A yogi tries tango

Well after a year of saying “I will”, two weeks ago I said “I am”.  I finally put on some dancing shoes, well socks, and took them to the floors of Sangha Space.  My yoga studio has now become my dance floor, my “Argentine Tango” dance floor that is!

So far, I have moved, danced, laughed, talked, smiled, and supported.  The connections made have been wonderful, and I love dancing with everyone.  However, I have left both classes feeling discouraged, humbled, insecure, uncertain, unsuccessful, and just down and low, wondering “what did I get myself into?”  No one made me feel this way, it’s me-it is all due to my own self-criticism, self-judgments, and bruised ego.

I can’t say it enough, EVERY person I have had contact with at Tango has been truly wonderful.  My partners and teachers have shown me nothing but kindness and patience.  Yet, why can’t I, the yoga intern, show it to myself?  I bring kindness to my mat, kindness to the yogis coming into Sangha, and kindness to my wonderful teachers.  My personal mantra is “Be Kind To Yourself” yet it has been absent from my two classes.  I have set high expectations for myself, but not realistic goals.   I am not allowing myself the time to learn this difficult dance.  However, I am definitely learning a lot about me!

I am learning, I apologize way too much for things I do need to apologize for, like apologizing to my partner for turning the wrong way, the very first time I learned the media luna.  It’s okay to not get it right the first or 10th time.  Or I apologize, before we even start, because I’m “new” and “not good”.

I am learning that I am really hard on myself if I don’t succeed right away, and make myself inferior to everyone else (thus apologizing to them often).  I do not consider myself a perfectionist, but I do like to look good at doing things, which probably ties into my competitive side.  In tango, it has not so much been about competing with everyone and needing to win, but more me “not wanting to be the worst dancer”.   I need to remember, I am new, this is a beginner course, and we are all in this together and to use the support of the Sangha Tango community.  I also need to remember that though, I have a dance background, and am a good dancer, this is brand new territory.

I am learning that I can laugh at myself, but perhaps too much, and lose the seriousness of the dance.  With every mistake-learning opportunity actually-and with every kind, constructive suggestion, I laugh (and then say sorry).  I see that as a good coping skill, however at one point, I felt it was more of a mask.  I just wanted to cry because I struggled so much with the media luna, yet I forced a smile and some laughter.  I need to be more true with my feelings and if I feel like sighing that is okay.

I am learning that I am a leader, which surprised me, yet I liked it.  I have always thought of myself as a follower in life, yet I was surprised during tango when we alternate between being the leader and the follower, I like to take the lead.  I like to be in control and be the one to decide what to do. I do need to learn how to let go when I am the follower, and to trust my partner to guide me along.

My biggest ah-ha moment though, was after the first class.  Megan and Amy, our fantastic tango teachers, were discussing how important it is to make a connection with your partner.  I thought this would be easy for me because I love connecting with people.  Yet, I never do when I dance, unless it’s dancing with my husband at a wedding or with friends and family when we are out.  But, with strangers, one-on-one, I never liked because I like to be in my “own zone”.  When I use to go out dancing a lot, I would hate when someone would come up to me and dance with me.  Even if he was a good dancer because it threw me off; I like my own space and to be in my inner world and just feel the music.  Or even if my husband were too fast dance with me, I would drift away and spin in my own bubble.  Yet, with tango I can’t.  It’s about making a connection with someone, learning about how my body moves, learning how to move my body in to music, and learning how to move in sync with my partner.  Perhaps, this is why I am struggling, because this is a new concept to me.  To share my dance with someone else, to come out of “my zone” and my inner world, is foreign yet beautiful.  Dance is about bringing people together, to share in a common joy, and to celebrate.

I look forward to seeing where this tango journey takes me, and take on this challenge as I discover more and more about myself. I see that this experience is not so much about learning how to dance Argentine Tango, but how to build connections with people through movement, and how to grow as a person while I am doing it.

“Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time.” ~Miguel Angel Ruiz

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