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From an article that appeared in All About Town:

Dancing is my passion and I love it all, however, I must admit Argentine Tango, the original, is where my devotion lies. Tango by its own nature allows a personal interpretation of the music, an interpretation that becomes an expression of the individual's personality in his or her way of dancing. Creating beautiful movement, relying on unspoken communication between partners, awareness of body and mind connection, sensitivity to touch and your partner's signals, waiting for the lead and follow…it all creates a dynamic interaction that cannot compare to any other dance.

Improvising is the key. Because you don't memorize choregraphed steps it teaches you to be in the moment, listen closely to the music and connect with your partner in some sort of spiritual sense. Your heightened sensitivity opens a world that the majority never experience or are even aware of its existence. And let's face it, we're social animals and even though initially we may be afraid of it, we want that connection. If you study with a true Argentine Tango instructor, you will be taught fundamental figures, options and ideas and once you understand these basics, encouraged to change those ideas to fit your interpretation of the music. Right and wrong no longer exist. It has been said 'there are no mistakes in Tango, only in life'.

Argentine Tango can be danced to any style of music. I appreciate authentic Tango music but I also enjoy dancing Tango to Jazz, Blues, and Pop. You'll use your new improvisational skills to interpret the many different musical instruments in many different ways.

In our indigenous culture men are afraid of appearing feminine or incompetent. "Real" men don't dance. Nothing is further from the truth. The reality is that men who can dance have greater access to women than most of the men who don't dance." In other cultures, men realize this and consider dancing macho. By learning how to dance and communicate with someone on another level you place yourself in a whole new realm of awareness. You just might begin to understand the female gender!

For women, the term 'to follow' can have a negative connotation. For years we've fought for independence so the idea of following tends to insinuate regression. But it can be incredibly satisfying to follow a good leader and then while leaving the dance floor as you return to your independent self, you'll realize what a wonderful experience 3 minutes can bring. And anyway whose to say you can't change roles once in a while. Role playing can be fun especially when you're good at it.

On the other hand, if most men knew how much control we let them have on the dance floor, they would be flocking to dance class. Usually the comments are 'if I had known this was going to be so much fun, I would have done this years ago'. Tango has the tendency to draw the intellectual man, some call it the thinking dance, and there are even times when the number of men exceed the number of women in classes. When this happens I want to call every woman I've ever been acquainted with and say 'you're not going to be believe this and come quickly!'

I like to think of Tango as a metaphor for life. It demands we pay attention, to be ready for whatever comes next for if we become distracted we miss that important moment that can never be regained. Your input determines your outcome and your reward is the experience of a lifetime.


elayne@elaynesdance.com