A Tango Perspective
I enjoy dancing tango at Sangha Space. Having had limited dance experience prior to tango, I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by Sangha Space’s warm and inviting community of people. As someone who still considers herself a new dancer, the welcoming atmosphere is addicting—as soon as you climb the stairs of Sangha Space, you’re greeted with smiles and kind words. Experienced dancers are very willing to impart their knowledge, and the staff is super friendly. The sense of belonging is definitely a hallmark of the Sangha Space community.
As a dance community, one thing that is more unique to Sangha is their encouragement for dancers to develop both lead and follow—regardless of gender. Not only does this broaden everyone’s understanding of the dancing exchange, but it also allows for a more inclusive community.
I really appreciate having the opportunity to lead. As a woman, having the flexibility to learn both roles is liberating; my gender does not render me an unwilling wallflower. As a leader, I have the power to make decisions on the dance floor, which seem to magically manifest in my partners’ movements. Being able to channel control over our dancing exchange, and see it mutually accepted by my partners, is almost surreal.
However, I am reluctant to admit that I enjoy dancing with other women. Every time I dance with another woman, I suffer an inner conflict as I challenge my more-or-less conditioned perspectives of normativity. When I dance with another woman, I simply want us to share a dance which allows her to feel beautiful, to have fun. I do not have some sort of agenda to corrupt her; no bad intentions to compromise her comfort … Most areas of my life would suggest otherwise—that someone like me is inherently wrong for desiring such an experience.
When I am close to another woman, I admittedly hold some inhibitions towards exchanging affectionate gestures—“some inhibitions” is an understatement.
With genuine affection, I become a ‘deer in the headlights.’ On a physiological level, my body fears letting others in. My throat tightens. I become stiff. My safeguard is challenged. Tense, my heart beats a little faster; my cheeks become a little warmer; a cold sweat stings my hands.
Intrusive thoughts prevail.
This is wrong.
I want to enjoy this.
I can’t enjoy this.
I don’t deserve this.
However, when dancing with women, my walls crumble. I do not feel the need to be as cautious: I am not threatening, disgusting, or intimidating. And even in my newness, I can find the ease to relax into an embrace—a contract to our connection.
At tango, it’s okay to share in this closeness.
When dancing, I can allow myself these moments to explore myself.
Sangha’s safe environment seems to unconditionally love and accept me just for being me … even as I struggle to discover who I am.
I have had the pleasure of being in this dance community for about a half of a year now, and I feel that I cannot enough express my gratitude for having an outlet of acceptance.