Saturday, July 21, 2012

Psychosomatic Tango

Now that she has her own Guru, she melts into his close embrace.

We grow up hearing great wisdom from our father, but don't listen.  A guru comes from India, and while in the lotus position, we hear and listen to his great wisdom and it transforms our lives.  We yield.  Then Father dies.  Perhaps then we will remember his wisdom, but a little too late.  Dad was right.  Why didn't I listen?

Why does it take the magic of a foreigner or "special person" to introduce the same wisdom that a friend or a family member offered?  This is what I call the "psychosomatic syndrome."  Our ears do not hear (or listen, better said), until our psyche (soul) opens up to the messenger.  The Galilean Guru wisely said as his words and healing works failed in his own city: "No prophet is believed in his own country."

Now that I live in Germany, I am realizing something about perceptions helping or hindering connection from the very first dance.  Each region, every town has its own "tango accent."  Germany has a wonderful level of tango fluency, and of course, its own "accent."  Traditional tango is the rule.  Excellent music is the rule.  But I still see a change in connection when a new-to-me tanguera thinks mistakenly that I am from Latin America.  This is "psychosomatic tango."

Europeans probably account for a great deal of tango tourists in Buenos Aires.  No matter from where the tourists come, they all are looking for "tango wisdom."   And what do tangueras all over the world discover in Buenos Aires?  Tangueras sometimes are amazed at the connection, the surrender they feel in the arms of a tanguero from Argentina?  Did they have to go so far to discover this connection?  Perhaps not.  Did they have to go to the mountain to find their own part in the connection?

Since I returned to Germany (where my children live), I had been conversing more in Spanish more than ever in my life at that time.  As a result I found myself talking German to Spanish speakers and Spanish to German speakers.  So I also have become used to the look that people give me when I am "code switching" into the wrong language.   Along the same lines in Germany, at times I  find myself hearing Spanish lyrics while also sensing that I am in a foreign land, and I get confused, disoriented.  Where in the hell am I, anyway!  Somehow this seems to easily allow my disoriented mind to be transported to the belief that I am in Latin America.  In this delusional state, while in a foreign country and hearing Spanish, I am suddenly transported to a milonga in Argentina.  This is not all that bad. My delusions are the cheapest way to travel to Argentina, and I can spend my vacation time with my children in Germany!

Besides being a cheap way to travel to Argentina, another positive result is that I have learned about Psychosomatic Tango.  When a German tanguera obviously does not understand my language, I quickly switch to German.  But because she now believes that I am from Argentina, she melts into my embrace and I feel the difference.  Although the standard of dance in Germany is much higher than in the US, German women "feel" different than French and Latina tangueras; so I do notice a difference.  Suddenly there is a psychosomatic change, and they dance with less of a "German accent."  What takes away their tango "accent"?  I think it is simply because they start listening to me in a new way.  They melt into me.  Their guru has arrived. From this experience I would say that when tangueros and tangueras believe that the person is Argentinian, they dance differently with their pseudo-Argentinian.  Isn't this obvious?  Do we need a sociologist or neuroanthropologist to do a study about it?  A scientific study would only prove what we already know about psychosomatic responses.

Interesting, I have heard over and over that tangueras rave about "Señor Fulano de Argentia"  and how he has such a nice embrace, or they experience this on a tango-tourism pilgrimage to the Mountain.  The embrace may be her own making to a great degree.  Entreguarse (surrendering oneself) takes two people (just as it takes two to tango).  I wish I had the time to go Uruguay to live in a country that speaks tango; so nothing is wrong with those who go there, but also the need to go is perhaps misguided.  There is much to be learned in your own psyche and in your own soma* and in your own town.  Sure, the mountain is indeed a good place to go.  But if you cannot, try bringing the mountain to your mind.

From these experiences in Germany, I accidentally have learned about Psychosomatic Tango.  I have a very practical application of Psychosomatic Tango:  It is best at a local milonga to begin a conversation in Spanish.  I just want an embrace that feels warm and genuine.  The language of tango is Spanish.  Pretend with me!  Live the delusion that we are in Buenos Aires, or better yet, in Montevidéo, free from the hordes of tourists.  Let's pretend.  The embrace is a good place to start, but it would also be nice if you didn't wear clogs and jeans.  With the right amount of wine or the magical belief that I am from the "holy land," she will listen to my body and yield to what I have to say.  Speaking Spanish is the "drug of choice" that allows my partner to allow herself to enjoy Psychosomatic Tango.  The guru has arrived, who through his magic, allows her to hear the wisdom-already-said-by-Father or allows a transformation from a local prophet's message.  Hasn't every local teacher already told their students about yielding to one's partner (entreguarse)?  Why does it take a guru to hear this?  Under the right delusion, my partner's psyche allows her soma* to melt into me.  If she thinks that I am a prophet from Argentina; so be it!  If she thinks that I have traveled long to be her guru; so be it!  Enter the delusion!

