Just when I thought I was becoming delusional …
My wife’s and my early teachers set for us our focus and interpretation of Tango and I have never been able to shake their influence. Nor have I wanted to But sometimes I wonder where I have picked up the peculiar notions that I bring to my dancing and teaching. For example:
The heart of tango is the connection, not the complicated steps.
Tango can be fun from the very beginning if we keep it simple.
Proper body mechanics and positioning are the key to mastering technical maneuvers.
Breath work needs to be practiced consciously throughout the dance.
The lighter the lead, the more pleasure for your partner.
Michael and Beatrix passed through Edmonton a couple of times around 2005. Patricia and I met them again briefly in Buenos Aires a few years later. By this time they had moved to Germany where the teaching was more concentrated and limited their travel considerably.
Michael had been a dance instructor since his late teens and so by this time had over 30 years teaching experience. Beatrix had been a trained ballet dancer and also had an background in the healing arts, including a Masters in Family Therapy. It was immediately apparent from the first time we met them how their extensive experience impacted their teaching.
I have extracted some quotes from their video mentioned above:
Michael: The best Tango dancers are not the ones who have developed this big repertoire of steps. It’s the ones who have developed a better understanding and awareness of their partner. When you can communicate with another person physically and emotionally, you’ve got it. That’s what makes it such a special dance.
Beatrix: For me the secret of dance is the breath. Breathing helps us … come from our essence, from our Self organically in a harmonious way. So I am not just teaching a movement the way it is done technically. I have people breathe through it. That helps them find strength and at the same time softens them. It is that eternal rhythm or expansion and contraction that we have in our body, in our breath, in nature. It is all around us.
Michael: I am a mechanic. I have been called a “dance doctor”. I watch how the structure fits in... how the energy flows. To create a dance step you have to have the energy coming from the right parts of your body.
Beatrix: I am very excited when I see a person or couple gaining the freedom and enjoyment to do something they haven’t been able to do before, to do it with ease and pleasure and emotional joy.
Michael: We dance to enjoy it. Not to put on a show but touch people’s hearts. I am not out there to impress people with what a wonderful dancer I am but to model how they can dance. It is a wonderful thing when it is simple.
Less is More
I have never forgotten Beatrix’s continual correction of my lead. “Lighter! I don’t need you to move me or constrict my movement. I want you to create a space and invite me to move into it.” (Of course she said this with the utmost gentleness and graciousness in keeping with her personality.)
I remember my eyes tearing up at the first time I was able to do a troublesome maneuver when “Dr. Michael” quickly adjusted my positioning. “I can do this!” I shouted inside.
Regrets … I’ve had a few.
I am not able to confirm that they are still teaching as I have not been able to contact them for over four years. Looking back I wish we had taken more opportunities to take lessons from them, like the week long training they offered in Mexico overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Michael and Beatrix .. If you are out there...” In the meantime, I keep them here inside of me. And there are numerous workshop videos of theirs on Youtube under their names.
(Disclaimer: None of the above proves I am not delusional, of course. It just means I have company in my delusions. That is all the encouragement I need as I push to find ways to amplify connection while at the same time keeping it simple.)