The missing link



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Method acting

I often wonder what is the difference between a good tanda and a magical one. You know… the one that you don’t ever forget. After the quote of El Flaco Dany in the comments of my previous post, I think I realized what it is. The second link of the chain he mentions. The heart.

Dany says that tango enters from the head goes to the heart and then to the feet. It’s a chain… and if you want to dance really you need to involve all three parts. As a non-native speaker, it is hard sometimes to understand the meaning of these songs and get the feeling, but music is an international language. You could get the feeling (in many cases) by paying attention to it. How it flows from sad… to happy… to romantic… to nostalgic, etc.

So for that shake of simplicity let’s assume we know what a song is about. So now comes the difficult part. How do you express this? In acting, there is a methodology called method acting where the actors are requested to experience similar situations as the hero they embody in order to understand better their state of mind. Although it is a controversial methodology it resulted in quite a number of Oscar awards. A good tanda is like a good movie… where the actors manage to evoke emotions from you… make you laugh… cry… feel pain… anger… fear… etc. with the difference that here we are the actors and viewers at the same time. We are evoking emotions in each other.


So, should someone go through a breakup… or immigration… or a big passionate love… or a knife fight, or all these kinds of crazy stories in order to be able to dance good tango? Not at all. I think what we need is a bit of training in empathy. A trait that is often overlooked in modern societies. Try to imagine yourself deeply in love with a person (if you already are It’s even better)… try to imagine losing a loved one (if you already have… I am really sorry)… breaking up… moving far away from family and friends in an unknown country… missing them… all these are emotions expressed in those songs we love. Now if you never experienced some of these emotions try to get yourself into the shoes of such a person… even better… try to imagine how life would be for you in Argentina in the 40s with all those different emotions and then… try thinking of that when you dance. Only then you can understand what your dance should feel like in each tanda.

The good thing about empathy is that it is like a muscle… the more you exercise it, the better you get at it (maybe I will write about how I was forced to develop my empathy in another post). In a previous post, I wrote that tango requires emotional exercise and helps us understand better our and other people’s emotions. Well… improving our empathy is certainly a way to do so.

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango

So tonight’s Goodnight Tango is telling us a story of a person who is in prison for some minor crime and learns that his wife left their children in an orphanage to run away with another man. He is writing a letter to his mother saying that he will avenge by killing them if it is true. How would you dance to it the next time you listen to it?

How about you? How do you manage to embody the emotion of a song? Do you use your own stories? Do you know the stories of the songs? Do you try to understand what emotion does the music evoke in you? 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.


4 responses to “The missing link”

  1. […] on a post about tango being just fun with a short extract from Danny el Flaco. I already discussed the difference that emotion can bring to our dance when we allow it to enter our brief conversation in a […]

  2. […] Given my previous post about the motion, musicality, and emotion in dancing and my recent experiences in Pugliese tandas. I think I can now give a better explanation why many people find it difficult to dance to Pugliese and enjoy the dance. His music is deeply emotional… dramatic… going to the extreme points of passion, anger, pain, love, etc. […]

  3. […] The missing link […]

  4. […] The missing link […]

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