Psychology and Tango
We investigate Tango from the paradigm of the collective unconscious
and the archetypes of Carl Jung's theory to trace transpersonal
essences and to recover ritual.
The tango, in any of its manifestations, but especially in
the dance, removes primary archetypes, essential to the psychic
structure of human being. Using the philosophical and anthropological
prism of C. G. Jung´s psychology we can see how these
basic structures come together to form the psyche.
The archetypes (of arche-type: the first stamp) named anima
(soul) and animus (spirit) are contained in the psyche of
the man and the woman respectively, on the personal unconscious
as well as the collective unconscious, and are projected onto
the play of dancing bodies.
By way of the lyrics, as well as the observation of the couple
in the embrace, we recognize these archetypes acting, entering
the lives of the dancers; the tango enlightens itself as a
metaphor of life.
The cultural element filters through, melding itself to archaic
metals, revealing psychic sediment embedded on previous generations.
We always find in its diverse expressions motifs from the
past: of loss, of pain, of bravery, of love and of hope.
We can agree on the ability to think of it as a psychic provision.
From there we can begin to question its power. Tango does
not happen through reasoning. It perceives and transmits primordial
images of humanity, of the feeling of constant loss that mankind
experiences, and of the ongoing search for its recovery.
This hero's struggle, seen in practically all mythology and
in the symbols of ethnic groups throughout world history,
is the struggle of the protagonist to find his interior essence,
crossing the most drastic vicissitudes to finally reconcile
and integrate his soul. These are motives that continue to
hold sway over even modern human beings.
We think then, that tango not only sheds light into the shadows
(the relegated unconscious) but, guided correctly, is an excellent
facilitator and catalyst for change.
Because of its profound nature, it penetrates existential
motives: from the archetypal foundation we become capable
of revealing and giving meaning to the motive of such appeal.
We need to view the myth's existential aspects to discover
its motives and design.
Jungian archetypes: anima - animus,
the person (mask), the self, etc., as mythological Greek,
Judeo-Christian and Latin-American aspects facilitate our
understanding of the life of the "tanguero" (man
who dances tango). In these archetypes we meet again and
again, in the ordinary, through an open embrace. It seems
that we always return to The Tango.
Lic. Ignacio Lavalle Cobo