Tango Trance

Recently, while fishing around the Interwebs for interesting dance blogs, I happened upon the following post by Working Artist. In the post, she comments upon the concept of Tango Trance:

“The bliss, that waking up at the end of a song and truly not knowing where you are. This gets to be a part of the tango, it happens or not, and we all seek it. We are all upset by it at some point, but we still seek it.”

She also offers the following cautions:

“DO NOT: Mistake tango trance for love, for a relationship beyond the floor, and do not quit your job, bail on your career, move away, leave your family, sell your house, change your party affiliation, or commit any crimes, in the pursuit of this bliss....Do not act like you are in high school, unless you are. The bliss is there for you, just trust it.

I’ve only been dancing Argentine Tango a little while, so I don’t think I’ve yet experienced “trance” at a lesson or milonga. But I think I know what she means.

It’s one of the things I love about social dancing. Every once in a while you encounter someone you really connect with on the floor. It may be someone you’ve known for years; it may be someone you’ve only just met–but something delicious, thrilling and new happens out on the floor. Dance serendipity. You’re not just dancing, you’re creating together. It’s like dancing on instinct and adrenalin.

At the end of the dance you loosen your partner’s hands and walk away, blinking dumbly into lights you had forgotten were there, conscious of a crowd of strangers suddenly crushing around you. The real word reasserts itself forcefully and you almost feel sunburned by the experience. You can’t wait to do it again.

The thing about dance serendipity, unfortunately, is that it won’t necessarily ever happen again with that partner. That’s the nature of serendipity. If you’re lucky, you might find a special person with whom you can reproduce the experience. Very, very lucky.

I can see why Working Artist cautions against getting too emotionally invested in a dance-trance relationship. It’s a heady chemical experience that touches you on a very basic level. But it just a dance. It doesn’t necessarily have any life or power off of the floor.

I think the reason why a term like Tango Trance exists (as opposed to Dance Trance) is that Argentine Tango tends to lend itself to it. AT seems to eschew a lot of the more cerebral dancing that comes out of ballroom. It’s much more focused on lead and follow and connection between partners– follows frequently dance with their eyes closed! I say I’ve experienced something similar while at a social ballroom dance, but I would say that the nature of ballroom would make such experiences comparatively rare. It’s tough to focus on your partner to the same degree while ballroom dancing. Closing your eyes during a cha or a hustle could be downright dangerous!

Working Artist has a good recommendation that I think I will adopt in my future pursuit of dance bliss:

“DO: Dance a lot, dance with everyone who is not a jackass, make some real friends in tango, travel if you can. Buy some smokin’ hot shoes, change up the wardrobe and get a new hair cut. Tango is going to give you a lot of clues about who you really are, and what your personal style really is. Don’t fight it….Most of all, dance like you mean it.”

One comment

  1. Oh, i dunno–i think you’ve just been dancing with the wrong people. With a good lead, you should be able to close your eyes during a hustle–just don’t do any moves that break contact completely. And it definitely works just fine in two-step, rumba, and maybe bolero. Unfortunately, I don’t get to close my eyes leading, very often. 😦

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