Stepping out of your comfort zone

That’s what we do when we decide to learn tango, whether we knew that fact or not.  It’s true.

Getting close to a stranger of the opposite sex is the first step outside your comfort zone, unless you are someone who gives hugs to everyone.  It’s a step worth taking, and the only way you’ll discover the intimacy and feeling of tango.  It is difficult at first, but once you get used to it, your comfort zone will expand.

Tango offers a social setting in which we step out of our comfort zone by meeting new people.  We’re not introduced or engaged in conversation.  We get to know them through the embrace.  The conversation is a silent communication with our hearts.  We can feel who they are without any words.  It’s the music that allows for us to communicate to each other.

Tango was born in Buenos Aires.  It’s a foreign culture to most people who are learning and dancing tango in the world.  Taking classes with Argentine tango teachers in Europe doesn’t mean you’re getting the tango of Buenos Aires as they danced here in the golden age during the 1940s.

Immersion in the culture of tango in Buenos Aires is the best way to understand what tango means to the milongueros and how it is so much a part of daily life.  A visit to the city milongas is essential to knowing tango.  It’s another step out of your comfort zone in a new city with a different language, where there is respect for the unwritten milonga codes.  There is no milonga anywhere in the world like those in Buenos Aires.

The weekend encuentros that are popular abroad bring dancers together for tango.  Those events try to imitate the tango culture of Buenos Aires, but they lack the most important thing that makes the milongas what they are in Buenos Aires — the milongueros.  These men learned tango as teenagers, know the orquestas and singers, and the lyrics that have meaning to them.  Life is the milonga for them.  They are married to the tango.

Many foreigners come annually to immerse themselves in the culture of tango and for the milonguero embrace.  Buenos Aires is their comfort zone.



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