Joy of learning

Sometimes I think it´s not the tango itself I´m enjoying, but the experience of learning something new.

Learning can be frustrating, and confusing. And I´m often bad at giving myself credit for the progress I make – once I can do something, I have a tendency to dismiss it as easy. But there´s a very special pleasure in being able to do something that you know couldn´t do before. Particularly if you couldn´t do it so recently that you remember vividly how impossible it once seemed!

Last week if I tried to do a 360 degree spin on one foot my balance was dreadful and I could only stay upright by sticking out a foot in an out of control direction. But I got some good advice, practiced it, experimented, tried to be systematic about what was going wrong (OK, I keep falling forwards… wonder why… what if I… OK: now I keep falling backwards… too much… now that´s a bit better, let´s try that again… OK, why did I just go sideways?), had a few little breakthrough moments….

And today, I found that I was now capable of spinning through 360degrees under control and in balance, and finishing neatly. Not all the time – but more often than not.

It´s not earth shattering in itself. Indeed because tango´s based on the embrace you very rarely do full spins in tango, and even partial turns are led by the partner (who´s there for a quick correction if needed too!). But maintaining your own balance is definitely a fundamental part of tango, and being able to do full spins is a tangible sign that my balance and my awareness of my body has improved…

It´s hard to capture just how good that feels. There´s a sense of amazement each time I manage to complete a sucessful spin, like throwing a six again and again and again. But there´s the additional satisfaction of knowing that it´s not luck… that all that practice has loaded the dice!

Soon I will start to take this, too, for granted. Hopefully by then I´ll be focussing on learning something new! I love tango, but passions and opportunities come and go, so I can´t be sure how long I will continue to dance tango. But I know I want to be learning every day of my life, because it brings a unique pleasure.

Edit – Just to add, this morning I was in a class where we were asked to do 720degree spins… the other good thing about learning is that there´s always something new to be learnt!

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3 responses to “Joy of learning

  1. You went all out this time, didn’t you? Tango is really difficult. I can only say my experience with it is sitting in my bean bag watching So You Think You Can Dance and saying WOW! So, Kudos to you for trying something new and accomplishing what you set out to do. I’m proud of you. Have a nice day.

  2. I love watching superb dancers. I was watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire today, on a political blog of all places, and it was both delightful and awe-inspiring.

    I’m impressed by how you’ve taken on the Tango while in Buenos Aires. What a great way to taste first-hand this aspect of the culture.

  3. Pingback: changing « Words that sing

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