Braver and tango thank you notes

More fears faced which led to more dancing than I ever thought I could do in one day. Classes, practica, milonga - all the way til the end.

Eight hours.

I danced with leaders I had been too intimidated to dance with before. And, I danced with my few familiar favorite leaders - from whom I not only learn so very much, but make me feel safe and comfortable in their embrace. I danced with new leaders I'd never met and learned more still. Of course I still stumbled, faltered, missed leads . . . apologized.

I questioned my steps, my axis, my embrace . . . I had to be reminded to breathe, to collect my ankles, to shift weight... and again to breathe...

But I never questioned what it was to be there and dance.

As other tangueras noted, the pain doesn't really hit until you stop dancing. I was fine even through the car ride home. You can only delay the inevitable so long, though. I slept most of Sunday. The bottoms of my feet were bruised and blistered. I felt like I had weights tied to my limbs. I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

On saying thank you . . .

Could you have tiny thank you notes for tango partners? It seems I never have enough time to really say thank you without it sounding like just, "thank you and goodbye." Every partner teaches me something - but there really isn't time between tandas to find the words to express it. Sometimes it isn't until you move on to the next leader that you realize what your body just learned from the last. Then I find myself wanting to tell the previous partner, "you know that thing you were trying to tell me/show me - I get it now. Thank you."

So for all the lovely leaders who took time to, without lecturing, help me improve my dance, thank you.

T: thank you for your guidance, patience and humour both at practica and at the milonga. BTW, the way you turned smoothly, yet quickly to avoid your partner getting backed into by another dancer - very nice. I think you even did that in time to the music.

P: All my favorite music danced with you. How lucky can a girl get?

C: The leader I always learn tons from who never actually "tells" me things. He just slows down a bit, opens the invitation, and waits for me to get it. (Even if he has to repeat that process rather more often than he'd like.)

O: How can anyone *not* enjoy dancing with you when you share such love for the music and the dance with everyone. Patient, generous, very amusing, and a snappy dresser.

D: A strong leader with lots of style and (fortunately for me) lots of patience. You even gave me a second chance!

F: Another patient, kind leader who helped me along, as tired as I was, to do even basic things I seemed to be forgetting how to do.

There were a few others that I can't remember the names of now - I feel terrible about that. One very energetic and musical dancer (who had to slow his pace to about half the speed so that I could keep up) gave me some help with my role as follower in regards to the music.

Of course now that it's been more than 24 hours, I'm desparate to get back on the floor. (After I take some more advil, mind you.)


Eduardo Castro said...

Hi Mari
There is much to learn from one milonga.
First of all, you are monitoring the way you step, your axis, and the embrace.
In addition; breathing, collecting ankles, shifting weight is becoming second nature.

As for myself, I learned: "The Qualities of a great leader" from the different leaders.

From T: I should lead with patience and humor, and avoid hitting other dancers.
From P: Select favorite music of follower.
From C: Teach without saying, just slows down a bit and wait. Repeat the process.
From O: Share love for music and dance with everyone, be amusing and snappy dresser.
From D: Have a strong lead (decisive), be patience, and have lots of style.
From F: Do basic things (just walk if necessary). Make it simple.
From the rest: Be energetic and musical (Follow the music).

Mari said...

Hi Eduardo - I'm so glad to see you here!! Your insights are always welcome! Everyone always says that you need classes but you learn the most on the milonga floor. I think the classes "prepare the soil" maybe - or put you in the right place to be able to learn from all of the people that you dance with.

Eduardo Castro said...

Hi Mari, -I think that the song: Life is a milonga ("La Vida Es Una Milonga") applies here.

Just look at the experiences described from the 8 hours milonga:

a) "More fears faced which led to more dancing than I ever thought I could in one day"
b) "Too intimidated to dance with before"
c) "Learned so very much" and "Every partner taught something"
d) "Still stumbled, faltered, missed leads . . . apologized"
e) "I still wouldn't have changed a thing" and "Desperate to get back on the floor"
f) "There really isn't time"

In real life:

a) We have fear every time we face change and challenges.
b) We don't like to go out of our comfort zone.
c) There is always opportunity for learning and grow.
d) We always find road blocks and can be frustrating.
e) We pull it through with motivation, passion, persistence, focus, determination, drive.
f) Life goes on, time do not wait.

When you said:

"But I never questioned what it was to be there and dance"
I think the answer is: GROW.

Mari said...

Eduardo - I only just saw this response - thank you so much for what you wrote. It's hard to believe that I'm now even more engrossed in tango. I never would have thought it was possible!