Come with me to the next local milonga.  Let's enter into our delusion, our psychosis, together.  We melt into our embrace and each other.  We hear the music.  It leads us to dance in a way that allows the dream to go on.  Even the tanguera from Argentina melts into the arms of a man who she has never met because of this same concept.  She deludes herself to imagine that he is the only man on the planet.  This is Tango itself, not just a phenomena:  Psychosomatic Tango.

Soma is Greek for "body."

Photo credit at this link.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tango's Goldene Schnürsenkel

These shoelaces are priceless*

One evening not too long ago, Norman gave me the "Goldene Schnürsenel" Award -- an unofficial award, but nonetheless, a veritable honor!

I had never heard about this "award" before, but it's a great idea. The "Goldene Schnürsenkel," translated means '"The golden shoelaces," and they are awarded to the tanguero who dances with more women in one night than any other man. The second criteria is that it only counts when the woman truly is happy that the man has danced with her. (If not, she is earning points towards what we perhaps could call "the Gold Shoe Strap Award").

In our little German city, Norman got the award all the time because he did not have much competition. Good tangueros are often sitting and watching, waiting for the right tango to play with no "insurance" that the next 3 tangos will also meet their high standards. Too many tangueras are bursting with energy to dance to the music they hear -- what I call "musical squirming," which is the best indication (in my assessment) that a woman will bring joy to her dance, close her eyes and truly listen to the music:

Musical Squirming

She sips her drink there in her chair.
The music starts; she flicks back her hair.
Now she's musically squirming with delight--
Dreaming of dancing throughout the night.

But the stoic tanguero only sits starring,
Blandly, straight ahead, apparently not caring.
Dance with the lady! The right thing to do!
She may be imperfect but so are you.

I sometimes am not able to win the prize over Norman. But we are so often so close we just proclaim that the other guy "won." And we are not really keeping good track. Maybe the tangueras are.

The really competitive male does not like this particular award. He might want the prize woman or the esteem as the best dancer. The golden shoelaces do not interest a Casanova at all. Casanova is dancing with just a few choice women, choosing one with whom he will later leave. This not the macho thing to do. The macho man is watching, afraid of dancing in public. Perhaps the competitive male might be the teacher-wanna-be, who waits for the right tanguera. She'll be a good "advertisment" for him.

The Golden Shoestrings award is made for the guy who sees the little girl waiting on the side who

wants to go out and play. Everyone would like a turn at the best fun in the world! Can't you see it in her eyes?

The real award is that the Golden Shoelace Tanguero (GST) who dances with a wider ranger of talented women learns how to dance better. What a treasure to dance with the woman with the Beginner's Mind. The GST surprises himself with the ideas from the woman out of town. He is challenged to be confident over his self-doubt when the very selective woman finally looks his way.

The lone wolf dancer is perhaps a great dancer. He waits too long. Watch what happens at every "woops":

  • Woops! She is dancing a lot and doesn't even see the Lone Wolf. 
  • Woops! He is still waiting because although she is not dancing, he now does not like the music.
  • Woops! The music is right, but she is not looking his way. 
  • Woops! She is leaving because she has to work tomorrow early. .

Perhaps he dances well. Two tandas. Meanwhile good tangueras who only need a few enjoyable tandas a night to keep motivated sit there as he just watches, waiting, procrastinating with his pointed ears back.

The other night, Norman did not come. I still think he is the king of the Goldene Schnürsenkel. He is a great dancer, but the true value of the tanguero who wears these golden shoe strings is worth more than those shoe strings in the picture above (a "mere" $19,000 price tag).

He is a treasure chest full of gold for certain tangueras. $19000 is nothing compared to that.

*Photo credit: In an effort to be incredibly materialist one COULD purchase golden shoelaces for $19000. But why? I suggest that tangueros get them for free as an award at their local milonga.