More lessons, more correction. What is my problem this week?
Same as last week. You guessed it:
I slouch, I shift, I collapse. My hand clutches, my elbows rise and fall, my shoulders slouch. I am controlling when I need to allow for freedom. I am absent when I need to strong and stable.
All this is embodied in the embrace?
Sounds like relationships.
In tango as in life.
As we are in our bodies, we are in the world. This is not just about looking good or dancing correctly; it is about embracing life.
I swing back and forth between these relationship polarities of inundation and disconnect, agency and abandonment, intensity and indifference. Do I clutch and grab like a needy, greedy adolescent? Am I clingy, afraid of losing and letting go? Do I give too much or too little support? Do I take too much responsibility for my partner’s responses? Am I shifting, unsteady, collapsing at the precise moment when I am needed?
None of these pendulum polarities are anymore helpful for dancing than they are for relationships. What my partner needs is structure, stability and consistency. She needs to be able to count on me when needed, know where I will be, how I will be positioned.
“Think of the embrace as a fence. It provides a structure, boundaries. It contains the movement of your partner while leaving a lot of room for playing around inside,” says Vincenzo, my dance teacher.
In actual dance terms what this means is that I maintain a firm positioning of my arms and shoulders. All that moves is my torso. My shoulders do not shift. My elbows do not fold. My hand, resists the urge to clutch or hold on tight to my partner and instead acts as a guide, sliding freely freely across her back as she repositions her body.
What the lead provides is consistency and structure. What the follow brings is flexibility, freedom, creativity within the boundaries provided by the lead.
One seasoned tango instructor puts it this way, “It is not even important that the lead step in time with the music. It is only important that we create a space for the follow to play with the beat.”
In other words, the most important element that I bring to the dance as lead is to prepare the stage so that my partner can have a good time while feeling secure and supported. (tough work!)
And of course, the opportunity for her to look good. That and the shoes.
But that is another blog. Stay tuned for another on “embrace and intimacy.”