I was browsing YouTube videos last night when I came across this one. It was uploaded although the person had doubts as to whether or not it was tango. It’s tango all right. And it is being danced by a milonguero–Luis Ferraris.
Tango has been marketed for years as a flashy performance dance that requires technical abilities that the average adult will never achieve. In that way, tango requires years of study. Dancers all want to look like their teachers which will never happen. Those who want to progress as social dancers are doomed from the start when they study with stage performers who teach choreography, sequences, and tricks not appropriate for the social floor. It is no wonder that milongas are hazardous.
Tango is simple, but it is not seen or accepted that way. What makes it seem complicated to so many is the richness of the music that is unfamiliar. Beginning to learn steps of tango without a love for the music is futile. The basis for dancing is knowing music first, then recognizing the orchestras and their distinct styles recorded in the 1930s and 40s. Tango is not old music, it is classic. Dancing tango to any other music doesn’t work–it is only convenient and an excuse not to understand tango. We dance tango when the music is tango (composed and arranged for dancing).
The video shows the simplicity of tango, that tango is an embrace and walking with the music. Tango is made complicated by those who teach it. It doesn’t take years of classes, only a few lessons. Ricardo Vidort gave his students eight lessons and sent them on their way to find their own tango. He didn’t want to clone versions of himself in years of classes. He knew that each person had to find their own tango and the music would help them do that. He gave them what they needed to begin their journey.