Sunday, December 30, 2018

Will Your Relationship with Tango Survive?


How is your relationship with tango going these days? It will survive if you transition successfully through different phases that all lasting human relationships do.

I often wonder after seeing so many come and go in tango, what makes the relationship with dance last?  The answer is found in part in your hormones.

Let me introduce to you Dr. Gottman, the researcher/therapist who was the first to look at relationships through hormonal levels in the blood system as couples talked with each other about their difficulties. He eventually could predict whether a relationship would last or dissolve by briefly reviewing the hormonal levels in blood samples before and after sessions.  He and his research team found that even couples who looked as if they were learning to communicate were at times on their way to a surprisingly sudden and destructive end. In other words, if one's blood contains high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, one's relationship is unlikely to continue long-term.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dilated Tango Eyes


She peered into my eyes and looked concerned after we danced for just two songs of a tanda. I had been dancing at a small weekend tango event, and I suppose I was in a euphoric trance.

"Your eyes are really dilated.  Are mine?"

"No," I said. "Are you concerned?" I asked.

As a registered nurse she mentioned a few concerns, but ended by saying, "If you are feeling fine, then you are okay, but wow, they are really dilated."

Friday, September 7, 2018

Timeless Flow and Insights for Tango

Timeless flow is the state of mind that makes tango magical.

"Timeless Flow" is a way to describe the wonderful state of mind that everyone has experienced while in a dream state or in the joy of a magical moment.

As much as I enjoy being "scientific" in my understanding of the universe and life, I am becoming more interested in the Science of Experience.  I want to expand my experience of paying attention to the things that really matter in life. As we increase our awareness of the here and now, time stops in this euphoric space.  This is the best that tango gives to us--a sense of flow.  Musicians, artists, dancers have been describing flow for eons.

Friday, July 20, 2018

These Motivation Styles may define your tango

My last blog entry introduced Gretchen Rubin, who had written a New York Times Best Seller, The Four Tendencies.

I have a video below of a presentation that Rubin gave in case you did not catch my last post.  In short, she describes four kinds of people with their "tendencies" when it comes to external or internal motivation. Although some might argue that these are too simplistic, I would argue they are "parsimonious" in that they make sense of complex issues--of why good intentioned people find themselves unmotivated or on the other end of the spectrum, motivated in a way that brings out bad outcomes in their lives.

The Tendencies are here given as a way of understanding our tango lives in the area of external and internal motivations.  Take the quiz about your own tendencies BEFORE you have reviewed the below video. Be sure and answer the way you are and not the way you'd like to be.  Press here for the link to the quiz.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tango's Four Tendencies


At a national conference of therapists, the organizers invited Gretchen Rubin, who had written a New York Times Best Seller, The Four Tendencies.  She explained in her talk four categories of people in the way to find the motivation to get things done.  I think you will like her motivational speech for understanding how we respond to external and internal motivation. I went home and read her book right away.  Luckily I found a video of her presenting her ideas, summarized well in her TedTalk video for you.  Please check it out below.

What advantages/disadvantages of your personality tendency affect your tango? So here are the categories, just to let your mind to set this up well:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We are a fantastic dancer!


She and I are both percussionists. It may be one of the reasons I love dancing with her. Without exception, she reminds me of our drummer bond, our connection through rhythm awareness.

She needn't remind me!  I know.

Yesterday, after a particularly fun tango, we pause between songs in the tanda and she says, "That was so much fun! You are a fantastic dancer."

Pensively I suggest: "We are fantastic dancers when we dance together."

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dancers as Music's Graffiti



I know that from my own dancing, especially with certain milonga tandas, that I feel constrained not by a pre-scripted choreography but by the music. The music dances us. My wife tells me that she feels as if she is just dancing to the music and I am there with her.  She's right. Mission accomplished. This feeling of the music controlling your every move in tandem is the zone where the leader/follower paradigm disappears.  Sure, there are two distinct roles, but "leader/follower" is probably the worst analogy to describe the magic of Argentine tango, but perfect for ballroom tango.
Isn't this the way it's supposed to be? The music moves us; otherwise, it isn't really dancing at all, I suppose.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tango Impressionists


If you would become a true tango artist in today's world, I believe one must become very much like the Impressionists in Paris, France.

The "Tango Impressionist" creates a color and a mood and not the perfect line and frame, or contrast as tango choreographers and their protégés do. Impressionists rejected the perfect line developed in the controls of a studio. The true impressionists look for the perfect moment and try to catch it before the light changes.  But the bad news is that much like the Impressionists in the late 1800's in France, the TI may be rejected by the clique of wanna-be stage dancers. Yet, if one eschews fame and the (imagined) adoration of dance voyeurs, you will not grow old, as they likely will, never being the stage dancer they so wanted to be. You will not be forced to perform out in the middle of the social dance floor, hoping for adoring eyes. I hope at some point that all modern dancers at least will try to experience the beauty of Tango Impressionism as do milongueras and milongueros. But, unfortunately, visual gratification and the desire to be seen is a big lure away from the desire to feel and intuit the feelings of your partner and the ambiance of the room.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What to know about Encuentros

Encuentro in Paris, France
In Europe, and now more and more in America, organizers have developed little tango festivals (festivalitos) which in all cases are close embrace weekends.  The term for these small events has settled on the Spanish word for "encounter" (encuentro).

Encuentros are amazing for things that happen and things that don't happen.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Why men dance with men on Planet O

An allegory on a taboo subject
by Mark Word


My meditation teacher and tango partner was not kidding:  "Mind-Travel" she called it. "You're ready. Where would you like to go in the Universe?" she asked.  "Let's go dance somewhere new."

"How about going to a parallel universe?" I asked, sarcastically, incredulously.

"That's too far.  How about a parallel galaxy?" she offered.

To my amazement (and I am sure to your disbelief), we went to a parallel galaxy to a planet, called, "Ognat."