Question: Do you have to be psychic to dance tango? Answer: No, but it helps.
Here are a few of the magical mysteries that I experience in tango. Let’s explore.
Magical Mystery #1.
How is it that one can have an almost perfectly flawless dance with a totally novice partner? Tango is not an easy dance, after all.
This has happened to me on numerous occassions and it is one of my special delights and fascinations. And we have done fairly complicated maneuvers (e.g., molinetes) without introductions or screw ups.
- My partner leaves, excited that she can dance
- I leave, proud that I can lead.
Perhaps this is a bit presumptuous on both our parts. But what is the alternate explanation? Is my partner psychic? Do I have special mental powers?
Then what happens? Lessons!
She takes a lesson or two and things get complicated and we lose the connection and can't dance for tripping over each other. So much for special mental powers.
The intrusion of lessons/ learning/ practice creates two dynamics:
It moves her focus from her body to her head, shifting her awareness from instinctive movement to thinking about what she is doing. Consequently she misses the clues from our bodily connection.
It destroys trust. My partner as a newbie, trusts implicitly that I know what I am doing (she has no reason to presume otherwise) and trusts in her ability to interpret my lead (or at least doesn't feel any pressure to get it right). Albeit, this combination of trust and not feeling pressured is rare. Which is why this first-time flawless phenomena is rare.
Now come lessons. She finds out instantly that I don't know half of what she thought I knew and that there is a whole lot that she needs to know as well. It is no longer sufficient just to be an intuitive psychic.
- Implicit trust is destroyed.
- My partner loses confidence in her intuitive knowing and bodily awareness.
- The dance shifts from instinctive movement to learned, route maneuvers.
- We lose connection.
What to do?
There is no turning back. One cannot recapture the magic of the first time. One has to jump on to this lesson/ learning treadmill with both feet. (Lessons and practice, practice, practice are essential, it turns out).
But then - after practice, practice, practice - something even more magical and mysterious happens...
Magical Mystery #2...
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