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June 22, 2003

Essence of Tango?

Was at the Open House for one of the local arts venues called Substation this afternoon. There was a couple of sessions on Argentine Tango, as one of the tanguera will be teaching some Tango classes there.

During the session, the question “What is the essence of Tango?” was asked. That got me thinking. I suppose, for me, Tango is like having a dialogue between the dancing couple. The difference is of course that no words are exchanged.

In the beginning, the man, as the leader in the dance, creates a space and then immediately invites the lady, the follower, into that space. In turn, the lady may or may not accept – either through inexperience, or because the invitation was not made clear enough.

The man may persist and invite again, and the lady is given another chance to choose. If she accepts, the man waits for her to complete the transition before creating another space, and the dance moves on. If the lady still refuses, then the man needs to modify his request and goes through another round of ‘negotiations’.

Tango goes on just like this. This is a dance led and followed by both sides. Harmony is achieved when both parties realise that compromises are a necessary part of the dance.

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