El Queer Tango Salón. Debate: ¿Qué entendemos por erótico, intimidad e intercambio en el tango queer?/ The Queer Tango Salon. Debate. What do we mean when we speak about intimacy, eroticism and intercambio in queer tango?

I thought the Queer Tango Salon was a wonderful to trigger debates and reflect on what queer tango is and more importantly dancing tango queer may mean, personally and socially. What follows is the result of an activity that we carried out during the event with Olaya Aramo with the organizers’ generous permission and the consent and enthusiastic participation of other attendants. Please read, think, comment and most importantly keep dancing!

Miguel Kanai
El Queer Tango Salón fue, en mi parecer, una oportunidad maravillosa para disparar debates y reflexionar a cerca de lo que es el tango queer, más importante aún de lo que significa bairlar el tango queer, a nivel personal y social. A continuación les presentamos los resultados de una actividad que realizamos con Olaya Aramo, con el generoso permiso de los organizadores y la entusiasta participación de otr@s que vinieron al evento. Por favor lean, vean lo que piensan, comenten y sobre todo sigan bailando!

Miguel Kanai
Una de las controversias que se han repetido a lo largo de este primer Queer Tango Salon giró en torno a si existe una diferencia entre el tango heterosexista y el tango queer. Glosando estas diferencias, se llegó a la conclusión de que, en un aspecto puramente formal, la gran diferencia es la existencia del intercambio en el tango queer. Aunque esta diferencia no se considera universal, puesto que hay bailarins de tango queer que no lo practican, pone de manifiesto otras posibles diferencias más profundas, a un nivel no puramente formal. Podrían existir diferencias entre la manera de entender la sensualidad, la intimidad y el erotismo por parte de quienes bailan tango queer y tango tradicional.

A lo largo del Queer Tango Salon y en conversaciones anteriores observamos que se producen grandes debates cuando se trae a colación lo erótico y el deseo en el tango queer, al contrario que en los contextos heterosexistas del tango, donde estos conceptos, aunque problemáticos, parecen formar parte de los tópicos tradicionales sobre el baile del tango. En el contexto del tango queer, por el contrario, parece que se desconfiara de ellos, o, en otra línea, parece que desde un punto de vista externo a veces se niegue que el tango queer sea, como el tango heterosexista, un baile marcado por el erotismo y la sensualidad.

Por todo ello, decidimos preguntar a las personas asistentes qué entienden por erótico, por intimidad en el baile y por intercambio, para poder comprender los diferentes acercamientos personales a estos conceptos y mejor valorar en qué se distinguen las posturas.

A continuación aparece la transcripción de las definiciones de “intercambio”, “intimidad” y “erótico” en el tango queer elaboradas por las personas que participaron de este debate en el Queer Tango Salon, a quienes se invitó a que tomaran unas notas para que pudiéramos sistematizar el debate y recoger las opiniones de tods, ante lo limitado del tiempo disponible.

Como conclusiones preliminares, podemos observar en las opiniones reflejadas por la concurrencia una variedad de planteamientos y posicionamientos. Para algunas personas el tango queer es erótico y para otras no. Normalmente para las que no, lo “erótico” tiene un componente de excitación sexual, mientras que para las que sí, parece acercarse más al sentido de la “intimidad” y la conexión. Muchas personas parecieron expresar que lo erótico y/o la intimidad en el tango queer está para ellas relacionada con una experiencia específicamente queer en el tango. En cuanto al “intercambio”, también hay opiniones diferentes, habiendo quienes prefieren no practicarlo, pero entre quienes sí lo practican parece haber un acuerdo generalizado en que el atractivo del intercambio reside en que ocurra con naturalidad y en un contexto de intimidad y conexión. En este último caso, el intercambio parecería estar directamente relacionado con una intimidad/erotismo propio del tango queer.

Olaya Aramo
One of the recurrent controversies at the first edition of the Queer Tango Salon pivoted on the difference that may exist between heterosexist and queer tango. An analysis of such differences concluded that, in a purely formal aspect, the major difference is the ‘intercambio’ present in queer tango. Even though this is not a universal difference, since some queer tango dancers do not practice it, the intercambio brings to the fore other, deeper, difference that may exist beyond the formal aspects of the dance. There could be differences in the way that sensuality, intimacy and eroticism are understood by those who dance tango queer and traditionally.

Throughout the QTS and in previous conversations we notices that mentioning the erotic and desire in queer tango brings about controversy, which differs from heterosexists texts on tango, in which such concepts, even if problematic, seem to be part of the tango’s traditional canon. In the context of queer tango, some reluctance would seem to exist vis-à-vis this notion, or it sometimes appears as if queer tango is denied, by an external gaze, of the eroticism and the sensuality that characterize heterosexist tango.

Therefore, we decided to ask the audience for their views on the erotic, intimacy in the dance, and the intercambio so that we may be able to better understand different personal perspectives on these concepts and have a firmer sense of how the various positions differ from each other.

What follows is the transcript of such definitions of “intercambio”, “intimacy” and the “erotic” in queer tango as verbalized by attendants to the QTS who were invited to write down notes to contribute to this debate and survey everyone’s opinions regardless of time constraints.

