|Does it feel like you are part of a choir when you dance?|
I am convinced that if the therapeutic effect of tango disappears, people naturally stop dancing. This is tragic because movement to music is a powerful coping mechanism in a stressful world. Human touch bolsters our immune system, and dancing is a rich way to stay socially connected. These important health factors should not be easily discarded. To abandon the salutary effects of dancing in some instances has tragic consequences--both for physical health and mental well-being.
Through analogy, let's look some of the same therapeutic effects found in singing in a choir, and compare it to dancing. For cancer patients, singing in a choir has recently been proven to create a powerful effect to one's body and increases the chances of recovery. Positive changes cascade through the body for those who participate in a group effort with music. Many choirs, especially gospel choirs, combine music and movement, and both share very similar to the positive effects in the body and for the human psyche.
In Europe tango dancers travel a long way to find what I will call here "the choir effect." Dancers seek out encuentros. Some abandon their own local milongas altogether. Encuentros, they argue, are known for three main things that may be missing too often at local social venues:
- A higher level of dance (similar to a higher level of singing in a choir);
- Gender balance (similar to being able to sing rather than sit out too much);
- A sense one is dancing in harmony with all the other dancers (social unity).
Be the change you want in the world (of dance). Through example, be one of the "voices" in the group which blends and harmonizes with the group, attentive to the baton of our amazing director, the music.
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*Milonga: A social dance party in which tangos, tango waltzes (vals) and dance music called "the milonga" are played in sets (tandas). Traditional milongas play music from the Golden Age of tango--a time which coincided with the golden age of jazz (the 1930's-1940's) when both jazz and tango musicians focused on the dancer rather than the listener.