When I was still an architecture student years ago, we had art classes of all sorts, one of them was still life painting, with oil and watercolour. I wasn't particularly gifted in painting but I was quite exceptional in pen and pencil graphics. The reason I had no future in painting was simple: I couldn't paint with dirt.
When you study art and history of it, you can see the trajectory of it is quite chaotic. True geniuses are messy, their ideas are incomprehensible for most contemporaries and their lives are true chaos. Take Van Gogh, or Munch, or Frida Kahlo. Their art is striking, it touches you, it scares or impresses you. Art is meant to do just that: it is there to MOVE, and movement can be in any direction, positive or negative. The biggest mistake most people make in evaluating art is thinking “it's not pretty, therefore it is not art”. Art is not meant to be just pretty, it CAN be. But it can also be UGLY. As long as it evokes something it you, this is art.
And sometimes, art is meant to be dirty. Art is there to awaken emotion, and emotions can be positive and negative. All they are a part of who we are as humans. We need all range of emotions to feel alive. And if you refuse yourself or others negative, ugly, sad feelings, do you not refuse a big part of what makes us human?
What is tango for you?
Is it an art form? Is it a way of expressing yourself? Is it a way of living? A way of connecting?
Any of the thesis's above reflect not one way of thinking and analysing. Tango as a way of expressing yourself? OK, but are you only able and want to express one thing, or is there a lot you have to say?
Is tango more of a dance form, or a conversation form? Either way, there is not one solution and not one answer to this question, and even if you say it's a conversation, are all our conversations productive, empathetic and positive? No. Is dance as art form only about beautiful white swans or also about showing the pain of loss of an unborn child? (see beautiful video below)
There is not one way to tango.
There is not one way to live.
There is not one way to feel.
There is not one way to express.
And the Ugly and the Painful has the same right to exist in tango as the Joyful and the Beautiful. Do I mean the dance has to be ugly? No, maybe not. Technique is there to make everything acceptable and technique is essential. But beyond technique, there is emotion.
And I call on all of you, dancers, to welcome emotion into your tango, whatever tango means to you. Dance more than the movement, more than the pretty. Dance your soul, dance your feeling!
Do you feel happy today? Dance your joy. Do you feel sad? Dance it. Don't hide away from it, be honest in your dance, in your conversation, in your art. Put your soul and feeling into it, share it with your partner.
There is a lot of different tangos out there, and each has a right to exist. I believe in honest tango, in open tango. In a joyful and careless tango, and sometimes in a painful, suffering tango. Put your feeling to your dance, dance your feeling! The movement is just there to transmit the message but the message is not the movement itself.
I have been developing these ideas for some time now, and it is incredible what depth you can go into if you welcome all forms of emotions into your dance. It's something that some other dancers are also working with, and it moves me deeply to see that I'm not the only one.
Dance the dirt, dance the pretty, dance the pain and the exhilaration. Dance the real art, dance the human soul. Dance the full range of things and feelings.
Create something that will move people.
Olga from TangoBETTER