Lesson #2 with Jean-Sebastien, Studio Ten.
The tango is communication. Learning tango is like a learning a language. The only difference is that with each tango lesson I seem to have to relearn the alphabet.
Case in point: Most important rule for directing the dance: lead with your chest. So I thought. Not so. Intend with your torso trumps it.
Explanation: Dance energy comes up from the earth through my core first, and then, secondarily, enters my chest. The core is where I store and expend my energy. It is this energy that I access to communicate with my partner. The more I can focus on my core dance energy the clearer and more definite my intention is conveyed.
Contrarily (of course), I exhibit a typical tendency/ error. My dance begins in my head, travels down to my chest and then suffocates, leaving a huge dead zone between the chest and the feet. Which is a real shame because that is where all the power and passion is.
Which explains why I am having such a challenge doing the torso torques (my term). I have invested much of my life and a good chunk of education in cultivating the head zone/ dead zone split. (In theological terms we called it the spirit/ flesh dichotomy. Locker room parlay is big head vs. little head).
All this ties in very succinctly with some recent learning from tai chi. Recently I visited my brother in their beautiful home on the West Coast overlooking the ocean. There is a full deck on the top of their house, a dream place for doing tai chi (a future workshop for tango?). I invited him to watch my routine and give me some feedback from an energy perspective. The outcome was fascinating.
In my brother’s words: “What I saw; a distinct blue aura... Blue is your throat and head area... As you moved (with your arms and upper torso), your head energy seemed to sometimes precede the direction of the movement, which could mean that your energy was moving where your thought was projecting…. There did not seem to be any intentional energy or auric field in evidence below the chest.”
So there I am, energy moving from the head down and disconnecting above the solar plexus. (This likely explains why I enjoy writing about tango as much as dancing.)
Back to my main point. Tango is never, for me, solely or even primarily about dance. It is about learning to become a more balanced, vital, energetic human being. Dance/ tango just happens to be one of the most creative, expansive places to explore these elements.
Time to get back to practicing those torso torques.