22 March 2009

patience, Patience... PATIENCE!

Tango has taught me something in life... it is the virtue of patience.

Most of my life, I've indulged in endeavors that required action—Immediate, decisive, resolute, and brutally efficient methods that resulted in speedy results. Often have I taken the rational, scientific, and analytical route to get to the most optimal results in the shortest amount of time. I've broken things into steps and bullet points. This makes things understandable, organized, and easily doable.

When I first started tango, I thought I could do the ballroom thing and memorize moves and deliver them with precision. I wanted to do a lot right away. I wanted to be able to take the floor and impress. I wanted to be the best tanguero. I wanted to be like Salas, Frumboli, and dance Nuevo style and do the flashy stuff, sooner. I thought nuevo music was cooler—it sounded new and had a beat. I thought the older tangueros were boring—Geriatric. I was ready, I was willing, I was good-to-go! Now, now, now!

Fast forward a few years...

Not so for tango. The fast-track thing does not work. I have found no shortcuts. My learning of tango has become a long, frustrating, exasperating, but ultimately rewarding esoteric experience.

It is one of the few things in life that I've found worthy of truly making an investment of time, effort, and understanding to become good at. Tango is not a science. It is an art. It is the marriage of fluid movement with passion applied to beautiful and distinctive music called tango.

When I tried to expedite my tango learning, it felt life-less. When I memorized precise movement and delivery, it felt mechanical. When I scrutinized and analyzed traditional tango music, it just felt old. I went through analysis-paralysis. I wasn't getting anywhere.

I decided to just let go, assimilate and just learn and grow. That worked. I willingly went through a cycle of learning and just let things happen. I went in, and let go of any presumptions. I started my learning process as a total beginner. Then, and ONLY then, did I notice any significant progress.

Of all the things that I have done in my life, tango is one that has required a lot of patience. But, its return in the form of life enrichment has made it more than worth it.

Patience (in tango) pays.


Anonymous said...

That's great, Ampster. So, how are you feeling about "old" music these days :-)

AmpsterTango said...


Knowing what I know now, traditional (old) tango music is the ONLY thing I listen to now. I've grown to appreciate it's intricacy and subtleness.

I should blog about that too.

Anonymous said...

Actually, what I would find fascinating (because I know you write exclusively for ME :-) is your journey from "nuevo" to "traditional", not only in physical terms but also in musical terms. What first drew you about nuevo music that no longer satisfies you. And what was it about traditional that didn't speak to you originally but does now.

Anna said...

A cycle of learning, huh? But it's SO painfully frustrating... To want to express yourself and not be able to... To have that communication barrier between you and your dance partner... It sucks!

AK47 said...

Dear AmpsterTango,

I recognized much of myself when you described yourself, when you started Tango, as brutal in efficiency. It is a difficult art, 10 months after my humble beginning, I am still making lots (should I say tons?) of mistakes but I'm enjoying it very much. It is also teaching me one precious fundamental, having grace under pressure.

Thank you very much for your wise insight and giving me the moral push to keep going.


AmpsterTango said...

You are most welcome. This is one of the social dance that takes a sincere investment in time and effort to be good at. The fulfillment is well worth the work.

It is my pleasure to be of service. Thank you