In Greece for example we have folk dances, where you have a specific set o f steps, specific music, specific "embellishments", danced during specific times of the year even. I went all the way up to a professional, and I had a lot of fun doing that but after some time there is no thrill, I got bored...Tango on the other hand has so many styles already to be explored, every one of them slightly different, every one of them unique..
In some ways i think there is inherent value in having a form/practice - a haiku is not less creative than freeform, but poses different challenges in expressing the creativity. (and i think it also might offer different joys).
And thinking about this tension between form and freedom made me circle back to
BTW, dancing to recorded tango, all those much loved golden age tunes, implies 100% predictability in all regards. Hmmm.
I think what i am thinking about is more about is that i find a piece enjoyable to dance to that has a good ratio between form and freedom from the form. Form is needed to be able to effectively communicate with the follower, and to give the follower space to dance.
If there is no form the follower is going to be "behind", and their dance is a response to my dance, while if there is a form and the follower has some idea of the gestalt of what i am going to be leading because i am to some extent bound by the structure of the music the space for play opens up, and instead of us responding to each other we jointly respond to the music, and the couple is this joint response.
And in my experience this does not happen with music that either has not enough features, or too many disconnected features. Basically i think music that is enjoyable to dance to is 80% formulaic, 20% surprises, good leading is 80% formulaic, 20% surprises, and good following is 80% formulaic, 20% surprises. (numbers purely made up). If the music is boring/100% formulaic, if the leader is boring/100%formulaic, if the follower is boring/100% formulaic then whats the point? the dance is going to be a carbon copy each of the times it is danced.
I think this tension is happening in a lot of music - e.g. the differences in different performances of classical music - the freedom the performers have - is often too subtle for me to appreciate, and on the other hand i also don't understand the underlying logic and form of free jazz, and that also makes it difficult for me to appreciate what is happening between the musicians. So something that looks to me formulaic, or chaotic, might looks much different to somebody else who has a deeper understanding. And as dancers we have the additional difficulty that to some extent we need to agree with our partner about what structure is there to get a two-way communication going.