What is it that triggers you to keep going? What keeps you dancing? What keeps you glued to this dance form? What do I bring with me when I dance? These were some of the staring questions we went through during our online ‘coffee break’ as part of Mina and Giraldo’s project Tango-Dance-Release-Connect.
These are some of the initial ideas presented as an introduction to the conversation exchange, they are transcripts of audio files:
Communication and dynamics
Tango is an improvised dance, which means there are not a set of steps that you remember by memory, like another dance as you do, that you learned some sequences and repeat those sequences exactly the same time after time. In Tango you don’t have that which means that the trajectory of movement needs to be very clear for better communication with my partner, is not only for aesthetic purposes, of course, the movement will be seen much clear when the trajectory of movement is very well defined but it also communicates clearer to the other whether you are a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’.
In Tango there is a constant cycle of actions and reactions, energy flowing in a circular way between the two people when you engage in partner dancing. Now, if you’re dancing by yourself, then the action and reaction are going to come from the trajectory of movement and also how you are presenting the movement in your body and how it moves across space, whether you are going to do that in a slow or fast pace, what quality you give to the movement for example when you are going to maintain a continuous dynamic. So the dynamic in itself is going to give colour, texture and this is what it makes dance interesting.
Connectivity, the Orquesta
There are connections in our body and for our body to to to be fluid in dance is because the internal landscape that we have is like an orchestra, how our lower and upper bodies ‘dance together’ and our right and left side move towards or away from each other, what parts of my body get quite to support other parts that are more active, these are your internal harmonies.
Listen in in the inside of our bodies and listening to the other, because this is a dance of two people. But if I cannot listen to myself internally, I think you will be a challenge to try to listen to another body. And that listening starts inside us. Nobody can listen for you. Absolutely nobody.
Observation and identity
This is something that we kind of constantly observe, how we body moves, how the dance transfer in our body and how we communicate that dance. So the act of listening requires observation. Some people call it awareness, others call it the mind-body connection…I will just call it observation. When we observe our bodies internally, we can observe other bodies as well and become much more sensitive, we understand what’s going on in our body and what is happening in the body of the other. That quality of listening and expressing the way how we want to move creates a sense of identity. This is how I move, this is how I present my body into this dance, this is how the dance presents into me. And this is my uniqueness.
I’m not following a pattern, I’m not interested in copying somebody else of how they exactly move, instead I’m interested to learn. Dancing requires a sense of identity or a sense of being you and being true to yourself when you move and if things may not happen at the beginning that’s fine. You are searching for it, you’re looking for it. You are looking into all the different bits and pieces in your body that make you happy and that gives you identity and ownership of the movement and of the dance. And that also is very important.
Tango reality is it’s a dance for the community, for the collective. Without that generosity, tango will have died in the first 40 years. But thanks to the generosity of many people, that dance was given generation by generation and that what makes tango possible to have Tango now, one hundred and twenty years after we still have this dance around. And it’s because of that generosity, that sense of collectiveness, of community. And I think if we have that also clear we’re going to enjoy a little bit more the dance when we do it.
The following are audio transcript extracts from some of the participant’s personal contributions, they are anonymous to respect their privacy and their publication look to offer a possibility that more people can resonate with these thoughts and take them or not into their own way of feeling and perceiving their tango dancing.
-“So there is a choice. You can learn a few steps enough so you can go. You make friends. Very nice music. And that’s OK. Or you want more from it. And lots of people end up wanting more from it. And that means that you start studying whether it’s orchestras, whether it’s how your body moves, whether it’s all of these things. But you want to be good, you know? when you realise that tango is bigger, it’s not me, it’s been around for a long time, it’s like this matrix, this grid, if you like, that is there waiting for you when you’re ready”.
-“So for me, the word that came out most from your diagram is interconnectivity. And my feeling always is. So, yes, we need a certain amount of technique around balance and around being able to understand weight and projection. But really, for me, the interconnectivity is the most important thing. The interconnectivity with your partner. So being able to listen to your partner and the music at the same time…and you don’t have to do fantastic technical things, you can just breathe, and if you’re breathing the same as that of a person and it fits with the music, then that’s the most important thing. And just sometimes had such surprises with that, just with breathing in the stillness because of the connection with that person, quite surprising. And with the music. So interconnectivity is the really, really important thing. But I do really realise that you need to have some technique as well”.
-“Tango is very simple but to actually get to that simplicity you have to do all the complicated stuff”.
-“For me I have to be in the right frame of mind, if I can hear the music and smile and see the other people smile back and see their smile you can find the connection”.
-“For me is the music, the feeling, when I feel the drama of the music then I feel I want to exchange that feeling with the person I am dancing with. If I can feel that response back through connection that is what it does it for me, is a wonderful feeling”.
-“I find it is a whole adventure, it is like a journey that you never come to the end of it…being in the moment..I love dancing…I dance on my own”.
-“For me it was the music, the expression, the stories, a sense of community and then the technique become very important…it is a wonderful thing but that came a lot later…it is an ongoing learning, is even a discipline”.
-“Tango is like meditation, the connection between body and mind in tango is fascinating, meditation is about what is happening in the present, at that precise moment”.
-“I struggle with Tango…and I always will…I am now fine with that”.
-“I will be best if everybody concentrates on giving a good dance rather than getting a good dance, if everyone starts there it helps everything..that is how I feel.
-“In my view the importance of technique should be more emphasised, I need an enormous amount of technique in order to enable my body to move the way I want, then in a Milonga I can forget about technique and just feel”.
-“For me interconnectivity is a kind of energy between me and the partner which I am not able to describe it, not break it down to its elements…so I can not talk about it in words”.
Mina and Giraldo’s project Tango-Dance-Release-Connect is supported by the Arts Council of England.