We are yearning and we are stuck in the idea that what we are yearning for is outside of us.
I remember when I was eight there was a big friendly coach at school. When it was someone’s birthday, he would put the kid up on his shoulders and parade around the playground with all the students running around clapping.
For weeks before my birthday, I lived in thrilling anxiety looking forward to this moment. How did coach find out whose kid’s birthday it was? He must know by magic. There must be some school filing system. But there wasn’t, and my birthday came and went without the parade.
Isadora Duncan dancing on the beach
My life has been one long study in realizing that if I want to feel the joy I’m searching for I can take full responsibility to create the connection. “Coach, it’s my birthday!” - that’s all I would have needed to do.
That missed parade was echoed by hundreds of other missed tandas. I remember the first thrilling notes of Nochero Soy came on at the final milonga of the festival. And I was sitting right next to him. Of course, he would know that we were destined to dance it together. He must know by magic. But he didn’t and instead we both sat there. It’s not worth it.
It’s not worth it to wait and leave someone else in charge of creating the situations that you know will be full of joy for everyone. You can’t leave someone else in charge and wait until you get scooped up. You need to create them.
Learning tango is a complex undertaking. I am humbled every day. I still go to milongas and let myself be the victim of separation. There are hundreds of temptations to believe that the source of Tango, the source of transformation, lives somewhere outside of you, in a partner, in a nurturing community, in a perfect teacher. It doesn’t. These things can help provide pointers and encouragement. But only you can learn to tango. And all it takes is you.
In this series, of which I have planned 12 little articles, I am going to share some experiences and discoveries that have helped me, and I hope might help you really, truly, fully take responsibility for your Tango. This is for you whether you are a beginner or a pro, whether you are solo or in partnership. I hope that it will help you connect with the creativity and peace of exploring something you love freely and limitlessly, and creating much joy for yourself and others along the way.
I would love to hear from you either by email or in the comments here about aspects of this topic that interest you, or your own experiences that relate to this theme. In the next article, the focus will be on how to create your own (solo) Tango practice.