“It’s All About” describes six of the many stages, phases, aspects, factors. categories. sections and/or “divisions that tango dancers progress through, and one major factor that impacts all the others. Descriptions are written from the author’s perspective and not in any way intended to be authoritative, definitive or comprehensive. Each section is connected to one or more of the others and we are continually involved in more than one at the same time.
Each stage can last weeks, months, years, depending on our motivation and goals. Most folks entering tango will be content as social dancers, however some will also become teachers, performers, DJs, musicians. Our aspirations and moment-to-moment experience will help determine which phase/s we are involved in, when, and for how long. All stages are of equal importance and there are no requirements, expectations or guidelines regarding order of progression.
Two people who have danced the same amount of time might be in completely different phases. Our rate of progression is determined by how many hours are spent in training and practice, not by calendar time. Transitioning from one phase to another might be barely perceptible, or very noticeable to our self and/or to others; either way we are led to an exciting, enlightening, enchanting new dimension.
As beginners, we have (or had) little or no concept of what is required in order to become a desirable partner. (Tango is more about being a good partner than being a good dancer and more about being a good partner than having a good partner.) We know little, if anything about sending and receiving information through our axis, if we even know what, or where, our axis is.
We know nothing about tango etiquette, culture or traditions, and even less about the music. We are like an open book with blank pages, eager to receive as much information as possible, in as short a time as possible, without a molecule of awareness that nothing in tango happens “in the shortest time possible.”
It will take longer to learn this dance than anything we’ve ever attempted, and it has nothing to do with intelligence, worthiness or station in life. We start as beginners in every way and remain as beginners in some way. We put complete trust in anyone with more experience than our naïve self and have no clue whether the information we attempt to absorb is accurate, complete, or essential.
After considerable time in class, at practicas and on the milonga floor, we begin to develop likes and dislikes, become aware of what fits our tastes and style, and savor the challenges and rewards of creating our own dance. These and other processes will continue throughout our tango life and can be divided into these general categories: It’s All About…The Dance, The Partner, The Music, Connection, The Social Scene, Attitude, Giving Back, Us, and Kitty Videos. No…wait…