Johanna has told me that she doesn’t understand my constant drive to get better, and right away. I have to admit that I don’t understand it, either. I mean, I have been a dancer all my life. I have always wanted to be good, but that did not always translate into hard, consistent effort. I would attend dance classes faithfully and sometimes practice outside of class, but it rarely took on an aggressive plan to excel.
So why do I have this attitude now? I know how to relax, how to enjoy my dancing when I am in a milonga. But then I leave and, once the high has worn off, immediately start thinking about how to get to the next level. What I could work on to get better. Why do I do this? I have no real desire to perform or teach, which were driving forces behind my dancing when I was younger.
My theory is that the social aspect of tango is what drives me. Not only can I see the bar set by dancers who are better than I am, I can also see the quality of leaders they attract. It isn’t about getting to a certain level to be able to someday pass through an audition and perform; it is getting to a certain level to be invited by leaders I respect and enjoy each night I go out dancing. Immediate feedback, immediate gratification. (Well, of course it takes a while for all the practice to make its way onto the dance floor, but once it does …) Add to that my naturally competitive nature and I can see why I am so driven to improve.
This is probably most evident in my blog, though. On a day to day basis, when I go out to dance, I rarely worry about these things. I am happy with how well I dance after such a short time, and I enjoy where I am – I don’t need to improve to have a good time, I just want to. I believe that some level of this attitude is beneficial, so that our communities stay fresh and growing while simultaneously being happy with themselves just as they are.