Recently in a conversation with a lady about musicality I described one quality that more mature leaders look for in followers. I described it as “I’d like her to follow me even if I was heading to an abyss”.
This vision originates from one of the most remarkable things I witnessed in the dance floors in Buenos Aires. Individuality and musicality are very tied and it was an amazing sight to witness dancers that had a distinctive, unique and coherent musicality. Don’t get me wrong, anyone can have a very distinct and unique way of moving. All beginners do in fact. But in order for it to make sense and present itself as artful event it needs to be rooted on solid musical grounds and make sense as a whole.
A dancer’s musicality needs to be built and nourished with creative elements upon solid building blocks. It is the life long arduous work of a creative dancer to constantly keep tuning these elements. Some times a re-thinking of some groundwork is in place, to revisit what we learned in our first classes. Other times we strive for refining tiny details that for some reason we believe are deeply important.
All these changes will reflect itself on fundamental approaches to the whole dance. Changes in the groundwork of our musicality building may change a milonga approach radically. We may shift from a more straightforward stepping on most beats to a seemingly less comprehensible way of moving like emphasizing instruments or global mood of the song. Higher level tweaking manifest themselves in how one swings rhythmically just like a jazz musician swings through a melody. As one matures these things keep driving us towards a higher understanding of the dance and music.
Now, how to bring this back to the milonga dance floor? Nothing makes sense except in the light of our connection to our lady. One can go about doing what one wants somehow disregarding our partner. Apparently that is fine for a lot of people but that is another post altogether. So we must adapt, concede and encourage musicality. Throughout our life on the dance floor we will find women that are at different stages of musicality. Reactions will range from pleased (and sometimes impressed!) to downright disconcerted when presented with less
fashionable common approaches as far as musicality goes. As one grows as a dancer, it is part of our developing social interaction repertoire to be able to handle and cope with this diversity. It is also very important to remain humble and understand that we are simply exposing someone to our current state of development.
On some glorious days we will find a lady that understands us and appreciates it. A thrilling experience I cannot emphasize enough! These tandas will make all of our efforts and musical growth seem worthwhile and provide stamina for subsequent pursuits in this elusive goal. On most days, we will not. And that’s when we want the lady to follow us to an abyss. Because this involves ignoring their pre-conceived ideas of musicality and take a leap of faith into someone else’s world.
These abyss goers don’t understand it yet but they are performing a much harder task than the more musicality mature ladies. They are shutting off their clinical brains and just dancing. Just dancing. Blissful dancing.