The Essence of Tango

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Brisbane Tango

Learning Tango: More Than Just A Dance

When you learn tango, you give yourself at least five important benefits that will stay with you for the rest of your life if you keep at it. Here are what learning tango can do for you:

(1) Improves your posture

Good posture is important for your overall health. It improves blood circulation, keeps your nerves and blood vessels healthy, and supports your body well. It also helps you feel more confident. You will be more grounded, stable, and balanced. You learn to release unnecessary tension, whether dancing or not.

Here are 3 simple, everyday exercises you can do at home even without a partner.  They involve improving posture and releasing body tension, increasing posture awareness, and relaxing your shoulders, and opening your back. They will prepare and condition your body well for your tango lessons. Or, if you’re not about to take lessons yet, they will still stand you in good stead healthwise and confidence-wise.

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(2) Teaches you artful connection

Learning the tango draws you into instant intimacy. If you’re a perfectionist or control freak, this is a beautiful way to help heal your control issues.  Generally, for women, you learn to get more in tune with your inner femininity, boundaries, and the power of receptivity. For men, you learn how to get more in touch with women and how to confidently create artful, beautiful moments together.

You learn that the closer you are to a person, the easier it is to read them. You learn about maintaining your own balance even as your partner maintains his so that you are both able to create a beautiful, balanced dance together.

In the end, you learn to let go of needless control but to go with the flow instead. You learn to trust yourself, your partner, your rhythm together, and even the music and the floor — which all spill over to learning to flow with Life’s rhythms and creating harmonious relationships and beauty in your life.

(3) Improves your communication sensibilities

As you engage in the powerful dance, you will also learn that it’s about graceful following and not leading. You get better at studying subtle body language cues and flow along in responding to them as you dance with your partner. Even if you are the man who leads in the dance, you still follow the bodily cues from your woman partner.

It begins with the Mirada (Spanish term for “look” or “gaze”) – – making eye contact with a potential partner across the room and inviting them with your eyes. Or, if you’re the one invited, you accept with your eyes. Then, you come together and start a bodily conversation with your facial expressions and body movements. Words don’t matter much anymore as you sensitively cue into each other’s bodily signals and flow along together in rhythm.

The leader, through their embrace, provides openings to the follower on what to do, and the follower chooses how they will respond. The outcome is a cooperative, improvisational dance between two people that tells a story or paints a picture, using the music and dance floor as their paper or canvas.

This refines your communication sensibilities with people as you get adept at reading and responding to body language, and connecting with people in a deeper way.

(4) Improves your steps and movements, improves your life

You basically learn dance steps and movements in tango, but not dance sequences. Steps are moves that are isolated, defined, and organized so that beginners can use them independently of each other. Movements are bodily movements expressing ideas or emotions done in a rhythmic way, usually to music. Sequences are pre-arranged patterns of movement set to predetermined music, usually for a group of dancers.

Since tango is essentially a walking, improvisational dance, you use the steps and movements you’ve learned to create different dance stories with different partners. This can be a metaphor for living life flowingly.  You take in the essential skills at first and then you use these to co-create your relationships and your life with the different people you come across in your life.

(5) Enriches you and your social Interactions

Ultimately, tango is about sharing community — which starts out with communing more with your inner, truer self and sharing that in a community of two. As you grow in dance class and join Milongas (events where Argentine tango is danced) and other tango events, it expands to a bigger community of fellow tango enthusiasts.

You learn that in tango, as in life, what creates beautiful dances are shared moments, not isolation; partnership and collaboration, not isolation and competition; expressing yourself authentically and connecting to the authenticity in others, not faking it or following some predetermined rules set by society. You learn that it’s all about flowing harmoniously with Life’s energies, not controlling them.

Ultimately, when you learn the tango, you learn how to do life better.