WHEN WE DON’T CONNECT – 5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Regardless of our tango level, we’ll sometime have bad dances with people. Some of the reasons will be obvious (death grip embrace, leaning on each other, a little too much wine, etc).

But sometimes, it won’t immediately be clear why we’re not connecting with our partner. This is uncomfortable, and in an effort to correct the situation, we might inadvertently make the situation worse. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

Avoid black-and-white thinking
Don’t assume it can only be the other person’s fault, or that we alone must be the culprits. In fact, don’t expend too much mental energy trying to figure out who’s responsible. Instead, switch to an action-oriented attitude, and…

Go back to basics
Breathe. For both leaders and followers, let’s focus on our balance and axis. And let’s make sure we’re executing the fundamental technique of every step, no matter how simple. If we happen to be leading, cut out the fancy figures. Go back to doing a nice, calm walk in time with the music.

Don’t force it
If something isn’t working, stop trying it. For one tanda, it won’t kill us to refrain from doing our favorite complicated steps or adornments. Our egos aren’t that fragile, are they?

Take it in stride
One bad tanda isn’t the end of the world, especially if we and our partners are making a sincere effort. Let’s focus on the parts of the dance that are working, and stick with those. And when we’re back on the dance floor for the next tango, let’s have the attitude of a fresh start instead of carrying baggage from the last experience.

It’s okay to not know why
Unless every dance we’re having has been an utter disaster (which is unlikely), it’s smart not to dwell on one bad tanda for long. Technical issues can be found and corrected during classes and practicas. So don’t panic, enjoy the rest of the evening, and know that there will be better times ahead.

We’ll all have moments on the dance floor when things don’t go our way. Like bad moods, they’ll pass. They are only moments, and they don’t define our dancing as a whole.

not-connected

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A GOOD WALK

The camina, or the walk, is likely one of the first things we learn about in tango. And as we progress, we’re constantly reminded of its importance.

Teachers, other experienced dancers, and friends give us this advice: “Make sure you have a really good walk.”

Definitely true. But how exactly do we develop a “really good walk?”

It’s more than a basic step, and it’s more than a simple physical movement. Walking must also be viewed as a fundamental point of communication. To communicate well with a partner, we must first connect with ourselves.

Are we aware of the way we move? Have we secured our own balance before requesting that our partners trust us? Are we paying attention to the moment, or already thinking five steps ahead? Are we making every effort to be clear, or just expecting our partners to know what we mean?

A few steps into the walk will reveal the answer.

walk-dance

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KEEPING THINGS FRESH

Things I’ve heard from enthusiastic students:

“Tango is like Tai Chi in that…”
“Tango reminds me of golf because you also have to…”
“In martial arts, like tango, you have to…”
“I read this book on mindfulness, and it made me think of tango because…”

It’s fascinating how people connect tango with a lot of other activities, philosophies, and ideas. Have you done this yourself? If you find yourself connecting tango to seemingly unrelated subjects, it does not mean you’re weird.

Let your brain explore those avenues of thinking. Maybe you’ll be way off, or perhaps you’ll figure out a another way of learning that works for you.

Approaching tango from another perspective helps keep it fresh. It’s good exercise for the brain, and just as useful as learning new steps.

connections