Ask Arlene…Can you get a true Tango Connection in an Open Embrace?

From Tango Totty:

Can you achieve a true tango connection when you are dancing tango Nuevo style – ie in an open embrace? – Surely the emotional feeling of the ‘tango trance’ is generated by the combination of the close embrace and the music. How on earth do the Tango Nuevo dancers feel this when they dance only in open embrace and often not to the music? I just don’t believe it!

Dear Totty,

I personally have never achieved what I would call that Tango Feeling in an open embrace.  I have had some fun dances with various partners in this way, but nothing that I would call emotional, that took me out of myself as I have had in a close embrace.  I think it has to do with putting too much attention on the moves.  When you are putting attention on ganchos, voleos, trying to kick the back of your head, etc., I think it takes away the meaning of Tango for me.

Although one is physically connected in an open embrace, I can never feel an emotional connection to my dance partner in this way.  It is all about the moves and the beat of the music.  I find it very mechanical.  It can be fun sometimes, just for something different, but I only would do it to modern music.  I am not really crazy about it, so I don’t often do it.  In fact, I tend to avoid it now.  I am working on the keep it simple plan.

I was very lucky to experience that Tango Feeling on Friday at Negracha with someone I hadn’t danced with in a long time.  I have experienced it before with this person and was grateful to have experienced it again.  It really made my evening worthwhile.

That is my take on this issue.  What do others think?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sasha
    Mar 09, 2009 @ 20:10:06

    In my view, you ABSOLUTELY can have a ‘true’ tango experience dancing nuevo. You can have anything from playful to intense eye contact, for example, the opening/closing/opening of the embrace can be very exciting, not to mention the fact that the freedom to improvise steps creates a mutual excitement and intensifies the experience.
    Having said that, I can’t bare it when I see people (sadly often) dancing nuevo as a way of keeping at arms length (literally and figuratively) from the partner and not getting emotionally involved in the dance. Urgh!

  2. El Chupacabra
    Mar 10, 2009 @ 01:51:28

    Open doesn’t do it for me. And the larger shapes disperse the energy and emotion too much. A closer more concentrated embrace does it for me.

    Its like a small good quality espresso – compared to a pint-of-milk starducks coffee-chino. The former keeps it small, elegant, powerful and emotional. The latter avoids this at all costs.

    Interestingly there has been a new development of close-but-open embrace where you are physically close but not sharing an axis, not really embracing and for me this is a cop-out. Again, without the trust that is required for a proper embrace, this one doesn’t do it for me, despite what it may look like from a distance.

  3. Voice of Reason
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 22:59:27

    Hi Totty
    I’m with chumbawumbwa here. Sorry luv, el Chupacabra, If you can’t get close how can you get connected, With my party pack (six pack gone large) an open hold leaves me cold, The connection is more than the physical contact though. It is that separation from or suspension of reality for the briefest of moments. Its not really sexual but there is a zone where you both exist in absolute isolation for that moment, there is an emotional connection in the dance. If you have had one then you have been blessed by the tango gods. If not you need to lose the tango nuevo, open hold kick, flick jump and prance bollocks and lose yourself in the dance. Peace and Love.

    VOR xx

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