If we look at the parallels between verbal communication and tango, we may be able to put together a more detailed picture. I see it this way:
The text is what we verbalize. Actual steps, figures and sequences are words and phrases. Steps in tango can be counted on fingers, there are dozens of figures, and there are slightly more decorations and embellishments.
Speech is where we put pauses. In verbal communication, a timely pause can often say much more than words. Without forming sentences or using pauses, speech becomes an indistinguishable stream of letters and sounds. If there are no phrases, slowdowns or pauses in tango, then the dance turns into a continuous sequence of figures, which, unfortunately, happens too often in social tango.
"[If you don't count auxiliary words and prepositions,] in any semantic block there should be no more than seven words" – Natalia Grace
Astronomical cycles and biorhythms have a fractal nature: the whole has the same shape as its parts. Most books, for example, are divided into chapters, chapters – into paragraphs, paragraphs – into sentences, sentences – into words. Nature divides everything into constituents that are similar in structure to the whole, and tango is no exception. In tango not only is the milonga divided into tandas, and tanda into compositions, but the composition is also divided into phrases. Slowdowns and pauses, which, like punctuation marks, divide the dance into phrases and sentences, are just as important as the stop at the end of a composition.
Intonation is how we say it. Quietly or loudly, gloomily or playfully, quickly or slowly, flying through the air or strength checking the parquet – in the dance, intonation becomes dynamics of movement. Akin to verbal communication, the way something is said often carries even more information than what is said.
The meaning is what we want to communicate. What are we dancing about in this tanda? A rich vocabulary and perfect pronunciation are not at all a guarantee of an interesting conversation. Sometimes you listen to someone's breathtaking speech and you understand that this person is being insincere. And sometimes you may hear a timely, simple phrase that turns your entire world upside-down.