There are several paths that I have followed in my process of learning to dance tango. There are also several people who have helped me in this process. I have two friends who have strongly influenced my dance and the way I want to continue in my “Being Tanguero”. I think I’ll talk about them in many posts. To ensure anonymity, I’ll call them: my friend A and my friend C. In this post about “Destructuring myself to grow”, I’ll talk about my friend A.
My friend A was from a very distant city, many hours by bus. When I was seeing him, we were talking about tango for hours. I do not mean talking for 1 or 2 hours. We were talking 3, 4 or 5 straight hours. We used to talk about tango … He’s crazy! … and I listened to him.
One of the times I traveled to his city, I stayed to sleep at his house and in the morning, after spending the night dancing in the milonga and then talking about tango, I woke up with the sound of a bandoneon. He had invited a bandoneonist friend to talk about tango … in the morning! They had been chatting for a while. I, half asleep, sat down and listened.
Well that’s my friend A … A cute crazy! ….
He always gave me many tips, some I have forgotten and others have penetrated deep into my mind. They still accompany me. They are imperishable.
One of these tips was: “Alexis, you must destructure yourself. To grow, you must destructure your dance”
He repeated it over and over again, as if my future tanguero depended on it.
When he talked about “destructuring my tango”, he was referring to those moments of growth in which you have to cut with everything. Back to the bases. Wipe a slate clean and start over. In tango, we always drag defaults, bad forms, details that we can always improve. Once I heard that the book “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is read and understood differently as a child, adolescent, adult or older. For my friend A, the same thing happens in tango. If we return to the bases, we understand the concepts differently, from another perspective.
My way of destructuring myself has been particular.
When I felt that I no longer enjoyed dancing because my movements were: too many, mechanical and dirty. That moment when you do not know which way to follow to grow, dancing tango in a close embrace does not make it easy to find possibilities. When after the milonga I returned home, I felt that I did not feel what I like to feel. When this was repeated for weeks. Then it was time to cut with everything. I told myself “everything is wrong, so everything goes to waste” not with these sweet words, but it was the idea.
To do this, I was forced to eliminate all kinds of movement, absolutely all of them !, including those favorite movements that are so hard to learn and that someone thinks will fascinate the girls he dances with … all of them! … and I only dedicated myself to walk, just walk.
“Just walk”, that was my motto.
In order not to be tempted to do some extra movement, I had to choose very well with whom to dance. On some occasions I danced with a woman who had the characteristic of having a very precise walk. This woman gave me the feeling of not needing anything other than walking and pausing, and walking with her was a real pleasure.
With this behavior, I was able to find things that were previously hidden. Those deep subtleties that you can only feel, listen with your body when there is no noise and all you do is walk and pause, walk and pause … pause! .. sshhh … pause. Long and short pause, deep or light, full or empty pause. And from the pause can born a coherent walk with that pause, a different walk from the ones I used to do.
After a few days everything was different, the movements slowly returned, but not all, only the movements that made sense with the new sensations that I had discovered.
On one occasion, after a process of destructuring, I eliminated all or almost all of my favorite movements. I realized that these removed more than amounted to the dance.
I suppose the general idea of growing up in tango is to “have more”, learn more steps and handle more combinations of movements to have greater freedom of action. It is necessary if you want to move forward. That’s why we always want more. But I “the weird” sometimes go in the opposite direction. I do not add. I eliminate possibilities to force myself to find … heeeeh..I do not know what I will find …
And this has been my method of destructuring my tango and that has given me excellent results.
The best changes without the help of external information, I have achieved with this method.
Sometimes, when I give private lessons, I tell my students that they must destructure themselves in order to move forward and I tell them as if their future tanguero depended on it.