My answer to Cherie's comment, which was:
Really interesting post and one that obviously you have thought a lot about.
Please don't take it as a negative when I say that the dancers of traditional tango milonguero here in BsAs don't feel that way.
idea of a conversation between two bodies is rather recent, and
foreign. Enclosed in the tango embrace, the body is one--not with four
legs, but with two, as this body is only standing on two legs at any one
It's Ying/Yang--one whole from two parts that meld together and make something new.
I dance I don't feel the need to tap or to do rulos or raise my left
shoulder in time to the music--I am completely within the music and at
the command of my partner, and with his design of the dance, I can
express myself and the music perfectly in his embrace without adding
anything but elegant posture and good technique.
It's not a struggle between two minds of how to dance this song, but a blending of souls.
Well, that's the way I would describe it anyway.
And my answer, which was too long to put in comments, according to blogger.
don't take your post negatively and I respect your opinions on the
matter very much. (I also hope that my response doesn't come off too negative.) Actually, I expected more responses like yours. Maybe
others who usually comment similarly have given up on me. Your post was
kinder than theirs' would have been though, I think. Please forgive me for using your comment to address a somewhat larger issue that comes up so frequently over posts like this.
As my post wasn't about traditional milongueros in Buenos Aires, was your comment meant to inform readers who may want to travel there? I do know several dancers have been "surprised" (run off the pista) as a result of their ignorance of the differences in dance cultures. I suspect people who have been reading this blog know that I'm specifically addressing tango as it's danced in North America - though I can start putting the disclaimer in the beginning again.
You're absolutely right, in North America tango has a more
conversational quality to it. And I know the traditional milongueros don't feel the way about it that I wrote in my post.
I do take exception to this: "raise my left shoulder in time to the
music" - which I didn't say and didn't mean. What I wrote was, "moving
my shoulder slightly" (which I'm told I do occasionally on the last
note of some songs.) *shrug* Leaders do similar things on that last
sharp note - so what would be so terrible about it? Raising my shoulder
in time with the music, on the other hand, would look rather like a
spasm and not something musical. I was trying to think of examples of
things I, or someone else might do if they felt it in the music.
I want to clarify one thing that wasn't clear from my post - when I
"adjust" my interpretation of music in a dance, 95% of the time I'm
quieting it down - not adding something in. There are a few orquestras I
get (possibly) overly-excited about and have to temper my enthusiasm. I
very rarely (and usually at practica or in class) consciously add stuff in - but how else should I write it?
"A little toe-raise was manifested"? Language fails me for things like
this because dancing has always been about, and for, the things I am not
able to write - ironic I know, considering how much I write about
I did want to ask about this - "It's not a struggle between two minds of how to dance this song, but a blending of souls."
Every single time? You never have a different feeling from/about the
music playing than your leader? You're always in synch? Wow. If that
were the case here, I would probably feel exactly the same way. No
sarcasm at all - I really would. But I'm not writing about traditional milongueros in Buenos Aires. I'm writing specifically about the
times when that total synch is not happening - or at least not happening right
For example, most nights I dance, someone tells me they've never heard a
particular song that's playing - so it's a whole new adventure for
them, and for me when I'm dancing with them. They're feeling their way
through the music - and trying to connect with me at the same time. So
there's a key difference again - in Buenos Aires, the dancers know the
music on a very different level. And that brings me back to the point I
mentioned earlier about comparing the Buenos Aires dancing experience
to, well, anything else really.
As my dear friend (who has traveled to Buenos Aires a few times a
year for the last dozen or so years) told me, and tells those who come
back from dancing there, "Adjust your expectations." Please note she did
not say, and did not mean, lower your expectations.
If I go into
every dance looking for that experience, not only would I likely end up
disappointed and sitting a lot because I was looking disappointed - but I
would be missing the beautiful strengths and unique treasures the
leaders here offer me every night that I dance. People come to tango for
different reasons, with different histories, and different gifts.
It's not that I don't appreciate hearing how it is in Buenos Aires -
I do, and I am hopeful that I will get there. My circumstances don't
allow for it right now and, I suspect, not for quite awhile. It's just
that sentiments like that, create this idea that until we (North
Americans) "get it" and start dancing like they do in Buenos Aires, we're
not really dancing tango - we're just dancing some kind of inferior
imitation. Almost like we're somehow not worthy. The tone of it is very often belittling. It's not the words "that's not how it's
danced in Buenos Aires" - it's the implication behind the words, whether
you mean them or not. Often, it feels like, 'what you're doing doesn't
really count as tango.' When it gets said again and again, and when that standard is the only standard by which all tango in the world is
judged, it alienates a lot of people who love the dance, and the music
so very much.