Dancing from the Head or the Heart.

The following is a quote from a favourite teacher, theologian and mystic who explores deeply the connection between spirituality and sensuality. I believe that her differentiation between mind and heart orientation encapsulates some of what is at the core of tango:

“The heart’s energetic bandwidth is intimacy, the capacity to perceive things from the inside by coming into sympathetic resonance with them. In contrast to the mind, which perceives through differentiation (I am me, because I am not you), the heart takes its bearings directly from the whole (the “I” and the “you” drop out), through a process that scientists nowadays describe as “holographic resonance.” Cynthia Bourgeault.


Head or heart. What is the difference?


The heart does not judge the technical execution of the dance but affirms the loving intentions held tightly by both partners within the embrace.

The heart warms to sameness, draws the other in close to expel the separation and intensify the connection. The heart is in awe of the mystery and majesty of this tender coupling.

The mind values differences, measures distances, judges actions.

The mind is the inner-critic. It wallows in self-doubt and comparisions. It repeatedly asks itself, “Am I good enough? Do I measure up?”

When I dance from my head I am preoccupied with what looks good, what will impress. I worry that I will bore my partner. I judge the sophistication and technical precision of my dancing and my partner’s responses.

When I dance from my head I am never in the moment but always two steps ahead. I continually evaluate, plan, anticipate. To quote one of my favourite tangueros, Carlos Gavito: “We dance the music not the steps. Anyone who aspires to dance never thinks about what s/he is going to do.”

When I dance with my heart the separation between You and I vanishes. Two become one. We are absorbed into and subsumed by the music. We breathe the same breath. Our hearts resonate to the same beat. We share the same axis. We turn in harmony and unison.

At times we break apart to allow for each to reassert their individuality. After the counsel of  Kahil GIbran, we let there be spaces in our togetherness so that the winds of the heavens may dance between us.”  This only serves to heighten the anticipation and desire in reconnecting. The occasions of separation are a promise or intimation of the anticipated melding, closeness, oneness.