Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I can feel you thinking...

Inspired by a comment I made to a post over at The Tango Hours...

It's really, really, really important for followers to "not" think when they dance. I can feel it when a follower is thinking, especially when dancing milonga.

My hat's off to those of you who "don't" think already.

For those of you who might be having difficulty with this concept, I'm not sure what to offer, not sure that there is much that I can offer. Except this. If "not" thinking (and relaxing) is something you have difficulty with, then perhaps you should "practice" "not" thinking. Practice relaxing. Meditation, deep breathing, I'm sure there are a host of vehicles and techniques and classes and therapists/practioners and such.

Practice your tango, practice your "not" thinking.

The thread on Tango-L about followers who automatically cross (when not led) is evidence of this thinking, when there should "not" be. If she is crossing herself, without my lead, that tells me she "thought" to do it.

I realize that this is an advanced concept, dancing "in the zone", but I just wanted to express it.

Clear your mind, "free" your mind, relax, enjoy...just don't think about dancing tango. Just dance. Surrender...and dance...

Any thoughts/comments/ideas from followers on how they manage to "not" think are greatly appreciated, as always...

And now...for the "strangest" segue ever...my "quotes"....my " "... come from Chris Farley doing his "Matt Foley" motivational speaker character...although I couldn't find any video of him doing the "quotes" thing...do you guys remember this from Saturday Night Live? Hilarious stuff...

6 comments:

msHedgehog said...

Actually a lot of people also lead the cross quite clearly, but unintentionally, because they're losing you to their right for some other reason, and you step across yourself to stay in front of them. I think that confuses people.

I agree that what you have to do as a follower is CONCENTRATE, not reason. You only need reason for the awkward social decisions.

Alex said...

Thanks mshedge...

I'm curious about the possibility of two opposites...potential ends of the spectrum...between concentrating or focusing...and freeing your mind in more of a meditative state.

I wonder how various followers accomplish this...

studio wellspring said...

i just let go & do what i feel. sometimes {esp the 1st song at a milonga w/ a new partner} i have to tell myself as i enfold into his embrace to relax, breathe, and not think. then i close my eyes, breathe, and settle my curves in to his curves. during a song if my body feels a cross, then that's what i do just naturally & without thought. if that's not what the lead intended then i hope he just thinks, "how interesting" instead of "why the hell did she do somethin i didn't lead", because i'm not thinking i'm just going with the flow. i think that's why i enjoy tango so much: it gives me an opp to turn off my over-active brain ~ a great contrast from my day job! instead, i'm just free flowing the spontaneous movement evoked, and relating to the music & the sensations between my partner & i.
it is bliss when it works well.
of course everything i just wrote only pertains to dancing with a lead who knows somewhat what he's doing. i've danced w/ new tangueros who required me to think so i didn't get stepped on or rammed into a chair or just to interpret what in the heck their intentions were.
oh, and i def remember that snl skit ~ a true classic..."in a van down by the river".... hilarious!

ModernTanguera said...

This kind of not-thinking is what I feel when I'm in my most meditative dancing state (what I was talking about in that Zen post I made recently). I accomplish it by doing two, seemingly contradictory, things. I do focus - but I focus my body and ears; I focus on movements and music. My mind I let wander, much like I do when I am meditating. I let my mind flow over the music, the movements, everything around me ... and if I feel like I am thinking too hard about any one thing, I try to focus my mind on my breathing. This often releases my mind to wander once again into that beautiful, meditative state.

Elizabeth said...

Alex, Maybe the state of active meditation, which is the way of tango, should not be thought of as an advanced concept at all. I remember it form moments in my earliest lessons, (not surprising, with an Argentine man just learning tango), and with other beginners, leaders who could put me there in a moment. However, even though it is a relaxed state, it is active, and I have to corral myself to stay/be there. I think the most amazing thing to me is how the leaders do this. They have the more difficult job, so much to think about, so how do they stop thinking? It is just that they have the body memeory in them, so that they can let that go, and be in the meditation with me and the music? Sometimes I find myself sort of slacking off, thinking about something or other, but I am making the effort to reign the untrained or distracted mind.
Women are controlling, busy, active in their lives, often filling in for everyone. How beautiful, how freeing to not think. Long live tango. When are you going to come to Seattle?

msHedgehog said...

I agree that it's not at all advanced. It's a really basic thing you have to do to follow and not get distracted, and it's not particularly difficult. It does take a bit of practice to learn how not to get distracted by the strange or alarming things that happen behind the leader's shoulder, or by the habits of normal social interactions, but not much more practice than it takes to walk backwards in a straight line without wobbling. The main thing is that you have to be told it's possible, and some people have to be told that it's what you're supposed to do - it's not necessarily obvious.

Whether it feels like just concentrating, or a sort of meditative state, depends on the quality of the music, for me.