Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tango Dreams

I have dreams from time to time in which I fly.  I love flying.  It is so wonderful it wakes me in my delight and concern that it will end too soon.  Before I wake, I feel as if I must remember how this works.  Why couldn't I fly before?  Can I do it again?  All these thoughts make me lose elevation and I must land.  Upon landing, I wake, sad that it was a dream.

Tonight, I know that I will not wake up from these dreams anymore.  I will fly and not fear that I will forget because starting today, I will remember the fact that I can fly.  In my dreams I can -- every night, even before I sleep.  With my passion to fly, I am not limited by worry about my technique of flying.  Before writing this, I never realized the antidote to this sad ending to my dream.  But now I know that I will be free to fly without worry of waking to be disappointed.

The reason I will no longer be awakened from flying is something I learned from working with combat vets.   I will not go into it right here, but one of the single most rewarding things of my work as a therapist with soldiers is that although they had nightmares every night for years, with a new nightmare mitigation technique, the horrific dreams suddenly start to disappear.  Eventually they stop having to use toxic medications to induce and maintain sleep.  It is all about embracing the producer and director of your dreams -- you.  The producer is the raw passion of the film making what we do in our head both asleep and awake and is the limbic part of our brain.  The director is the technique, the cerebral cortex that tames passion and at its very best, makes passion sublime.  This concept has been around for centuries as "sublimation" -- that what makes passion sublime.  Unfortunately, the word "sublimation" has changed in its meaning to become "stuffing your passion."

Perhaps you will ask, what use is this if you cannot really fly?  Mentally when I fly, you will see that I am more serine and happy.  Being more serine and happy has multiple uses, don't you think?

I now have the ending to dream, and it has a wonderful ending:  I fly without worrying about technique because my passion got me to take flight, and hard-earned technique will follow because I am enjoying myself and I am willing to work for the next level.  In other words, passion is what makes us work to have technique that allows us to keep flying higher and longer.

Finding the ending of my stress dream, comes out of my life experience as a tanguero.  This is yet another practical application of what I have learned as a tanguero.  The soaring that tangueros experience all the time is very much like this dream.

I am suggesting that you more assuredly can soar in your practice of the walking embrace, commonly called "tango."   Nightmares have an overly active producer, and tango dancers often have an overly active "director," stealing away the very basis for the creative work of art you are about to paint upon the floor.

Give up the worry about your technique (although that  is very important) and put it into context of art and love!  Tango is an art and much more than that.  It is the art of flying with another person.  The arts hit their highest of highs through technique, but what makes them have the energy to take flight and soar?  It is your passion for art and love.

Let's say that we are both authors.  We write a novel about tango.  We have passion about what we write.  It is important to have good spelling and grammar.  But without our passion we have nothing.

Tango is love -- the love of movement and connection with another.  Let's say that we are lovers.  If were are truly lovers we would love each other with all our hearts and minds, and I would hope that our technique makes it all the better. But without our passion, our technique is nothing.

My best moment in tango is when I hold a woman, no matter how old or young, comely or plain, as the only woman in the world.  There is no technique to open your heart to the transfer of energy between two souls, but technique will help to transform this moment to be sublime.  And when this happens technique seems so important, and I can for a moment believe that technique brought me to this heavenly place.  However after a moment's reflection I will return to my heart:  Passion was what made us take flight, to soar; technique allowed us to fly high and long.

Will you fly with me?  With us?  Try it in your dreams.  But practice it with the soul who has assented to hold you as you go down the wooden path together in this magical, walking embrace, you and I call tango.

For a perhaps more balanced view of technique and it's importance, see this post:

Photo credits:  flying dreamer dancing water.


  1. I love this post! I think I write more about technique because I take for granted that tango is ultimately about the art and passion of the dance. (And because it's easier to find the words to write about it!) If everyone around me were technique-obsessed, I would probably write more about moving beyond technique to the artistry of dancing. But I kind of feel like I don't have to, because you did it so nicely here. :)

  2. @Hola Tanguera Moderna... I really do agree with everything you wrote on your post. I even repented a bit after posting this about passion's foundational place, because I work on walking technique daily, and I remember as a musician I was known for my technique, mostly through my first private teacher. But you know, he was in some ways a bad influence; I learned later how secondary it was in music. It is better to have lousy technique and a lot of passion as a musician -- but of course, it is good to have both! You saw that I referred to your blog for a "more balanced view," right? :-) ¡Que te vaya bien! M

  3. "It is better to have lousy technique and a lot of passion as a musician -- but of course, it is good to have both!"

    I think you need a minimum level of technique no matter what (at least if you want people to listen to you!), but beyond that basic technique the same is true for dance as for music. Nothing is more boring than watching or dancing with a dancer who only cares about technical perfection. Virtuosos are never as interesting as artists. :)

    And yes, I saw the link. Thank you! But I don't really think my view is any more balanced than yours! ;)


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