Jackie’s Take-Away from Reading About Tango Therapy

Amelia was a psychologist that moved to Buenos Aires with her partner. She was suffering, like most to, without giving herself time for the self-care, exercise, and sleep she needed. Her and her partner were not in the best of spots. She goes on to say that in most relationships, the physical union is the first thing to be sacrificed.

Their story in tango began while they were on a date. Amelia, in a poor headspace, stepped in a pile of dog poo after passing a milonga, a tango-dancing event. She said as she stood there, she had enough and she got her partner to go in and dance with her despite neither of them knowing how to tango. They agree to take a lesson with friend the next morning. “Does the dance become a place to pour sadness?” Amelia asked their instructor. They knew their teacher, known as the Viking, had a very sad story herself. With the death of her husband and raising three children herself she found tango eventually moving to Buenos Aires from Scandinavia. Her answer or Amelia was a matter of fact, ‘yes.’

They began their lesson, “Find the embrace, it’s all about the embrace” their teacher had urged. They tried many embraces, open frame, cheek to cheek, and everywhere in between. Amelia realized something about their relationship, that they like to experiment, and she also learned something about herself: she has a difficult time settling into an embrace.

Something else that came to light for her was that neither partner tried to lead, which felt very familiar in context to their relationship. When her partner finally sets up to lead Amelia found she anticipated their movement and didn’t let her partner lead or she collapsed completely into her partner and lost their frame, the basis of communication in tango. Amelia saw this and put it into the context of their romantic relationship.

Tango is how to hold yourself, while your partner holds themself while you hold on to each other. The “I, You and We” which when put into the context of any two individuals who have some kind of relationship is a healthy foundation and way of being.

The health benefits of tango/tango therapy have been show to help people with issues ranging from relationship problems, depression, to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Saliva tests, samples taken pre and post dancing show a significant decrease in cortisol, which is a stress hormone.

Amelia brought her article back to tango and her relationship, “Tango, like relationships, involve a great deal of improvisation.” It is stepping into the unknown, trusting one another, and embracing each other. “We keep on moving.”

In this article the author speaks to the ability tango has to improve even neurological problems, something I had never heard of before. She also points out how literal tango problems translate to her relationship faults. Also, who had any clue about how many therapists there are in Buenos Aires?

I wish to look further into physical arts to help others with emotional troubles, as individuals and pairs. I would also like to further learn the benefit of such physical connection, the author mentioned that her tango teacher said she has had students cry because “no one had touched them in years” and imagine just how healing an embrace can be.

I want to take just about everything in this article and try to apply it in relation to my life; The connections, the movements, the forever learning, others, the collective and myself. I want to figure out how to bring this connection in to my yoga practice, both in partner poses and as “individuals on the mat.” Bringing such  relationship from dance to yoga has endless potential for healing.

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