A Beautiful, Musical Dance with One of My Favorite Teachers

Here is a dance with Oscar Casas, one of my favorite teachers in Buenos Aires. His enthusiasm for tango and the clarity with which he is able to communicate technique (especially technique for “followers”) makes him a gem. Actually, I prefer Oscar’s way of talking about “leaders” and “followers” in tango. He calls “leaders” “generators” of energy, and “followers” “processors” of that energy. That is a much more accurate description. The traditional female role in tango does not just follow, she (or he, as often as not in the Bay Area) interprets the invitation offered by the lead and processes it as something beautiful with her own unique movement. Processor may sound technical but it is a lot better than follower in my book!

This dance with Oscar came at the end of a private lesson after my first month in Buenos Aires and after four months of tango study total (in Colombia, a bit in the U.S. and then in Argentina). Now I have been studying tango for six months.

I don’t know if I could possibly be more passionate about tango. It is a weird thing for me, this sudden love that has seized me. I have to set limits with myself to not do tango every night on the theory that I love it less when I do it all the time.

Tango is absolutely hypnotic and so much more than a dance. It is a highly charged, theatrical and structured culture and a new way of connecting with myself and others. I think that the beauty of tango for me is that it demands discipline to learn a technique to create a beautiful connection with others. The more I study, the more beautiful the connection becomes. Tango also teaches me to set boundaries, how to say no. The dance is intimate, and we cannot allow everything in–especially not unwelcome feedback or other bad behavior from partners. So I am learning from tango on many levels and enjoying an entirely new ride in my life.

Much more to come and to say. I’ve been feeling so much with tango, and just stepping closer, slowly, to writing about it. To fill the gaps before my own deluge of writing and other documentary work, here is a documentary trailer by “zen tango” teacher Chan Park that attempts to answer the question, What is tango and why do I feel so strongly about it?

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