Tango in the time of Coronavirus

Tango, like any form of art, is not always about happiness. It is about sadness too, emotions and unfulfilled desires. That is not to say it can’t be fun and it doesn’t mean you have to suffer but if we look past the technical aspect of the dance, there is always a form of reflection, something more profound.

It’s ok to take a break

Sometimes we can threaten and kill what we love the most by forcing it to be what it is not, purely to fit circumstances, letting it be eaten by the ‘machine’ that surrounds us all. Like some kind of globalisation, through the online world, that would paint everything the same colour. Who will scratch the surface to see different colours or shades?

We don’t always have to achieve and succeed. A break, even from something that is the main ingredient and love in your life, can be good. To take time to appreciate the other aspects of our lives that Tango rarely gives us time to indulge in. We haven’t felt the need to push and force our Tango into a difference space at this time.

Why we are not running our classes online

Many of you who know us, know that we always say ‘Tango is not just a dance”. Because, from a profound philosophical perspective, Tango is a culture and almost not a dance. This may seem an unusual thing to say for some of you and it is complex for us to explain this fully. Also it is not necessary for people to agree with us or us with other people, but as we are teachers and in normal times we run regular classes, we feel we must put our perspective out there.

The world of Tango is a culture. It contains poetry, music, characters, stories, history, social etiquettes developed and changed over time….To dance Tango is one element of what is Tango and this part is about people being physically together, two people reading subtle communications between their bodies and also of the precious collective ritual of the wider group of couples/people in the class or Milonga. It is physical, it involves close contact. It is live and real and this is what creates the magic. The way we teach is about interaction and response to what happens in front of us. This cannot be done alone and, for us, not online. It is why we are not transferring our classes online.

We don’t want to see our Tango going this way as it becomes part of a greater ‘marketing machine’ that could eat Tango.

Marketing has obviously become essential and unavoidable and we are a part of this. The online world is an amazing resource of information, music, history, lyrics and videos which add to our learning about the culture and world of Tango. Ultimately though, Tango is live and physical and we are trying to remain true to what we feel. Sometimes you have to pay a high price for what you love.

To continue and to force something that doesn’t feel authentic is not always to help it flourish and we each have to follow what is right for us.

This does not mean that we are against online videos or that we will not post any videos online, we just wont run regular classes online. We always share videos of our performances or demos. Additionally there is clearly a very technical aspect to learning Tango and there are many useful exercises that can be done via online mediums during this time that will help when classes are resumed. If we do post any videos over the next month, they will focus solely on these aspects that are for individuals.

Hope you are all keeping sane and finding your own ways to keep your Tango alive.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez PredieriElizabeth Knock

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