Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dancing with the Enemy

Tango can be just a dance.

But it can be much more.

When I am "expectant" and present, I feel a transfer of information.  More than just a transfer, I feel an understanding, an empathy.

The following experience is one of the most powerful:

I was leaving a very tense job because I felt under attack by my boss.  When I got a new job, I arranged a going-away lunch buffet and got a salsa partner to come teach my colleagues how to dance a little salsa and merengue.  She and I demonstrated a bit of tango and salsa as a warm-up.  Connie, my salsa friend, taught  salsa and zumba, and soon many were out dancing and having fun.

Most going-away parties with this group were absolutely boring, but my "dance-away party" was probably the best party I have ever hosted.  At the very end the the party, my boss, asked if we should dance a going-away salsa.   That was the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth -- an invitation to dance.

It was a chance to dance with the enemy.

I suggested a tango rather than her suggestion to dance a salsa.  Given the chance to dance for peace, I knew that the tango embrace would be the better choice.  During the party, my boss had not danced once in at the party although she once was a ballroom dance teacher.  The DJ, Connie and the boss's secretary were the only people present.  I had the DJ play a tango from Biagi. This was tango.  Close embrace.  Rhythmic.

By this time in my life, I knew about the healing aspects of tango -- the embrace to music -- but I did not expect the ensuing powerful effects from "dancing with the enemy." Dancing with her had a powerful and lasting effect on me because much was forgiven through our embrace at that moment.  I cannot easily tell you why, but it was as if I knew how she felt -- that she was a human with her own struggles too.  Maybe I saw myself too from her eyes.  From our dance, I felt an enemy had been destroyed through mutual compassion.  It took courage for her to ask, and it took courage to follow my intuition to suggest a tango.  Aren't enemies created from a lack of empathy in the first place?

A few days ago, a colleague asked about working for my former boss because she had been interviewed by my former boss.  I found myself being objective.  I suggested that she had learned some wisdom since her first years as a supervisor.  Also, I trusted my colleague's own wisdom to do well under my former boss.  After all, everyone has to walk on the hard path to wisdom.  Dancing cannot take away hard facts, but it has washed away any need to express unresolved bitterness.

I got into a my car after that dance with my boss to drive to a new city and a new job.  I wondered if the feeling would last.  More than just last, this empathy has grown, although I know how much she hurt me and others, it doesn't haunt me anymore.

Tango is only a dance.

But can be much more.


Photo Credit

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment with four options:
(1) Here on the blog.
(2 & 3) On the links given above for Facebook/Google+ links.
(4) Comment via email at, which with your permission, I can paste into comments.