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gancho | September 18, 2019

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My “Critical Value” in Tango

My “Critical Value” in Tango

With me it’s simple – if there’s feeling, I’m the happiest girl in the ronda. But it’s a two-way street and everything depends on how vulnerable I allow myself to be at any given time.

Some time ago (about 4 years) I touched a peak of the connection in a tanda. It was the textbook definition of breath-taking! When he invited me to dance I was aware of his level (that is a much higher one than mine…), but I didn’t have any expectations at that moment… He embraced me like no other leader has ever done before, and still it was nothing but a tango embrace! We couldn’t, and for sure didn’t try at all, break the embrace, not even during the few seconds in between the songs of the tanda… it was simply magical! 🙂 I searched that embrace afterwards with other leaders, but I couldn’t find it easily.

It did happen to me again though, pretty recently, when I least expect it, of course. It was just as evanescent as the first time – one or two euphoric tandas…

In both cases the story is still visible in details and shades on the direct source: the pictures that stand as witnesses over time. The closed eyes say more than I have ever conveyed with them open, as if trying to hold the feeling inside as much as possible, my smile – complicit with his… it’s really visible in every trait of my expression, I think… And in both cases I suffered when it was over. Most of all the first time, cause I had the chance of dancing again with that leader, after years, and we couldn’t find that connection anymore… It was almost unreal how much that hurt… and how much I’ve learned from that pain. I suffered the second time, too, but in a… normal way… as one might suffer after the taste of a good wine when it’s gone…

For me it all starts with the embrace – as the song says ‘It’s in his kiss’, in tango I could say ‘It’s in his embrace’. The way we stay in each other’s arms, the way we move together along the tanda in each other’s arms, the way we linger a few seconds in each other’s arms just after the tanda ends… these are the milestones of my happiness. It’s true that it is completed by the way the embrace floats on music and the way it can be lit by the surprise of little technicalities 🙂

But the critical value for me is the embrace. To be so close to the person you’re dancing with and not breath together, not move together, not complete that togetherness by giving in with all of your best seems almost pagan… I’m also a pagan sometimes, when I feel vulnerable and I think I need my own space, separate from my partner, separate from the dance, separate even from the music, a space into which I can escape to feel safe… But every time I do this I understand, again and again, that this is the least safe place there is… And only by returning into the partner, the dance and the music I can wear my complicit smile again.

From such reflections a question emerged: what does it take for an embrace to become THE embrace? And I realised that there is no unique formula, no generally valid rule, not even a pure personal formula. And that is because as my inner state shifts in matter of seconds, the embraces also changes; it is different with each partner, it varies on the music of Di Sarli, or De Angelis, or Pugliese, or Canaro; it changes with almost every step I take.

But what stays the same beyond all this are attitude and emotion. I have always imagined the perfect embrace the one I give to the dearest person in my life, whom I’ve met again after a very long time and whom I’ve missed like crazy. And this is why I know those euphorical tandas do exist – because sometimes I find that partner who comes along and surprises me by vibrating in the same way, speaking the same language, receiving and offering with the same care and longing… And for me, this makes the search worthwhile… 🙂

And there’s one more ‚little’ thing: therapists say that embrace is one of the most efficient methods of healing both soul and body. The main reason is that hugs give that safety feeling of peace, compassion and gratitude that help us stay positive. That has a major influence over the human state of existence (we all know the impact of music, colors, scents and dance in healing methods, precisely due to the soothing effects) and helps – sometimes with miracles – the healing process.

Virginia Satir, family therapist, says that ‘We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.’  You can check out more info here.

Now imagine how many hugs we get in one milonga and do the math yourselves!

What is your healing experience with the tango embrace? 🙂

PS: I’m happy to report that after those 2 amazing experiences with the tango embrace (the latter being already one year old), I have had others and they keep coming. So never ever stop searching!


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