We are in Buenos Aires as I write this. Preparing to compete in the Social Salon World Championship at the Mundial Festival. We are working hard to further sharpen our skills and create more fluidity to our musicality and partnership. The process goes from exhilarating to exasperating and back in a matter of moments. We have moved from extremely confident to scared and back again enough times to finally recognize where our doubts come from and how we can reinforce them with confidence. It seems like we are slaying psychological demons and dragons as fast as we are improving our tango skills.
This part of the preparation is the hardest. The psychological part of tango is the toughest part since it requires a different discipline than the physical training. This happens no matter what style of tango we chose to dance. It requires a deeper look at ourselves, and that can be scary. Who wants to uncover some ugly little monster in there that might be lurking waiting to devour our confidence and leave us weak and miserable? Of course when we find our monsters they are not so powerful at all. Still there are times when the voice of doubt wears the mask of the hardest comic book villain, or the scales of a flame throwing dragon from the depths of Mordroc’s castle! It is in moments like these – however brief – that tango can make one turn tail and run, or make one shove it all down below the surface and just pretend. But…. the thing I love about tango is it will not let you fake it for long (just long enough to fake it til you make it) it always exposes those that are not being authentic.
But I wonder – the artist in me always wonders about such things, the songs I have written are full of such questions – will tango allow us to pretend we aren’t scared? Hmmmmmmm…Tango has become a noun in my body. It is no longer “The Tango” it is just Tango, it is with a capital letter and it is a noun. It inhabits me. It captivated me long ago. It took me as a slave. Now it seems that I know that tango will not allow us to dance with any thing but the truth. If we are to dance in fear or worry than in fear or worry it must be, for it feels that Tango will not tolerate a fake or phony emotion. “Bring me your truth,” it screams into my ear, “I will have nothing but your real emotions. I will not be there for you if you will not be there for me.”
As silly as this may sound it really is the voice of Tango whispering in my ear. Though truthfully it quit whispering and started raising its voice as soon as I touched Argentine soil. This trip is different. Tango is different. I am different and my partner is different. Now if she can survive this difference in me, we do have a chance here.
Yesterday we hit a stride where I felt like she was getting what my artist was trying to say – my artist is only trying to convey what tango keeps screaming to me, “Bring me your soul! Tango will settle for nothing less! I want your SOUL!” it screams again. I feel like tango is a succubus taking the last of my life force. Like it wants me heart, soul, and breath of life.
Now poor Joanne has to dance with me. I am trying to be gentle, but tango will not let up and it will not quit screaming: “Be real! I will not tolerate a phony! Dance you fool, dance. Dance to the music or do not dance at all!”
That was written before we danced. On reflection I think I should have posted this and read it once more before we competed. I must admit with a flu/cold and my fever, my fever and nervousness, I did loose the music too many times. So much to be learned not just about dancing tango, but in the inner battle that wages when the mind wanders even a little bit.This is a miraculous journey… thank you for sharing it with me! And thank you Joanne for tolerating my intensity at times! Thank you, friends for your support and the many emails that you have sent!
Love & Gratitude,