"Why Do You Dance Tango?"

Mark is answering an interesting series of questions, the first of which is “Why do you dance tango?” I gave a short answer in his comments, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it …

First and foremost, I dance tango for the dance itself. I have danced all my life, and I am never entirely happy if dance is not part of my life. When I discovered tango, I found a dance that I connect with better than any other dance I have done. When I dance it, I drop out of time – I am completely focused on the here and now. I find a Zen-like, meditative state in which I feel fully connected to myself, my partner, everyone and everything around me, all in the present moment. It is awesome.

Beyond that feeling I get as I dance, I also enjoy the intricacies of the dance. I enjoy the movement as a sort of structured improvisation, the complex music and resulting musicality in the dancing (which I will write about more when I am free to browse youtube for videos!), the emphasis on constantly improving the fundamentals like walking and the embrace, the dynamic possibilities … It is all enjoyable, and it is a dance that seems to give endlessly.

But moving beyond the dance itself, I also dance tango for the community. Yes, there is gossip and the occasional drama and infighting and everything else that comes with a small, tight-knit community. On the other hand, there is warmth and support and closeness. When I was a child, I grew up in a United Methodist church. All of the adults knew me – to the point of feeling like I still have some surrogate aunts, uncles and grandparents in that community – and I played with all of the other children. But as I got older and moved away, I never found a church community like that. I never found a community like that anywhere, a group of people who came together for a cause and ended up like family. At least not a family that I felt comfortable in. Never, that is, until I started dancing tango. While many of these friendships are still growing, they are very real and very warm and all come together to create an amazing community.

So I dance. I use this beautiful dance as a reason to come to the milongas, the practicas, the workshops. I learn and fulfill myself through the movement. And then I sit back and enjoy my time with the beautiful people I have met and continue to meet because of tango.

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