When we dance tango there are always two strangers present. The first is the one our partner experiences and the one we bring to the dance, invisible to our own minds and not that person we have so fastidiously groomed to represent us to all who are not us. Years of lying to ourselves about those parts of our character that cause unpleasant emotions has led us to become blind to how we are perceived by others, in essence, a stranger to our own self-perception.
Your partner brings the other stranger and it is as equally foreign and mysterious to them as yours is to you.
The beauty of tango is that it allows the primal side of our being, the stranger whose actions are honest but not always innocent, to be shared with others on levels of footing that are literally and metaphorically equal. It is that part of us which is in desperate need of physical, emotional and spiritual nutrients for we are social creatures who crave contact with others of our species, or even with other animals, such as cats and dogs, when the real thing is lacking. It is what drives us to tango.
In keeping with this blog’s purpose, to be an honest exposé of the mind of a man, on tango or otherwise, I would like to try and describe what it is that I see in the stranger dancing with me.
Passion is the part of character that is most easily discerned. Sometimes it is like a huge dragon rising up on its hind legs before me, wings spread, mouth open and spewing flames. I take this as an intense desire for physical contact but experience has taught me that all I can say with certainty is that it is a big thing, strong and possibly dangerous.
Sometimes the passion inside of a woman is so small that it is disappointing and sad. It can be big but soft or it can be tiny and acrid. Whatever it is, your passion is always on display.
Another thing I see are auricular inclinations, whether or not she hears the music. This is almost always evident in skilled tangueras and it is a sure sign in those of lesser skills that they will one day achieve proficiency.
Mental discipline is another thing. Exposure to prolonged contact with tango music and tango dancers can be overwhelming for those of weaker broths. I always take composure as a sure measure of intelligence but I suspect it is simply something that I cannot yet adequately explain. I find a follower who doesn’t anticipate to be smarter than one who does but that is an illogical assumption on my part yet that is how I feel.
I am certain I have been perceived as intellectually challenged when I was first learning how to dance. I think dancing has raised my I.Q. or at least made me more aware of the amount of effort the world requires for me to stay sane and to find satisfaction in my endeavors.
During the course of a tanda I discover a plethora of aromas emanating from the living stew seething within my ethereal vessel. A chance moment of synchronous movement and erotic fragrance fills the air. The odor is fleeting and soon lost in a pungent parade of motion bringing newer flavors to a boil in the stock of our cosmic coupling.
Adornos, or embellishments, are moments of incredible insights into the stranger's mind that are always fleeting yet positively addicting. I could devote an entire post to this practice but suffice it to say here that the acquisition of these physical expressions of the melody are well worth the time it takes to work them into your tango vocabulary.
You won’t find it surprising that the simpler and purest of emotions are readily evident as the music and spontaneous choreography transpires: sadness, joy, curiosity, infatuation, anger, etc. are set upon my cosmic palette like perfumes born on a breeze from a nearby forest or a highland meadow. All readily evident to me but oblivious to my partner who is focused on being oblivious to all except my intention and her interpretation of it: all else is autonomic.
It is possible to hide the stranger from your tango partner but it is a lie that will eventually catch up to you. Recognition of it takes shape in a slowly forming feeling of disappointment. Often inexplicable and enigmatic, I believe it leads to less dance invitations.
Do not fear the stranger within you, it cannot be covered up with the bushel of lies you tell yourself to quell anxiety and doubt. Have faith in yourself and in the strangers you encounter for they do not come to tango to judge you, only to move with you to the music. If you dance with your stranger unrestrained, you will find nourishment you didn't know you were lacking, doses of spiritual, physical and/or emotional remedies brought to you by a stranger.
Life is a mystery, embrace it without fear and without judgment. Be aware of your stranger, it is a part of you, a guide to the Spice Cabinet of Life and one of the things that makes social interaction an adventure. It is an important ingredient in the tango brew and part of what makes its consumption so satisfying and the need for more of it undeniable.