Listen to all the great dancers; they all say:
"Dancing Tango is Dancing a Feeling"
Gavito was quoted as saying, "You can't teach feeling"
Many "teachers" quote it, but by observation, they are still "in their head", while they continue to teach figures and sequences. Dancing in sequences is like conversing from a phrase book. it will never be a conversation.
Raul Cabral, my Buenos Aires Facebook mate, posts:
Someone once said to me:
"Now I want to learn to feel the tango" "You have to teach me"
Tango is "sentiemento", fundamentally. [Ed: the word "sentiemento" is one of those difficult to translate words because it carries so much more meaning than "sentiment" or "feeling".; the English 'sentimental" has quite a different meaniing]. It is not sad, as the phrase [Ed: Tango is dancing a sad thought], attributable to Discipolo, is one of his greatest myths. The sad thing is the popularity of the phrase that the great author / composer never said.
We can, however, assert the cluster of feelings that constitutes Tango music, some joyful, others nostalgic, others evocative, still others romantic, others ultimately about heartbreak or loss (even through gambling - "Por Una Cabeza"). The Tango is so broad and extensive, that you will surely find some songs that connect to a time in your life.
We admit that, whilst many have may not yet discovered tapping into the feeling, they are
likely to be amazed and captivated, by others of tango's many attractions.
Getting into people's feelings is something that is far from my intentions because it's impossible.
Imagine then, what a difficult task for teachers.
It's worth clarifying, the task of "teaching to feel the tango", is possible, but it takes time, explanation and patience, long after the basic technique is mastered.
Those who leave their students alone on the way to the feeling of Tango simply value the choreographic plan of tango in their pedagogies It's not bad, and it is the most popular way to teach dancing; But then it happens that entire communities, or many dancers, fail to express the feelings. They don't know the connection, to transmit or listen to the body languages of their partners. They don't feel the communication. Then they make steps or figures one after another, without even taking a pause, without feeling. So they lose [Ed:or never find] the wonderful sensations of Tango. I understand their dissatisfaction, because what they feel is that something is missing.
Before describing some techniques, I'm going to invite you to reflect on something that encompasses many of the difficulties of "feeling the tango." It's about speed, to which we are socially subjected, and the tango doesn't escape it. “Do it all fast” instead of “Do it right”.
I sincerely believe that the basic needs of human beings never change: to be valued, to be taken into consideration with kindness, affection, affection, perhaps a little love.
But in this modern "fast food" world of only get along, we are not taking time to understand or develop human relationships. The "sentimental" tango is therefore of great help to achieve the much needed balance in our lives, because it invites us to take time to connect and communicate in a two-way non-verbal conversation.
I wonder at the same time, who can feel a person dancing only to a compass [rhythm], or the other extreme, very accelerated, both without breaks, or changes of dynamics, or without hearing what the Tango says, and I do not speak language, but understand it emotionally; listen beyond the rhythm.
It’s quite likely that some of the reasons for tango’s success in the dance world, or what makes it so different, is that it possesses infinite melodies. [ED: In fact, the separation of basic and melodic rhythm is the single feature that distinguishes Tango (Ref Joaquin Amenabar)] No doubt, who dances the rhythm of the melody is closer to the feeling of the Tango.
Dancing with the whole body.
The body carries the legs - not legs that carry the body
Strong core, soft arms and legs
Stops and Pauses - difference. [ED: Gavito said a pause is a stop, but you have to keep the engine running]
Acceleration double and single time division and/or compass.
Suspend, joining compasses, to follow a moment of melody.
Learn to listen to the music, try to identify the moments when the melodic rhythm prevails over the rhythm.
Emphasise a solo instrument.
Follow the singer.
It's not the steps or choreographic figures that will make them feel the tango. Dancers need to learn what I previously described, and listen to a lot, a lot of music. [Ed: But it is not necessary to memorise songs, just understand the structure, and listen intently].
I try in these essays to convey these concepts, when each of them requires more time, for explanation and understanding. I hope that, at least the simple mention of these concepts, can open their minds and hearts, it is always and will be possible to achieve some goals, there are so many options, which will certainly achieve, as in all orders, some more, or much less.
It is hard to drill down into these concepts if your teacher's pedagogy is choreography. However, the simple maxim that all great dancers espouse is "less is more". Many times it is quoted, " The more you know, the less you want to do"
Like any activity you decide to start and/or practice in life, a lot will depend on the intention with which you commit to it. But know that "tango is sentimental" and among some of its benefits, if they manage to understand it, will fill their lives with passion.
It's obviously not an easy task for anyone, instructors, students. Nor is it true that immediately you will dance Tango better; but I'm sure, if you look for other objectives in the Tango, hopefully soon these sensations will be of you, and lead you to: "Discover your Tango" and "Discover your feelings".