Field Notes From a Beginning Tango Dancer
Tango is not about what you think it is about. Nor is tango about what it looks like its about.
Tango is not about dancing; it’s about walking. Tango is about coming into your walking life. About walking differently through your life, just as Jacob walked differently through his life after wrestling with one of God’s angels.
Tango is about wrestling with that angel.
Tango is not about being beautiful and elegant – though often it is beautiful and elegant. Tango is about touch, about being-in-touch. Tango is about empathy of a profoundly physical sort.
Tango is not about leading and following – though learning how to lead and how to follow are essential. Tango is about attunement, about oneness. Tango is every bit as rigorous, spiritual, and austere as Zen Buddhism could ever be.
Tango is not about being graceful – though it often appears graceful. Tango is about what you can’t do in your life, because everything you can’t do in your life, you can’t do anywhere in your life. And anything and everything you can’t do in your life is going to show up immediately as soon as you start to dance. And your partner is going to feel it, and see it, and know it instantly.
There is no hiding in Tango, there’s no going around. There is no way out. There is only going through what you have to go through to learn what you have to learn.
Tango is not about sex and seduction – though sex and seduction play their parts. Tango, in essence, is not sexual. Tango is human.
Human. Because tango is mostly about listening, about sticking with someone for as long as you can, as best you can, until the song ends.
Tango is about not sitting down, about staying on your feet, thinking on your feet. Tango is about waiting for the next song to begin. Tango is about never stopping. Never quitting. It’s about never wanting to leave.
Stated succinctly, Tango is about commitment, about committing.
Tango is not about what you think it is about, except for one thing. Tango is about love. Not romantic, mushy, sentimental love. Tango is about unromantic love, about clear love. Tango is the unsentimental practice of love.
Yes, Tango is about love. But, as it turns out, love is something other than we were led to believe. Tango leads those who can follow, to the truth.
Tango is the dance of truth.
Bruce Fertman – firstname.lastname@example.org