2009/03/14

Finding the balance - Tango vs. non-tango.

It's been about a month since I've gone out to dance recreationally. Leading up to the point when I decided to take a break was a steadily increasing unease with the social environment, a sort of restlessness with the expectations of being at a milonga as well as a fatigue from the energy that is generated by crowds. Not to mention a growing kind of boredom and/or outright dismissiveness of the bulk of dancing that I was seeing--much of it rote, of dubious technique, and disconnected in myriad senses of the word. Since that time I've gone back to catch up on some activities that I consider to be important but which had been seriously compromised from what was perhaps an overemphasis on tango during whatever free time I had. I'm finding myself taking to these old activities with relish, and that the call of tango is, for the time being at least, easily put aside. It is an apparent ease of abstinence which would be alien to so many I know in the community, who talk as if missing tango for a day or two completely discombobulates them. To be fair, I haven't completely excised tango from my life. I still dedicate three days a week on dance study and practice. The milonga scene, however, is something that I not only am feeling fine doing without, but to which I am actually feeling a pronounced aversion.

It's clear to me that I have yet to find the right balance between tango, which I would still consider my primary pursuit, and the non-tango, which is just as essential. Perhaps complicating the matter for me is the challenge of reconciling the social requirements of tango with the facets of my personality which are decidedly anti-social. As one who for the most part prefers solitude over company, I suppose the pursuit of tango is a strange fit. Or, perhaps it makes perfect sense. I recall a story Negracha told me about a silent milonguero who everyone respected but no one really knew. He would come to the milongas alone and sit alone, and every now and then he would send out a cabeceo and dance a tanda. But if the woman ever spoke or tried to compel him to, he would disengage and go back to his seat. Now, far be it from me to understand his intentions, but he strikes me as a very private man who didn't want to know or be known by anyone. The milonga setting afforded him the ability to make fleeting connections with no strings attached, and that gave him all the human contact he needed to get by. I can relate to that. But I also value the friendships I have in the community and the exchange of ideas which enhance my understanding of tango and my attunement to its ever-changing culture. Not to mention my passion for the art of tango, which--in addition to discipline and hard work--requires collaboration.

As I type this, I am considering heading to a milonga tonight. While the idea strikes me as unappealing and I can think of no one in particular with whom I'd like to dance right now, I'm also aware of how perspectives can change once you are in the environment. Kind of like resisting going to the gym but coming away from it refreshed and with the fulfilling sense of having had a great workout. Hm... I'll hit the shower and see where it leads me.

1 comment:

Limerick Tango said...

"Not to mention a growing kind of boredom and/or outright dismissiveness of the bulk of dancing that I was seeing--much of it rote, of dubious technique, and disconnected in myriad senses of the word."

Ever since I stopped worrying about other peoples dancing my enjoyment of my own dancing has increased immensely.

Be the tango you want to see in the world.