2016 – the year of the Music

This time last year I wrote that since I had almost been dancing for 2 years 2015 was going to be the year I stopped being frightened of amazing women.

Well that almost worked.

Now, fairly obviously, I have been learning Tango for almost 3 years. So what should I aspire to accomplish in 2016? On the one hand I can keep on trying not to be scared of amazing women – and that is totally appropriate. The more I try the more chance I will have of finally being able to relax and enjoy their skill.

Or at least breathe occasionally.

But recently I have been studying Tango music pretty hard, and working on musicality at every opportunity. This has become the focus of my lessons with Kirsty here in Brighton.

I am, to be honest, completely loving this. We only started a few weeks ago and the idea of dancing with an amazing woman for two hours does indeed terrify me. It is hard. So much more familiar to learn steps.

So much safer to be lost in that pupil role, and not have to make your own decisions, not to have to take any risks.

But I am now sure  that musicality has got to be the focus of my efforts in Tango for 2016. To study hundreds of songs across all the commonly danced orchestras. To work hard on Tango, Vals and Milonga, never ignoring any style.

We have a playlist of 6 sides for every weekly lesson. If I just continue that will be 300 songs I will have studied and danced to with a professional teacher and a beautiful, super scary dancer. That is 282 more than my experience so far.

When you attend classes to some extent the material is of course what the teacher wants to share with the group and you take what you can, absorbing it or rejecting it according to your current experience, where you are in your journey and the value you see in it.

But whatever material you are learning, whatever techniques, you can always think about them in the context of the music.

Increasing refinement and understanding of tango music will I hope add a huge level of enjoyment and pleasure to my learning experience.

And who knows – if I focus on the music maybe I won’t be so terrified of that amazing woman. I am a man after all – I can only think of one thing at once.

So do they

You are quiet.

You comply.

So do they.

Sometimes you scream – but absolutely no-one listens.

They hear – but they cover you with noise.

This is a judgement call they make.

They can’t let themselves hear you.

If they did they would have to wake up.

No-one wants to wake up to this.

So you still yourself. And in doing so you deny everything that matters.

Tango – the moment before the door shuts

Here in this very present moment you are privileged to be with this individual follower. She has accepted your invitation to hold her close and to create something through movement together to this emotionally consistent and tight tanda – just 10 minutes of one orchestra, one time slot – two singers. And her.

We have both blown our lives and now in this 10 minutes we get the chance to stitch everything back together again. To imagine our lives as it should have been, with the perfect woman and the perfect man. Being the person we always wanted to become, full of promise.

The conversations, the exploration. When I was younger. And now again to this music, with her. I always wanted to feel like I do now, in this moment – when one song dies away and we don’t even break our embrace – we stand in the stillness waiting for the orchestra – and in that intense vortex we become so aware of each other.


But Tango is always fundamentally unresolved.

It is about yearning, immigrants around the ports of Argentina were separated from their homelands. They were poor. They imagined and called out for life to be different – for cogs to turn again, for dice to be recast. They reached out for the door that was slowly closing.

And this is indeed where the conversation takes place. I invite, and you respond. And we are back there – each of us – when we still had a chance. Before the years of mistakes and compromises accumulated and the door finally closed.

chained door

And to me that is what tango is – revisiting the moment before the door finally shuts  – when everything was still possible.