Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dance: "The creator and the thing created"

Only with dance is the artist and that which is created unified without boundaries.

Now, what happens when the dancer and the dance--the creator and the thing created--unite, and then another person is added?  What happens when male and female energies, yin and yang energies also unite?  This is exponentially powerful.  This is the moment when tango is born:  A tandem dance with Yin and Yang becoming a single creator and created thing!

The power of tango is that the spiritual dimension of "two becoming one" is beautifully realized.  Yin and Yang meld together into a single energy.  Separated, these energies are doomed to become extinct, formless and powerless.  Together, "there could be no better metaphor for an understanding of the mechanics of the cosmos."*

We start dancing without any instruction as children just by responding somatically to music.  Then many of us return to dance as adults much later, and then say, "I started dancing, 3 years ago."  Not really.  You danced in the womb!  So we should say, "Just three years ago, I returned to dancing as I once did as a child."  The soul of a person is a dancing soul.  If you do not allow your soul to dance, you have unwittingly incarcerated your soul.  We must become as little children to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  Children dance.  Children speak.  But they dance better than they speak for a very good reason:  Their soul is still free to express itself in the most powerful way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Music Workshop: The Tango Vibraphone

Knowing which instruments are playing will not make you a better dancer.  However, instrument recognition will make you a better listener.  Listen with you body.  That is more important, but listening with your mind added to that adds to the fun.  Recognizing the bandonion, violins, bass and piano may be easy; so here's another nice instrument to notice:  The vibraphone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tango Requirement: "Get a Pair* . . ."

". . . of dance shoes."
A fight is going on in the streets outside of the milonga.  And you might as well join in because the fight is about you.
Freedom of expression has always been something one must fight for.  The fight has changed over the years, but this great feeling of the freedom of expression through dancing is something that has been prohibited and punished over the years and still is today in certain countries.  Dancing still is prohibited by certain groups or families in every country on the globe.  Generally speaking, there is mostly a feeling that we have the freedom to dance and it is here to stay.  But history has a way of repeating itself.  Some will say there is no longer anything to fight for!  This is simply not true.  Even if it were true, when there is nothing to fight for, the value of any kind of freedom dwindles over time.  Then the fight becomes necessary all over again.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

You cannot "Dancefully Grace"

I walk into a group tango class in a city where I have never danced.

The teacher tells us: "I cannot teach you to dance.  In my class we will focus on the graceful movements of tango, but it is up to you to listen to the music and let the music be embodied. The forms will then become dance, and not until then.  You cannot dancefully grace, but maybe after learning grace, perhaps you can gracefully dance."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Psychology of the "Advanced" Dancer

Photo by George A. Kounis

What do advanced dancers, veteran hobby pilots and Army Majors all have in common?  

Answer:  They take too many risks.

Major Danger
In a spoof article about Army majors,  a military humorist suggested that these often lampooned, level-4 officers were far more dangerous in combat to the lives of soldiers than entry levels officers, 2nd Lieutenants.   There might be some truth to this.   Many of us have seen disasterous results when people who are pretty good at something take too many risks.   A red light goes off when when we meet someone who "knows everything" when they really don't.  That means that I am now at risk of being a Tango Major Pain--now dancing for over nine years, which is when Captains become Majors.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Tango Wench & her Pirate

The Tango Pirate needs a Wench
Tradition of a mistranslation
I am sure that some would find "beauty and deep meaning" if the terms "pirate" and "wench" had these terms been the English words we had chosen for Argentine Tango roles.  But instead the English-speaking tango community has settled on the traditional ballroom terms, "leader" and "follower," which are perhaps equally inappropriate terms as much as "pirate" and "wench."   "Leader and follower" are appropriate for ballroom, but they just are detrimental for improvisational, magical nature of Argentine tango.