“I now understand how important it is to listen to a lot of music.” A good friend (follower) told me recently. She explained that when she knows the song she feels more confident and natural for her to also contribute to the dance. I told her that I agree 1000% with her and that she can’t imagine how satisfying it is for the leader to dance with a person who also knows and can express the music. I have already written about it and you probably have heard it a lot already.
In the previous post I was writing about how good dancers do not focus on the musicality only in terms of the sound that they listen to, the layers of the music, etc. They go a layer above that and use the music as a canvas to tell a story about it. They have a key message in mind and lead you through the different steps to get there in a way that takes you on board on their journey.
In my review for the last year, I mentioned that reading books about orchestras and stories of different songs helped me understand much better what I was dancing to and made me a better dancer. Yes… Reading can also help you in dancing… Believe it or not. How? Well, most importantly, it provides the context, the ideas, the key messages, the actual stories behind the songs. You read about them, listen to the song and then something changes in you. Like in the presentation from Benjamin Zander. Before playing the piece he said “think about a person who you love and is not with you here today”. Listening to the piece alone you could get the sadness of it. Having this in mind, this sadness has a face, a reason, a person, a deeply personal connection. This alone is providing a context powerful enough to bring tears to your face when you hear it again.
It’s not only books. Some years ago I saw the movie “Bohemian rhapsody” and from then on, listening to specific songs of the Queen makes so much more sense, since I know the background story of them. The reason, the time and personal stories that lead to their creation. Some months ago I also saw a similar Greek movie called “Eutichia” about one great Greek songwriter. Certain songs that I knew by heart and sung so many times in the past, suddenly changed. I now listen to them and get specific life moments of the songwriter in my mind. It totally changes the way you feel about the music you hear! It suddenly is not just a piece of music, it is a feeling, a memory, a personal connection, a real story.
So coming back to my friends observation that it is important to know the music, I would add that it is important to also know a little bit about the background of it. Maybe search the lyrics, read some books, stories on websites, or even reflect and think about moments in our life that those songs could be the soundtrack to. How do they make you feel and which of your stories could fit with the music or the lyrics? Then you have a story to tell. Then you deeply change your dance and from a simple musical dancer you become… a story teller. You become a person who is not just dancing, but a person who seeks connection through sharing their stories while dancing.
Tonight’s Goodnight Tango
So tonight’s Goodnight Tango is a song with a great story in it. It’s about a boy’s dream to become a famous football player that would one day be loved by the crowd. Given that we are talking about Argentina, where apart from Tango the other big love is football, it is inevitable to think that such a song is connected with great football players like Maradonna or Messi. Maradonna actually sung it also live on a TV show. Although it may have not been written for him, thinking about him, his story and his dream to become a football player, even maybe reflecting on your own dreams and path so far can probably change the way you will dance to it the next time you listen to it.