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It is a privilege to watch them dance

posted Feb 2, 2015, 4:58 PM by Sophia de Lautour   [ updated Feb 2, 2015, 5:13 PM ]
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Rina and Nadim

This poem1 by my friend Tony Rathburn was in response to a Facebook thread about what makes certain tango dancers stand out. Is it their passion or technique? 

The above photo is of Rina and Nadim Sawaya a tango teaching couple based in Melbourne, Australia of whom I'm very fond. Sure they have superb technique, but it's their connection that gives them their 'X-Factor'. They fit with the sentiment of this poem. They are a privilege to watch. 

This poem is an ode to all tango dancers, all over the world, that delight us with their connection.

'Their quiet confidence,
their obvious familiarity
the intimacy of their movements
that simply flow...
They put their passion...
for the dance
for the music
and, I think, most importantly
their passion for each other
is on display
It is a privilege to watch these couples dance.'

-Tony Rathburn

This poem sums up so beautifully the magic of tango. Its true magic and essence lies in connection - the communion of one with the other in connection with the music.

I completely agree with the rest of Tony's comments on this theme:

'Mastering the fundamental technique are the foundation on which all else is built. that was my reference to competence. Living in Buenos Aires, i see many performance. there are many truly gifted and athletic dancers.

As with many people in many fields, it too often seems the case that to many performers feel a need to show everyone how good they are by cramming every movement they know into one 3-minute choreography... too often with far too little consideration to how those individual movements, and how their entire presentation, matches the song they are dancing to.

My post was actually addressing a different quality... one that, more and more, is becoming what differentiates the performances i truly enjoy from the simply good ones... the dancers themselves... individually, and as a couple...

I consider competency in technique a fundamental requirement...

I lose interest quickly when the performance of the dancers does not blend into and compliment the music...

with those two requirements fulfilled... i have watched a good performance...

and on occasion, i see a couple... their individual personalities radiate... they are a bright light in a dimly lit room...
you can't not see them...

and, then... for a few of these couples... you watch them merge... their personalities blending into something that raises good... to outstanding...

they are as exceptional to watch in the ronda as they are in the performance...'

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1 I have edited slightly Tony's original version but no words have been changed other than spelling and capitals.