We are fortunate in Portland to have a great tango community as well as two world class festivals. Going to the festival milongas (dances) can be an intimidating experience with so many experienced and accomplished dancers from around the country and world descending on Portland to dance obsessively at all hours, in many styles and numerous venues around Portland. It is also is inspiring to see how a dance and a community can grow and prosper in the 21st century as an alternative to passive activities where we sit and are entertained by performers. What is it about tango that makes it so addicting, that it allows us to be entertained just by our participation? What can we take from the tango experience and use in other dancing?
One characteristic is the way Tango focuses on creating a connection with your partner that is responsive to the particular musical moment. Other dance genre seem to focus more on patterns and finding a rhythmic groove while tango focuses on developing a vocabulary that can create an expressive response to both the rhythm and melody.
Here is a video Homer and Christina - dancers and instructors from San Francisco who are very familiar to the Portland tango community and who are excellent examples tango dancers in the alternative style. They are dancing to a waltz by Ludovic Einaudi “The Days” that is around 130 bpm (the rhythm seems to fade away at times). This is a moderate tempo for waltz eclectic dancers and a very slow tempo for tango dancers. It is a performance dance by highly experienced dancers doing moves that took years to perfect, but the phasing that they are using as they dance primarily with the melody is an example being focus in the moment and on your partner.
The first weekend in November we will be having a workshops and a dance that will provide a “Taste of Tango” as well as dancing to some beautiful music from around the world. Details of the weekend are on the website. Hope to see you there.