Much like our romantic relationships, the Tango experience goes through various stages.
This post was inspired by a Tango friend I saw last night at one of our local milongas. When I first met him, he had so much energy and enthusiasm for Tango. Whenever he walked into a milonga he always looked so excited and wanted to start dancing immediately. He would dance all night and with everyone. And perhaps because of this enthusiasm, he became competent relatively quickly and the more advanced followers began to notice him. But recently something changed in him. He began to sit out more frequently, and to get picky about his dance partners. And last night, he even sat out for most of the evening (gasp!). Seeing my friend this way got me thinking about the stages of Tango.
Learning Tango is sort of like falling in love.
When you first fall in love, it is beautiful and magical and you can’t get enough. You want to spend every last minute with this person, and you end up neglecting your friends and other activities. But as time goes on the dreamy feeling begins to fade, and you start to notice their faults and imperfections. You may become frustrated or angry and begin to doubt your love. But if you do not give up, your feelings eventually evolve and mature. You will begin to accept your loved one for these imperfections and your relationship becomes better and stronger.
Tango, much like love, is certainly not perfect and beautiful and magical all the time. More often than not, it is frustrating and awkward. Often, when people first begin to fall for Tango, it becomes all encompassing. Their whole life begins to revolve around Tango. But there will come a point where they begin to see its flaws, (the arrogance, the cliques, the imbalance of genders, etc.), and perhaps become disenchanted. This is the part of the tango journey where you can begin to accept the dance and love it for what it is, imperfections and all.
Below is a fun diagram that had been passed around a while ago on the different stages of Tango. I found it fairly accurate. As you can see below, leaders and followers learn at different speeds but eventually we catch up to each other.
“La Vida Con Deby” wrote an excellent post about this subject. She calls it The 5 Stages of Tango.
I personally like the stage of Humility. I’d like to think of this as the stage where you are comfortable and confident in your abilities and are happy to dance with people of all levels, because it not only brings you joy but also joy to your partner and those around you.
Folks… what do YOU think? Please comment below.