From June 27, 2013
“Relax your left arm,” one of my first tango teachers used to tell me constantly.
And she was right. I was holding so much unnecessary tension in my left arm and shoulder that my partners must have felt more like they were arm-wrestling instead of dancing with me.
At the time, I was scrambling to finish grad school, dealing with a hilariously bad (and occasionally dangerous) living situation, and simply worrying too much about trivial matters. All that must have had something to do with my tense shoulders and arms during class.
Our teachers can point out what we’re doing wrong and give advice to address the immediate technical problem(s). But permanent, long term solutions to our bad dance habits require change that needs to be implemented off the dance floor.
I won’t bore you with my life story, but I noticed my arms fully relaxing only after I completely gave up corporate life to become an entrepreneur. Although things aren’t 100% perfect, I’ve learned to stop worrying about the unimportant things that used to bug me, and am much happier overall.
Of course, I’m not advising we all do something as drastic as quit our day jobs to ride off somewhere for the sheer fun of it… just so we can become better dancers. However, just being told to “relax your arm” won’t not be enough, either.
Is there anything happening off the dance floor that’s stressing you out? And is it worth getting worked up over to the point where it’s holding back your tango? I certainly don’t want to trivialize your problems or presume to know what they are, but I’m betting there are at least a few things worth letting go of. And when you figure that out, life, including your dancing, improves.