What do we want from tango?
The same thing we want from all of our encounters. The most precious gift that we can give and receive:
We are social creatures.
We grow in understanding of and appreciation for who we are through the experience of being mirrored by others, where our reality is reflected back to us in the face of another. We want confirmation that we are not alone, that we are understood, that we belong.
Typically as adults we think of communication primarily if not exclusively, as verbal. But modern neurological research shows us that communicating through language is of less importance and lasting significance than many more primal and foundational forms of nonverbal communication. Body cues, inflections, rhythm and timing, facial expressions, and physical contact communicate much more than words.
Is there anything more infectious than excitement around a newborn baby? We touch, we cradle, we make funny noises and faces, we smile, anything to engage and indicate our delight with the child. There is the instinctual rhythmic rocking response that kicks in when we pick the child up and then immediately, ever adult around also starts rocking in rhythm!
This is not time-wasting idleness. The child internalises from our behaviour a sense of personal worth and well-being that is stored in the body and sustains it throughout life. And as part of the exchange, we invigorate and satisfy our primal need and desire for touch, rocking, hugging and just some light-hearted fun.
Is this your dance experience?
It could be - or should be. We are a connection-starved society. Loneliness is a bigger health problem than obesity. We need to be rocked, to be touched with gentleness and respect, to be affirmed, to be mirrored. We need to be appreciated as creatures of sensitivity and refinement, precious beyond measure.
This is the gift of Tango.
The structure and the technical intricacies are the ideal medium for precision mirroring. We listen with deep attention to the minute details of our partner’s body positioning, places of tension and resistance, skill level and responsiveness to a lead. And our partner attends to our body positioning and energy with equal precision. In our attuned state of awareness, we enter into the most intimate and nourishing experience of finding ourselves mirrored in another.