Jane's blog, "Software and Other Things" can be found HERE.
|Always Tango Elegant Milonga in Austin, Texas
|Buenos Aires Oct/Nov 2011 diary (Niño Bien)
There is a subtle difference between pictures from tango events in US and in B.A. Ok, maybe not so subtle. The distance within and in-between couples, the use of space, the amount of real estate in and between the lines of dance varies from none to a few feet in many Buenos Aires milongas, and at the US dance events – and creates a very different environments.
Tango (like most folk partner dances) originally evolved as a flirty, sexy game between men and women, with the goal of getting close – as close as it could possibly be appropriate in the deeply religious Latin America. The space was, if not exactly the enemy, then the challenger. The proof is in the original tango pose – with the man holding the woman’s shoulder and hand, and trying to reach her foot while she arches her body back – is all about trying to get closer and trying to escape at the same time.
|Tango pose via - www.articulosweb.net/viajes/tango
The situation is very different in modern US tango scene. Leads try to maintain a few steps’ distance between couples in the line of dance. Both leads and followers find it hard to get close to their partners. And instructors teach a lot of moves and combinations that require several feet of dance floor to execute. Space is a requirement and a resource for the dance, where better dancers are expected to use more space, not less, in their social dancing, as they execute more complicated patterns and make larger steps.
What happens to Argentine Tango next is up to the entire tango community. The dance still can go back to its sexy beginnings, where dancing was an excuse to hug and play with a beautiful stranger in an elegant and safe environment. American milongueros can learn to dance closer, enjoy the energy of a tight space, and let go of [some of] their inhibitions. Being aware of and able to control one’s expectation of a personal space can be helpful in many situations, on and off the pista.