They say that in tango you dance with the dancer, the friend or the man/woman.
I am not sure I agree. I feel, rather, that I dance with the Student, then maybe with the Dancer, and then, if both of us are open and relaxed enough, with the Man – as in, the person inside: the Soul
With the Student
It seems that most people who dance, me included, dance with a ‘student’ approach at times. Because it takes a lifetime to learn tango, and we’re always learning… It can be men leading a difficult figure they’ve been wanting to nail for a while (in which case they are dancing only with themselves and I’m just a practice partner…) Or it can be women so focused on their technique or the music that they forget to mentally connect with the partner (guilty). In both cases, we’re in our minds instead of being in connection with our partner.
With the Dancer
Then when we’re beyond the stage of studying, we can really dance. It doesn’t mean that we are especially advanced and stop learning or practicing. It’s just Moments – at any stage of the learning curve – when we are actually in the flow. The movements feel comfortable, the music speaks to us, we are relaxed with our partner… then, we’re dancing – and usually it doesn’t involve fancy sequences or boleos, it just feels nice and graceful. Even us, ladies/followers, we feel in control of our movements.
This is the stage where I spend most of my tandas and it’s fine.
With the Person
Then, there is dancing with the Person. There are a few people, only a tiny few, where when I dance with them, I feel that I powerfully connect with who they are inside.
With their soul, in a way.
When I dance with them, I know that I can rest my mind and my body in their embrace (not in the literal sense obviously). I can fully express myself in a frame of love and respect. I completely open-up, and they do too. It has nothing to do with their level – or maybe it does, I don’t know.
In these instances, I am totally true to myself in a way that I rarely am in the social context of the dance. This doesn’t happen often, but what is interesting is that it happens almost all the time with the same little amount of people. When the embrace breaks, the charm breaks but the trust is there.