Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Closed vs. Open Minded

According to the latest Tango Vita newsletter, "the DJs make sure that twice a week there is music for us to dance to that ensures that we have, in Victoria, the same tango experience dancers have in the best Buenos Aires milongas. Dancers coming to the Gallery are sure to have no surprises: they will only dance to the tunes of authentic Argentine tangos, milongas and valses."

Note the statement of "no surprises". This is a direct slam the music played at Cafe Casablanca, as well as the "Open Minded Milonga". I recently spent three weeks in Buenos Aires. During that time, at one of the best Buenos Aires milongas, I had the priviledge of watching Narco Tango perform live. Authentic Argentine tango. But nuevo music. Research the history of tango music itself. Research the history of Astor Piazolla specifically. His music was originally shunned because of it's sound. Now we commonly dance to Piazolla and consider it "traditional".

Tradition is simply how we have always done it. I go back to the quilting I'm doing at this point in time. I am working on a very traditional piece, but have been caught up in the intrigue of art quilts. Traditional quilting is easy. It takes no thought as the path has been set for me already. It has its place in my life, and always will. But the other stretches my boundaries, my thought proccesses, my creative juices. It makes me feel alive.

I want in my life to feel fully alive. My experience in Buenos Aires proved to me that there is so much more to tango than I had ever imagined. On the dance floor, their dancers have moves that I only experienced previously in Seattle and Port Townsend. Dancing is tight and intimate—necessary with crowded dance floors. But the moves had all the elements of the nuevo tango we dance, only with the energy of close embrace. It stretched my boundaries and made me feel alive.

So here's the question. As dancers, which would you prefer? To be closed to new ideas? To only be allowed to hear music that is chosen by a select few? Or do you want to feel alive? I dance authentic argentine tango to a wide range of music—and enjoy it all.