War Dances

The following quote is from War Dances (2009) by Sherman Alexie – an American First Nations author. This advice is from his father:

“If you really want a woman to love you, then you have to dance. And if you don’t want to dance, then you’re going to have to work extra hard to make a woman love you forever, and you will always run the risk that she will leave you at any second for a man who knows how to tango.” p. 61

It fascinates and concerns me when I hear that one member of an intimate partnership dances and the other doesn’t. Curious, I always want to pry and ask questions, but, often I barely know the people, so keep my mouth shut. I fear for the safety and future of their relationship. It’s true that I don’t know the nature and purpose of their union and I shouldn’t judge it based on my own ideals and preferences but I have an insatiable curiosity, a desire for understanding, about what makes relationships work – since so many don’t.

Certainly, tangoing together is not a safety net in itself (and sometimes it’s a huge problem!) but at the very least it is a shared activity and a way to connect intimately when either the talking or the sexing isn’t going well. Not dancing together, as Alexie’s father suggests, requires one (or both) to work extra hard at keeping the relationship together. And, damn it, relationships are difficult enough to maintain without adding more barriers to the mix. Relationships are about compromise and co-creation so I always wonder why, if the wife wants to dance, the husband doesn’t get over himself and join her – not because he necessarily wants to – but because he loves her and she wants to, and it’s an activity that requires a partner. I bet she has, or would, make compromises for him in return.

At this point in my tango addiction I don’t think I could be in a relationship with a man who didn’t dance. Tango holds a very big place in my life, and so does my man. I can’t easily separate them – not time-wise and not in my mind or heart – and I don’t want to. Thank goodness I don’t have to choose between them; I don’t think I could.


3 Responses to “War Dances”

  1. Leo O'Neill Says:

    For me the passion of Tango continues not just on the dancefloor, it is foreplay, it is something all the other dances I do cannot compete with, I love to dance all the dances I do but tango is the only dance I feel passionate about. I cannot think of a better way to spend an eve than to have the woman I love and care for in my arms on the dancefloor dancing Tango, yes I will be dancing with other women and yes I will be enjoying every dance I have with them, but it will always lead me back to my to the woman I love.
    I think the quote ” If you want a woman to really love you then you have to dance ” is so true, or I will say in my case it is so, but I will also say it is the case for me as well that the woman dances, and dance well she must, it is the expression on the dancefloor that leads me to the place I want to be once the dancing stops, the anticipation of what will follow is always the next big attraction. Maybe the quote should read ” If you want to be really loved then you need to learn how to dance ”
    Bring on the Milonga and Practicas is all I can say.

  2. Tango…. the smouldering flame.

    Tango not about music feet, legs and body. Dance is about movement and tension. A sensation of connection between two entities suspended in the polar attraction of two lovers.

    The man and woman meet with their eyes and in the silence that exists between them say “So you want to dance. I warn you that if you do prepare to be good because my desire is a large space that needs to be filled.

    Perhaps its agony and ecstasy. A desire to give love and be loved. Each each playing the game of seduction and surrender not really knowing who is seducing and who is surrendering.

    Like the tension between musical notes and the space between them – an interchange between a harmonic value and the space that connects them. Sometimes the notes hang in space and sometimes the notes crowd the space where there is no space at all but only chords.

    An emotion, a desire and a possibility that can only exist in a moment between two connected lovers.

    Tango…. the smouldering flame. It is what keeps us coming back to the dance floor.

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