This article continues a previous article here.
Dancing Tango is not only about you and you-and-your-partner. It is also a social event and a culture. It involves more than two: those present at the milonga (tango dance party) in which you assist, and also all those who are intimately related to Tango, at your present time, in the past and in the future (other dancers, the composers of the songs that you dance to, the musicians who recorded the songs, all the people who were passionate about Tango throughout the history of this manifestation of our very unique nature as humans, and those, in the future, who will inherit it after us).
The dance party where you came to dance is a society, with its own culture and its own sets of codes which make possible, and structure, its existence, nurturing and favoring creativity, the behaviors that support the coexistence of all the artists on the dance floor, the milongueros, respect for all manifestations of this Art, not in words, but in actions, in dance.
Our modern (or “post-modern”) Western style civilization seems to be organized by compromising us to expend all our life fueling the production machinery, to fill up our lives and the whole world with more things, instead of EXISTING making our life a work of Art, being generous, not minding at all, not calculating that it will fade away when we are gone, like our dance when we leave the dance floor.
The same civilization that made us become accustomed to understanding art as a “representation”, an image, superficial as image, that is stranger to what is beyond its surface, a phenomena that needs to be analyzed to deliver a meaning for us, that always puts us on the other side, as critics, that consider art as an afterthought, as a leftover, of secondary importance.
That is perhaps why we are so afraid to dance, to fail to give “the right impression” about ourselves, horrified to be “the clown”, but at the same time we do not see a contradiction in believing that Tango is that “dance” in which you put a rose in your mouth, shake your head left and right, and push and pull your partner at the edge of mistreatment.
Is Life a “representation”? A performance we do in order to get support from an audience, many “likes” on our Facebook page, regardless of what we really think, believe, sense or stand for?
Is your Life meant to be a “presentation” to “sell” a product? Is your Life a merchandise that you abstract from yourself and sell on the “markets”?
A true milonguero or milonguera works patiently to achieve being able to dance focused on the dance itself, paying careful attention to his or her partner, listening studiously to the music, being connected with his/her true self, not faking it, not pretending, not conceited, not shy, but instead is secure and gentle, proud and humble. A relationship is established with the others that allows things to fall in place, without forcing it, without trying hard, without intending to grab their attention. Because that being-at-the-present accomplished throughout an intense, not exempt of passion and joy, meticulous preparation, does not require more to be justified. It keeps alive in us the forever new amazement of a child in relation to Life, adding to it the clear knowledge of the possibility of the ending of Life always looming at the horizon of the next present moment. An elegant way to go through Life, with our whole being, which includes our body, giving it meanings not perceived when it is always left to be a tool for productivity, a mediator to produce an impression on others, a bridge to the exterior, a fortress to keep us safe, but not fully identified with us. A body that learns to move through a world constructed by us, demanding proportions, balance, beauty. A being for whom the passing of time is raw material to create an Art with.
Time is precious. Tango is always there waiting for you. What is precious to you?
Do not leave this task for later, missing the opportunity to make use of the best time in your life, thinking that later… but later everything becomes more difficult, it is more difficult to learn, our body and mind are less powerful, we are entangle in more compromises, we scheduled already many calls to answer… We gave up our time, ourselves… for what? For that something we considered to be precious.
Our world is already shaped by many strong forces we cannot bend or redirect so easily. What to do then? How to achieve a way of Life that contradicts and crashes against most of what already exists? Should we move to a different world and fill up the already planned colonies on Mars? How can we be sure that a civilization shaped in such way in which we treat ourselves as machines, useful only to build up more machines, to develop the power to take us to the unimaginable, to take our feeble and exhausted body there, which is kept alive by pedaling machines with the only goal of delivering our DNA, how to be sure this kind of civilization is not already crooked by the weight of the innumerable things that we believe we need, crooked by a chronic dissatisfaction, which the things that we keep producing maintains always dissatisfied.
Milongueros have another world. It is the milonga.
We, humans, are all martyrs. Inevitably. We will soon be gone and we are deeply anxious to find a reason to die. To die for love, for our children, for our country, for our beliefs, for our convictions, for an ideal.
“There is an old legend that king Midas for a long time hunted the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, in the forests, without catching him. When Silenus finally fell into the king’s hands, the king asked what was the best thing of all for men, the very finest. The daemon remained silent, motionless and inflexible, until, compelled by the king, he finally broke out into shrill laughter and said these words, ‘Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist, to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however, is this — to die soon.’”
“The Birth of Tragedy: From the Spirit of Music”. By Friedrich Nietzsche. Chapter 3.
A suicide bomber expresses anger in front of such knowledge, killing as many as possible in sync with his own self-immolation, destroying Life, producing a phenomena shaped by horror, un-beautiful, denied of aesthetics.
When we live a fulfilling Life, a Life in which every instant contains meaning, like every word in a poem, like a work of Art, we live so engaged that we are living-in-the-present at all times. Our whole lives last as long as the present moment.
“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.”
“Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” 6.4311. By Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Aesthetics is absolute respect for Life. Tango is shaped by this respect.
The language of the human being was constructed at the same time as the world of the human being. It was constructed by the human being itself. It is made of realities constructed by our species and by realities discovered by us. Language includes then the materiality of our world and the relationship between humans and this materiality, and the relationship among the diverse elements of the materiality of our world, seen from the point of view of the human being.
In this sense, language is inherited as we inherit the world of the human being.
How much love there was in those mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, uncles, cousins and friends who wanted that, yes, you succeed in Life, in your career, in your profession, in making your own family, but also wanted you to dance Tango well!!!
To be continued…
About me: I am a milonguero who enjoys sharing with you my passion and knowdlege of Tango. I co-direct the Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.
Originally published at medium.com