The Gift of Dance: A Quick Note

Dance gets into your veins.  It’s more than something to do – it’s something to be.  Once you’re a dancer, you don’t stop being a dancer, even if you have lapses in the actual dancing.  A Tango Dancer.  A Salsa Dancer.  A Swing Dancer.  A Dancer, full stop.  It’s a skill; a craft; an art; a way of being.  Dance stays with you.

 

Think back to when you took your very first dance class.  Did you just randomly wake up one morning and say, “hey – this feels like a good day to learn tango”?  Or were you inspired by someone in your life, whether it be a friend, coworker, significant other, parent, child, street performance?  For many of us, we might not have ever tried had we not had just that little bit of inspiration.  And for many of us, a life without dance is hardly conceivable now.
This is why we think the gift of dance is so meaningful.  It outlasts the orange chocolates, tinsel, or Hanukkah candles.  It outlasts a beach vacation or fancy dinner on the town – lovely as all these things are, they can’t help but eventually fade to memories.  But learn to dance, and you always have somewhere to go.  And instead of trying to recapture old memories, you keep making new ones.  This, we think, is a truly special gift.  For anyone and everyone.

Daniel’s Tango Story

Daniel at Denver Tango Festival

Most Tango dancers usually fall in love with Tango because the dance brings out an aspect of their life that was missing.  My experience was exactly the same way.  To really understand my story you must know my life before Tango.  My whole life I was an analytical, left brained type person.  Naturally I was drawn to science and in college I was an electrical engineering major which even made me more analytically minded.  I began to be so analytical that I literally started acting more like a machine then a human.  I was unable to understand body language and interact with people in a normal like manner.  I had the chance to date some really nice and beautiful women but my inability to understand body language and lack of social skills sabotaged any chance I had to have a relationship with them.  By my junior year of college I began to understand that something was wrong with me and that I needed to learn how to express my emotions somehow.  I was unhappy, lonely and miserable.  Shortly after graduation I was dating a woman who happened to be a dancer.  She introduced me to ballroom dancing and I was attending lessons at a local dance studio regularly.  When I first started dancing I was dancing rather mechanically, dancing steps rather than dancing with gusto.  Later, a friend of mine at the dance studio taught me Tango.  I knew that Tango was different than all the other ballroom dances that I had done.  It didn’t have a basic step or really any structure; it was a completely improvised dance.  My first draw to Tango was really out of curiosity as I didn’t really understand what the dance was.  My friend taught me mostly patterns and basic Tango steps. My friend kept urging me to go to some of the Tango festivals.  I managed to attend the Chicago Tango Week festival after taking a trip to St. Louis to see some relatives.  Now until this point I had not danced on a crowed floor at all.  The Milonga floor at the Chicago Tango Week was absolutely packed!  Here I was, this inexperienced dancer trying to dance on jam packed floors.  I was so absolutely terrified of running into other people or getting my dance partners hurt that I did not enjoy myself that evening and was beginning to think that I should have never taken up Tango.  The second Milonga that I attended was different.   On this night there was a very good Tango DJ playing and I was really starting to get into the music.  When I started to dance I was still terrified of running into people but instead of trying to think through the dance I started letting the music dictate the steps that I was leading.  My emotions took over and all of a sudden I was dancing better.  I was expressing my emotions through the dance and having fun instead of being scared and timid.  I found a whole new side to myself that I didn’t find before.  This was the first time that I fell in love with Tango.  As time went on I started attending every festival that I could get to.  I continued developing my dancing based on the emotional aspects of the dance rather than focusing on steps and patterns.  I worked on my Tango embrace and refined my connection.  I also started learning how to express myself better to people off of the dance floor as I learned how to use body language.  In general I was a much happier person than I was.  In January 2012 I will be celebrating my 3rd anniversary of Tango dancing and I am more in love with Tango than I ever was.