29 July 2010

Doing self critiques

Throughout the years I've been dancing tango, I've had a few opportunities to see myself dancing. It happened again recently, and seeing myself one more time, gave the opportunity to ponder and learn a few things.

Every now and then,  the tango zombie paths of old needed to be contemplated, examined, and corrected...

Ballroom Lessons
When I was an aspiring ballroom dancer many years ago, my teacher ( Sam Smith ) taught me two things:
  • Some people do not look as good as they think
  • People need to be honest with ego. If not, they get stuck and never progress

What he was talking about was that many, many people think they are so good, and thus, look good too. Unfortunately, when others see you, that is not the case... and, it happens a lot.

I was this (infallible) person once. I thought I was the best at what I did and no one could match me—Until I saw myself dance. It was during a performance. Oh my goodness! I looked horrible. That was a wake-up call.

I had to improve. In order to do this, I had to accept the fact that I was not as good as I thought I was. That was what my teacher talked about being honest with my ego

My tango critique evolutions
Seeing myself dance in tango was more challenging than I had anticipated. The complexity and finesse tango needs required me to contemplate and plan in order to move forward. My self critiques reflected my growth in tango.

  • My early tango years
My perspective of myself emphasized on the "Mechanical." I believed that in order to be good, I had to expand my tango vocabulary. I went down the path of trying to learn everything as fast as I could.

  • Sometime in between now and then
I saw myself dance again. Despite the much expanded vocabulary, all I saw of myself was a step collector. My emphasis in learning, then shifted to techniques and the refinement thereof. So much so that I became "anal retentive." I became obsessed with perfection. I believed that having the repertoire of steps and precise delivery was they key to being good in tango.

Much to my chagrin, I realized that this, and my other preceding belief were quests of folly. Tango didn't work that way. I realized that tango is a balance of discipline, patience, technique, mechanical knowledge, all combined with caring for my partner.

  • Seeing myself now
It's funny. After all the money and work expended on workshops, memorization, techniques, shoes, clothes, blah, blah, blah... I came to the realization that I am now faced with one of the most difficult things to do in tango (IMHO)—Keeping things simple, and still look decent.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

    Many, many people have said that "In tango, you dance for yourself, and your partner. Not for anyone else." True, so very, very true. 

    However, when I see myself and there are things that obviously need correcting, I need to "man up" and do something about it.

    1 comment:

    Elizabeth Brinton said...

    Yes, what you say is true. There are some cringing moments while viewing oneself. Yikes. But if we don't how would we know what to do about it? Worth more than a dozen good lessons.