I remember my teacher sometimes when he was watching us dancing before class and then commenting on all the wrong things we did technically when we were dancing. He sometimes seemed like he had an obsession with technique… and in some cases, I was thinking… well what’s the problem if you don’t do a perfect pivot or a perfect giro or you slightly mess up your lines, if, in the end, the result is that we did what we wanted… we danced… we had fun… we enjoyed the tanda or the song.
Being in the embrace and in the music is like being in a different world… where issues like slightly wrong technique, losing your balance for a moment, etc. can be hardly noticed or… even when they are… they are probably not enough to spoil your happy end result.
We often like to say that tango is like a new language and dancing with a partner is like having a conversation with them. Given that analogy, the technique is like our accent, grammar, and syntax. Noone of us is a native tango speaker… so it’s obviously natural to make mistakes when we speak… in our pronunciation, grammar, or syntax. Some of us even do such mistakes in our mother language. So when you have a conversation… let’s say with someone who is at a lower level than you in the common language you are using… what makes you happy? Being able to communicate, exchange ideas, tell stories… or being able to constantly correct them every 3 words they say?
Well, I guess for the lower level speaker having a person that focuses on communicating instead of correcting is far more enjoyable. How important is it for you this accent… these mistakes?
I am not trying to say that technique is useless. As I said… it is the grammar, the syntax, and the accent of our speaking… fundamental building blocks… they do help us to express ourselves better, clearer, and more correct. Of course, you will enjoy more a conversation with a person that speaks better… but how much of a deal-breaker is this in the way of having fun? So… for example….when you go to a milonga… a marathon… etc., would you rather focus on the mistakes your partners do and spoil your mood or focus on the conversations you can have and enjoy them regardless of their mistakes?
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango asks the same kind of question for a different kind of problem of course… “What does it matter?”