Tango is not the answer.
It does, however, raise a whole set of fascinating, soul-searching questions.
“Why do I choose to dance the tango rather than some simpler dance?”
“What do I do with those scary feelings that come with dancing in a close embrace?”
And of course, the persistent, pesky conundrum:
“How many lessons do I have to take before I finally get any good?”
The questions we ask of the tango will determine what we get from the dance (excepting of course, all those delicious and unsettling surprises). Questions keep us persevering when it would be far saner to stay on the couch and nurse one’s fragile ego.
Questions motivate and direct our searching. Tango is far too complex and layered a dance to think one can just show up and have a good time. (Oh, that it were so.) First of all, there are all the physically challenging steps to match with technically sophisticated music. Then there is the interactive element, the intimate communication that requires being intently attuned to your body positioning as well as your partner’s.
In my early days of learning the tango, the questions were less intimidating. My wife and I were merely looking for a little extra spice with which to season our percolating romance. Tango served wonderfully well in that role for many years. Then Patricia had to choose between her dance shoes and her hikers. I was left with the choice of whether to stop dancing as well or embrace the intimidating prospect of getting up close and personal with other dance partners.
All of which led me into a fairly intense exploration of male-female interaction and communication, on and off the dance floor. Questions such as:
How do I move my body in a way that is expressive and creative?
Where in my body do I hold tension and resistance?
Where do I access my strength, spontaneity and creativity in my body?
How do I create space for my partner’s creativity?
How do I show a lead which is clear but not bossy?
When do I take responsibility for my axis and when for my partner’s?
How do I infuse my dance with the quintessential relational qualities of vulnerability, trust, openness, gentleness, and sensitivity?
Tango for me is the practice of refining these questions and hopefully finding a few answers. In every dance, I attempt to come away with some insight. The greatest gift from dancing is that I can take these learnings into the rest of my life.
Of course, these are my questions. Which throws it back to you, tanguero/ tanguera. What questions do you ask of your dancing?
P.S. I really appreciate getting feedback, either on the blog site or an email. And a “like” at the bottom of the blog is also encouraging.
Photo credit: ADV. Peace rose in our garden. Sure it is a flower, not tango dancers, but beauty is beauty right? and isn’t it all about beauty? (Plus roses stay still longer and so are easier to keep in focus.)