Tango! Life! blah, blah, blah. So many ways to relate the two. Metaphors galore! This isn’t that. This is about awareness. This is about getting feedback from your dance about your life. Tango can help you find your perception of self. Tango can tell you when your life is going right or wrong. When we begin to learn tango many of us have no idea that we are embarking on a journey to overcoming years of conditioning, belief of self, and our own perception of who we are in relation to the world. Our tango, our life, and self perception are reflections of one another. We must dance who we are.
But our tango, life, and self perception is not always an ideal relationship. Finding harmony among them might be one of the keys to finding harmony within ourselves. The relationships and experiences we have had in life shape us and condition us. The question is what do we accept, and what do we deny. What defines us? We may have bad posture and movement purely as a result of our self image. The largest hurdle many of us face in learning tango is not technique or music, but that of confronting our self belief in relation to the world. The image we have of our selves can beat us down, it harms our posture and our movement. Our life image can also be positive, it can elate us, create confidence, and strength. In turn, our movement in tango becomes clear, our posture healthy.
We wear our life experience
If we enter tango with a positive persona, we are fortunate. If we do not, we have much to work on, and that is not necessarily the dance, although learning the dance can help us become aware of ourselves. We must become self aware, we must see how the world perceives us, and accept or change that perception. It could be as simple as moving through the world confidently or meekly. As Hedy so clearly explains in her TED talk, our life affects us in physical ways. We wear our life experience, our body is clearly consumed and affected by our belief in ourselves and our perception of what the people around us believe in us.
It is possible that all of this depends upon how I move and perceive myself throughout every day
This has been something for me to struggle with. It has not been easy. I grew almost an inch the first year I danced tango, in my 40’s. All of this at a time in which I am an accomplished public speaker, teacher, and very successful in my field of work. Recently, in the past couple of years, I have felt balance in my perceptions of self. I’m standing taller, I move through the world more smoothly. If you want to think about energy, I would say my chi is more clear and consistent and powerful.
Consistency is key. If we can believe in ourselves, we should not let that falter. Can I stand tall and walk through this city with confidence? Can I stand tall, and dance from my heart for an entire tanda? Maybe. Music and partner definitely play a part. Is it easy? Is it natural? What is my posture? Am I just present or am I consumed by the music and my partner. Of course that should be our goal.
The simplest walking dance can be one of the most beautiful experiences there is when the only things in the world is your partner and the music. No thought of steps, no moves, just movement to the music. It is quite possible that our success in this this dance, and life, depends upon how we move and perceive ourselves throughout every day. Dancing or not.
In my role of public speaker, tango had a profound affect. I was a popular speaker. But each presentation required a change in my persona. I had to mentally flip a switch ‘show time!’ which put me in the place I needed to be. As I embraced tango, I found that I no longer needed that switch. I simply stepped on stage and embraced my audience as I would any dance partner. As I spoke, I communicated with each member of my audience in that same personal way that I would with any dance partner. My persona as presenter had merged with my persona as self.
Tango can reveal the truth about the harmony between your life and self.
Recently, my work life became very stressful. What was once a great job turned into the worst job I have ever had. It happened slowly, and then suddenly got much worse. Emotional distress is not always easy for us to realize. It is possible that without tango, I would not notice the affect my work has on the physical me.
What I know, because of tango, is that it has a profound effect. My posture was not as good. I had to fight for it in a way that I have not fought since I started to learn tango. Tango can reveal the truth about the harmony between your life and self. If you can find your posture and your natural movement in tango, your life must harmonize with that. In a time of great stress, applying my self image as tango dancer in my every day life actually helped me rise above the stress and misery placed upon me.
As I have come to terms with leaving my job of 17 years, and realized how unhealthy that job had become, I feel my inner strength and outward physical posture returning. That job has come to an end and with that end, I feel life returning.
Anything in your life that adversely affects your posture and movement is not good for you, whether it is sitting in front of a computer, or living with an unhealthy relationship. Whatever it is that hurts us contributes to the ‘suit we wear’ that Hedy talks about.
We must dance who we are, and possibly, the dance must remind us.
Do we really notice how much the things in our life affect us? Noticing how they change our posture, movement and tango can help bring our awareness to the adverse or positive things in our life. We need to encourage the positive and divert and rise above the negative. We must dance who we are and possibly, the dance must remind us or show us the way to who we wish to be. We all need to find our tango posture and movement. We should keep it and use it every day, whether we are dancing or walking down the street or hallway. Push into the ground, stretch to the sky, be proud of who you are and move with grace, ease, and confidence. That is equilibrium for a healthy life and great tango dances.