Professional musicians, or anyone practicing a piece of music, may sometimes have to listen with a detached, critical ear to ensure that all the minutiae of a performance are technically correct. But technical correctness alone is not enough; once this is achieved, emotion must return, or one may be left with nothing beyond an arid virtuosity. It is always a balance, a coming together, that is needed.
– Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
How true this is for tango, as well! I think it sums up my take on all of the recent discussion about technique/practice and social dancing. I have danced with the leaders who are technically wonderful but lack that passion, and the result is a dance that is smooth but dull, one that seems to skim over the music rather than dive into it. In the same way, I want to avoid being a robot-follower – someone who can follow with technical precision but never responds, never gives back with feeling. I want to be able to absorb all of that practice and return with emotion.