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Why tango is such a good metaphor for life

Posted by [email protected] on July 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Article written by Veronica Toumanova for Delhi Milonga blog.


In my years of tango I have heard many people mention how useful tango is for them as a metaphor for other things in life. Tango seems to be a rich source for personal growth, if one is willing to go in that direction ­ and sometimes even if one is not willing. In tango you can both stay on the surface of things, taking it as a fun physical activity that you do now and then, or you can dive into it as deeply as you want. Basically, there is no limit to how deep you can go in terms of discovering things about yourself and life in general through tango. No matter your questions, it will provide answers sooner or later. The fascinating thing about tango is that it is at once a social couple dance you do in your spare time and an excellent way to Know Thyself.


Tango is not the only activity that inspires personal development but there are aspects that make tango special. As an activity tango encompasses three of our most basic needs: movement, touch and connection to another human being. It is difficult to say which of those is more go to mankind. Science shows that people all over the world react with the same emotions to the same musical patterns. Music is capable of uniting us strongly with others, moved in the same way.


This combination makes tango not just something you do but a world that you enter. This tango world has its own rules, although in reality they are merely guidelines that work in a social context. If you don’t care about the rules you can still have a good time with others who don’t care about the rules either. Tango invites you to look for things that bring you joy and to develop important to us, but as humans we literally cannot live without either of them. Besides, tan wraps this all up in beautiful music, possibly the most universal and unifying art known your own preferences. It also functions as a filter, bringing together people that share comm characteristics. This makes tango a world we can trust, where we feel that we belong, yet ar completely free to follow our own path. This way a social dance becomes a miniature of life general, its knowledge applicable to other domains.


Another reason why tango is a such a good metaphor for life is because it is about improvising ar together. Tango is a system of movements with a certain logic, building blocks and gramm rules, like a language, very rich in expression. The connection in the couple is of primary importance and the truly significant things happen inside the couple, they are felt rather than be more “simple” than just walking together embracing each other? Yet in my classes I see every day that this is the most difficult thing to learn. an seen. It is a dance that on the outside may seem simple, yet in depth is quite complex. What can be more “simple” than just walking together embracing each other? Yet in my classes I see every day that this is the most difficult thing to learn.


Fully connecting to another person while improvising together often feels like a meditation. It requires you to focus completely on what is happening with you and around you, which is what most meditation techniques are about. This is why after a particularly connected and enjoyable go cortinas were not used in Europe and couples would go on dancing seven to ten tandas with tanda you feel refreshed, happy, almost reborn. I remember how in my first years in tango cortinas were not used in Europe and couples would go on dancing seven to ten tandas with each other, until the world around them simply disappeared. I recall how after such dances I would go to a corner and sit there quietly alone for some moments, feeling like a cup filled to the brim with the fullness of my experience, not wanting to spill it just yet.


Tango, like a conversation, is in the first place about spontaneous expression. Improvising means controlling the controllable yet fully allowing the unexpected and the uncontrollable. It is like going down a river on a boat, flowing with the current in some moments and steering and rowing in others. In tango you never know what is going to happen, yet you still feel in control most of the time, paradoxically, and you trust this current to bring you somewhere good. Tango shows us how to live in the moment gracefully, fearlessly, curiously and with joy, and intuitively we understand that this is how we would like to live our life, always.

Categories: Tango