I wrote some time ago about my experience in a marathon where a very good dancer was dancing Sur next to me and was doing all kinds of crazy moves like there was a checklist to tick off. If I would see it in a performance I would totally get it. After all that the point of a performance… to impress the audience… so they need to add such complex impressive moves. But in the social context of the milonga… it felt a bit off.
The other point I was trying to make was that when we dance we should respect the feeling… the emotion… and even more the history of a song… especially if there is specific importance in it, like Sur for example, in that case. A very sensitive song that doesn’t require you to do anything more than just hug and walk in order to enjoy it.
Performing with respect to the song
Similarly, another great song is Mensaje. The story has it that the song was written roughly by Enrique Discépolo who shortly after died. Cátulo Castillo who took the composition from Discépolo’s wife, Tania, forgot about it. Until a night when, as he says, Discépolo visited him in his sleep and dictated to him the lyrics. The lyrics are actually a message for his wife to always be kind and good in her life. Reading the lyrics alone can bring you to tears… not to mention if you add the amazing music and its interpretation by Troilo.
Why am I writing all this? Well… I recently bumped into a show performance of this song that I instantly fell in love with. If there is a couple that can do crazy stuff on their shows that is for sure Jonathan Saaverda and Clarissa Aragon. However, in this song… with this music… and these lyrics… what they actually do most of the time is simply walk, pause, and embrace! Pay attention in particular to the embrace. How caring and loving it is from both of them. You can also get how they feel dancing to the song by how long it takes them to embrace and start walking (it’s almost 40 seconds) and how long it takes them to fully break the embrace and move away from each other in the end (another almost 10 seconds). The loving and caring atmosphere of the song is radiating throughout the performance.
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
So for tonight’s Goodnight Tango, I am posting the specific performance which for me is the definition of the phrase “feel more by doing less”. So the question is… if you just had a partner in your embrace and heard this song… understood what it says and what it is about… and wanted to somehow dance to it… move your bodies to it… without even knowing how to dance the tango… if you just let your bodies move to it freely… what would you do? Now… why should you change this drastically just because you learned some tango steps? If a couple like Jonathan and Clarissa choose to dance to it like this in a performance… why should we even think of doing more in a social context?