Tango as a team sport
Did you know that tango is a team sport? Yes… like football, basketball, or any other team sport. You can imagine that I might be talking about the couple as a team that needs to cooperate to achieve its goal. Finish a happy tanda.
However, there is another team. A bigger one consisting of the couples on the dance floor. All couples dancing on the floor cooperate and dance as a team in order to finish the tanda happily and safely sharing the same dance floor. That is why we always keep an eye on the distance from the couple in front… we keep an eye for incoming couples in the rhonda etc.
In a good milonga, you will see all players (couples) in the rhonda moving almost in sync. Of course, they don’t do the same movements but you can feel the increase and decrease of speed and energy when the music dictates it. You feel harmony… it’s like all people on the dance floor, are in a shared religious trance.
Now imagine that you dance in such a rhonda and instead of being in sync with everyone else you differentiate. There are 2 ways you can do that. Being ignorant or disrespectful to the rules of the rhonda is the first one. For example, passing over couples… changing lanes like you are in a race with the rest of the people… taking up a whole lot of space without considering neighbor couples… chatting for half a song blocking the rhonda, etc. But all of these can be corrected with experience and possibly some “advice” from the rest of the community.
The second kind of problem is being out of sync in terms of group dynamics. I notice this problem usually with quite experienced and technically perfect dancers. They are so focused and absorbed in doing so many complex things… showing off their skills… dancing like performing on the stage… that they forget that there are other people around trying to dance as well. These couples usually stand out from the crowd but looking at the rhonda as a team… how does this feel for the rest of the rhonda team?
If the people in the rhonda were a Tango orchestra these couples would be like a violin player trying to overshadow everyone else by constantly trying to play solos ignoring what is in the arrangement! Well… you might be the best violin in the world… but in an orchestra… as part of a group, you have a very specific role and very specific time to shine. If you constantly try to force yourself on others then you are constantly distracting them and in the end, you are fired. That’s the same in rhonda… you are distracting people trying to dance around you and in some milongas, you might end up thrown out of them.
Now, some friends might argue that… if I am a good dancer and I can do all these “loud” moves why should I limit myself when dancing socially? The answer is simple. Respect. As I said people in a rhonda are like in a religious trance… if you are dancing “loudly” it’s like shouting in a church… you certainly get the attention of everyone… but…. would it be for good?
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is from a musician who did something similar but with his music. He broke the rules and made tango music not for the dancers but for the musicians. He shouted in the church of music for social dancing and that is why he is rarely danced in milongas… yet… he did all this on purpose… with absolute respect to the tango legacy… and knowing very well what he was doing and its consequences. That is why he earned a different kind of respect.
How about you? Have you ever had a similar experience? Have you been in a milonga and felt like you were in a religious trance? How distracting can the dance of your neighbor couples can be? Let me know with a comment below, an email, or a PM on Facebook… oh… and if you liked it… don’t forget to share it with your friends.