Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The “first time” perspective (published in Gancho, July 2014)

In last month’s article I was talking about how life and tango are similar experiences, how the way we are in life influences our tango and also the way we dance influences our lives. I challenged you to find examples in your life and tango to sustain this idea and promised to talk about one of my own experiences. So, here is mine.

It was my second chance to dance with this amazing leader. The first time I’ve danced with him it was like in a fairytale: perfect connection, breathtaking feelings… I didn’t know I can dance-fly like that! So I was really looking forward to dance with him again. An entire year had gone by, I’ve been learning tango a lot during that time, so I had big expectations from our second meeting. A week before our meeting in the milonga I was so enthusiastic I could hardly sleep : )

And we met, he did invite me to dance and… it was a total disaster! We both knew it… we couldn’t connect, synchronize, feel … there were a tension and a frustration… We interrupted the tanda after 2 dances and that created an even bigger frustration in me. 

It was the first (and, fortunately, the last) time I was left in the middle of the tanda. It was the first time I didn’t understand what happened and why. And the whole experience led to my first (and, so far, last) big break from tango. After this, I took about 4 months off.

But “Why?” was the big question! Why did it happen like that? Why wasn’t I able to dance? Neither with him, nor with other leaders present at the event. I mean, no other leader made me feel it so roughly, but it was a pattern.

So I dug deeper. And I looked at the bigger picture. Two months before I’ve had surgery and I was in recovery, both physical and emotional. I had just moved to another town and I was still adjusting.  I was in a tensed relationship with a lot of resentment and frustrations.  All of that had an effect on my emotional state of being that I wasn’t even aware of. Until THE tanda. 

To all this I can add the pressure of the expectations, of course. 

What has this experience brought me? Well, firstly it brought me the understanding that being aware of the happenings in my life could save me the pain in tango. Moreover, it could bring healing through tango. I mean when we know we’re not feeling good at a certain moment in our lives we shouldn’t put pressure on tango to help us recover. But, on the other hand, accepting our rough moments in life, going along with them allows our tango to become healing. 

Secondly, I found out that breaks in tango are ok. They allow the information to settle in our minds and bodies, so that when we come back we’ll have the nice surprise of seeing how much we’re actually learned. And the moment of return can be any moment in time, because tango will wait for us as long as we need. 

And I also learned that tango offers a lot of first times, on a lot of levels and in many directions. As we evolve constantly, I could say that each time I listen to a song is a first time, cause it’s influenced by the very unique feeling I have in my life in that moment. The same is with every embrace, every dance, every tanda, every festival, everything in tango. And in life. That keeps us fresh and makes us better.

So I’d urge you to keep this perspective of first time in everything! 

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