I have been learning to dance for the better part of my life. And I do mean better. Over the years I have come to understand how and why I dance and what happens when I don’t (hint: not hugs or puppies). One thing that each of the dances I’ve learned over the years have had in common is that they are solo acts. By this I mean that my dance space is my own. Which is not to say that they can’t be danced with other people. They can, but in the way that mimics the ‘everybody dies alone’ kind of way. You see?
The argentine tango is the only dance I have every wanted to learn that requires another person to be allowed into my space. And as always, the reason I’ve wanted to learn it is that I love the music. If you’ve heard the music you’ll understand when I say that it requires it be a dance between two people. Because the dancing is not contained in the body of the dancer but in the gap between them. So I guess everybody still dies alone… just the fact that often it’s with someone else there is what this dance highlights.
An unfortunate by-product of the international revival of the argentine tango is the links that have been created between the dance and slink. I like slink quite a lot, but it’s a relatively small part of what makes the tango incredible. At it’s heart it’s still the dance of immigrants; a movement that follows the music that has followed the people. If you strip away the glamour and the slink and the rise and fall from nationalism it’s what’s left. A bit like this:
and a lot like anything else.