Have you ever had a dance in which time seems to stop and its just you and your partner and the music.
Your mind is no longer thinking about the steps or your technique or the crowded floor. It feels like your body is moving automatically and in perfect unison with your partner and with the music. Its beautiful and you don’t want it to end. And when the tanda does finally end you look at your partner with a big smile and perhaps even hug in recognition of that magical moment that was shared.
Tango magic does not happen very often and sometimes it does not even happen on a full night of dancing. But when it does, it truly is magical. You are left seeking to attain this moment again and again.
What is it that makes these moments happen?
For me, this magic most often happens with a new partner or someone I have not danced with in quite some time. There is something about dancing with a new partner that I become hyper-aware and sensitive to my partner’s subtle moments. Another factor is the level of our abilities. The magic most often happens when my partner and I are on equal level of experience and skills. If I’m much better than my partner, I have to work so much harder to make the dance happen. If I think my partner is much better than I, (a professional for instance) I become nervous and once again in my head. Sometimes the floor craft makes a difference. If the floor is especially crowded and chaotic both my partner and I become stiff or limit our movements out of fear of getting hit or of hitting someone.
Okay, so we’ve set up the scene. You have a new partner, your dance abilities are matched and everyone is nicely following the line of dance with enough space to move. Let’s say the music is a beautiful set of Di Sarli or D’Arienzo or maybe even Pugliese. You have warmed up and are feeling good. Its when all the variables are right, that the magic happens, right? Maybe. Or maybe it’s something else.
What is this Tango magic?
I have a theory that the “magic” comes from our subconscious mind.
Did you know that our subconscious is responsible for 90 percent of our thoughts and actions? Our conscious mind, the one we think we use most of the time, actually only uses 10 percent of our brain. We use our conscious mind for learning, thinking and analyzing and it’s responsible for our logic and reasoning. Our subconscious, on the other hand, is responsible for our creativity, instinct and even our spiritual connection. Even more, its able to digest a lot more information all at once, far more that our conscious brain is capable of handling. Our conscious mind can do only a few things at a time, but the subconscious mind can do trillions of functions at the same time.
When you learn Tango you are using your conscious mind. But once you have repeated the steps and movements over and over again you no longer have to think about it. It becomes relegated to the subconscious mind.
Similar to the concept of “muscle memory”, once you have trained your body to move in a certain way, your body automatically knows how to respond. Much like driving a car, once you know how you don’t have to “think” about it, you just do it.
But our subconscious is a lot more than just muscle memory. I like to think that its somehow harnessing a deeper more spiritual element and its also deeply connected to the music. Those of you who have experienced it, you know what I mean.
So how do we access our subconscious so that we can experience tango magic more often?
This is when we get into the topic of brain frequency. Our awake brain operates at 13 to 30 cycles per second, but when we are relaxed, in meditation or on on the verge of falling asleep our brain operates at a frequency between 8 and 12 cycles per second; the Alpha level. This is the level between sleep and wakefulness, and the point where we begin to enter our subconscious. (Don’t get this confused with the unconscious where you are actually asleep).
If we dance tango aware of our breath and with our bodies relaxed we can more easily enter this Alpha level. When we are in the Alpha state of mind, we have focused attention and a different sense of time. Sound like the Tango magic doesn’t it?
Try this: At the first embrace, clear your mind, relax your body and closely pay attention to the music and your partner. Trust that your conscious hard work in now in your subconscious, and your body knows what to do. (Do keep in mind that you need to have consciously practiced Tango over and over again before trying to harness the tango stored in your subconscious.)
And if you want to become a better dancer, practice dancing perfectly in your head. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between imagination and reality. Both create ingrained neurological pathways in the brain and when activated the nerves stimulate blood flow and what ever is needed to achieve the goal. These pathways are identical whether produced by physical movement or by imagined movement.
By connecting with this deeper level of consciousness we can quite possibly attain the elusive Tango magic much more often.