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Shall we dance?

By Marine Orlova | China Daily Asia | Updated: 2017-04-05 14:27

Shall we dance?

[Photo/Courtesy of Guillermo Monteleone/photomonteleone.com]

When you push open the door of a milonga (the place where the tango is danced), you're instantly transported to a parallel world of music, elegance, emotion and seduction. The true tango is much more than an old-fashioned and overly romantic social dance. Rather, it's a peaceful meditation turned into elegant movements, a deeply shared intimacy and a real dedication to the music. But be careful – tango is truly addictive.

Improvise like a jazz musician.

In a way, tango is quite simple to learn, as there are no steps or choreography to memorise; it‘s all about improvisation and musicality. As renowned Argentine tango dancer Carlos Gavito said, "A good dancer is one who listens to the music... we dance the music, not the steps. You see, we are painters. We paint the music with our feet." Tango is a disruptive walk; one step after the other, the dancers write their own story. They don't know what they will do next. They live in an endless present of music, body and soul, fully open to the unexpected.

Walk like an urban feline.

"You recognise a good dancer by the way he walks – not by his acrobatic figures," said famous tango dancer Pablo Verón. Caminata ("the walk" in Spanish) is the alpha and omega of tango. It's the first thing you'll learn in a class and it can take years to master, but you'll soon be obsessed with this feral way of moving. You may even feel the urge to practice as you make your way down the street. Grounded, head held high, with smooth yet resolute steps: you can certainly spot a tango dancer from afar.

Shall we dance?

[Photo/Courtesy of Tanguera]

Move like an aikido master.

Tango is often compared to the martial arts because of the balance and body awareness it requires. Indeed, tangueros work hard to stay centred and rooted with themselves while being totally connected to their partner. Because it takes two to tango, communication's the key. You'll often hear the alluring word abrazo – it's the Holy Grail of tango. This cuddly embrace lets the energy flow through the couple and gives off a unique feeling: the stronger the connection, the finer the dance. Renowned Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges wisely defined the tango as "a direct expression of something that poets have often tried to state in words: the belief that a fight may be a celebration."

Travel like a citizen of the world.

Tango is a worldwide community. Whether you're in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Istanbul, Hong Kong or Paris, you'll be able to find a milonga wherever you go. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but it's also a way to immediately understand each other thanks to the universal language of tango. No need to talk in a milonga – the mirada (eye contact) and cabeceo (a quick nod of the head) are enough for an invitation. Shall we dance?

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