Tango my Life, April 17, 2023
A few days ago, I shared my thoughts on Facebook about a discussion I had with a fellow tango dancer regarding the differences between dancing tango in Buenos Aires and other parts of the world.
Marta Klopman, one of my tango friends, chimed in and shared her opinion, which hit me hard. She said, “Those of us who were raised listening to tangos and watching our elders dance it carry it in our soul, in our veins. Making steps on a dance floor is not dancing tango. You have to vibrate, feel the emotion of each orchestra and the embrace between two people who enjoy the same thing. Teachers often teach steps which is not the same as transmitting emotions. Welcome to this world.”
Her words have lingered in my mind ever since. Marta's opinion rings so true that it has touched my soul. Tango is different in other countries, and the emotional depth of the dance can be lost when it becomes a mere sequence of steps.
When I dance to my favorite songs, I don't just hear the music, I become part of it. I sing or hum along. When I dance in Buenos Aires, my partner often joins in, adding their own harmonies to the melody or even singing the lyrics. It's an indescribable feeling to be so in tune with the music and with each other. The emotions are so powerful that it's impossible not to be moved. It's one of the reasons why dancing tango in Buenos Aires is so special, and why it's so different from anywhere else in the world.
The music is more than just a background to the dance; it's an integral part of the experience. Dancing tango in Buenos Aires is not just about the steps, it's about connecting with the music and with your partner, and creating something beautiful together.
Unfortunately, I found out that this depth of feeling is not always shared in other parts of the world. I recall a time when I was dancing tango in Europe, and my partner was offended by my singing along to the music. She asked me whether I was singing to remind her to listen to the music. It was clear that the culture and understanding of tango differed between Buenos Aires and Europe.
Marta’s quote reminds us that tango is more than just a dance. It is a cultural heritage that is intertwined with our souls. It is up to us to keep the culture and emotion of tango alive, no matter where we are dancing. Tango is about the connection, the communication, and the emotions that we share with our partner and the music.