Where’s the Magic?

Tango Tia: I’ve danced tango almost a year and have yet to experience any kind of  “magic” that people rave about. Between deciding what to lead, keeping track of which foot my partner is on, listening to the music  and watching the traffic, there’s no time to “feel” anything. Is “tango magic” real and if so, how can I make it happen? Where’s the Magic?

Dear Where’s: Ah, yes…The Magic…Anyone who has experienced it will tell you it’s like no other feeling on this or any other planet. (We’ll take their word on that.) Tango Magic cannot be “made” to happen. It might occur with someone you’ve danced with for the first or hundredth time provided certain things are in alignment: music, partner, mood, X factors. It may last a second, a song, a set, or somewhere between. Beware: it is neither stable or reliable. You might dance with the same partner dozens of times and pffft, nothing. Then…out of the blue…bliss! Your feelings about tango will change considerably once you have felt it and you will never again question its existence. In fact, you may one day find yourself trying to describe it to someone who asks the same question.


  1. Bill Swan says

    Magic Tangos

    Mythology says there is something called a “magic tango.” Everything works better than real life. Good enough to make you weep with joy just to remember it. Taking the embrace feels balanced and special. From the first steps your movements are matched. You cannot hold back early, even though you know you should start with walking, the cross, and back ochos. The music is perfect. The partner is thrilling. Navigation works. Choreography flows. Steps are invented on the fly. The follow seems to know what the lead is going to do before he does. The lead seems to know what the music is going to do before it does. Pauses are perfect. Pivots are right on axis. Turns flow. Colgadas balance. Steps are longer, stronger, softer, and more delicate when they need to be long, strong, soft, and delicate. You almost feel dizzy. “It as a close to flying as I’ve ever been.” “It’s like falling in love.” It’s accurate, precious, sensual, sweeping, and sweet. In short, you cannot describe it.

    Magic tangos are rare. One a year is good. I suspect they don’t happen to the same degree for advanced dancers. They have to take you by surprise. They also are more likely with new partners, and possibly less likely with long-time lovers who are partners. Tango is about unrequited love. Love that is fully and regularly requited does not have the same edge. The risk of make-believe helps.

    Never mind about rarity. Psychologists tell us strong, infrequent rewards are more addictive than common ones. And you get a taste of the “magic tango” feeling every time a string of steps “just flows right.” The magic tango just continues that string longer and longer. And every step longer makes it all the more improbable, and all the more magic. So you know it exists. And it may happen. Any time. Any night.

  2. Carson says

    Not that I’ve ever had that blissful feeling of the “Magic” while dancing, but I liken it too that one perfect golf shot that an amateur will make maybe once out of a thousand tries, but it is that one perfect shot that keeps you coming back for more. If not to keep playing, or dancing, for the exercise, but just to try and feel while reliving that perfect golf shot just once again. That one “Magic” shot, or dance, is why we try to improve and enjoy what we are doing, if not for the moment, then for that feeling once again.
    Carson, GG

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