2015-07-16 Tango fusion dance

Yesterday was tango summerdance at fælledparken, – the last summerdance-tango there this year. This is one of my favourite places to dance, – it is under open sky, and there is very relaxed atmosphere, and a mixed crowd.

The tasting of other dances has infected my tango, so sometimes it becomes more of a fusion dance. Of course it all depends on the partner, – if she is open / invites for playful fusion with elements from other dances, I have a tendency to include it. If I feel that she is more traditional, or the atmosphere is more for calm tango I stick with a traditional dance. Elements that I am aware of that sometimes jumps into the dance, when I now stop to think about it, are:

  • Swing/salsa turns and extra open embrace. It is possible to keep the tango connection through various turns of the partner, so the music and movement of the feets still can be lead. This adds a very open position to the repertoire, and many moves with turns, and using arms in another way.
  • Kizomba hips are also a fun element to play with, – sometimes you can lead the hips in the dance separately from the legs and rest of the body. Recently I have even heard Kizomba music in alternative tandas, and then it is too tempting to add elements of this dance into the tango. The easiest is leading the hips from side to side, which I have often seen some other dancers use in the dance, but it can also be in circles, perpendicular, or even “ochos” inspired by belly dancing.
  • Tango nuevo inverted position, ie. the follower is dancing with the back to the leader, both facing the same direction. And other elements from tango nuevo too.
  • Contango is a common fusion between Contact Improvisation and Tango. It is a lot more free, and you move the contact point more around each others bodies while dancing. The roles of lead/following are also more blurred, and you might even end up in the air, or down on the floor, – though at normal milongas I try to stay on my feet.
  • Alternative embraces, or playing with the embrace is also an element. The connection can move around, from having intensely intertwined bodies, to dancing without hands or even without physical contact. When the lead comes from the centre you can almost freely play with the embrace.
  • Queertango has the elements of playing with the roles, – you can mix whom is leading, and even come to the point where both are leading and following at the same time, and the dance truly becomes a dialogue.
  • Musical footwork, emphasising different rhythmical elements with the feet, separately, ie. taking triple/double steps in between while the follower is walking normally, or have the follower use the rhythm and take more steps while you are more calm.
  • The tölt of the icelandic horse. If you go totally crazy with rhythmical element, you might even go polyrhythmical and have the couple tölt’ing like an icelandic horse. This is total decoupling of you own leg movements from your partner, while keeping the tango-connection. Ie. you and your partner actually steps on different half-beats while still dancing together to the music. This can both feel super awesome and very odd.

This also adds another aspect of playing with the music, as you can use different fusion elements to emphasise different sections of the song etc. So it is just an extension of the tango repertoire.

The most important thing to remember when experimenting with tango at a milonga, is to have a strong focus on the flow of the dance floor. With a good flow, there are several dance lanes, all moving consistently forward, and the more unpredictable dancers, and those without floorcraft, end up mostly in the middle of the floor. When dancing tango I refer being in the outer lane, as that is usually the most relaxed place, but the more fusion-like elements that comes into the dance, the more I consciously drift towards the inner lanes where the flow is more messy, so it does not disturb other dancers too much.

Do not try this at home a milonga, unless you feel that your partner also want this, and it will not disturb the other dancers too much. Do try this at home 🙂