The Essence of Tango
All the things that I shall say are thoughts of a long time, many years of experience in all the milongas I knew in 60 years of dancing.
There is nothing to keep in your minds, just read and feel it, as a way to develop your life, when you dance in a close embrace.
The body doesn’t think, the body feels the music as a way to move it and walk, and if we put attention to what our body is feeling, we shall see we are moving. We only need to walk with elegance, transmitting to our partner in a close embrace the energy of our feeling through the chest (or our fourth chakra), putting strength in our first step to walk. Only if you do it in this way can you transmit…do it! Improving each step and you will have the cadence of your own style.
You see we, the old milongueros, like something special, and we are all special while we dance our own style. That means feeling in our own way with rhythm, cadence, embrace and rocking our body. When we have this and can transmit it, then we are milongueros.
Nobody can teach you to feel, but some of us can teach you to hear the music, how to cadence with it, and the rest will come on its own. We can tell you how your weight works in each step, how to turn, to do a corrida or how to walk with elegance, but only if your body feels the music. If it isn’t this way, you can learn a hundred different steps or figures and you will never be a milonguero who improvises each step with feeling.
Remember that there is not an academy, institution or university that can produce a master, a professor, or a teacher. Unless you can prove it against the best at the milongas, salons, and places where tango is, only the people will give you the title of maestro.
Nobody is the owner of a step, but you are the owner of your feeling . . . that, no one can copy. I am not saying that technique is not necessary, but only after you have danced in a salon, not before, because there is no technique to learn feeling, and the inspiration for this is the music and a woman.
We, the old milongueros, ask this of all the young people around the world who are coming to tango — don’t forget the essence, the codes, the friendship, without envy and try always to give all of yourself, because the only thing that will stay when we are no longer here is what we have taught and given with our heart . . . Tango.
Published December 2004 (Issue 45) in El Once Tango News (London) and republished here with the permission of Paul Lange and Michiko Okazaki, Joint Editors