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!