21 March 2010

We made our tango ours

So here I am, rendered temporarily miserable and tango incapacitated by arthritis (temporarily broken again).  Sitting here, wanting to dance... but can't, has caused me to play movies in my head about tango lessons learned from the passed. I am driven you expound on one particular lesson—Making your tango "Yours."


"...but you dance nothing like him!"
One of the (more experienced) tango people in Seattle danced with Mrs. Ampster a while back. In between songs and tandas, he asked from whom she learned to tango. Her answer "Sonny Newman." He then asked, where did I learn to dance tango. She said, "Sonny Newman."

Surprised, he commented that "You (Mrs. Ampster) dance nothing like him (Ampster)." And, "Neither of you look nothing like Sonny!" Mrs. Ampster told me that exchanged, and we both chuckled.

We thought that to be a compliment. Soon a fter we first started learning tango, he said that "You need to make your dance your own." Back then, it was mysterious and cryptic and the comment flew completely over our heads.

Knowing what we know now...
Back then, we simply lacked the experience (at the time) to understand what the lesson meant. Knowing what we know now, Mrs. Ampster and I pick up subtle nuances as we watch the floor. We can see clearly the differences between those with a "Unique tango identity," and the "Tango embodiments."
  •  Tango embodiments
    • They dance beautifully. Their tango becomes the embodiment of their teachers and tango heroes.
  • Unique Tango Identity
    • These are the people who have evolved their tango into something all their own. Not necessarily showy, nor flashy. 
Bizarre evolutionary paths...
I don't quite know how we got to where we did. Mrs. Ampster and I attended only a hand full of teachers over the years. Of all the lessons we took, we only remembered a few things. Despite the advanced things we learned and our attempts to emulate our teachers—who all had something good to share, we always reverted to basic techniques. It was fun, frustrating, confusing, aggravating and strange.

Somewhere during that evolutionary process, we developed a tango identity unique to each one of us. In the end, it worked for us. It (also) seems to work well with those who dance with... at least most of the time. That was the rewarding part of this journey.

1 comment:

Johanna said...

In what is possibly one of the most creative of the social dances, it always surprises me to see people copying the style of other people...