Feeling intimidated? 4 helpful strategies to keep in mind

Feeling intimidated at a milonga? It’s normal, even if you’ve been dancing for a while. Here are 4 strategies to help deal with it:

Stick to basics: For leaders, you’re under no obligation to try out the latest steps you learned in order to impress people. In fact, you probably shouldn’t until you’ve practiced them enough in class or at a práctica. What you know in your head will usually be more than what you can actually dance. This is okay. For followers, stay in the moment. Focus on executing and finishing each step as you are invited to dance them. Don’t try to anticipate the next move. Tango is not a guessing game.

– Remember that this isn’t the scariest situation you’ve ever been in: Think back to a time when you were really scared. Have you ever been in a car accident? Have you ever had a medical emergency? A root canal? Have you ever been lost in a bad part of town, or in a foreign country where you didn’t speak the language? Ever been chased by a wild turkey?Those experiences were far worse, yet you survived them. So there’s little doubt you’ll survive a few hours in a nice place full of beautiful music, free food, and sometimes even free wine.

Identify what it is you’re afraid might happen: Make a mental note of your fears, regardless of whether or not they’re rational. Are you afraid that everyone is watching and judging you? Are you afraid of tripping and falling? Or are you afraid of getting locked in the bathroom when a good song comes on? It’s unlikely you’ll overcome all these fears over the course of one evening. However, being at a milonga will at least bring them to the surface where you’re able to clearly identify them. Many of these fears will have little to do with tango, which means we can seek resources to deal with them while away from the dance floor.

Keep coming back: Feeling intimidated or nervous is part of the learning process. Over time, repeated exposure to milongas can do a lot to diminish fears. So make an effort to dance regularly. You’ll eventually be regarded as a steadfast member of the community, make friends, and steadily gain more confidence (which is a big reason many of you started dancing in the first place).


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