Tango Opinion

Views On Competition in Tango

The Competition

Argentine Tango traditionally is a cultural, social dance; danced for enjoyment, fulfillment of the soul and replenishment of the spirit. It calms the nerves, soothes emotional upheaval, provides a ‘safe place’ to be intimate and feel love. The dance floor is where individuals meet. They leave restored. Results are temporary so dancers return regularly to re-capture the sensation of love which is a virtually indescribable sensation that combines physical closeness with an ethereal connection. The ultimate objective is the exquisite, intangible connection. The conduit is a combination of many elements: music, physical touch, movement, expression, respect, submission, and gentle protection.


Sue MartinSepWe can establish the elements with ease, set the stage as it were, but achieving the essence of Argentine Tango is not so simple. An occasional successful ‘connection’ encounter cannot be accurately described because no words suffice to adequately interpret the experience.


In America today people are not interested in the physical and emotional intimacy aspects of Argentine Tango. They prefer not to feel vulnerable and do not want to expose their innermost self with complete strangers. And yet at the same time they seem rather emotionally hollow, disconnected, and believe that intimacy is exclusively carnal sexuality.


Sadly, the dance of Argentine Tango is now following the course of other couple dances. The elements that once clearly separated Argentine Tango through its disciplined excellence are now almost completely avoided. It has been reduced to The Competition.


If the true heart of Argentine Tango is the rather esoteric unifying of persons otherwise unknown to one another, being able to express themselves in a combination of movement and music, in perfect harmony, exhibiting an intimate, ethereal connection, competition has no way to filter out the winners from the losers.


As one of the greatest proponents for technical acuity I believe dancing skills can be measured as they are visibly apparent to the observer or judge, but technical skills alone do not constitute the entirety of the dance. The level of connection achieved is something private and known only to the dancers.