One definition of mindfulness is that it is the practice of focusing your attention on the moment – in the now. Without worrying about the future, or the past.
This attitude is also very important within tango, and we can use it within .
Dancing in the past
Stuff goes wrong when dancing. Always. Nothing is perfect, and we all make mistakes. For example, leaders can occasionally mistake which leg their partner’s weight is on – so typically leading an unintended movement.(“Unintended”, not “wrong” – there are no “wrong” steps in Tango).
So mistakes happen. But if you let a mistake affect your subsequent dancing, if you try to adjust your dancing, you lose focus, you’re far more likely to make more mistakes, and you lose connection.
Dancing in the future
Similarly, anticipation is one of the cardinal sins. Argentine Tango is not – despite what you may see in performances – a choreographed dance. In it’s pure form, it is totally improvised, with each step being danced individually.
For example, it’s quite common for followers to anticipate movements. Typically, they’ll have learnt a sequence in a class, then, in social dancing, they meet someone who leads one or two steps from that sequence, they will assume that the next few steps will also belong to that sequence. So the followers subsequently anticipate the next steps, instead of connecting to the leaders and following the lead.
And again, the connection is lost.
Dance in the now
To avoid dancing in the past, you need to let go of the mistakes, to move past them, and to accept that they’ll always happen. Eventually, you can even get to the point where you enjoy your mistakes, treating them as opportunities for creating new movements and hence increasing your creativity.
To avoid dancing in the future, you need to stop thinking of dancing as a combined set of predefined fixed pattterns, and start thinking of it as a continuous and ongoing process.
In both cases, you need to let go of preconceptions, and avoid retaining the past or anticipating the future.
In other words, dance in the now.
We’ll be expanding on the ideas of dancing and living in the now, in our Foundations Workshop: Introducing Deep Connection.