After a few hours this evening musing over my memories, a well known book about black swans and some old and dusty statistical books I retrieved from the bottom of a cupboard I have a discouraging discovery to share.
… there is a 94% probability that there are actually no amateur male social tango dancers in the UK who can dance tango to an impressive enough level to really inspire the rest of us intermediate learners. Not even one …
I have basically established – through years of observation – that they just don’t exist. Tango is full of myths – and the really talented, advanced, UK male social tango dancer is apparently just another one.
I admit there is quite a wide margin of uncertainty here because I cannot precisely remember how many classes and milongas I have been to in the last almost 5 years without seeing one, and even worse I cannot find an estimate of the total male social tango population in England so I just made it up ( I guessed at 10,000 ).
I also struggled with the fact that looking at is plainly not the same as dancing with – so I might have not noticed him – but I countered this by positing that it might be equally possible to look inspiring but for this to be not reflected in the experience. So in the interest of making progress I ignored both of them.
I do accept some likely geographical impact on the data as it is totally skewed to the South of England and I am unsure of the bias implications of this. Optimistically we might dream that there is a small bevy of male dancers who can in fact actually dance tango at an advanced level hidden deep in the midlands or the north? Perhaps!
On a much more positive note leaders in the UK will therefore be immensely relieved to know that I am therefore putting my plans to spend much more time on learning to follow firmly back in the same mythical dusty cupboard as my old statistics books came from – as there doesn’t seem to be much point.
We watch and we project ourselves into them. We imagine what it must be like. And we smile.
They had never met – yet they can create this together. The structures, techniques and codes of tango make these amazing moments possible.
We can’t really experience it, because we dont have the technique or the years to draw on. But we feel the heat just a bit.
And we should thank them so much.
For all their effort, their coaching. For coming to our milongas. For being amazing. For being human and yet so talented. For giving themselves to us week after week, year after year.
For always being there for us.
They inspire us in a way that other professionals just cannot. They have our hearts because we have all invested so much.
Because we have stayed with each other. Because we trust them. And in some small way perhaps they trust us also.
They trust us not just to be great students – but to be inspired to follow them, even when it get’s tough.
So let’s not let them down.
I have had a few Damascus moments on my own road to learning Tango. The most notable was a few years ago when I realised the importance – and complexity – of the music.
In that one moment paths opened to me that enabled me to completely change everything in my dancing. Of course to do so needed more years of study – a change of priority and a new awareness. But in that transformational moment I completely understood the importance of the music – I realised that I was indeed wrong before – and so much closer to my goals in that at least I now understood what I needed to do.
I have consistently sought after and recognised great teachers. That isn’t a moment so much as a value. Who you learn from is so critically important, of course – but more like choosing the right road, once you have enough knowledge to even tell the difference.
But the latest moment is indeed another game changer – and it has come at a time to save me. Or at least to give me a chance.
On the advice of one of my teachers about 2 weeks ago I sought advice from a dance trained physio. And yes – it turns out that my body is indeed beaten up.
So it doesn’t in fact default to a perfect tango posture – and asking it to do so just by thinking about it is just not going to work for more than a few seconds at a time. If at all.
But these things are so improvable. Just dont ask your mind to do it- because it can’t –
….in exactly the same way as it cannot in fact bend a spoon anywhere outside of hollywood.
Instead you in fact need a physical reset on your body. Pairs of opposing muscles can be treated when one side is too tense and the other too weak. Exercise programs can be set – and with your passion for Tango actually followed.
Deep tissue massage can break down blocks in the way that a million neurons cannot. Tense muscles can in fact be lengthened by someone who knows what they are doing – and what you are trying to achieve. Your pelvis can be put closer to where it should be.
And if – like me – you have been trying so hard with solo tango exercises and just getting frustrated – what a joy when it all comes together – when your mind can play it’s role and your body takes it’s part because – finally – it can.