Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Tango as a sacramental...

Another "off-beat" Theology of the Body teaching moment: 
I love to tango.
As a single Catholic woman, this isn't always easy. Argentine tango can be danced close -- very close. Its intimacy and passion can sweep me into the romantic ozone layer, obscuring any sense of reality. It lures me into wanting more -- more intimacy, more connectedness, more transcendence.
So why do I tango? Because Argentine tango conceals many profound spiritual lessons. Our relationship with God is meant to be one of intimacy and passion. So it is with tango. In the spiritual life, God leads and we follow. So it is in tango. In the Eucharist, God gives Himself away to us. The same should be true in tango. Argentine tango takes the abstract concepts of our faith and makes them concrete. Let me explain.
For years, I begged God to send me a nice, Catholic tango partner. When this didn't happen, I finally realized the virtue of dancing with different men -- it forced me to become a good follower.
...Another reason tango has been good for my Catholic faith, and it has to do with Pope John Paul II's theology of the body. The pope's fundamental premise is that the body reveals God. When we look at male and female, the very structure of the body tells us that it's made for union. Male and male aren't made for nuptial union. Female and female aren't made for nuptial union. Only male and female are made for nuptial union.
How could this possibly apply to tango? Danced in all its beauty and artistry, Argentine tango expresses the theology of the body: The man gives himself away to the woman, the woman gives herself away to the man, and suddenly the two are no longer dancing as two but as one. Right before our eyes we see union and communion, two and one, giving and receiving. The man and woman are a visible sign of the self-giving union between Christ and the Church.
Despite the many times I've been tempted to throw in the tango towel, this is why I continue: Tango is not just a dance, it's sacramental. - Katrina Zeno for Inside Catholic
Wow!  I think this woman is totally serious! 
I'm not a prude, but a little consideration ought to be given to the occasion of sin such intimacies may open one to, as the woman stated, "Its intimacy and passion can sweep me into the romantic ozone layer, obscuring any sense of reality. It lures me into wanting more -- more intimacy, more connectedness, more transcendence."  Such drama.  One ought to give some consideration to what the saints have said regarding simple folk dancing:
" Is there any place, any time, any occasion wherein so many sins of impurity are committed at the dancehalls and their sequels? Is it not in these gatherings that people are most violently prompted against the holy virtue of purity? Where else but there are the senses so strongly urged towards pleasurable excitement? If we go a little more closely into this, should we not almost die of horror at the sight of so many crimes which are committed? Is it not at these gatherings that the Devil so furiously kindles the fire of impurity in the hearts of the young people in order to annihilate in them the grace of Baptism? Is it not there that Hell enslaves as many souls as it wishes? If, in spite of the absence of occasions and the aids of prayer, a Christian has so much difficulty in preserving purity of heart, how could he possibly preserve that virtue in the midst of so many sources which are capable of breaking it down?" - St. John Vianney
High kicks and twirls with the woman's crotch on a man's lap strikes me as a little risque.  Reminds me of a fun disco number however...

Ooooh I, I love the nightlife
I love to tango
I got to boogie
Please don't talk about love tonight
Please don't talk about sweet love
Please don't talk about being true
And all the trouble we've been through
Ah, please don't talk about all of the plans
We had for fixin' this broken romance
I want to go where the people dance
I want some action
I want to live
Action, I got so much to give
I want to give it
I want to get some too  - Listen.
That is just TOB bullshit honey.


  1. What was she smoking when she said that?!

  2. I don't know what she was smoking - I know what she might have said while she was smoking though:

    "That was good for me, was it good for you?"

  3. Anonymous1:03 PM

    This confirms the concerns that Alice von Hildebrand voiced about the dangers of concupiscence that seem to saturate the TOB teachings.

    What wife wants this woman doing the tango with her husband?

  4. Anonymous2:31 PM

    "That is just TOB bullshit honey."


  5. While tango was one of the dances I did (along with waltz, in order to win my United States Championship, it was not the Argentine tango.

    Witnessing the problems I had teaching diaphragm contact to my students, I can't imagine doing a flick between their legs. Eeeek!

    And I can't remember a ballroom teacher ever thinking of dancing as a sacramental. Is this woman insane?

  6. Terry - you're response was too hilarious!

    Can you fake a tango?

