Sunday, January 08, 2012

On BEING in Tango - Everything with purpose (Part 1):

It seems that I'm writing to you pretty often about the importance of "the interval" or "the gap" between every two movements in tango. Doing so helps you clarify and intensify your communication with your partner.  It means holding for an extra split second any moment when your body is completely vertical and momentarily still over your standing foot - also known as "being in axis".  I prefer to call it finding your "Infinite Axis", the strong, invisible verticle that passes through your body and continues down through you to the center of the earth, and up through you to the apex of the heavens!

This continual claiming of your Infinite Axis is what I call "the split second difference in your tango".  It could occur during your walk, as I've shown my readers a few months ago, with Sebastian and Mariana's tango to "Buscandote" by Osvaldo Fresedo:  


Observe the walk from 17 - 30 seconds in the video. And I could show you the same with countless examples of Salon style Tango.  This holding, or claiming, of your Infinite Axis also occurs while you are pivoting. That is, it is ONLY possible to pivot while you are standing in one spot, with your body vertically and precisely over your foot.  I believe it works even better if you envision your axis reaching down to the center of the earth and up to the top of the sky. More simply, you cannot pivot and walk at the same time, nor can you pivot while you bend or tilt.

I also call honoring or claiming your verticality between walking movements  "articulating your tango".  The split-second stillness in your walk or your pivot gives more life to the movements before and after.

I am becoming so obsessed with this concept that what slipped out in a recent lesson is the reverse:  that the INTERVAL or GAP between steps is actually the dynamic part of your tango, because that's where the real communication with your partner occurs, and it's where YOU thrive, and your steps are simply the transitions between your powerful GAPS. Who can deny that when you practice pausing for a split second in your solid axis, you will never lose your balance, and never lose control of your movements, whether you are dancing or during any other kind of walking?  

While this concept of mine may seem esoteric and abstract, it is actually quite practical. I would like to help you make it your practice - and I predict that magic will occur in your tango - as well as in your physical presence in your daily life!

That's a big claim - that the "being" is more important than the "doing" - and I stand by it!


  1. To hold this axis and to keep to this center has deeper meanings, that translate throughout all of our lives. We can see this on every level of our being. On the physical, we hold our balance as we dance, even if our partner is unbalanced or pulling on us. This is not always easy to do, and takes a lot of work. Tango generates a lot of passion, and it is easy to mistake our partner for the love of our life or the night's lover. So emotionally we need to hold on to our axis. Then there is the paradoxical path of being open to the energy that is provided by our partner, while navigating through a crowd of other people and dealing with sudden changes on the dance floor. This mirrors the changes and flow we meet in our daily lives. This is holding our spiritual axis. There is a lot more but it will do for now.

    1. Hello, Anonymous! How did your deep and thoughtful post escaped me last January? Thank you for this valuable contribution to my blog. I appreciate the way you liken dealing with the vicissitudes of tango to the same in the bigger picture of our daily lives. If "there is a lot more", I'd like to hear it. :)