That Tango Feeling

that-tango-feelingI was trying to explain to a friend how I feel about Tango and the feelings that sometimes occur when I am dancing.  This is not an easy task and most times I don’t even try.

I can tell you that when I first heard Tango music being played, it touched something deep inside me.  I cannot explain it any better than that, nor do I want to.

About four to five months into my dancing, I had my first dance with an Argentinean, who also happened to be a resident Tango instructor.  I had never seen him before and didn’t know anything about him until we danced.

Dancing with him was how I always imagined it should be, but hadn’t experienced until that very moment.   It was amazing!  He held me firmly, yet gently.  He guided me across the dance floor in time with the music, knowing my limitations.  He didn’t ask much from me, but every once in awhile he would add a new element to the dance.  At the end of the Tanda, I was floating on air, my head was in a spin, and I felt hot all over.  Afterwards, he led me back to where he found me and I sat down to recover.

When I told a friend what had just happened to me and with whom, she reassured me saying that yes, he was lovely and there were many men like that in Buenos Aires – and that dancing with them could make you think you were falling in love.

It was all downhill dancing with every other man the rest of that evening.  I was nearly ready to leave when I was asked to dance again by the Argentino.  For me, nothing else existed except the two of us and the music.  I was in another place and time and was taken by surprise when it finally had to come to an end.  We had danced for nearly half an hour and it felt like only minutes had passed.  I was so fully in the moment and realised that for the first time the person I was with was 100% there with me.

That is what the Tango feeling is to me – two people who are so in the moment that the music, the dancing and each other are all in tune.  Neither can exist without the other – and nothing else exists for them.  To this date, I have only ever experienced it with a few people in these last four years of dancing.

This feeling is the one that every dance is judged on.  Having experienced it, it is almost like a drug.  You need to keep dancing, hoping to experience it again.  There may be some very lovely dances, but your expectations can become so high that you may not appreciate them because you haven’t had the experience you were hoping for – and so you keep dancing with new people, hoping maybe this time you will get that feeling.   You may stop dancing with others as you hadn’t achieved the result you desired.  You develop expectations and you live with disappointment.

Tired of being disappointed, I now go to a Milonga without any expectations.  I put myself 100% in the moment for every dance – and although I haven’t experienced the Tango feeling lately- I do enjoy myself more than I used to.  I no longer live with disappointment.  Although it would be great if the other were to put as much into the moment as I do, I don’t expect it – therefore, I rarely feel let down.

So, until I experience that Tango feeling again, all I have to do is just close my eyes and remember the first time.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nick
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 21:44:06

    Dear Arlene,

    I came across with your nice site tonight. I read a few posts and I noticed that in a few of those there is a quote to this one. So my curiosity lead me here where I was surprised to see that there is no comment to something that should be our central dancing experience when we go dancing tango. Perhaps because “that tango feeling” is so elusive that we cannot express it in words.

    The comment that I would like to add to this post is that from the point of view of “that tango feeling” I have always thought that followers are privileged because they are not distracted by the navigation (several followers dance with their eyes closed). I am a leader and when we dance some of our attention goes necessarily in the navigation we cannot do differently. This brings our mind not to be concentrated only on the music and the sensations that come from our partner as the followers can do. As a matter of fact sometimes I get too much absorbed by the music and my partner and the result is that I am brought back on Earth by bumping into another couple in the dancefloor.

  2. Arlene
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 23:02:31

    Hi Nick,

    I must say that I did find it difficult to write about that feeling. Being such a ‘feeling’ person, I tend to just accept my feelings and don’t normally bother to explain them. I am not even sure that I was able to really do it justice. I just know how it felt.

    I feel privileged to be a woman and that I am allowed to be able to just close my eyes and enjoy myself. I am sure that with time men develop techniques that allow them to be in the moment with their partner and yet still be spatially aware of what is going on around them. Then they won’t be bumping into other people. 🙂

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