The Passion of the Tango

TangoEvery Ballroom and Latin style dance has its own story and its own character.  The Tango, for instance, is a very dramatic dance that defines passionate emotions.  The Tango is what was chosen for my first series of private lessons and I didn’t know it then, but I was in for a big surprise.

Even though it’s been more than a decade since I’ve danced Tango, I didn’t think I’d have a hard time with this dance.  As I took my dance position, I felt confident that I still had skill and my instructor would be impressed with how well I remembered the Tango and how well I could dance.  But with the first step, I was totally blown away by the intensity of the dramatic Tango and all my confidence and skill went out the window.  So much for showing off; I was only kidding myself. Let me be blunt, I was a total wreck!

I guess I forgot just how unique the Tango really is…….First of all, the hand position in the Tango is different than any other Ballroom or Latin dance (with the exception of Swing).  The posture and the sharp movement in the Tango was something I wasn’t used to.  I’m also not naturally flexible so the arch in my back was killing me.  And that was just the beginning.  My feet kept turning out (like I was dancing Latin) when they should have been straight; I kept twisting my hips out in Promenade when they should have still been closed; I had to dance on bent knees and pray that they didn’t give out on me.  I felt like a fish out of water!

Thank goodness my instructor is very professional and very PATIENT.  We’d go through the routine without music and eventually I’d do ok.  But as soon as he put the music on, it was over.  I’d forget the steps, the choreography, and the difference between my left foot and my right.  If you would have asked me what my name was, I’m sure I would not have remembered that either.

And then there’s the part about “connecting” with your dance partner.  In all the dances, especially Tango, it is very important to get into character of the dance and express emotion.  I could do the steps, but I’m so not an actress. Connecting with my husband is easy and I’m all about it, but with someone else, it’s a different story.  I’m a very shy person and connecting with someone else makes me feel like I’m transparent, and I don’t like it (I make that statement, yet here I am, blogging about it to whoever cares to read this).

To me, showing and expressing emotion, getting into character and connecting with my dance partner is uncomfortable, unnatural and very awkward. Call it acting, call it whatever, but in the end, to me, it’s easier said than done :P  Kindda makes you wonder how I even manage to dance and perform?  Yeah, me too.

But that’s what I love about Ballroom and Latin dancing:  it gets me completely out of my comfort zone; it challenges me in so many different ways; it’s always improving the way I present myself to the world around me; it keeps me fit and feeling great; and it’s a healthy obsession!  That’s why I have to accept the challenge and continue working on the passion of the Tango and learn how to get into character.

On a side note, I’ve been watching So You Think You Can Dance and many times the judges on the show comment on how the dancers need to get into character of the dance and connect with their dance partners.  As I sit there watching, I can’t help but think that it’s almost as if they are talking directly to me.  It’s funny how life sends you little, subtle messages and all you have to do is listen :)

On another side note, I’m really excited about how this Tango routine is turning out.  It’s so worth my broken toe nail I received in practice :P


Any advice on how to get over the awkwardness of getting into character and connecting with your dance partner?

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