There is a thing in tango I've been looking a while for the right way to put it. Recently I finally found it: bliss. Tango bliss.
When I brought it up at milonga chitchats, someone picked a suspicious physiology term - tango trance. Someone chose a religion-related word - tango nirvana, a zen-like state. Or tango heaven. Someone described it in R-rated adult language - tango orgasm. A friend told it in plain English "It feels so good that I want a cigarette so badly, but I don't even smoke my entire life, and I never will!"
Whatever you like to call it is totally up to you. I find tango bliss works for me because the term "bliss" seems beautiful, spiritual yet not too much tickling my nerves. Those who pretty much build your life around tango, you know we are basically talking about the same thing - where you feel instant connection and intense chemistry to your partner, the music and the floor, where you lose the conscious thought about all surroundings, where you feel everything has became truly effortless.
At first I thought it was all about a crush - I clung onto my first tango partner for certain period of time. I once fell for my tango date. But till I started enjoy going to milonga out of pleasure rather than duty. Till I had my first "perfect" tanda out of the blue with some visitor from the other side of the planet, whom I was not even physically attracted to. I came to my senses it is more than just some intimate fantasy about a particular someone.
Then I thought it was all about an obsession - every once in a while a "tango shot" is demanded to fix my desparate craving for dancing tango. But till I was forced to take some time off due to certain life crisis. Till I returned with renewed energy and revived passion, I found myself had the power to resist the strong impulse yet still came across those beautiful moments. I realized it is more than just some emotional attachment.
Then I thought it was all about the hormone - dopamine (aka the love drug) or oxytocin (aka the cuddle drug). These free chemical released in our brains does encourage sorta warm and fuzzy feeling that we've bonded with our parter (usually not romantic partner), even if just taking a short excursion into Latin love. But till I learned it was the pleasure 3-minute of hugging and touching, listening and responding, trust and being trusted that produce the hormone. Just like eating chocolate-covered strawberries is very likely to make you feel loved. Not the other way around.
It is about feeling just right. It has nothing to do with monopolizing the dancer who help you get a grip of the sheer joy, or infatuating with the intimacy-with-clothes-on delusional romantic couple image.
Fortunately enough, I've "been there" a few times given the short period of time I've been dancing tango. Even better, it has came in all shapes and forms.
It happened when you danced your heart out as your way of saying goodbye, you thought it might be your last tango before unwillingly leaving a place you called home without knowing if you could possibly return in one piece any time soon.
It happened when two light-hearted goofed around on concrete ground in the street after midnight with total ignorance of drunk people passing by.
It happened when two social acquaintances opened up to completely give and receive, to playfully challenge each other tossing an invisible ball back and forth as playing a never-ending game.
It happened when a general impression of softness was made in a nanospeed between two complete strangers when settling in each other's arms, that it felt so safe that your eyes were closed and breaths were in sync, that he was almost incorporeal, that the last drop of music seemed echoing even if it already ended, that you forgot that was just a practica.
This whole magical connection thing in tango just like tango the dance itself - it's not institutional. It cannot be taught, cannot be sought, and cannot be chased. No one is entitled to that blissful moment every time he or she is on the dance floor - even with the same partner, dance to the same song, wearing the same shoes and same outfit, at the same venue. Nothing is a guarantor to seize that beautiful feeling.
Just like happiness over the course of life are merely some isolated moments, which you probably have the fateful urge of trying to make permanent, but the only thing never changes is things always change on a dime. In fact the harder you try, the more unlikely you will find it.
"Tango is a path not a goal” (quoted a friend). Even if one cannot really create conditions to make tango bliss happen, certainly can cultivate the circumstances to let it happen. You are not responsible for your partner's technique level, but you are for keep on improving your own. You cannot demand your partner to be fully present with you, but you can initiate and offer that for him or her to receive the signal. You cannot read the other person's mind how he or she interpret the music, but you can communicate through your touch, your breath, your frame, your handhold, your footwork, even where you look, whether you smile or frown.
How to obtain said bliss seems an all-time favorite debate subject on dance forums. I don't intend to untwist those unnecessary man-made turmoils or pretend I know how, but just like the cliché says "best things happen when you least expect it", besides what one can possibly do on his or her own, finding the delicate balance between being hopeful and setting reasonable expectation seems the entryway to allow the unknown to be wonderful.
I know it's always easier said than done. Well if not because the other day I experienced extreme frustration at a milonga I "tried" to have a good time, I probably could not have came to this much self-awareness. ;) We are all learning something new every day.