Take a second to imagine your favorite meal. You could know everything about the food that was used, how it was prepared, the cooking time, and its historical origins. Although all that book knowledge can be enlightening, none of it can substitute the experience of actually eating it.
As we learn tango, it’s also natural to learn about the history of the dance, the music, and the famous tango musicians/orchestras. Tango articles, books, and videos may further inspire us. Studying tango is great, but we don’t need extensive academic expertise on the subject in order to be considered “true” aficionados.
Major kudos, however, if you are able to identify the title, composer, and year of release of every song in the current tanda. And hats off to you if you’re able to name every tango figure by its proper Spanish name.
But don’t feel bad if you can’t.
Let’s enjoy tango on a level that naturally appeals to us, regardless of how much (or little) we know compared to someone else. At the end of the day, the thrill and satisfaction we feel from tango doesn’t happen inside our heads, but out on the dance floor.