THINK BIG (BECAUSE IT WORKS)

Are we thinking of trying a higher level tango class that we know will be challenging? Are we thinking of attending our first festival? Or going to a milonga in a different place? Or perhaps we’re thinking of going to our first milonga ever?

Moving our tango forward won’t always happen in small, incremental steps at a pace we’re comfortable with. Sometimes, we’ll have to think a little bigger and push ourselves a little harder. And even though we’re doing this for ourselves, it’s still scary.

But as we dive into those experiences, we not only improve, but we create momentum. And if we keep building on that momentum, the next personal challenges we accept become more fun than intimidating. Being a little more adventurous becomes more of a habit than a special occasion.

Let the desire to think big outweigh the fear of being in over your head.

Big-bone1

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BUILDING SKILL vs CONFIDENCE

When it comes to gaining confidence in tango, it makes sense to want to improve our dancing skills first.

But tango, regardless of how much or little we know of it, is meant to be danced socially at a milonga. The pursuit of skill-building will increase our potential as dancers, and helps us develop control. But increasing skill has its limits; it won’t do much to build actual confidence.

When we step out onto the dance floor, we will never feel as though we know enough. But pressuring ourselves to be perfect will only make things worse. Instead, let’s try letting go and have fun utilizing the skills we presently have. Things will have a much better chance of falling into place.

Confidence manifests itself while seeking enjoyment, not control.

penguin-jump

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EFFORT vs POWER

After a fun milonga, we often wake up with sore shoulders the following morning (or afternoon). Either our partners, ourselves, or both parties, put too much tension into the embrace.

We want to get better at tango, and we know it’ll take effort. But those sore shoulders mean we’ve been conflating effort with power. In this dance, the two literally don’t go hand-in-hand.

Effort is about mental focus, detailed body awareness, and self control. Although tango requires some degree of exertion, raw physical power should largely take a backseat to effort.

At the end of a milonga, we’ll know we’re on the right track when our brains are more fatigued than our muscles.

flying squirrels

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TANGO PET PEEVES

Here are some Tango pet peeves that you may have encountered…

 

 

When someone doesn’t notice your obvious cabaceo…

invisible

 

 

 

 
When you show up to a milonga only to discover it’s been cancelled at the last minute…

chevy chase

 

 

 

 

Somehow messing up a step that you’ve done correctly a million times…

miss-open-goal

 

 

 

 

Your favorite tango pros come to town for workshops you’ve been anticipating for months…and then you come down with a nasty illness…

why polar bear

 

 

 

 

You take off your shoes, you’re about to leave, and a song you really like comes on…

dramatic pug

 

 

 

 

While at a Halloween milonga, you suddenly realize your costume is totally impractical for dancing…

godzilla

 

 

 

 

When your friend sees a really hard step on Youtube and tries it out on you…

clumsy pandas

 

 

 

 

When you frantically look around for a partner when the last tanda comes on…

frantic puppy

 

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YOU MIGHT FEEL THIS WAY AT A MILONGA…

You might feel this way at a milonga…

 

…when you spend a lot of time putting together the perfect tango outfit, you look great, you feel confident…then you realize you left your shoes at home…

oh no cat shoes

 

 

 

 

 

…when you’re leading, and the person in front of you keeps doing figures against the line of dance while there’s at least five meters of open space in front of them…

hulk LOD.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

…when your tango crush turns you down for a dance…

sad corgi rejected tanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

…when your partner keeps talking…

stop talking rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

…when the leader starts teaching on the dance floor…

angry panda

 

 

 

 

 

…when the follower keeps anticipating…

push penguin

 

 

 

 

 

…when avoiding cabaceo from a creeper…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…when you’re determined to make it through an all-nighter…

pingu dance

 

Can you relate?

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TAKE THE TIME

Whether at a lesson or milonga, we’re determined to prove ourselves. If we’re leading, we often take that to mean trying as many steps as possible within the course of one song. Or if we’re following, we take that to mean getting through figure after figure as though they were items on a to-do list.

Every movement of every step must be articulated and completed. There’s always enough time to do things right, even during fast-paced songs.

Let’s not rush. There are a lot of things during the day that are worth hurrying through. Tango shouldn’t be one of them.

take the time
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