Friday, July 26, 2013

Black Belt in Tango?

The Innovator:
Starting, not "starting over."

I am trying to earn my white belt in tango.  Please join me and many others -- those of us who are on a wonderful path of tandem self-discovery in a dance called tango.  

How often have I heard someone lament after starting with a new teacher that they must "start all over"? That's nothing to lament about! Starting from the beginning each time is the task at hand in tango and in life!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tangueras: Don't get into that cab!

A super man asks for a dance
non-verbally with a nod or wink.
It's called a "cabeceo."
Struggling with Spanish and English terms that are easily confused?

Well, here are two terms that tangueras and tangeros easy get confused:

Cabby CEO  from cabby [cab driver] and "chief executive officer."


Cabeceo  from the word "cabeza."

Cabeceo:  This is Spanish for a nod of the head -- a non-verbal way to get a nice ride around the dance floor to locations of musical bliss one desires to visit.

Cabby CEO:  This is English for a high risk driver running his own business at any cost.  A cabby CEO's business is to talk you into going to locations he (or she) is going.   It is easy to detect cabby CEO's:  They are very verbal taxi drivers (or tango dancers) who ask if you want to go where they happen to be going. (They won't be interested where you want to go; that is why they asked.)
Hey, wanna dance?
I drive you mad for good price.*

*Warning: Never take a ride from someone who suggests a ride by stopping you to ask.  The destination may be dangerous.  Don't lie.  Just say, "No thanks."  More on tango etiquette here.

Yes, you there.  Let's dance!
Ladies:  Don't leave it up to the man.

One can be non-verbal and get dances very assertively.  This photo is my favorite example of a female "mirada" (look) -- the ladys' version of a non-verbal request for a dance.  My guess is that she got that dance.

I suggest a little bit less assertiveness than this, but she's on the right track.

Photo credits:
Super cabeceo
Cabby CEO
Female cabeceo (thanks Christian Xell -- a poster for a milonga in Vienna, Austria.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why Real Men Don't Dance

When I was a boy

When I was a boy,
I was told not to cry.
So I stopped.

When I was a youth,
I was told not to sing.
So I stopped.

When I was a teen.
I was told not to dance.
So I stopped.

When I went off to war,
I was told not to talk.
So I stopped.

One day she asked me to dance,
And I have learned to cry,
I have learned to sing and talk.
I am now a real boy,
Working on being a real man.

This poem is dedicated to the hundreds of soldiers I have met as a therapist who have started talking again after being afraid to tell their story.  It is an honor to meet the real boys and girls in my office.  They do not know me as the "tango therapist," but, as you might imagine, I do tell them to also learn to dance along with learning to talk.

A friend asked me after my last post on the body as the primal musical instrument if each person has at least a latent ability to dance.  I answered her in the words below, and then was inspired to write the above poem.

"Not every person weeps, but doing so is uniquely human.  Not every human being can talk, but that is uniquely human.  Not everyone can sing, but that is uniquely human.  Not everyone dances to music, but that is uniquely human.  Sometimes we teach each other not to be human; otherwise, we would do these things naturally."