It takes a lot of drive to go from being a novice to an intermediate tango dancer. But once we get to a point where we’re competent, we need to put forth even more effort in order to keep improving. This can be hard, because it’s tempting to just coast along.

Here are 3 reasons why seeking new challenges is tough, but ultimately worth it:

1. It’s humbling: Intentionally making the effort to learn new stuff isn’t easy because it’s disruptive. Leaving our comfort zones feels scary, and the worst part is we might feel like beginners all over again! Who wants that?
Why it’s worth it: By moving up to the next level, we can catch and stop bad habits, hone technique, and in time, become stronger dancers. Although we might feel like beginners for a while, which isn’t so great, we’ll once again experience the confidence boost that comes after overcoming new challenges. Being able to say, “I did it” never gets old.

2. It can push us to our limits: There’s the possibility that going up to a new level feel so difficult, that we doubt our ability to be able to get through it. We may ask, “Should I even continue tango?”
Why it’s worth it: This has less to do with learning the new figure than it has to do with learning about ourselves. We find out pretty quickly whether or not we have a quitter mentality. And in the case of tango, the challenge at least occurs on our schedule. If we choose to keep pushing ourselves and moving forward, the experience results in greater mental fortitude. This can only prepare us for future, non-tango related challenges that don’t align with our timetables. Tango is an escape from life that also prepares us for life. Convenient, right?

3. It takes patience: The good news is, we’re highly motivated. But understanding a new figure conceptually is one thing, while working the information from our brains to our bodies is something else. And no matter what kind of body we have, that process simply takes time. And it’s difficult not to get angry or frustrated with ourselves.
Why it’s worth it: There aren’t too many circumstances where having patience is a negative quality. As far as tango goes, there’s no instant gratification and no overnight successes, so patience is crucial. Patience forces us to slow down and take things as they come. This is not meant to frustrate us. Patience gives us insight to discover why it’s important to communicate clearly with our partners. It gets us to appreciate the intricacies of the lead-follow dynamic, to gain better body awareness, and a chance to live for the moment while so much in our busy lives demand that we always be thinking ahead.

As we know, tango is relaxing and refreshing. But it’s counterproductive to get too comfortable with where we are. It’s worth it to push ourselves every now and then, because the more we move forward, the more we’ll have to look forward to.

challenge tortoise

#tangoblog, #improvingtango


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