Learning to drive.
Learning to put in contact lenses.
Learning multiplication tables.
Learning our way around the local grocery store.
Finding our way around a new town after arriving.
What once required a lot of concentration and effort is now a matter of rote memorization.
And while learning tango, coordinating our brains and bodies to move with music is challenging at first. Although the technical process of figuring out those first steps does become second nature over time, let’s be careful not to treat tango as just another series of mental checklists. Tango deserves more brainpower than memorizing multiplication tables, or knowing the shortest route while commuting to the office.
Can you feel the finer details, such as the nuances of your lead/follow and the embrace of your partner? During the next tanda, listen to the layers in the music. Can you pick out each individual instrument?
What happens when we choose to be more, not less, mentally focused as we gain dance experience? Does the increase in brain activity stress or burn us out? Or does a conscious effort to be in the moment, to absorb every detail of the dance, help explain why we’re so in love with tango in the first place?