Real Life and Tango

Tango is supportive, open ended and inspiring. It causes us to experience the joy of finding ourselves and simultaneously connecting with others in a safe structure – supported by a complex and wonderful musical world.

That has so much to commend it. It amazes me. Always.

But when people you love in the ‘real world’ treat you like shit and abandon you, in those rare moments when everything in your life just collapses in on itself – we should recognise tango for what  it is – a charade.

It is at all levels just an act.  A series of calls and responses that ripple back through history and reach into your life and heart with so much meaning precisely because of their foundation in a focussed,  intense intersection of music, place and time.

But you were not there.

You were not in those knife fights on the pampa. You were not in those music halls. You were not a lost immigrant calling back to his origins. So for you it is forever separated from your real life. It is a set of gestures – ultimately an incredibly well crafted, open ended artifact.

You are in the here and now – and those people in your life outside of your tango universe are actually alive.

So when real people fuck your life up don’t expect Tango to fix it.

Tango is an act. Real people have blood. They might be clumsy – but they are so alive in a way that tango dancers always divorce themselves from – precisely because we need a safe environment to explore so many things about ourselves, our emotions, the music  and our dance partners.

Don’t get lost in this brilliantly crafted fiction. It is all too easy. The real word is what counts.


4 thoughts on “Real Life and Tango”

  1. I don’t really believe Tango is an act, maybe an act in itself. When I dance tango, the time, the movement, the music, the senses are all very real for me in that moment. I could also say that the rest of my life is an act and that tango could be the only time when I am truly, true to myself. This also poses for me another thought about the reality of everything in our lives. what is real and what is not. All seems to me to be a construct, constructs which we choose to take part in at given times in our life.

    I feel often that people who go to tango/ milongas are all searching for the same thing – the perfect partner, the perfect dance, the perfect embrace, THAT PERFECT, DIVINING MOMENT that will remind them of themselves and maybe some echoes of their past, so they take away somethng of their more whole self.

    This is a difficult one, Nicki, I echo your sentiments and have decided that now I go to a tango milonga, knowing why I am going and not letting any part of what makes me feel “less than” interfere with my love for the tango dance itself. Its an act!

  2. I think we are still real. Sometimes people treat us in the tango world as if we are not real and shit on us in the tango world. I think people should be more kind and ‘normal’ in the tango world. Sometimes I can talk to people, dance with them etc and then at the next milonga they don’t even say hello. It’s weird and I find it all quite stressful sometimes. And what’s worse I can get sucked into the same behaviour myself sometimes and have to pull myself up and take myself out of the tango world for the weekend and spend it with my non tango friends just to remind myself who I am!

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