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September 23, 2003

The mental “thing”

Have just returned from the Taiwan Tango Festival. Naturally, I was feeling extremely tired, the result of attending too many workshops no doubt!

However, frankly, while I was there, I was not really dancing as my usual self. You may say it was a case of lack of a ‘home-ground’ advantage!? Or just too much workshop so that I was in the midst of a workshop-new-look transitional phase, neither here nor there kind of thing!? While this may seem odd to some, this is not that unusual for me – the ‘uncoordinatedness’ immediately after a Tango workshop.

In fact, this has been quite obvious upon my return to Singapore, as I have been observed to be dancing in the “Taiwan” style by a number of people (as opposed to “Berlin” style after I returned from Berlin). By the way, this is NOT a reflection of how people dance in those respective locations, but more of an indication of the change in me after I return from these short trips.

After more investigating, I am now convinced that the major changes are more internal than external. While the external part (the embrace, the frame of the dance, the hold, the size/speed of steps) can be replicated relatively easily, it is the internal outlook that makes all the difference in the world. That is, in my eagerness to ‘learn’ the new material, I have forgotten to relax and I have simply neglected my own advice of waiting for the lady to complete her movements. Once again, I seem to have placed more emphasis in what I do as a leader, and places the follower’s role in a secondary position. The result is that the lady’s movements are rushed, and the dance becomes less smooth.

All this strikes me as another reinforcement of the idea that Tango is all a state of mind. The internal aspects will determine how you dance and how your partner feels. Ultimately, you dance expresses how you feel.

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