Lesson number 1, by Olga Besio

Where do I start?

What any person who wants to dance the tango should be made clear from the beginning. (And anyone who wants to teach, too)

Many times I have wondered how they should be taught to dance the tango to beginners. It is likely that each teacher will pose this question a thousand times, depending on the students who should initiate this way at every opportunity. It is also the mysterious mystery of those days to decide on a first dance to this very complex in appearance, but whose fundamentals are so simple and yet so full of meaning.

The answer to this question suggests, in my opinion, not only the methodological aspects, and even less to the “content” such as a purely formal mathematical steps or cool ways to walk or turn.

Indeed, what is fundamentally, deeply, tango dancing? is NOT a succession of steps, figures, structures, movements. Something much more profound underlies everything. And that something deeper is not exactly “technical”, but is a factor much earlier, primary and fundamental.

In a simple statement, without attempting to assign a chronological or hierarchical order, we could say that this is a natural, human, intuitive, sensory, with a “other” with a human and “other” sound.

Then maybe we could also say that we should first develop, construct or uncover the relationship of unity-duality with the other person, partner or companion dance, anyone can do something as simple as moving together (which is often very difficult) or moving objects together. (All this, without even the roles of lead and follow, should work simultaneously for both  in order to reach a full understanding of both aspects – that are not absolutely opposed but complementary, since they need each other.)

How do we get? Allowing my body talk to the body of another person, that “straight talk” that “listen” to a communication flow so simple and natural as flowing in daily life when I do something with someone or when I talk with someone,  placed against that person, with be my “front” and not just two bodies … with a soul, feelings emotions and the human, animal and divine ability to be-with-another.

Ah, I forgot: What about the hug? Yes, of course: the arm in this position, the hand in a given height, angle … how complicated can perhaps measure with ruler, compass and square … Hmmm … And if you just hug the other person to me and I hug. A real arm, human, warm, strong and sweet at the same time … Then you can take your hand or let it take me … and maybe if we measure now is an ” correct “embrace tango!  My friends, the embrace of tango is just that: ¡¡a hug!  And not a mere “arm position” …

A hug is a natural, humane, comfortable and enjoyable for both people and will address other aspects of our theme: the movement, playing with the weight of another person with his own, doing something together … like dancing.  As I said on another article, dancing is a natural fact that human being is born with. Everything is here, so is. And we usually consider “technically necessary and / or right” is neither more nor less than a consequence of something in your home is absolutely natural. Dancing is a natural fact.  So we avoid stereotypes …

Uh, I think we still lack something. The dialogue is, by definition, “two”. But in the case of the tango (perhaps in the case of every dance is a dance of two?), the dialogue is presented as me. Of course, the “third” is the MUSIC And in this wonderful, amazing, catching “TRIALOG,” is where we see the birth of tango dancing and walking with him, improvisation and creativity.

After will be the steps, figures, styles and all the infinite variety that tango or milonga, and vals, can give us.

So I think this is what should be taught and learned in the first lesson:

  • Dialogue with the other person. The absolute certainty that everything that happens in the dance is the work and responsibility of both people in the sense that, in fact, the dancing is built between the two (one each from its role) that each developing it at all, and collaborating with your partner or colleague. Withinthis dialogue as one of its aspects, including the embrace is.
  • Dialogue with the music. Within this dialogue, as one of its options, includes a walk.
  • In short, the “trialogue” deep communication between these three key elements (both people and music), with all the incredible significance, depth complexity and detail that it contains. Within this “trialogue” is included and embraced as walking music. And understanding no doubt that all these aspects are a that nest precisely and as a fundamental fact, the essence tango.

This would, in my view, the first lesson. But … how should last? An hour and a half? Two hours? A month?  Perhaps a lifetime.

Olga Besio’s bio.


Marcelo Solis

I was born in Argentina. Through my family and the community that saw my upbringing, I have been intimately involved with the culture of Tango all my life, and have been an Argentine Tango dance performer, choreographer and instructor for over 30 years. I profoundly love Tango dancing, music, and culture, particularly that of the Golden Era. I am a milonguero.

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