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In tango, music shapes your journey., 10/17/2023

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

In tango, music shapes your journey.

Creating the documentary "Tango Your Life" gave me the privilege of hearing from seasoned dancers. Insights from those with 60, 70, and even 80 years of dance experience linger with you, often for a lifetime.

A notable figure in the film was Roberto Serraga. When I interviewed him in 2009, he was 89 years old and mentioned starting to dance at the age of 13. Beyond his tales of dance, his warm personality and humor were infectious throughout our conversation.

When he remarked, “The thing I cherished most about dancing was the embrace, the feeling of holding a woman close,” his cheeky smile had us laughing so much that we paused the interview to regain our composure.

Yet, when the topic turned to music, his demeanor shifted. He emphasized, “To truly dance tango, one needs a musical ear. If you do not follow the music, your future in tango does not look so good.”

What did he imply?

In my review of professional tango performances on YouTube, I was astonished to see how many dancers appeared out of sync with the music. Their movements often seemed either too hurried or too slow, lacking a clear connection to the rhythm.

Recently, a fellow dancer shared, “I want to connect with the music, but traditional tango doesn't resonate with me. It isn’t part of my cultural background.”

Reflecting on this sentiment about tango music, I believe music possesses the power to bridge cultural divides. Tango, in particular, has a natural charm that touches our souls if we are open to it.

True, there are tunes that instantly captivate us, like the Beatles' "Yesterday", Beethoven's 9th Symphony, or Gerardo Matos Rodríguez’s "La Cumparsita".

Yet, appreciating unfamiliar tunes requires time. To genuinely connect with the essence of tango music, one needs to dive deep into it, move to its beat, and ideally, streamline the dance to emphasize the rhythm.

I'd like to conclude with words from Pedro Sanchez: "Dancing tango is akin to learning to walk. First, sync with the music and feel it. Emotions grow over time, as you walk and listen. Let the music flow through you."

I eagerly await your thoughts and reflections on this topic.

Warmly, Chan

Source: "Tango is music.” from the documentary "Tango Your Life" by Chan Park.

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