It depends

It seemed like a disagreement, a difference of opinion forming in a discussion of a related question.

Discussions often diverge and appear to take up opposing positions when we treat things as binary choices rather than a range of possibilities.

This one dealt with whether a “separate axis” is something for stage dancing, or a desirable aspect of any dancing. We often see this discussion as resistance/no resistance, pressure/no pressure.

Setting aside the possibilities of apilado-style dancing or colgada/volcada movements, we want to protect our stability (represented by the term “axis”) for greater movement possibilities and safety. In a comfortable close embrace — one involving a slight lean into our partner, not squeezing with the arms — the intimate contact we feel represents a sharing of some portion of our stability. Some slight resistance/pressure.

An interesting, important point: Even though a close embrace gives up a portion of our individual stability, the stability of the couple increases. They now have a longer base.

Is it clear that this “range of possibilities” applies to more than Argentine tango? That it is a way to have a greater understanding of and empathy for life in general? Things that seem in opposition can both be true to some degree.

Perhaps we can better relate to one another with a different approach. Rather than argue over ambiguous binary labels, let’s see if we can agree on a set of desirable results. Then we can discuss evidence-based means to achieve those results.

What are common values we might want to advocate for when talking about a tango dancer’s stability?

  • The ability to rely on our own stability and power to move, even when to any degree using our partner’s oppositional stability.
  • The ability to clearly feel our partner’s movements. Although this could be through viaual or arm connections alone, it feels nice to include a torso and maybe even a head connection.
  • The ability to extend our possible range of movements via the extended, additive stability of the partnership.

In addition! The desirable range of possibilities is often (mostly?) context-dependent. In apilado or colgada/volcada we give up much of our independent stability (relying on partnership stability). In a molinete figure with sacadas, we likely might have almost totally independent stability.

We invite you to consider burning issues of the day—even non-dance related. Are you able to consider that the “opposition” might contain elements of truth and understanding? Are you able to explore and find common ground? In what context do your considerations apply?

In our Game of Argentine Tango (free to a wide range of people), we often lead explorations of the range of possibilities for movements, looking to find our most useful range for any particular application.

We wish you good connections in dance and in life.

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