Performance/Presentation at the Public Pedagogies Conference held at Victoria University, Melbourne, 12-13 November 2015
Through my experience as professional Tango Argentino artist, researcher and educator I have come to the intuitive conclusion that practicing this art form can have a positive personal and social transformative impact on people's lives. I believe, as most artists do, that the power of the Tango lies in its embodied and relational nature. Tango practice requires a deep form of listening (to one’s and other bodies, to space and music) and of letting go (of rational thoughts and judgments). Moreover, you can’t dance the Tango on your own. You not only need a partner, but also a network of dancers. People may embrace this form of expression to fill an existential gap. But, when they go past the initial stage of enthusiasm or even addiction, they not only realise that there are no drawbacks, but they also start seeing how the Tango, as a discipline, has enabled a spontaneous process of learning and community development.
This conference was an opportunity to reflect and elaborate on my art practices and processes of inquiry as ways to develop and share innovative knowing, i.e., knowing that can keep alive the tacit, embodied, relational, participatory, and multimodal dimensions of the tango experience. My performance moved multimodally (dancing, storytelling, projecting videos), critically and self-reflexively across a continuum of roles (participant, participant-observer, observer-participant, observer) and modes of inquiry (detaching, approaching, engaging). I tried to explore creatively whether and in what ways the real social networks generated through tango practices can be configured as innovative pedagogical spaces, i.e., as spaces where community development and learning processes are mutually imbricated in a tacit and informal web of embodied connections. Is it possible, by working in/on such spaces, to envision and elaborate a new generation of praxis frameworks for arts-rich pedagogies and arts education/community programs?