As a preliminary conclusion, we may observe a variety of reasoning and positions among those in attendance. For some people ‘queer tango’ is erotic and for others it is not. For many of the latter, the ‘erotic’ has a sexual arousal component, whereas for the former, they rather think of it as ‘intimacy’ and connection. Many people seemed to express that the erotic and/or intimacy in queer tango for them is a specifically queer experience in tango. Regarding “intercambio”, there are different opinions too as some prefer not to practice it. Among those who do “intercambio” there seems to be a generalized consensus that its appeal depends on how naturally it is performed in a context of intimacy and connection. Therein, intercambio would seem to be directly related to the intimacy/eroticism that is specific to queer tango.

Olaya Aramo (translated by Miguel Kanai)

  1. What is erotic?

Same sex dancing

  1. What is intimate?

Trying to be myself in a space that allows and permits it, and trying to then share it with other people.

  1. How do I feel intercambio?

As a way of exploring an infinite universe of possible; and as a moment of suspension in space and time.

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“Erotic” in tango is a form of attraction to a person wanting to move together but that interpretation has nothing to do with sexuality for me…but could be sensual.

How do you feel intercambio? Wonderful addition to the dance if we don’t break the intention of the abrazo…but then if becomes like choreographic improvisation of the upper body, yes.

Intimate is when I feel to connect without putting words on it. Feeling safe with no limits within the dance.

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“Intercambio” in QT is too quick and could be explored more.
Erotic > Sensual > Silence in movement.
Intimate > Contact/Proximity (Head, Chest)
In Intercambio > reciprocity

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Intercambio
What I like
The flow in the connection, the exchange of trust
What I don’t like
An interruption of connection as the signal ‘imposing’ the intercambio
Erotic (Sensual)
Embrace, contact of bodies, breathing, even sharing sweat with another man
Intimacy
Sharing of trust and personal space

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El tango puede ser una manera social, codificada de expresar deseo, de hacer un juego de seducción.

Intercambio: una manera de “jugar,” descubrir que es/hacer guiar, seguir. Construir una experiencia de igualdad en la alternancia.

Intimacy is the quality with which to connect to oneself and to another (or more people)

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Lo erotico en el tango es un secreto difícil de decir en palabras: son sensaciones, exitación e intriga…Se siente en la intimidad, que puede ser compartida: una especie de juego en movimiento, de placer y comodidad que produce goce.

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# erotic – attentive to the sensuality of the dance, sometimes seductive play, sometimes tenderness, sometimes wow it blows my socks off…
# intimacy > looking at other person as another. Growing sensitive to the other > embodied empathy.
# don’t do intercambio – feels like a technique or ‘political’ move.

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El intercambio es una oportunidad para ponerse en el lugar del otro y explorer otras posibilidades

Lo erótico no es para mí una característica fundamental del tango, sino una posibilidad.

La intimidad es compartir y relacionarse con los sentimientos propios y con los del otro durante el tango.

Intercambio > se siente como un diálogo en donde no se suponen jerarquías entre los partenaires. Un momento de libertad especial.

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Queer Tango: Abrazo vs. Intercambio Reject this Binary. Intercambio is an integral part of an erotic abrazo.

What is erotic? Watching queer tango being danced. The intimacy, the body language.

What is intimate? The natural embrace and the lack of regulation in sharing inner experiences through dance.

About intercambio? I feel intimidated by it because of my low level of skill, but also pleasantly surprised because it tends to work. It is a technical challenge and it is fun.

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Technique & skill embrace the intimacy and intercambio.

I felt the possibility of eroticism in my first few years of tango, but not as I got better.

I want to explore the transition of intercambio.

Erotic/Intimate

Queer Tango is non-binary

Exists in the common ground between erotic+intimate, made possible by the fact that I’m released and liberated.

Intercambio – heightened sensibility + sensitivity. Integrate my head more in the dance. Heightened energy, high intimacy, lower sensuousness.

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  • Nothing
  • Proximity, sharing
  • I don’t practice intercambio because my following stinks
  • Guilt

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Closed abrazo: the first contact to try to find the comfortable position is exploring the intimacy.

When a leader does an intercambio to let me lead, I feel honored that (s)he offers me the guidance of next movements & trusts me with his/her safety.

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  • Proximity in posture > priviledged situation.
  • Personally more attracted by queer people/partners.
  • Queer tango offers more possibilities alternatives.
  • Choice of eroticism or not > safe > more confidence

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To me eroticism means sexual desire/fantasies/feelings and as such tango is not erotic to me.

However, to me tango is a sensual, intimate and sensitive experience with another person.

Touch, feel, breath, move with someone but non-sexually.

Every time is different so the experience depends on me, on the partner and on the music. But intimacy comes from the feeling of closeness and connection which can sometimes feel intense.

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Intercambio: being able to freely embody different roles and positions that brings equality of options for both and possibilities (but doesn’t have to).

Erotic: puissance contenue. Pas tout le temps.

Intimate ?

Intercambio: égalité – echange