We enter this world alone.  We leave it pretty much the same way.

But in between, there is a dance of life that we call the Tango.

Art is an extension of life, and the Tango was originated by the low Argentinean social classes in the late nineteenth century.  Contrary to other highbrow artistic genres, the Tango was created by the poor people in the most unlikeliest places where true art could be derived: those with nothing to live for except a sense of culture and a small taste for life’s sensuality.




No single work of art is so replete with all the joy, sorrow, longing, sexuality, violence, and tragedy of the human race, as is a Tango danced between a man and a woman.  It is labyrinthine, yet so simple that there is a purity amidst all its complexities.  Let it go deep into your veins until it arrives at your heart.  Some music exists to heal our wounds, but the Tango exists to open them.  The more one searches for the meaning behind its mystery, the more it becomes elusive.

We dance Tango because we have secrets.




Those I’ve known who were held in its power, want to shape their whole lives around it, its cadences, its sweat, its subtle messages and surging desires.  They say the tango changes you forever.  Never will you feel so intensely in love.  Never will you feel so intensely alive.




I tried learning the dance in Paris back in the 80’s, and never really made it past the first lessons.  My analytical mind wanted to learn the steps, but the teacher would have none of that.  She told us that the Tango is like writing a letter.  It has a beginning, periods, commas, stops, and an end.  You don’t begin in the middle.  First, you must learn the walk.  All couples use the walk, and they use it constantly.  The Tango is on the ground, it is caressing the floor.  It is the ball of the foot supporting the weight of the body, right on the axis.  The teacher did not teach steps, she made us learn the walk.  She singled me out and pointed to the ball of my foot, stressing my axis: “No.  Look.  You must walk.  First walk.”

Tired of walking in circles and getting barked at, so ended my last Tango in Paris.




But I never gave up my fascination for the dance.  And for me, the music is absolutely essential, absolutely impossible to separate from the dance itself.  The special intricacies and interplay within the music itself is the whole lifeblood of the dance. You are not just using the music as a background to your movement, or a structure to embellish on.  You are responding to the music, becoming involved in the music, making choices every second about which parts of the music you wish to highlight or play down or even rebel against.  Your feet, your heart, the movement of your body, becomes an instrument.

Lara Fabian, arguably the greatest singer on the planet, treats us to her stunningly magnificent Tango.  This is how it’s done, folks.  She doesn’t need fireworks and pyrotechnics.  Just a chair.  Then she turns her back to the audience and delivers a “wow” performance.  The song is performed in her native French, but don’t let that chase you off.  Its about a feeling, not words.  I’ve created this video and posted it to the Atomic Flower Youtube channel specifically for this blog.  Enjoy it.  Let the music of Tango flow through your veins until it finds your heart.  Let it open your wounds.

But if words are still wanted, I’ve included a translation below.



TANGO by Lara Fabian

But what am I doing here
I sink into your depths
What time is it and what flame is drowning me
Is it dark or dawn, I don’t know
My skin sticks to the red of your blood
And flows towards me
I dance and I fight

And I coil my ankles around you
My legs fold themselves
I circle your hips
Your revenge is played against me
I pray in vain but you laugh
A thirst satiated
I dance or I fight
I don’t know, I don’t know

Tango, my love
You’re hurting me and my fate
A possession devours me
When my body writhes
Tango, my love
Animal or matador
One of us is the strongest
When my body writhes

But the doubt settles
I feel like I’m on the run
Life pushes me into the dance
My body pushes you away
Your movements remind me that you are not with me
The authority that I owe you
I dance and I fight
But how to say to what, to whom I belong
When belonging to you is the challenge
And if I told you that there was someone else
I dance and you fight
I dance and you fight

Tango, my love
You’re hurting me and my fate
A possession devours me
When my body writhes
Tango, my love
Animal or matador
One of us is the strongest
When my body writhes

Tango, my body
Does not belong to you anymore
And if my soul leaves it
My body, it writhes


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