  7. I enjoy watching DWTS every Mon. & Tues. nights but I don't see any sacramental moves in any of their dances. Argentinian Tango is like a slow acrobatic lambada.

  8. Adrienne - I thought of you at Mass tonight and wondered what your reaction would be - I am so glad you think this is nuts too.

  9. Anonymous9:17 PM


    Unfortunately, the poor girl has reached a logical conclusion--believe it or not--based on Westian pop theology. Nothing surprises me that comes out of that camp.

    BTW: a different assessment.

  10. You thought of me at Mass??? Isn't there a sin buried in there somewhere?

    P.S. I thought about pizza...

  11. michael r.6:46 AM

    LOL! My first reaction was that it will be ok for me to watch Dancing With The Stars ... aka Theology of the Body. I see that one of your other commentors has mentioned DWTS.

  12. Austringer10:52 AM


    You continue to amaze were a championship dancer? What other brilliant and fascinating adventures have you had when not weeding the daylily beds??

    One line really snagged my attention: "I finally realized the virtue of dancing with different men -- it forced me to become a good follower".

    Another line: "In the Eucharist, God gives Himself away to us. The same should be true in tango."

    Soooo....why wouldn't having sex with many men also teach women to become good followers of God -- after all, wouldn't sex be more illustrative of the Eucharist than the tango, given the logic of her theology?

    What about that whole thing, you know, about giving oneself to ONE person?

    Where's the role for chastity in this TOB wierdness?

  13. Thanks for linking to the post, Terry. I really thought it was a joke at first. It looks like Fr. Rutler and Fr. Angelo Geiger agree with you (us) on the interpretations of TOB going overboard.

  14. I second SF's comment about Alice von Hildebrand and TOB.
    She was on EWTN last week and emphasized how "reverence" towards ourselves and others is a lost virtue but is so essential in understanding our dignity and the dignity of others.
    That is so beautiful...and if one studies JPII's original texts of his talks on the TOB, it is absolutely a correct attitude.
    I don't think so.

  15. Good Lord. What nonsense. What the heck is wrong with the TOBers? They'll swallow anything.

  16. Saludos!

    Just to let you know that DWTS has nothing to do with the real Argentine social tango--what you see on TV and the stage is all choreographed and is more like "ballroom."

    The real deal is not choreographed, and there are no "flicks between the legs." Tango as it's danced socially here in Argentina is improvised and is all about connection, the music, the embrace, elegance, and sensuality--NOT sex.

    That said, it is absolutely correct that it can be a path to the "infinite." When everything comes together in a tango it is very spiritual.

    I'm a dancer and tango teacher in Buenos Aires, and my personal memoir is titled, The Church of Tango.

  17. Austringer9:29 AM

    "Tango as it's danced socially here in Argentina is improvised and is all about connection, the music, the embrace, elegance, and sensuality--NOT sex."

    Ummm....doesn't sex have a helluva lot to do with "connection, the embrace, sensuality"? C'mon now -- let's not pretend the two are not intimately related.

    As for the other two mentioned in that line -- music and elegance -- those would seem to be less served by improvisation than by choreography, though I will admit that is merely my impression and is not based on experience.

  18. +JMJ+

    Has anyone tipped Steve Kellmeyer to this article yet?

  19. Feminists hate the tango. One must lead and it's the man. Oh, yeah, and it's HOT! Smokin' hot! Seriously, I feel like smoking after...not like I've ever done that but if I had ya see....

  20. Austringer,

    "Connection" can lead to sex, but it can also lead to awareness, friendship, appreciation of music, etc. It really is relative and anyone can find a loophole when talking about these things.

    Cherie is just saying that the goal of serious social Tango dancers isn't necessarily sex, but to create sensuality (a praise of the bodily senses) in relation to the music and your partner.

    Yeah? :)

  21. Austringer2:30 PM

    Tango Notebook,

    I never claimed that the goal of social Tango dancers was sex, so let's dispense with that straw-man. What I am responding to is the initial piece that Terry posted, wherein a devotee of Tango finds something "sacramental" in the dance. Sorry, but that's a claim that just doesn't hold up to much scrutiny.

  22. +JMJ+

    I agree with Austringer.

    Not every personally transcendent experience is also automatically "sacramental."

    The author of the original article is making the tango out to be more than it actually is.


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