Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Excitement and Frustration

I spent a great weekend at the inaugural LA Tango Marathon. I traveled with two of my friends, and we proved to be good roommates and travel partners. Many in-jokes were created, and lots of laughter accompanied the trip. The dancing was great - I danced with many new people, for hours and hours. Music was generally excellent, I don't remember ever feeling let down by it.  I also danced with people I have seen at other events, and it was fun to reconnect.

The marathon itself had one main issue: the floor of the venue was tough. It was very hard, and slightly sticky linoleum. It was also old: sunk in some places; rippled in others; generally not very nice. From about 1-inch upward, the room had been remodeled, and it was gorgeous: stained-glass-like painted panels in the ceiling, chandeliers, and high ceilings. My feet mostly lasted through the dancing, and I'm very glad I went.

While in LA, I took a private lesson. I have not done a lot of private tuition in the past; most of my learning comes from group classes, and time spent dancing. I also must admit to not a whole lot of practice time. Therefore - the lesson was hugely useful, in a technique sense. I mostly dance close, and my pivots lack a certain amount of technique or balance. They are just not something I perform very often as a lead. We also discussed some posture (always welcome) and leading changes, which I enjoyed (I might expand another time, but basically: incorporating thoughts of my belly as a leading tool). Apparently these changes were successful, as a regular partner immediately commented on them when I returned to Seattle.

However, the immediate effect was to make me feel hugely unsuccessful as a dancer: how could I think I have any ability at this, when there are so many basic, fundamental movements I still don't do well? It took me a couple of hours at the dance (and some very enjoyable dances) to shake it off. I think I feel this way in a lot of areas: when faced with an expert, I am reminded that I am not one.

A friend did tell me this, and it made me feel a lot better: "Your dance can always improve, but don't forget there are already a lot of people that love dancing with you." If you are feeling similarly down about your abilities, remember that this is likely true for you as well.