Milena Plebs is one of the foremost performers of Tango from “Tango Argentino” in the late ’80’s to the wonderful “Tango x 2” shows with Miguel Zotto through the ’90’s. Like many great performers, she understands the difference between performance, demonstration and social dancing. This is her messsge to Tango dancers and teachers around the world , published in the El Tangauta Tango magazine.
“The success and popularity of tango dancing today lies in the actual experience of the dance. Through an embrace we can get to know and relate with others. It is not the spoken word that is important but the body language and the embrace to the beat of the tango”.
(Note: I use “dance floor” and “floor” in this translation. The Spanish “pista” (track) in the original has more context in that it includes the floor and the circulation or “ronda”). How can people who learn to dance tango understand that, fundamentally, it is a social dance that is danced with another person and with all the other couples on the dance floor?
How to make them understand that on the dance floor? -
• the "steps" do not matter? • that the people at the tables watching do not matter; • that harmony, musicality, and connection with your partner and the environment are important; • that there is something ritual that we are participating in with all the dancers circulating on the floor; • that it is good to be a drop of water in the tanguera tide; • that it is something that happens inside the two people intertwined in the embrace, something of understanding and affection; • that tango "acrobatics" is not good on the dance floor; • that you have full awareness and control of your role; • that it is good to work on your personal style and, at the same time, preserve the foundations; • that you can make an interesting dance and at the same time follow the crowd; • As yoga says, it is advisable to have one eye facing in and another looking out.
Yes, it matters that you study a lot! That you practice a lot! Be aware of your level and do not take yourself on the dance floor if you cannot flow into it with others! (Ed: or at least go to the centre). Teachers, please! Do not teach just steps ... !! Also convey how to use these steps to serve the experience danced on the floor. And that respect for the environment and coexistence in it is paramount. That the dance of the milonga is done between all! And that is precisely the success of this or that milonga!