Last night I decided to stop by a local tango practica/milonga (once a month, they treat the practica more like an alternative milonga). I was nervous, as I haven’t danced in years, and I didn’t even know what I would remember. It turns out that Argentine tango is much like riding a bicycle. I arrived obscenely early because I forgot just how late tangueros tend to run and sat at the bar with a glass (or two!) of wine for a bit. I texted with an old tango friend and it turned out he was around the corner so he stopped in. I only danced for maybe two tandas because we were having so much fun catching up.
The organizer was very sweet and chatted with me for a bit and even tried to make a dance-setup between myself and one of the good leaders. I think he was trying to stall because he also chatted for a fair bit before any mention of dancing came up and my friend showed up before we actually danced. So I feel a little bad that I abandoned my setup, but at the same time, he danced plenty and I danced plenty. And it was lovely to dance with a friend for my first time back in years. At least I didn’t have to worry about being too embarrassed if I’d messed up, and he’s such a lovely leader that I did not mess up too much.
It made me realize just how much I missed the experience of tango. I love dancing. I love the free feeling of ballet or aerials or modern, but there is a level of release in dancing Argentine tango as a follower that I don’t feel in other forms of dance. Even swing involves a fair bit more thinking than tango. In fact, I find thinking too much, as a follower, can trip me up more. Following in tango requires a certain surrender to the leader and to the music, while still maintaining your own axis and balance, which is an interplay that doesn’t happen often in my daily life. I find that because of the sense of surrender, choosing a leader with whom to partner is essential and I was very happy to have a friend to help me re-enter the dance.
I certainly think this is something I will be making time to enjoy as regularly as I can and I can’t imagine why I took so long to return.