Thinking too hard

"So, pick and choose. Improvise. Hide away. Run after them. Stay still. Move at an astonishing speed. Shut up. Scream a rumor. Turn around. Go back without returning. Upside down. Let your feet do the thinking. Be comfortable in your restlessness. Tango." Tango and the Political Economy of Passion by Marta E. Savigliano

Something is up, but I don't know what. I'm restless. I'm writing, but nothing is good enough lately. Nothing comes out the way I want it to. With my friends, I'm either reaching out or pulling away, but never still. I'm dancing more because I'm having such a hard time writing. I want to dance until the buzzing in my head goes quiet. All my thoughts feel like white noise with no content - like the scrolling headlines on the news channels. It's all important, so none of it is. There's just too much.

No more excuses . . .

At least there's one more tiny victory. I no longer start every tanda with a new leader with the words, "I've only been dancing a few months . . . " I realized it ultimately doesn't matter. At first I just told myself I'd see how the first song went. If i completely embarrass myself, then I'll say I've only been dancing a few months. As soon as I stopped beginning with that statement, I started dancing better. I thought I was lowering their expectations by warning them that I was still fairly new. But I wasn't. I was lowering my own expectations. And I was, in turn, dancing to those expectations before dancing with my partner. When I stopped saying those words before the tanda started - I didn't need to say them later.

Saturday night wallflower

I was a little gloomy Saturday night at Esquina. So many people I didn't know at the milonga. At one point almost half the room was filled with people I didn't know. It's been awhile since that's happened. It was like starting over. I was nervous. This was my favorite venue - my most comfortable milonga, and I was turning into a wallflower. I tried to cabeceo a leader I've really been enjoying dancing with lately, but he was across the pista. In the low light I couldn't tell if I was cabeceo-ing him, or the bar stool next to him. (My vision really is that bad in low light - even with contacts.) Embarrassing really. Eventually he came over to me, thank goodness, and we had some lovely dances.

Angry tango

I also had a good tanda with a gentleman I always seem to be annoyed with lately. Maybe he's baiting me. You know what, I'm sure he's baiting me. He says I dance better when I'm angry because I stop thinking about dancing. There might be something to that, but it's still annoying. At practica he told me I should learn to do something some particular way (I'm sorry I should remember what that was he told me to do but I was so annoyed that I forgot it.)

Anyway, he said, when you learn to lead, you'll need to be aware of . . . ( whatever that was that I've already forgotten.)

I answered, why would I want to lead? I can barely follow - I don't want to learn to lead.

You should, he answered, all of the good ones do.

The good ones what?? Ms. Milonguera doesn't lead,
I shot back triumphantly. (Ms. Milonguera is one of the dancers I most admire not only for her dancing skill and grace, but also for her very generous spirit within our community. So I did not invoke her name lightly into this argument.)

Well, she should!!
as if that was that. Finito.

Ass. I'm so going to blog this!
Ha. I got the last word. I turned on my heel and strode to the bench.

Damn. He was so baiting me again. I could hear him laughing behind me.

Great. DH has weighed in on this argument after the fact. He thinks I should learn to lead too. It might make me a better follower, says he. I think he, along with my grandmother, have grand ideas of me becoming a tango teacher (so that I can afford my bi-annual trips to Buenos Aires that I day dream about incessantly).


Debbi said...

For what little it is worth, in my opinion, you should not try to learn to lead until you are comfortable following. It is too much and your brain will hurt. And only learn to lead if you want to, not because some ass says that "All the good ones do" - most teachers do, but social dancers are different. some do and some don't. I am just learning to lead after dancing for 3 years. And it is hard. But I have a leg up because I know what I want it to feel like on the other side of the embrace, and I do not have to learn about axis, balance and music - I already know those.
So make sure you follow the path you want, not the one someone has decided is "The Way". And out of curiosity - does he know how to follow? Because it could make him a better leader..... just sayin'...

Mari said...

Debbi - to be completely fair to the gentleman in question, he does follow and he does it very well from what I hear. My point to him was exactly what you said - it's far too early for me to multitask my learning that way. (Especially as tango is the first partnered dance I've learned.) We'll see how I feel in a year or two lol.

AmpsterTango said...

My take on Thinking too much:

My take on learning to lead: It's like myself trying to learn how to follow. Learn you primary function first. Be proficient at it first, THEN go for the opposite role. That way, you're gaining insight with a higher level of understanding, as opposed to be trying to muddle through both roles simultaneously.

Janis said...

Men who learn the woman's role are better dancers for it.

Women who learn the man's role forget how to dance as women.

Teaching women to lead has two objectives: (1) to keep women happy dancing with other women rather than sitting out; and (2) to take their money.

Golondrina said...

When I had been learning about a year, I got it into my head that it would make me a better follower if I learnt the other side of the coin. I mentioned my plan to my teacher and she said that although she was happy for me to learn to lead, that perhaps I should think back to how tango was initially taught in BA. Most men learnt to dance as followers and would practice regularly (4 plus times a week) for about 3 years before they were permitted to start leading. That really brought it home to me, how proficient I think I should be BEFORE I start trying something new .

Stéphanie said...

Mari, you have demonstrated enough that you know perfectly well what's good for you. So if you think you should not learn to lead, you're right. If you change your mind later and decide that indeed you would benefit from learning to lead, you'd be right too, I think :)

I wanna learn to lead. First because the little I have done allows me to have a better understanding of what man have to go through in a milonga. Second, there are great songs I'd like to dance when I'm not asked. That's the main motivation of a few of my girlfriends. We have a grand ol' time dancing together...

Anyways, I can't believe that guy got under your skin so much that you called him an "ass" :D