EGO RUBS Lesson one with Jean-Sebastien at Studio Ten

ego rub #1

The sign over the garbage can at the entrance reads:


Missed that.

When will introductory classes stop feeling like introductory classes?

How many years will I be dancing before I can walk away with the smug feeling that I have learned this already?

How many miles before I can even walk, properly, in a tango sense?

When do I advance beyond beginner?

Answer: probably never.

It's not my fault.

If teachers would just focus on teaching steps, eventually, with the prerequisite amount of stumbling and dyslexia and stepping on toes and various other clutz maneuvers, I would master a few. Then I could snicker and say with attitude, “Pfff. I already know that.”

But they don't. Good teachers don't, and Jean-Sebastien is a good teacher.

Good teachers focus on issues far more basic and complex.

They distill dance moves down to basic physiology: how the body works, how I am in my body, why I move the way I do, where my power is centered, how to stay in one's axis, etc., etc., etc.


ego rub # 2

I bump into another naive and egoistic notion.

I assume that because I have been in my body longer longer than anyone else (over sixty years), I should know just about all there is to know about it, such as how to walk or move a certain way. I should certainly know more than the instructor who has never met me.

Apparently not.

The real hit on my ego is not that I have barely achieved a beginner’s proficiency in tango but that I don't know my own body; when the teacher says “torso torque”, I should instinctively know how to tighten and twist my torso to the right and left.

In fact I can no more do this basic movement then I can mimic the man on Bowflex ads doing lateral stomach crunches, a seemingly similar maneuver.

So when we are instructed to do this corkscrew maneuver, suddenly I am totally disoriented, jerking and twisting convulsively like I am getting stomach cramps or having a seizure.

It seems to me that I have three options: I can exit now with my decimated dignity, go the gym and practice up on those lateral stomach crunches. I could follow my first inclination when the image of corkscrew came to mind, go home and flop on the couch with a bottle of wine.

Or I could trash my ego and revert to my pre-egoic kindergarten mind-set when discovering basic physiology was a lot of fun. A little messy maybe, but then someone else usually cleaned up.

Here I go, getting down and dirty, hoping someone doesn’t have to clean up after me.


Next blog (later this week), my version of why Jean-Sebastien thinks the torso torque is such an important dance maneuver.


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