Beauty and Structure

Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to comment on my previous post on the compás. Martin Wilkinson offered a further example of this:  Ricardo Vidort and Liz Haight, dancing again to Canaro’s Poema.

I have heard people who have considered moving to tango from other dances, or perhaps started to learn and become discouraged, state that for them Argentine tango is too full of rules and restrictions. This seems to me like saying that it isn’t worth learning to write well because there are too many rules of grammar and spelling.

Looking at these three videos I am reminded again that one of the joys, and strengths, of tango is that it can embrace such an enormous range of interpretations of a single piece of music. Every interpretation may have its exponents and detractors, but these examples show that for the best dancers the seemingly strict structure of tango in itself forms the basis for a sensitive expression of a beautiful piece of music.

In any form of creative or interpretative art there can be no beauty without structure?

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~ by magickwords on Sunday, 29 July 2012.

5 Responses to “Beauty and Structure”

  1. I have heard people … state that for them Argentine tango is too full of rules and restrictions. This seems to me like saying that it isn’t worth learning to write well because there are too many rules of grammar…

    I suggest more like saying it isn’t worth learning to walk because there are too many rules of mechanics. The rules aren’t for people who do it – they are for people who think about it.

    • Interesting comment, except that to me the comparison you’re making is not valid. You cannot write well without knowing something of the rules of grammar, whereas you can walk without knowing anything about the mechanics of motion.

      And you seem to assume that there is necessarily a distinction between people who perform some kind of creative or interpretative act, and those who think about it. Why should you believe that the two are mutually exclusive? This makes no sense to me.

      There are times when I dance, or write, and times away from the dance floor or my notebook when I think about ways to improve my dancing or writing. My life away from the dance itself is not some tango-free void in which I give no consideration to the dance, the music, its history or its culture.

      Maybe all these things are of no interest to you. That’s a pity; for me they enrich my tango experience.

      We must do AND we must think.

  2. Magickwords: I have heard people who have considered moving to tango from other dances, or perhaps started to learn and become discouraged, state that for them Argentine tango is too full of rules and restrictions.

    Interesting observation and follow-on comments. However, I would be first curious to know whether the people in question went on to be a bit more explicit in describing the “rules and restrictions” that they found so offputting and/or discouraging.

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