I was talking to a friend recently - a friend who dances, but not tango. More accurately, I was whinging. I've been sore, tired - not at all happy with my dancing. I keep thinking that I'm so very far from where I'd like to be in my dancing.
He asked a simple question. "Have you been training?"
I replied, "Of course, I practice every day. I have exercises to increase strength in my feet, ankles, and legs ..." etc etc
He asked again, "You're practicing - but are you training? Training like a dancer? Training like you used to?"
Oh, that kind of training. If I'm honest, no. I'm practicing like a hobbyist, and wondering why I'm not making the kind of progress I'd like - the kind of progress I used to make. I used to dance. In those days dancing meant daily drills, stretching, training in the athletic sense of the word. Training with goals in mind.
Without a picture in mind - a specific picture - of what I want to achieve, practicing doesn't have the impact it could have. It doesn't reach that next level. I'm getting stronger, little by little - but it's haphazard. Hit or miss.
Tango isn't a race - and for me (though it is for some) not a sport. But I'm starting to have specific ideas of the way I want to be able to move. There are areas where I'm still quite weak that are impacting my dancing, my ability to perform the steps I'm led. I can make excuses, but in the end, that's all they are.
This is my form of exercise - by the sheer number of hours I put into it. I couldn't take up another sport if I wanted to. So if this is going to be not just my source of renewal, connection, community, but also my source of health, wellbeing, and fitness - I need to treat it as such. Give it the commitment off the dance floor, that I try to give it on the dance floor.
I need to train.