How is it that after a night of lovely dancing, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about blogging is my frustrations? Because I am frustrated. It’s the “but …” that comes right after the exclamation, “I love tango, and I had some wonderful dances tonight!”
Maybe it is because I am used to being proficient in other dances. Maybe it is the natural tendency I have toward wanting to be perfect, and yesterday. (As a high school student, I started and then set aside three new musical instruments, giving them up when I realized that I didn’t have the time to become a star at them … so why continue to muck around? It was too frustrating to not be able to pick them up and excel when I could already play other instruments nicely.) But I won’t be tossing tango aside; I am genuinely hooked on it. So I am forced to deal head-on with my frustrations. I know there are others, but these four are the ones that spring to mind:
#1. The feeling of “Agh, I missed that lead!”: I still find, every once in a while, that I am not listening carefully enough or do not have something ingrained in my muscle memory sufficiently to be able to respond to a lead.
#2. The feeling of “I know she has five/eight/twelve tango years on me, but I want to be as good as/better than her!”: I can’t be alone in feelings of tango-jealousy. This is probably one of those moments where I also need to be better at separating the dancing from the social world – because I am sure that some regular-life jealousy is bleeding over into dance-jealousy. But as a lifelong dancer, I have trouble conceding that someone else is simply going to be better than I am because she started years before I did. And that yes, that means that she will be a more attractive dance partner.
#3. The feeling of “Can’t we dance open/close for once? Or to an alternative set for once?”: I certainly have control over these things, but have you ever had those moments where you realize that you always dance a certain style with a partner – even when you have seen (and been jealous of, to return to my last frustration) that partner dancing a different style with someone else? It’s hard to change those kinds of habits, especially when you hear that great alternative tanda come on and watch your target running onto the floor with someone else.
#4. The feeling of “Oh, that didn’t look good!”: I hate the moment when I do a boleo, or an ocho, or just take a step in a normal walk, and it doesn’t feel or look right. It’s back to that muscle memory problem, where I still find myself dancing with weird habits or not-quite-there technique. Where I realize that my right arm has been tense for the last minute. It makes me want to break out a graceful développé and a rond de jambe en l’air, or something fast and complicated from the modern dance I am rehearsing. It goes back to that feeling of trying to master a new way of using my body, and wanting to just be there already. I love the journey there, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to ask someone just how long it will take for me to arrive.