The problem with sharing a private lesson is that you dissect your partnership. You examine all the little pieces and why things are and are not working. Then you attempt to put it all together again. Inevitably, however, you have identified things that need to be worked on. And until those things get fixed, you are painfully aware not only of your own places for improvement (as happens after having a private lesson all to yourself) but also of your partner’s progress.

And if you are like me, your brain just won’t. shut. off.

So you gleefully go off to a milonga, and of course it is an evening where a number of people are missing and the energy isn’t at its best and you can count on one hand the number of partners with whom you are actively seeking dances. But you make the best of it. You notice some things in your own dancing, but you can mostly let your mind drift. And you do have some great dances. But then … then your brain switches on again.

And you notice all those little things that aren’t working quite right. And you think about how much nicer this leader looked dancing with other people. And how much more awkward you yourself feel while dancing with this leader. I don’t know whether to get a lobotomy or grit my teeth and endure some difficult practicas. I suppose I will choose to practice, but I wish I could skip over the phase where I doubt our ability to dance together nicely ever again.


2 thoughts on “Overanalysis

  1. Hi MT, how are you?I’m pretty sure that everybody goes through this. At least everybody I know who I respect as a dancer. I think part of it is because we recognize that (a) there is so much to learn and (b) our teachers–the good ones, at least–have authority that has come to them through experience, research and hard work and we want to benefit from that instead of what <>seems<> like the inefficient path of personal trial and error.One thing that helps me keep perspective is in the view I have of the dance itself, which is that tango isn’t a “one way to do it” or a “best way to do it” kind of thing. That’s like saying there is one way, or a best way, to be who you are or express what you feel.Not to discount the valuable feedback of instructors, but everything in stride. And the need for patience can’t be overstated. Many of the best suggestions take time to really sink in, and they often manage to actualize long after you’ve even forgotten the lesson. I’ve definitely come across old notes where I’d written about issues I’d been struggling with but have since worked out, often without consciously working on it.I know how debilitating the hyper-awareness of your own technical “flaws” can be, but I think to despair over them isn’t really fair, either to yourself for the good things you bring to the dance (which you may take for granted due to excess attention on the flaws) or to other dancers who may be struggling to attain some of the things that you have.Besides, there’s always time to struggle and work and get frustrated over these things. That’s what practice is for. Milongas are about sharing <>yourself<>, not sharing your <>progress<>. Just enjoy them 😉

  2. Hi MT,AMEN!! I’m the same way! After a lesson my brain goes into hyperactive mode and I become my worst critic.When I feel myself getting too critical I try to redirect my focus. I choose ONE point to focus on improving. At one practica I focused solely on collecting, at another I focused on my frame. This helped me to soothe my inner-critic. Otherwise I would get overwhelmed with ALL the points of improvement my instructor recommended. It would be so nice to skip the ‘doubt’ phase… But then the victory wouldn’t be as sweet!! Keep your head up!ttyl,Pantina

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