At social dances (‘Milongas’, as Tango dancers call them), dances come in sets of three or four, followed by a short break in which many people will choose to change partners. At the end of the first dance if one dancer has not enjoyed the dance they could make some excuse and leave their partner, but this would be considered fairly rude – it is customary to dance the full set. The body language of the two depicted in this painting shows that they have enjoyed their dance; they have danced together many times before and will have many more dances together in future. There is a moment at the end of a dance – this may be true of various styles of dancing – in which there is a connection, or a moment of reflection, or indeed a moment of awkwardness between the dancers, depending on the relationship. In the painting this moment for these two dancers is a special one, a moment in which everything else melts away into obscurity and the surroundings have no significance. It is a moment, for them, of more than contentment – it is a moment of admiration, of wonder, and of breathless bliss. Perhaps the female dancer has a sense of butterflies in her stomach that reminds her of first dates which may have been long ago, seeing how comfortable these two seem to be with one another. Perhaps they are at the end of the set of three dances and the male dancer longs to ask for another set; even just for one more dance. Perhaps they have not danced together for some time and are realising more and more each moment how deeply they care for one another. Perhaps the colours around the couple show us a little of the emotions felt in this unique moment, before external things and other thoughts cloud their vision and take them back into the room.
As you can see, there is a deliberate ‘error’ in that the male dancer has one sleeve down to his wrist and the other is rolled up to his elbow. This is representative of the way of Tango and indeed life itself – that we are not perfect; we trip up sometimes, and do not present ourselves either inwardly or outwardly as neat or symmetrical – but that this is as valid and true a part of who we are as any other part; it finds its place in the painting of life.
Acrylic on 30x40cm (approx. 12″x16″) stretched canvas (with sides painted), ready to hang.