Imagine preparing an important, ten-minute speech or presentation. You’re proud of it, because it contains the perfect balance of inspiration, wit, and humor. Now imagine trying to give that entire speech in one single breath.
No matter how insightful or intelligent your words are, the audience would be distracted by your lack of breathing. And what should be your moment to shine will instead be a desperate, awkward battle to not pass out.
Something similar happens when we start getting better at tango. Naturally, we get the urge to try out every fun new figure we’ve learned…in the span of a 2-3 minute song. Although an overload of tango steps won’t cause us to pass out, the ruthless torrent of ganchos, sacadas, adornments, and boleos intended to impress our partner might instead trigger their fight-or-flight response.
There’s no need to fill every single beat with movement. Pausing is also part of dancing. If we listen closely, we’ll find that even fast-paced tango songs provide such opportunities.
We must carefully choose the moments in which to try new figures. But there are occasions when the best move is to not move at all.