This gorgeous video popped up on my Facebook News Feed this morning and it got me thinking.
You’re probably wondering what does a video of three little girls dancing to Aretha Franklin have to do with tango? Well, then you should know that we tango dancers can find a relationship to tango in just about anything!
The camera constantly zooms in on Johanna in the middle. Johanna’s mum or dad filming? Or a random audience member who just can’t take their eyes off Johanna. Somehow that seems just as probable.
The two adorable little girls to the left and right of Johanna sweetly show the moves they learnt in dance class but Johanna really gives it some sass, unleashing her inner-Aretha!
Dancers are continually walking a very delicate tight rope between working on their technique and letting the dance flow. I personally take great pleasure in exploring and developing technique, and don’t see it as a chore. But if I’m constantly thinking of technique when I dance there will always be something missing - I will always be holding something back and I will be cutting off the creative life force of my dance.
Whether we dance tap, ballet, flamenco or tango, we want our dance to be more than the sum total of its parts. We need to own our movements.
When I watch others dance, I love to see precision, but equally technical excellence without expression is meaningless. That is what sets dance apart from other physical activities. Give me a little bit of imperfection - “mugre” (dirt) as the Argentines say - but transmit what you feel when you dance.
Technique is for the class, for the drills, for the practice time. But when you go out to dance in the milonga, technique shouldn’t be anything more than a background track in your mind. In the foreground, it is time to dance, and by that I mean really *dance*.
Where did Johanna get her attitude from? You get the feeling it wasn’t her dance class! You could say it is easier for a child, yet to develop inhibitions, to let herself go. Or that some people are born with a natural ability. Both of these things may be true, but my personal belief is that if you love tango (and I assume you do if you are reading this blog) then you already feel it, and you simply need to allow that natural feeling to flow when you dance.
So next time you go out and dance take a leaf out of Johanna's book and release your inner tanguero!