Perfectionism and tango have an odd relationship. Most, if not all, of us tango students are perfectionists. Or perhaps our experiences with tango have turned us into perfectionists.

If our dancing feels stiff or ungraceful, We tell ourselves to "let go," and to not get bogged down in "analysis paralysis." With respect to learning, it doesn't take much to view perfectionism in a negative light. I wrote about this a while back, and today I'll add some more thoughts.

If we're perfectionists, it's better to accept it. That quality about us will never change. In tango, our problem isn't that we're perfectionists to begin with, but the timing of our perfectionist tendencies. 

For example, perfectionism holds us back when learning a new figure, because we're trying to get that figure 100% correct right from the get-go. Not surprisingly, expecting instant success and not achieving it will produce feelings of frustration and failure.

Becoming proficient at a step happens gradually, after making many mistakes. Once we get an idea of how the step works, applying perfectionism in the "correction" phase of learning will make more sense and yield better results. So while improving on our tango, we should feel free to unleash our perfectionist selves...but only at the right time.