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I Love It When He's Wrong

Because it gives me a chance to be right. If by “be right” you mean, “figure out what words really mean to me.”

For instance, he says “milonguero” means “aquel para quien la vida transcurre principalmente en la milonga.” And I think that misses the whole point! I think “milonguero” means, someone who's on a journey, someone who allows life to change them. Someone who is learning progressively greater presence and awareness of these few moments we have on this earth.

But it makes sense that he would think that. When he's dancing, he's on. When he's not, he's off. When he's at a milonga, he's at home, he's in his element. When he isn't, he barely knows what to do with himself except get back to the next one as soon as possible.

I see the world of the milonga as a magnifying lens. He sees it as a cozy nest. I guess this makes me the one who sets things on fire by seeing them through the lens, and this makes him the baby bird who can't survive outside of the nest.

….Tonight he said, tango is an invitation to the challenge of being elegantly passionate. And I think...bzzzt! Nope!

I think tango is whatever you bring to it, and so, to him, correct, it is the challenge of being elegantly passionate. To me, right now, it is more what Diego Luna says in that immortal bastion of dance flicks for chicks, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights: “it's a dance about being exactly who you want to be in that moment.” It is a journey, a search, a conversation, a metaphor, a balance, an opportunity.

What do we mean when we dance with someone? Nobody knows! And yet, everybody knows! ….The idea of elegant passion is not wrong, but it can be easily misheard. If elegance is the application of rational control and passion is the perception of irrational impulse, then, yes, it is the challenge of being elegantly passionate. But people hear these words and they think about the sultry, sinuous, sexy, sensual side of tango. And where it gets its great power is that it is a vast and flexible language.

You can't spend all your time in bed. If it's only about the sex, it's doomed to fail, and very quickly. If someone refuses to talk to you, there is no relationship, and if there is no relationship, there is no sharing, and if there is no sharing, there is no openness, and if there is no openness, there is no passion. Period.

Likewise, tango is not all about sex! For exactly the same reasons. When we dance with someone, we share so much, of which the sexy exciting fun stuff that leaps to mind when we hear “elegant passion” is only one tiny sliver. We share everything we can't verbalize. We also share a lot of hormones besides dopamine and endorphins. Like oxytocin. We dance to bond and to reinforce bonds. We dance because we need a hug, because we're upset, because we're working something out. We dance for every reason in the whole world. Nobody can be elegantly passionate all the time.

The best tanda I ever danced in my whole life was not about elegant passion at all. It was about shyness, trust, faith, innocence, sweetness, simplicity, peace, and a thousand metric tons of deeply buried feelings.

To be the best dancers we can be, we have to open our awareness to the widest range of feelings (emotional and physical) that we possibly can, and value them all. To consciously accept what is happening unconsciously...that is tango.