The Wholistic Dancing

(or Tango From The Center) 

By Jean-Pierre Sighé



Many great publications have been very educational about the indelible relationship between the physical, the psychic and the emotional bodies. It is a truism nowadays, to assert that anything affecting one of the three bodies will have a reverberating effect on the two others. I will simply echo Hermes Trismegistus (from Ancient Egypt) who, referring to the relationship between the visible and invisible planes, stated: “As above, so below. All things move from within as from without ...”.

Dancing is a powerful tool that allows an instant communication and awareness of our three bodies. Jelaluddin Rumi (13th century)”, a great thinker, stated:

Dance, when you're broken open.

Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of the fighting.

Dance in your blood.

Dance, when you're perfectly free.


Of all the many dances enjoyed by people around the world, I cannot think of any one with as much powerful and immediate impact on the three bodies as Tango. The precise element that permits such impact is probably a combination of several things. The embrace, the music and the moves, all certainly have something to do with it. However, the most determining factor is: the Connection. Connection in its function of bringing the dancing partners in synchronization and ascertaining a certain degree of harmony; but also Connection in allowing the individual to find his/ her personal space and balance. In either case, the Connection factor takes the dancers to a place of a rejuvenation, a place where it feels right and good to be, a place where the sense of freedom is experienced, a place that can be called, the Center.

From the Center, the mind confidently, delves into its infinite prerogatives and brings to the forefront, a host of possibilities. Perfect vehicle between the physical, psychic and emotional bodies, the mind allows the dancer to instantly BE in the three bodies simultaneously. Thinking and Acting upon, become integrated in one reality. It could lead to a total state of trance. The integration will remain such until the dancer, consciously or unconsciously breaks the fluidic wave. Too much of an analytical exercise for instance, would cause the interruption of the integrated state.

The mind is itself stimulated by the vibrations of the rhythm or the music in general. I would distinguish between the general influence of the music and the effect produced by the rhythm per se.  A piece of music is comparable to a nice dish, whereas the rhythm would be the spices in it. One has to go deeper to actually appreciate the dish as the awareness to the spices is stimulated. The more we let the different spices “come” to us, the more we appreciate the dish and ultimately, the act of eating itself. The same way, the dancer who senses the rhythm and becomes the rhythm, expresses many variations and combinations that the rhythm listened to, suggests. The natural “call-response” sets in; the dancer and the music become one; the dancer is emotionally “high”; the dancer becomes a vibratory psychic being, physically “possessed” and moves with many unpredicted or unrehearsed steps, thus with no doubt, improvising.


In Tango, the aforementioned state is made easier to experience with the code or protocol of silence. Experienced Tango dancers almost never talk when they dance. They will talk after the song or after the piece ends. It is easy to see why dancing in silence adds to the pleasure. One is not distracted and can therefore go deeper into the rhythmic structure to embrace the heart of the piece danced to. One can therefore remain connected to the Center, from this place where everything is adequately sensed. The vibrations from the partner are understood. The partner’s response to the rhythmic “call” is either duplicated or completed with another response. Both partners thus become immersed into this very special wave where the thought and the move are one. I would add that the relationship experienced by both partners while dancing is very similar to the one the musician is having with his / her instrument. As the dancer finds the Center and remains connected to it, so does the musician who will let the mind delve into the place where the emotion, the rhythm and the psychic projection are all possible in a continuous Present.


Learning Tango requires a certain discipline, as any Tango dancer would confirm. From the first encounter with it, the dancer clearly senses that certain attributes that are not just physical will be mustered, in order to become a Tango dancer. In certain Tango moves, no amount of physical drilling would help the dancer express the dance fully. It would take a moment of a quiet visualization to reach the point where the execution is easier and natural. Consequently, a good Tango teaching environment should recognize that necessity and encourage the dancer toward a more wholistic approach where the conceptual element of a move is understood. It is absolutely futile to try to learn Tango with a bunch of patterns. These patterns might be “fun” for a while, but they will undoubtedly shut tight the door to the inner connection to the Center from which the dance must proceed.


The simple exercise of WALKING and being AWARE of its process will do far more in learning Tango than any sophisticated pattern anyone could come up with. That’s an area of a major difference in the learning or teaching technique. It implies some fundamental things such as the control of balance and the creation of the space, upon which a truly enjoyable Tango journey can be rooted.


To dance from the heart, to move with the spirit and to step in all awareness... that’s the ideal a Tango dancer should always be mindful of. Then, the “place of gathering” would reveal its true meaning.



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