3 years in tango
Three years ago today I went to my first tango class. Since then many things have changed in my attitude towards tango and everything that surrounds it; for example, I think I move a bit more freely than I did back then. 😉 One thing that remained constant is that three years ago tango became an important part of me and my life and it still is equally important to me. “Why” is another story. Other than that, pretty much everything else is different now. What I’m writing now is mostly a “note to self”, something to read and to relfect upon in years to come, as my relationship with tango develops further.
I’m sure that the changes are inevitable and generally good. First two years or so things were developing gradually in a kind of predictable way: I was slightly obsessed, going to every lesson, milonga and festival I could, soaking in every bit of information I received, watching videos and listening to tango; just like a newborn entering the world, oblivious of what’s happening around and what others are doing, unable to move and express itself, but learning quickly and growing rapidly. Most importantly, a child enters the world innocent and with an illusion of innocence. After only a few months of dancing, one tango maestro (Argentino) even told me “You are a tango baby” and he continued “but you are also a tango kamikaze”. 🙂 That, I guess, is also another story.
Anyhow, about a year ago, this gradual process abruptly stopped. I had heard of people going through a crisis and quitting dancing for a while, but for me it wasn’t exactly like that. I didn’t stop dancing. I stopped going to lessons for a while, then went back, then stopped again and now I only go to lessons when I really feel like it. Much more importantly, in my eyes, tango had lost its innocence. Of course, tango itself didn’t change, neither did the tango world around it, but what changed was that I opened my eyes and started seeing things differently. I stopped being a baby. Not sure if I’m a tango teen now or whatever, but I’ve become aware. Aware that the tango world is just like the world or life around us. There are no truths but our own truths. Once you see through their masks, people in tango are the way they are in life. They will try to create an image of them, by acting or saying things, but I don’t pay attention anymore to their act or to their words, but to what they do in a ronda and around it.
For me, my tango is now simply, My tango. I dance the way I want to dance and do tango things that I want to do. I am certainly willing (and actually, very keen) to listen to maestros, instructors and fellow dancers and to learn from them, but I don’t necessarily adopt what they propose, because their tango is Their tango and it is not My tango. My preferred way of dancing now is going to a practica and dancing with one partner for 2 hours (sometimes more :)), connecting with her in the dance, receiving and giving feedback and thus creating Our tango, which exists there in that moment and which at that time is the only relevant tango truth. Everything we heard or learned before are just pointers, directives, suggestions.
One thing that I know is bad in life and I now know is bad in tango is doctrine. If you try to indoctrinate me or My tango, I will not listen to you. Simply because Your tango is not My tango. And there is no such thing as THE Tango. Tango is free and should be free and My tango will always remain free while always being susceptible to change.