Friday, August 29, 2014

If Aristotle danced tango

Over-thinking in dance can ruin the spontaneity and artfulness of tango.  However, too many dancers go off in a different direction of not thinking much at all.  The problem with "over-thinking" is nearly always a product of thinking too much about steps and outward forms.   This anti-thinking perspective has created many"PhD's" in the world of tango.  Let me explain that:  In this case, "PhD's" means, "philosophically handicapped dancers." :-)

What is your philosophy of tango?  It doesn't have to be like Aristotle's, but even trying not to think about your dance is a type of philosophy.  I love to imagine what great philosophers would say if they could have danced tango!  The great thinkers of history would maybe help us have some better insights about tango's wonderful art and science of movement.   And I wonder . . . if Aristotle had danced tango, how would he dance?  Would he "think too much"?  Well, at least with Aristotle, I do no think so.  Maybe Hagle, but not Aristotle.  As long as Aristotle could practice what he preaches, I imagine his expression of tango would be wonderful.  The way he would dance, I hope, would follow his three "proofs" of artfulness, which he proclaimed to be a balance of:
  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos

Even though Aristotle has been dancing only a few years, he already has a strong and positive reputation as a dancer in his small tango community.  But before he ever walked in the door, he had a reputation for his character.  People knew that he was a person they could listen to and trust by what he had already accomplished before he started dancing.  Even those who did not know him sensed his aura of character.  In a short time, he helped the tango community with different events, and ways of outreach for his small and fragile tango community.   He became an integral part and helped define the character of the community. That is his ethos.

People say he expresses a pathos when he dances.  His passion is not blind but balanced.  When Aristotle dances, he is not overly interested in just holding a woman, but one can tell that he loves having a woman in his arms.  He is not overly excited about the music, but he has a passion for the best musicians and music from the golden age for dancers.  He catches little things that others miss, like the sweep of a harp in Fresedo, the sweeping and romantic violins of Carlos Di Sarli, the playful rhythms of D'Arienzo.  Also, he understands the character of those around him, and artfully dances near them.  He claims not to know martial arts, but seems to practise it on the dance floor at times because he artfully defends his partner from the couple who express their misguided "art of tango" with a logic and passion all their own, an ethos obliged only to themselves. 

When Aristotle dances, women say they feel the logos (logic) of what the music is saying.  His body language may seem simple at times, but that is because the music is.  He uses a tango-body-vocabulary that is eloquent but not at the expense of his partner not understanding what he is saying. His body-logos is a mix of simplicity with eloquence, making familiar words combine in such a way that allow the prosaic to become the poetic.

Aristotle is an artist not only in tango.  Artistry is a way of life.  That's why women like dancing with him.  They like a partner who insists they listen to La Musica's voice; one who allows them to create and re-create with him; a partner whose body languages says, "listen to that with me!"

There is nothing wrong with being a philosopher.  Thinking is good, when it is done artfully.   Ask Aristotle; he is not a PhD.

*"Logos" has many definitions in Greek, but an important ones are "logic," reason" and "word."  In the book of John, the opening chapter announces that the "logos" (reason, logic, word) had become incarnate and lived among us:  "The word word became flesh."  Perhaps it was the Reason who became incarnate? 

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1 comment:

  1. Oh I know just the person you are describing! Actually, I am honored to have him as my dance partner for the past two years. And yes, women just love to dance with him for all the reasons you listed. :-)


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