In tango, we want to establish a strong connection with our partners. As we are taught, “connection” does not mean grabbing onto our partners for dear life. In fact, only a small part of it has to do with actual physical contact.
But from there, the word “connection” starts sounding abstract or vague, and comes close to sounding like new age-y ramblings that only make sense if we happen to be high.
Here are two ideas designed to make this “connection” idea more concrete:
I don’t mean this in a self-help kind of way, although I suppose that couldn’t hurt. But in the context of tango, let’s define self-awareness as something more literal, like knowing which foot we’re balancing on and being consciously aware of our technique as we move.
Instead of blindly reacting to our partner’s movements, let’s make note of all the details that constitute our own. Do we feel the way in which our core muscles influence our leg projections? Do we feel how much easier we move when our shoulders are less tense? Do we realize just how good a complete, balanced back ocho really feels?
Paying about 35% more attention to ourselves can have a big impact.
Trusting – not helping – our partners
We don’t control our partners, even if we’re leading. But we also must resist the urge to help them. We can’t prop up our partner’s axis, nor micromanage every one of his or her movements and expect our own dancing to look good.
We have to trust leaders and followers to do their part, while we make every effort to do ours.
For leaders, this means giving a clear invitation that doesn’t involve shoving or disturbing the followers axis. Once we communicate our intentions, we have to trust that the follower understands them.
For followers, take a complete, confidence step to where you feel each invitation. It’s not our job to figure out what’s going on in the leader’s mind. And allow the leader to sort out his or her own balance if they happen to get wobbly.
In tango, connection is likely a concept that can’t be described succinctly. But it’s very easy to understand once it’s actually experienced.