“It’ll be much easier when you relax into it.”
I’ve lost count of the number of times I say this to studenst; it’s at least once every class, usually to most students in the class individually. It’s a constant theme of my classes. And yet “just relaxing” is very very difficult to achieve.
Why say it then?
Because relaxation is the key to good-quality dancing. You can’t enjoy the dance if you can’t relax, and you can’t relax if you’re not enjoying yourself.
More, relaxation is the key to connection – with ourselves, with our partners, with the music and with the outside world. If we’re not relaxed, we certainly can’t achieve connection. Conversely, if we relax into the dance, then connection is almost unavoidable.
Conventional teaching does not work.
There are some tips and tricks I have, to help students relax in a class; for example, getting the followers to close their eyes is a good one. And they work – well, for a minute or so. Students do relax, their dancing and their enjoyment of the dancing does impove. But then they forget to do it, or they focus on something else that’s going wrong, and I can see them tense up. They lose relaxation and connection.
So these are just temporary; in fact, one thing I have found is that, like the Dalek Relaxation Tape, saying “relax” all the time is counter-productive, as students can start to worry more about not being relaxed!
So there’s no effective way I know of, using conventional Tango teaching techniques, to get students to relax, and to stay relaxed. At the moment, people have to learn this the “hard way”, by learning to dance well enough, over a long period ot time, so that they relax into the dancing. Which is an arduous and drawn-out process.
Mindfulness and Tango
Which brings us to mindfulness.Our first Foundations workshop – “Introducing Deep Connection” – will focus on all the techniques and ideas and practices that enable you to relax. Because connection and relaxation are intertwined – it’s not too much of a stretch to say that they’re parts of the same thing.
I honestly think that mindfulness may help you to improve the quality of your tango dancing, by giving people an effective focus and connection, to use in your dancing and in your daily life, without going through a long and stressful learning process.
And now… you can relax.