I have had people, both here and in person, wonder why I work so hard taking classes and practicing and dissecting movements and thinking when the point is to enjoy yourself in the milongas. I have repeatedly said that I enjoy refining things, that all the classes and practicas are just more ways to refine everything. That yes, you can enjoy tango by doing nothing more than attending milongas, but I want to practice and study as well.

But I just had a fabulous “AHA!” moment that clarified things for me. Sure, I hope that some of the things I learn in classes, some of the things I practice, some of the things I think and write about will end up in the milongas. That I will be a better dancer, that I will enjoy the milongas more and more leaders will enjoy me. But that isn’t all!

The goal is not just to dance in the milongas. I know that for many people that is the goal, and I can see why that would be so. But for me, it is not. I also enjoy the process of taking classes, of practicing, even when the very thing I learn and practice does not appear on the milonga floor. I realized this as I read Sally’s latest post, where she mentions the high boleos she was practicing that, she says, “I never dance in the milongas!” (By the way, check out Sally’s post – it’s a nice review of Greta Flora shoes!)

From my first five-year-old ballet class I have enjoyed the process of being in a studio, trying to improve for its own sake. As a child the classes always ended in a recital, but I looked forward to the technique classes just as much as the ones that taught our recital choreography. In college, I took dance classes that had no such culmination. The class was for itself. The dance was for itself. I did not take that technique into a social setting; I did not aspire to dance professionally on stage (at least after the point where I decided I wasn’t going to). I took classes because I enjoyed learning and practicing and working and seeing myself improve. And in tango, I enjoy that just as much as I enjoy walking onto the milonga floor.


3 thoughts on “Learning

  1. Yep, I love my classes with Ariel. Though I doubt I will ever dance some of what we dance with anyone else.In the beginning I needed to be taught sufficient skill just to survive the milongas. But now that has changed. I have enough understanding to enjoy dancing in the milongas. And yet I love to learn more.With A. I push myself to the limits of what I can do: it’s challenging, it’s creative, it’s fun, it’s exciting. My time with him is something I treasure for the joy that it brings me in itself. As long as I love it and have the means, I will keep doing it.And I feel that it continues to prepare my body for any tango that I may dance with any man, and it gives me increasing confidence to surrender to my partner (so it will be more pleasurable for him) and the music on the dance floor and believe that my body will take care of itself. Besos, SC

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