing wrong with that I guess…but you’re right in that there’s nothing like dancing with a master…it’ll take me a few more decades…:)

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  11. Your words really resonated with me. As I was reading it, I had difficulty believing that these words are actually being said by someone else and I am not talking to myself. If I were to add anything to this already perfect thesis, it would be the transformation and healing capacity of tango, physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Thank you for sharing!❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fierce
    in feminine form.

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  13. Words only ruin everything. The search for essence is very private. Watch, think, feel. And be yourself. Than embrace the music and gently hold your partner. Thats all.

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  1. Pingback: Tango Isn’t for Everyone | Phoenix Rising Art Blog

  2. Pingback: Танго — не для всех (честно о танго) — ТАНГО-ТЕРАПИЯ

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