partner

WHO DO WE WANT TO DANCE WITH?

We know the type of person we want to dance with. It is a leader or follower who is respectful, fun, and patient. This is the type of person who makes our night when we're feeling unsure of ourselves, and doesn’t react negatively to our mistakes. We've worked hard building up our own tango skills, and show up to milongas hoping to dance with such a person.

Stop leaving it up to chance whether or not this person will notice our skills and remember to give us a cabeceo. That’s waste of time. Instead, once we figure out the type of person we want to dance with, let's work hard to be that person. 

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FEELING vs AESTHETICS

When it comes to dancing tango socially, a good embrace and connection may not be apparent to an outside observer. But those elements are necessary in order to make tango enjoyable for our partners.

In a social setting, making the dance feel good is the priority.

But what about making our tango look good as well? 

Although not totally separate from maintaining a good connection, emphasizing tango's visual aesthetic is a separate skill set. It requires a deeper understanding of technique, body awareness, and concentration. It's also a bigger mental challenge, as we'll need to make sure the extra focus on ourselves doesn't compromise the connection with our partner. 

Again, making tango feel good for our partners is more important. But the added effort to look good has benefits, too. It shouldn't be viewed only as an opportunity to impress onlookers or to gain attention. It's much more useful when approached as a new mental challenge.

And any new challenge carries potential for growth.

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TRUST YOUR PARTNER

Even when dancing with a partner who possesses abilities comparable to our own, we may still feel anxious. Much of this is has to do with trying to bear complete responsibility for the outcome of the tanda.

Our tango teachers have told us that trying to be 100% responsible for the dance is not the right way to go, yet we do it anyway. Perhaps it's because the demands of our professional and personal lives subconsciously carry over into our tango time. It takes a lot of practice to let go of that mindset, so let's keep working at it.

One thing that helps is putting more trust in our partners. We can't manage their parts for them, and like it or not, they're responsible for elements of the dance that are out of our control. And remember: they're having to trust us to do our parts as well. 

Instead of constantly checking on each other, let's shift focus to building together. Sometimes we won't be sure where the dance is going, sometimes we will. Sometimes we'll be frustrated, other times we'll be delighted. That's just how the dance works. As long as we keep up the energy that gives us something to build off of, our tango will get somewhere.

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