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Tango Dance Philosophy, Not Destroying Liberty

How can you dance by doing nothing? In this movie with great dance choreographies, it wasn’t a dance scene that touched me. It was a dialogue scene. In this post, I will explain the thought in this dialogue that forms the foundations of my Argentine Tango Dance philosophy as an instructor.

Hello everyone,

I’m Oguzhan. I started dancing tango in about 2005 and attending classes as an assistant teacher shortly after this year. There have been many dancers that impressed me during this period. One of them was without a doubt, Pablo Veron. Maybe those who hear this name now may not even know who it is. For most tango dancers in those years, Pabo Veron was a star.

Argentine Tango Philosophy

Pablo Veron started to study dance in his childhood and in the following years his path crossed with tango. He was a great tango dancer and has done great things with tango. He starred in The Tango Lessons, directed by Sally Potter. In this film, other famous tango dancers and great choreographies that won everyone’s appreciation appeared before the audience. They were really great. There was a scene in this movie that caused lightning flashes in my brain. But this scene was not a dance scene. This was a conversation between Sally and Pablo after a tango dance performance. Pablo was unsatisfied, and Sally felt unsuccessful and lonely.

The Tango Lesson

What Did They Talk After the Tango Performance?

Pablo told Sally backstage after the performance:  Nothing! You should do nothing when you dance. Just Follow. Follow! Otherwise, you block my freedom to move. You destroy my liberty. And then I can not dance. I can do nothing

Pablo & Sally

Sally replied:  And you Pablo. You danced like I wasn’t there Like a soloist. It was a meeting with a stranger on the stage. I couldn’t find you anymore. You weren’t with me. You out there. With them.

This dialogue contains two very important ideas in two aspects. One is from Tanguero’s point of view and the other is from a Tanguera’s point of view. First, it answers the question of how should a woman act while tango dancing. Second, it draws a boundary that can prevent a man’s role in the tango dance from going astray.

How should the woman build the follower philosophy in Argentine Tango?

Pablo Veron refers to the inner story of tango while explaining what the woman acting as a tango follower should do. Therefore, I prefer to take indirect ways to describe the woman as a follower. For this, I do many exercises in my Tango lessons. One of these exercises is a doll game. This game is a really nice exercise that explains how women can follow a man without doing anything.

Pablo & Sally

The Alive Doll

The doll in this exercise is not a lifeless doll. On the contrary, it is a wind-up toy with a movement. Imagine that this doll has an energy that is constantly flowing towards the man. And that he has no initiative. However, it has no desire to resist the effects on it. If you direct it with a higher force than the energy of motion it has, of course, it will have nothing to do but respond to you with magnificent harmony. If the Toy starts to think things and apply what he thinks, then it takes away all the freedom of leading from the man. On the contrary, if this doll turns into a still toy, this time the man has to stop dancing freely and carry the woman with excessive effort. This is what Pablo said you should follow me without doing nothing So, it’s not a really to do nothing.

Next week, I will tell you how the role of men in tango dance should be set up based on what Sally said.

What are your thoughts on this movie and this scene? Please leave a comment about this post if you disagree. I hope you will benefit from this post from tango beginners to longtime tango dancers. If you want people you know to benefit from this post, you can share it with them.

Oguzhan.