My change in perception of songs
For me, the long pause of dancing because of covid brought with it an important change. Since we could not dance, I focused, among other things, on consuming different sources related to the stories of the songs and the orchestras. That was one of the many pieces of advice from our teacher if we wanted to become better dancers. I was too young tangowise when I heard the advice to get what it meant but recently I realized the difference and the effect that this pause and the consumption of such content had on me.
In an event I was attending, a tanda with Troilo and Goyeneche began with Sur. A tanda that you don’t often listen to anywhere… even more so if it starts with Sur. So, I do my cabeceo and get in the rhonda. Things start to flow normally, quietly, and slowly for us as a couple because personally, I don’t think I can do much in a song and an interpretation like this.
In front of me, a quite good and well-known dancer starts his own tanda. I try to focus on the song. The music and interpretation of Goyeneche always hit me straight in the heart, even more, so the lyrics of Sur. However, since I need to always check for our space in the rhonda I cannot avoid glancing at the couple in front of me moving almost constantly and executing perfectly all kinds of complex figures like colgadas, soltadas, back sacadas, etc.
So what?… What’s wrong with that? Some people can do stuff and they will do them. Fine by me. Is this nice? Does it fit the song?… Well… some people may also like it, some not, and as you can guess… I can’t say I liked this dancing approach, especially in a song like Sur and I can explain why.
Dancing the emotion
When you know the background of the song… its story… and maybe somehow can understand the emotions that it is trying to convey… then your perception changes totally… and so does your dancing approach towards it. Why?… Because our goal for dancing in social events is to express the song and the emotions it creates in us, in order to communicate them to our partner and get a response… have a dialog.
So, how does dancing loudly with all possible Tango moves, help you express the emotion behind a song like Sur?… a song that was written by Manzi as a goodbye to his love… painting with his words an imaginary trip back in time… to his “south”… to his roots… knowing that he is dying… ending with the phrase “I already know. Everything is dead”.
Personally, I find that even standing and breathing together in the embrace listening to Goyeneche’s voice and Troilo’s bandoneon is already powerful and overwhelming enough as an experience that any addition to this must be so delicate, simple, and quiet because otherwise, it will destroy the essence of the song. Rivero (who sang the song originally with Troilo) says that when he was singing the song live it was as if all the girls had stopped breathing.
So again… how dancing “loudly” to such a song helps you communicate such emotions. Think about it… if you were to say such a phrase… “I already know. Everything is dead”… to someone you love… if you were in the same state of mind as the songwriter… knowing your life is ending… would you shout… or would you simply… whisper?
I don’t know about you… but I would hardly get these words out of my mouth!
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
And this… is how now, I can understand much better the advice about learning what is hidden behind the songs. When you know what you are dancing to… you realize that sometimes… some pieces of art… are so amazing on their own that they don’t need much more. On the contrary… in this case, the more you add in your choreography the more you subtract from the essence and the feeling of the song. Tonight’s Goodnight Tango tango couldn’t be anything else but… Sur from Troilo and Goyeneche
How about you? How important is the song you dance in choosing the kind of vocabulary you will use? Do you think there are songs that can not fit with loud movements? 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.