Connection in Tango
is a concept immediately understood by anyone who has danced tango for more than a short period of time. It transcends cultures, countries, genders, time. It is the reason for our obsession with the dance, the gift of tango, its opiate. It is a blur of passion and sensuality on a primal scale.
But how do we define the term? The truth is that we can't; the tango connection
cannot be described adequately by words alone. But try we may - and Very Tango
brings to you some beautiful reflections on the connection
from around the world.
He played with the music, had fun with his feet, sang in my ear. He made every tango his, and I followed. I only wanted to surrender completely into his joy, and to give him mine in return. As tangos ended we stayed stuck together for a few seconds, not wanting to let go. Often when we did pull apart we were laughing, or raising our eyebrows at the intensity, or just smiling with our eyes. Occasionally he placed my right hand on his shoulder and we danced the tango in a tender hug rather than in the ‘tango embrace’. I kept my eyes closed and to me, we were the only couple on the floor. We danced with our hearts, our bodies and our souls touching. We did not stop until the last notes of La Cumparsita faded, and we were left, me slightly shell shocked and my leg muscles aching, standing in the bright lights of the night’s end.
When I speak of connection, there is no one else that matters other than myself and my partner, who is usually a stranger. I feel her breathing and she feels mine. I think of what I want to lead, and it just happens without effort or prodding. There is a feeling of 'One body, four legs.'
Everything flows... The music, the movement, syncopation, footwork, intuition, improvisation, all come together to be one unique experience where one is transported into a very special place for the duration of the tanda.
It's addicting, it's intoxicating, it makes people get that look of being in a trance, it's blissful, it's magical...
A successful tango connection, regardless of style or musical interpretation, is one in which information flows back and forth, replacing the perception of two with the awareness of one. Dancers speak of shared balance and even a shared mind. The figurative 'four legs and one body' is a favorite way to describe the tango couple. It is in this experience of connection with the other where we discover the transformational side of tango as a practice, as more than simply a leisure activity.
For me, 'that connection' (of which I speak) if I feel it, it tends to happen before the commencement of the dance. At the point when he receives me into his arms and I drape my arm across his back and both hands touch. Soulful. Like two lost halves finding each other again. It's very rare but when it happens, it's pretty much well worth the wait.
I was completely unguarded for it. I did not even think it was possible to feel such a thing when I first experienced what I later learned to call a tango connection. It wasn’t part of my vocabulary and I did not have a concept for it, so I could not clearly express it afterwards, nor could I trace the steps that had created it to reproduce it. It happened and it took me straight to my first mistake, but did not lend itself well for a meticulous investigation, so I’ve remained unaware of its precise origin since...
With my eyes closed, I moved in perfect synchronicity... in a high from surrendering willingly to his secure lead. At home in his tight embrace, I anchored myself in a pleasant and sensual moment. Heavy, warm and dense, I tuned myself into my breath and experienced breathing in. Him and the music, the tango, had engulfed me and I moved with them without even feeling the ground beneath me. It did not bring me peace. Sexual tension and intoxication were part of this high and they remained present. The connection was accompanied by a strange subsequent hangover: the feeling of being revealed, caught naked, as the music stopped; the craving for more of it; the fresh disquiet I got from being around him.
Now and then a tanguera comes along and captures my Soul with her sensual movement, flowery fragrance, cuddly embrace, radiant aliveness and childlike playfulness...
I cabaceoed a woman that I had desired to dance with. When I watched her earlier, I felt that I could easily trance, laugh and walk in great delight with her. Within 2 phrases of moving with her in my embrace, I could feel a connection lock in where I knew I would go to the place of trance, connection and oneness that I hunger for...
Soon after we started, she bewildered me by moving in ways I had never experienced. The energy of desire and playfulness she expressed went beyond any other dancer to date. I shook my head several times in my attempt to contain energy she summoned. By the end of that one song, I realized that was one of the top dances I ever had. She had blown me away...
The stars seemed to have aligned with me for that milonga as I was left speechless.
"Would you like to dance?"
I turned and saw a slender man, older than me, with a thin nose and a friendly expression. I stood up.
As soon as we began to move, I could tell that this dance was different. His lead was smooth and balanced, I knew exactly what he was asking me to do. We moved with invisible harmony. I closed my eyes: everything disappeared except for the music and the perfect connection between us. I turned; I swiveled; I balanced on one leg while he turned me in a circle. I did things I had never done before—things I could not repeat with anyone else. All I had to do was focus on the subtle shifts of weight; if I paid attention to that, and only that, I could do anything. The dances blurred into each other. When I opened my eyes between dances, I could barely recognize the room...
We talked for a few minutes, and then we said good night. We didn’t talk about personal things; we didn’t exchange numbers; we didn’t make plans to dance again. We didn’t have to — the moments themselves had been so perfect. That was tango.
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