Episode 82 of Joe’s Tango Podcast is now online!
My guest today is Jim Chow; he is the owner of Belltown Dance Studio in Seattle, WA.
Jim established the studio back in 2005, but he’s been a passionate dancer all his life. He’s familiar with a variety of dances, but salsa is his specialty so it should come as no surprise that he’s Belltown’s head salsa instructor. Belltown Studio is home to a number of other dance genres, including Argentine Tango.
So why interview a studio owner? Well, studio owners provide venue space for tango classes and milongas – In many cases, we tango folks wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people like Jim. But I also thought it’d be fun to hear about the challenges, the behind-the-scenes action, and the highs and lows of running a dance studio…
With a dance like tango, any number of figures can be initiated at a moment’s notice. And so we prepare ourselves to react quickly.
In order to react quickly, we feel we have to guess what will happen next. But viewing tango as a constant guessing game is stressful, which this leads to a lot of bad things like physical tension. Physical tension makes communication with our partners more difficult, and this guarantees bad reaction time.
To be able to move and react quickly, we must focus on the moment. Instead of worrying about what will happen next, we must concentrate on what’s happening right now. Oddly enough, to be able to react quickly we must learn to slow down our thinking.
With tango, the shape of our bodies – regardless of size – presents a number of limitations. In addition to that, the amount of space we have to dance in, physical obstacles on the dance floor, and the length of each song create yet more limitations. And we’re also limited by the extent of our dance knowledge.
We should be aware of boundaries in our tango, whether they be physical or mental. We should test them, stretch them, and on other occasions, work within them.
But it’s counterproductive to think of limitations only as hindrances to our dancing growth. Paradoxically, the creative nature of tango can’t come to light without them.
Written by: Joe Yang
For many of us, tango dancing is not a strict discipline. For instance, multiple teachers will introduce multiple ways to execute the same step. Two teachers may contradict each other, yet still both be correct. There is no universally agreed-upon method of instruction, and what works for one group of dancers won’t necessarily work for us.
Learning tango, and developing our own style can be like wandering through the woods without a map; we’ll have to find our own way instead of following a trail. Becoming a good dancer in an environment such as this requires a willingness to experiment, and to discover a bunch of ideas that won’t end up working.
But even without a “map,” we can successfully navigate the tango “wilderness” by indulging our curiosity. Add a strong dose of pure determination, and we’ll be on our way. Don’t panic if the journey gets messy. That’s just the way tango is sometimes.
On our tango journey, we’ll encounter a numerous internal obstacles such as voices of doubt, lapses in confidence, and irrational fears of judgement by others. In the face of all that, we push ahead anyway.
But those obstacles don’t go away as we improve. In fact, they get bigger. The fearful voices in our heads get louder.
The more we accomplish, the more reasons we’ll find to quit.
We’ll never completely silence the voices of doubt, but that isn’t the goal. Instead, we need to be careful not let our internal fears drown out the objective, observable improvement in our tango. The process of getting better is a worthwhile endeavor, even if it’s never a smooth journey.
More here: www.wisconsin-tango.com/blog
#tango #blog #fear #doubt #improvement
When we feel like we’re actually dancing, we realize that we’ve let go of anxiety and the mental struggle of remembering countless technique points. That feeling of smooth movement, even if it’s fleeting at first, gives us a sense that we can indeed become tango dancers after all.
The sensation is like riding a bike for the first time, when the person teaching us lets go of the seat and leaves us to balance on our own. On the dance floor, we capture that feeling when we start making a better effort to move with the music.
We may still stumble every now and then as our muscle memory takes shape, but the key to our next tango breakthrough is closely tied to the music. So let’s pay closer attention to it, trust it, and not be afraid to let it take us.
#tango #blog #music #dancing #feeling
I’ve decided to continue posting my tango blog posts here after all.
The main blog page will still be found at my WISCONSIN TANGO site here, but the latest tango blogs can also be found here at WordPress.