Wherever we are in our tango learning, it’s easy to feel bad when we see (or think we see) so many other dancers that are more skilled. We know it’s not a competition, but it’s difficult to avoid comparing ourselves with our peers. And comparison only amplifies insecurities, which never leads to anything positive. And improving our dance skills only so we can compare ourselves more favorably completely misses the point of tango.

Fearing that we are somehow way behind, or that we’ll never be good enough, is a waste of time. Although our tango experiences may be similar to that of others, focusing too much on fitting in won’t help our dancing. Ultimately, our tango journey is unique. If we’re paying attention, we’ll find that improving our technique, or a particular step, becomes synonymous with improving ourselves.

When joining a tango community, we shouldn’t feel as though have little to offer, or that we automatically (or eventually) won’t belong. Yes, there are probably a lot of dancers out there that are ahead of us. But instead of expending energy worrying about it, let’s use whatever dance skills we have to establish a genuine connection with the person in front of us. In a tango community – or anywhere else – there’s no overabundance of such people.

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  1. Joe! Thank you so much for this post! This has been something on my mind a lot recently, having moved to a new tango area, and looking around at all the other wonderful dancers here wondering what on earth I could have to offer in comparison. A friend of mine and I got into a discussion during the car ride back from a practica, and after acknowledging that I felt that way, he asked me, “Ok, but what are you going to do about it?” I thought about it for a couple days, and the thought I found that kept arising in reponse to that question was that, dancing aside, I could use all my creative event ideas to build the community and bring people together. It’s easy to get caught up in the external experience of things as a dancer, but the real draw in tango is the internal connection. The answer to feelings of external inadequacy, for me, is to build interconnected strength. It is easier to overcome lack of skill if you have a community supporting you in your effort.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts, and I always welcome new ideas to share!

    Liked by 1 person

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