15 mayo 2008

At practice today A and I were having difficulty calibrating with one another. It was as if she had trouble reading my lead, or that I couldn't place her exactly where I wanted her. Our figures took on irregular shapes, with inconsistent distances between us and odd fluctuations in our axes that we seemed to be inflicting upon one another. Yet at the end of the practice we came away feeling good about the place we were in. So what gives?

It's easy to remember a time when the same experience would have left me frustrated and self-conscious, but I've been in the game long enough to recognize transitional phases for what they are. These are the times when the dance seems to get really messy and unmanageable but what is really happening is that old ideas are getting broken down and reconstructed to accommodate fresh possibilities. There is the old familiar comparison to the phoenix that is fitting, but before it can rise it must burn, and that's where I think we are. El Pollo Malevito on the tango parrilla. At this point it is always a welcome phenomenon for me because I have faith in what it portends. I see it as evidence that I still have potential to grow as a dancer, and that I am growing. I like it a lot better than that other familiar feeling, of being in a rut.

Trick is to be sure that this is truly what it means and not that you have or are accumulating poor habits. Not that I have a large readership, but I guess I'm concerned that there may be someone out there with a lot of fundamental dance issues who sees this post and thinks, "That's where I'm at, too! I'm just growing...constantly!" If you always struggle without any phase of comfort and security then you might question your technique. And if something's uncomfortable for you, chances are it's uncomfortable for your partner as well and if you're a considerate person you'd probably want to remedy that. Just a thought. Ahem.


La Nuit Blanche said...

i need to find a way to deal with the discouragement, and worry. :-/ at times like this, inwardly, i am sulking, outwardly i go home as quickly as i can, so my temper won't burst into flames. and not in the beautiful pheonix kind of way...

in times like this, i schedule another lesson, or ask for feedback at practicas, so i don't grow into some weird tango hybrid. :-D

i will mark this post in my feed, and read it again next time i get frustrated!

Frances R said...

Thank you for posting this. You are the best! Always appear with the right kind of help, at the very moment I need it.
I want to be like you when I grow up :)

ModernTanguera said...

Oh yes, in the past few months I have learned the difference between pieces of technique that I need to improve (the bad habits that make something never feel quite right) and the passing phases where things aren't working ... yet. This is a great reminder to not despair at the latter. (And to not give up on the former! I'm with Nuit on heading to a lesson or practica in these cases.)

Malevito said...

Hi guys, how are you?

Nuit: It's okay to have a temper. Many if not most of the truly great dancers (and artists in general) do. I think that frustration often stems from potential that is recognized but as yet unrealized.

Frances: Glad to hear you are getting something from my posts. As for the other thing, I should mention that I never want to grow up, myself. I guess that's partly why I dance :)

MT: Yeah, and also not to fret when things that have worked fine before all of a sudden go wonky. That's kind of where I am now. And classes and practice are a good idea anytime.

There is an African proverb that I find reassuring in times of creative struggle:

"Smooth seas do not make skilled sailors."