I have a terrible habit of getting distracted by dance while I am at work. This morning, for example, I sat at my computer and pulled up my work email, the database I am working in, a couple relevant excel files … and about five tango-related blogs. I came into work thinking about how I didn’t go running this morning, which was prompting me to write about cross-training and the non-tango activities I do. But as I started reading the tango blogs, I was distracted …
There is tango, and then there is tango. I was reading this entry by Red Shoes over at Heartbreak Tango, which has me all wrapped up in what it means for me to dance a sensual, beautiful tango with someone – and how that relates to the seemingly endless drama of tango relationships. So here are a few thoughts that sprung up in my mind:
I enjoy many different kinds of dancing, which should not be a surprise given my background in different dance genres. But the kind of tango that sends you to a different realm, the kind that makes you close your eyes and melt and forget about anything beyond the music and you and your partner? Strangely enough, the leaders who send me to that realm are almost exclusively several decades older than me and married. They are the leaders who have daughters my age. And so I wonder – is a good dance more about feeling safe, cared for, embraced warmly, and led smoothly than it is about being sexual? Like Red Shoes, I just don’t think about sex or being sexy while I dance.
This isn’t, of course, to say that nothing about tango sends sparks for me. It just isn’t always the dancing itself. Last fall, I came home from a milonga and wrote an entire journal entry about how hand-holding is underrated. Keeping that connection somehow between songs, between tandas. I remember a leader keeping my hand at the end of a tanda as he took several steps over to where the DJ was standing on the dance floor, so that he could thank the DJ for a great set of songs while keeping our connection. While the dancing may be about many other things, the connection that it creates can build all kinds of great tension and creates sparks.
But from my own experience and from listening to others, I won’t mistake that connection for a good connection off the dance floor. I do have a tanguero boyfriend, and I love our dances together. But I can also get a smile on my face from watching him lead a follower who is clearly enjoying herself and their dancing. The only jealousy I get at this point is when we are dancing with other partners and a song comes up that I wish I could dance with him. And I recognize the many off-the-floor elements that led to our relationship and that keep it going. I only hope that I can continue both my dancing and our relationship without falling prey to the many possible dramas (the off-nights when we are dancing, the possibility of taking criticism of one’s technique personally, the nights when only one of us wants to go out, the desire to dance with other people, etc …). And because I doubt that this blog can manage to stay completely anonymous if people actually start reading it, I will resolve right now to avoid blurring the line between life on and off the dance floor when I write here – especially because of the complicated relationship between tango and the rest of one’s life.