What is musicality? Everyone seems to have a different idea of what it means to have musicality as a dancer. It could be dancing to the beat. It could be moving to the melody. It could be internalizing and expressing the mood of the song. According to Merriam Webster, musicality is fairly simple:


1. sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music

2. the quality or state of being musical

As we become more knowledgeable about and familiar with tango music, we are bound to become more sensitive to it. We will hone in on aspects of the music that interest us. We will become more comfortable expressing our understanding of the music in various ways.

When we dance, we choose how to embody the song’s mood, how to respond to changes in the musical phrasing, how and where to step according to the beat or the melody. When it comes down to it, I am very open to different kinds of musicality. I love feeling the differences in how my partners respond to the music. But I want to feel it. There is nothing more boring than a monotonous dance, a leader who seems to hear nothing in the music but a ticking metronome. Musicality is more than a beat; it is more sensitive than that. I look for leaders who open themselves up to the music, who pay attention to how I am hearing the music, and who share that musical experience with me.


2 thoughts on “Musicaliwhat?

  1. I think you hit upon the essence of musicality — also being aware of each other’s sense of the music. My compañera (the one who accompanies me in this path) has more than just a sense of the music, but perhaps even of the the music of the universe. Maybe her vision and fine-tuned intuition pulls me into new dimensions of musicality. Maybe the music so fully guides us both that our musical auras intertwine and take us both to a place that we may naively believe to because of the other, but it was really a higher sense. At the end of such a dance, she might say, “You are such a good lead.” But it really was her. When I tell her that, she discounts it. But it is true. It was not I, but perhaps her or us or the music… or most likely — it was all of these things.

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