Updated 11/07/01

El Firulete 
The Argentine Tango Magazine 
August 2001


About loving Respect

Intelligence, oral articulation and morality are what set humans apart from animals. That and the fact that animals can't dance Tango - I know what you are thinking, but I said "can't" even if it seems that some try. Certain animals can even exert themselves continuously, vigorously and at times obtrusively to gain an end. Such as a pussy cat that insists on being stroked when it wants to, but gives you a spine chilling hiss when it doesn't.

But no animal can match humans's propensity to devote or surrender themselves to something habitually or obsessively, victims of a compulsive physiological need for a habit-forming substance. Animals don't drink, smoke or do drugs. Even sex is mostly a reproductive instinct for them, devoid of the recreational pleasure that humans can enjoy.

Tango seems to act upon some people in the same way that habit-forming substances do. As Tango dancers go, I  hereby confess: I am a Tango addict. I get a high every time I see or hear the subject matter of my addiction on radio, TV or in print. I belong to a global community of Tango addicts. Most are passionate, socially friendly, all inclusive, color blind and non judgmental because we all embrace the essential tenet of the Tango, which is the ultimate connection between two human beings celebrating the joy of being able to dance. We call each other by our first names.

On the benevolent side of our madness, we welcome and recognize any and all Tango dancers no matter who they are or where they come from. We share our obsession with passion, respect, tolerance and consideration for each individual's right to choose where to dance, how to dance, and whom they partner regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

There is a dark side though, because many, who desperately seek the weekly fix of Tango dancing, risk becoming pushovers for undesirably noticeable or showy hosts and organizers who lacking social manners, play uninspired and mediocre music, and pass judgements with a religious zeal. These tend to be the hosts of choice for some "star teachers" who ameliorate their contempt for the addicts with obscene increases of their private class fees. There might be a correlation between how much of a pushover someone becomes by the skyrocketing amount of money they pay for a private lesson. Three figures seem to be the point when someone might be certified as pathetic without hope.

But what is great about the habit-forming effects of Tango dancing, is that it is actually therapeutic. It softens the heart. It stimulates circulation of the blood. It strokes the soul in preparation for eternal bliss. It exercises the heart with unsolicited acts of love and kindness. Yet, there are times when the going gets tough, and those who resort to slanderous lies, shabby calumny and deceitful business practices in order to exert undue influence in promoting their own agenda can be very harmful.
Fortunately, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom, is that we don't have to lick the hand that slaps us. We are afforded the moral fortitude, the use of our intelligence, and the power to decide how far our individual and communal self-respect and self-esteem must take a back seat to lunatic discourses, fanatical ranting and offensive behavior. It's our choice to walk away and seek people and places where our surrendering to the blissful obsession of the Tango is framed within the context of a loving respect for the music, the dance, the dancers and ourselves.

Alberto Paz
Copyright (c) 2001, Planet Tango. All Rights Reserved

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