A lifetime of dance training has led me to focus on technique. It brings up questions like:
– What is the proper alignment for different embraces?
– What is the proper foot position for ______ (stepping backwards, collecting, cruzada, etc)?
– What is the proper path of the leg during a boleo (any kind)?
– What is the proper amount of resistance to give in an embrace?
. . . etc, etc
I learned recently to surrender my focus on technique to the feeling of the dance. Stop thinking so hard and just listen. Listen to the music, to my body, to the leader’s body, to the people dancing around me. Sink into the moment. All of that technique is great for classes, for the times when I am drilling a movement and getting it into my muscle memory. But the moment that I step onto the floor at a milonga, I have to release all of that. I have to forget, close my eyes, and smile. The point when I moved beyond feeling like a beginner, when I made a real breakthrough in my dancing, coincided with a comment from a leader: He told me that my dancing had completely changed, and the difference was that I was smiling. It is true. I started dancing in the moment, relaxing and following and playing and truly enjoying myself.