How to Tango

This article continues a previous article.

1- Let Tango call you, seduce you, charm you, bewitch you.

“Tango you are an enchanter
of those who listen to your sounds.
Tango you attract hearts,
with your sweet songs
and your bandoneons.”

2- Tango is embodied. You can see it. It is that person or that couple dancing, which lets you know -intuitively, but nevertheless as undoubtedly real to you as objective empirical knowledge- what Tango is.
You want to Tango because you want to be different from yourself. You know that you have not fully expressed all your capabilities. You have been exhausting yourself in many cul de sacs of life, never reaching a sense of self-approval with your achievements, never being satisfied with the recognition you receive from others: your boss, your colleagues, your friends or family.
When you see Tango, you can see it, you get a strong sensation of knowing what you could be.
You realize that it is not anything on the surface. It is in the deepest knots of your web of existence that Tango has to be rooted.
You must learn Tango from whom presented it to you. You must ask to that person or that couple who made you become electrified, amazed you and made you feel that you must dance Tango, to teach you, or to recommend to you someone from whom you need to learn it. Tango is not a commodity. You cannot get Tango like gas from a gas station. You do not look for an advertisement for tango lessons and go to the one that is closest to your home, the most convenient or the cheapest.

3- Tango defies you, challenges you, faces you, shouts at you, demands from you, puts you through pain. Take it all. Be ready to feel uncomfortable, to have pointed out to you what you do not like about yourself and maybe always tried to ignore and hide. It will all float to the surface of Tango and you will need to deal with it face to face.

Let those who come to dance, dance;
listen, those who want to listen.
For all there is a rhythmic tango,
pretentious and indomitable
reigning in my city.
I sing, because I live the emotion
of the rhythmic and courageous tango.
I sing when someone shouts out
that there is a tango compadrito
looking for a heart.
For those who are saying
that the tango is sad, that it is dance and a song of the mud.
To make them keep quiet I will have them know:
My tango is a sad dance, but it is a song of rank.
To make them stop talking, I send it in two by four,
this masculine cadence that becomes a song.
If they are sensitive, you will see that it is not from the mud
the one who wraps his heart in tangos.

4- Be humble when finding out what you are good at already. Tango is multiple. We as humans have a common quality: we are open to possibilities. Being made of this same quality, Tango is the manifestation of human possibilities.

5- Pay meticulous attention. Listen! And above all: listen to the music. It is beautiful, and generously tells you how to dance.

6- Practice every day. Even a 5-minute break is good for practice. Every situation in life is a Tango lesson.

Minute 44:00, when Sally rings the bell and practices boleos.

7- This will be your goal: Dance your best before you die.

8- Do not look for excuses: That you are busy, that it is too late, too far away, too difficult, unnecessary, and impractical; that you have two left feet… Dance Tango!

9- Go to milongas, from the beginning. To go to milongas you only need basic social skills. Engage. You do not need to dance the first time that you go to a milonga, or the second, even the third. You will dance when the time comes, when it feels natural to you, and a very important part of being ready to dance at milongas is to feel “at home” at them.
Do not rush people into accepting you. Do not expect to be accepted and received like a customer in a shop, nor be ignored like an outsider that needs to prove something before being accepted. You are a new member of a family, like a person in a new relationship presented at a family gathering. You can’t pretend. You are going to belong to this family for a long time, ideally for your whole life. You must be natural because eventually, who you really are, will emerge. And if you don’t know who you really are, being at the milongas will make you find out.
Know that people that you find in the milongas will be related to you from now on. Act prudently. Do not mess around. Be responsible for your actions. Respect and behave in a way that makes you respectable.

10- Discipline is as essential as passion. Art is made of both. Our life has prospered thanks to both. Too much or too little of either of them, and we end up with no life and no art at all. This is precisely what defines what we are, as human beings.
Practice discipline and let your emotions come to you not only in the development of your dance, but also in your relationships at the milongas, and in your whole life. Tango will eventually boil over and define your entire life. You become a milonguera, a milonguero.

About me: I am a milonguero who enjoys sharing with you my passion and knowledge of Tango. I co-direct the Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.