When I am going to dance the first song of my first tanda at the milonga, I always have to find out how I am.
My dance is very much determined by, for instance, how many hours I slept the night before.
My dance is what I am going to give to my partner.
I like to be generous.
Generosity is essential to connection.
When I visit my friends, I like to bring a present, which I am sure they will enjoy.
Imagine you are my friend and I am coming to visit you. You are happy. Now, I offer you something you were not expecting, something I know you like very much. You are now even happier. Our connection is wonderful!
For a milonguero, the whole day is, in many ways, a preparation for the milonga.
I wouldn’t let myself get stressed, or sad, or sleep-deprived, or hungry, or angry. If I cannot achieve a balance in my life, at least for that day, I wouldn’t go to the milonga. It would be disrespectful to bring negative emotions to my friends at the milonga, with whom I like to dance and share a joyful time.
Friends share joy.
That is why, when I am getting ready to go to the milonga, I am sure that I am neat and clean.
When I drive there, not in a rush because Tango is a party, and I do not have an obligation to be there at a specific time other than when I arrive, I am rolling my shoulders and relaxing my arms and hips.
When I am walking from where I park my car, I am aware of my walk and body.
A good connection in Tango begins with being well connected to yourself.
I like to imagine myself composed of myriad tiny gears that connect my entire body to the floor and my partner and perceive my partner’s presence with fine detailing.
That does not necessarily always happen.
I like to dance with everyone with whom I have something in common, starting with a love for Tango, ending with perhaps the possibility of sharing a shared vision of life.
I love dancing with my friends.
We may not share much more than the time we are together on the dance floor. However, during that time, we are good friends because we share joy.
Many people, including students and colleagues, debate whether Argentine Tango teachers should or should not dance with students.
I dance with my good friends. Sometimes they are also my students, which is not surprising since the same elements of a good teacher/student relationship are very similar to any good relationship. Friendship is, to me, the paradigm of any meaningful relationship.
I wouldn’t dance Argentine Tango without experiencing this meaningfulness.
If I say that “I dance with my students,” then I have an obligation, which contradicts friendship. Friends do not hang together because they are obliged. They do it because they want to be together since it is a joyful and meaningful experience. When the desire to be together ends for any party involved, friendship ceases.
When I work on the theme of connection with my students, I emphasize first the need to feel at home in yourself, comfortable in your body, and with your partner. That is why I only teach couples in small groups (semi-private classes) and private lessons, and individual students in private lessons. The most effective way to work on this fundamental aspect of connection in Argentine Tango is with a regular partner, receiving feedback and corrections, or directly from your teacher as a partner.
Each individual will have different issues to work on, as well as each couple. In addition, each person and couple evolve uniquely. Therefore, there are no general formulas that you can apply to everyone.
As an example of connection in a couple, I would like to share this video of Osvaldo and Coca Cartery dancing for the anniversary of the milonga “Porteño y bailarín” in Buenos Aires. Notice that the people in the audience know each other very well. It is comprised of milongueros who have danced Argentine Tango for many years. You can sense the strong friendship that links all of them, to each other, to Osvaldo and Coca, and the strong friendship that this couple has with each other, with the audience, and with the host of this milonga.
In my next article, I will talk about musicality. For now, I leave you with this concept:
The music is your friend too.
Continue learning Argentine Tango:
How to dance Argentine Tango?
An introduction to the most important details
Argentine Tango music
Music to learn to dance
History of Argentine Tango
Tango is a culture