We’ve heard many times that tango is passionate. Emotional. It’s definitely emotional in that it feels very good. Blissful, even.
Dancing tango well involves surrendering to emotion, but only to a point. Being “too emotional” makes our dancing undisciplined and sloppy. And instead of working with our partners, we get caught up with ourselves.
The greater the emotion, the greater the need for self-control.
But as it is with emotion, we can also take self-control too far. With too much of it, our dancing becomes stiff and awkward. Every figure becomes mentally evaluated as “right or wrong,” and we feel more like we’re taking an exam when we ought to be having fun.
So it would seem that tango must be approached with balance; a middle ground between passionate emotion and strict control. Although that reasoning makes sense, it’s a mistake to look upon emotion and control as two diametrically opposed ideas. They are not fire and water, hot and cold. They are not like uncooperative pets that constantly threaten to kill each other.
Instead, emotion and control are closely intertwined and dependent upon each other. Tango looks and feels best when we consciously, and simultaneously, apply both with every movement. They form a partnership of their own. And like our physical partnership with another dancer, it is one originally designed not for conflict, but harmony.