Every week, when I am not working, we head off to a local market searching for bargains and mingle with the crowds. Every week, when I am there, I meet a work colleague we exchange greetings and say “see you in work”. On my last trip when we did not meet, I had an irrational feeling of disappointment.
Many years ago we had a dog, wandering soul that he was he would try to escape at any opportunity. The only thing that would make him return was rattling his lead. Why when he was free anyway, would he return just to walk with me? And why should I feel disappointment at not seeing someone who I would see every working day?
As humans we like to think we are something special, but we are just animals, may be more intelligent, but still driven by emotions and instincts that we have little control of.
One of these instincts is to be close, to touch another human. Tango satisfies this need along with another, the joy of moving to a rhythm and great music.
The English peoples have for some years suppressed these desires and that, I think, is the reason why, when Tango first came to the UK, it came as an open dance and with a sequence of steps that took no account of the music. You can only suppress basic instincts so long and the English are learning to move to the music now and Tango is coming of age here. Non tango people I know cannot understand how we can be so close without getting aroused; they talk about groping bottoms or grinding crotches, quite apart from the fact that such behaviour would make one a pariah it fails to understand the human need just to be close. Go to any football match and see what happens when a goal is scored, suddenly in the heat of excitement reserve is forgotten and men actually hug other men, I have even seen the odd kiss.
As a teenager I used to go to local dances and if a girl deigned to allow me a dance woe betide if I crossed the line drawn by her handbag. In the seventies no body touched, the age of free love was largely a myth created by the media and a few hippies. The world was awash with drug suppressed emotions. By that I do not mean just the recreational drugs like marijuana, although I saw enough of this around. Prescription anti depressants were rife; there was a bottle of Vallium in almost every home.
Thankfully these times are passed; we are getting back in touch with our emotions and getting closer to each other. I can now go to a dance, ask a woman I have never met to dance and hold her closer than I ever held even my mother.
This is the joy of tango, I feel it when I dance, the ladies I dance with feel it also, a joyful three minute hug to the strains of DiSarli, D’Arienzo or Tantori. Try as I might I cannot do this feeling justice, so I will say that Sally describes it best here. http://sallycatway.com/?p=2537 Just reading this has me dreaming again of Buenos aires and counting the days to my return.
However I feel before a Milonga, I leave lifted, happy and ready for what life has to throw at me.
So when I get emotional, or you think I get too radical in my tango views, it is only because of the joy it has brought to my life, and I do not want you, me or anybody to be sold short, by people who have other agendas or are just in tango to make money. Nor do I want the North of England to become the tango desert it was when I first started.
If someone tries to tell you that tango can be danced to any music, or that an open embrace is good or especially tries to teach you while they should be dancing, tell them they are wrong. Tango is a rhythm, tango is emotion, tango is love, tango is not rote or showy and deserves more respect that just to be danced to any old music. Give tango what it deserves and it will repay you over and over.
Show tango no respect however and you will soon get fed up and move on to your next fad and be the poorer for it.