In the previous article we looked at how small details may reveal to you the ideal dance partners. Poor attention to detail may cost you a great dance experience. Transforming to Sherlock Holmes might not be an easy task, it is well wroth it though!
So this week we will dive into deeper waters. We will put our Sherlock Holmes hat on to figure out if our partners are having a good time during our dances.
How do your partners feel about your dances?
Can you answer the above question with certainty?
Leave your comments below!
I can just see you, in front of your computer, starting off with:
Yes, of course I can…to
Not really, not for all my partners… half smile
The truth, for most of us, is that we have absolutely NO idea, how the other person is feeling during our dance. How do I know?
First of all because, I have been there and second of all because far too many people say:
“I need to know if my partner is enjoying our dance” D.
“In the end she just gave me a ‘Thank you’, but it was my best try” P.
“I am feeling like he doesn’t care” M.
“For him I am just there, to do steps, he just doesn’t get it…” N.
You see that? All of these people above, are dissatisfied with their partners, not because they are not doing fancy steps, not because they are not musical, BUT because they feel ignored during their dances.
Why are your partners feeling this way and you don’t get it?
Are you thinking of the different dances you had during the weekend, wondering how your partners felt?
I hope you are!
The truth is, you won’t know because your partner will probably never say anything to you and because IT IS NOT HAPPENING TO YOU!
You are not the one feeling ignored, feeling dismissed, feeling rejected during the dance.
Why is the person feeling this way?
Because they are actually ignored, dismissed and rejected!
If you are thinking: What? I never ignore people! I am super nice, and supportive! Dancing with almost everyone in the milonga, what else am I supposed to do?
STOP! Don’t get defensive here, and hear me out.
Nobody is saying you are doing this on purpose.
I am definitely not saying that you are a bad person, a devilish evil person, thinking of cunning ways to hurt people!
I am saying that, you are so caught up thinking of a technically flawless walk, of the perfect syncopation, of the majestic ocho lead/ follow, of the super-duper embellishment, that you are completely forgetting your partner.
And maybe sometimes, just sometimes, we might be thinking that we have gotten so unbelievably good, that there is no way our partners are not enjoying our dances. NO WAY! (Think again..!)
How do you know if your partners just can’t wait to start dancing with you?
So, it is the beginning of tanda, you are up on the dancefloor, with your partner, and you are ready to start dancing, so you get into the embrace and…STOP! Rewind!
Go back to the point, where you are getting ready to embrace. What is your partner doing?
There is a subtle difference between:
ATttttentiON. POstUre. HUG. DAnce.
Taking a breath, relaxing while aligning the body in the tango posture, reaching for your embrace, and connected you start dancing.
You can see the difference I hope!
So is your partner following a structured, almost military, way to get into the embrace..?
It might be because they are still working on that. Maybe, it is their first dance with you and they feeling a bit awkward. Or, that is just their style…Or they might not really want to dance with you…
Second thing to notice here, are you the first one to offer the embrace or are they reaching in towards you at the same time?
If you are a leader, this might mean nothing more, than that you are the leader so you should initiate…still though, if your follower reaches in at the same time, that should give your confidence a bit of a boost.
Again, it might be a matter of confidence, awkwardness, style, or they are not really happy dancing with you.
So best way to know, is watch their body language. Do they subtly externalize the process of getting into their posture, making that part of YOUR dance together? Are your partners already dancing with you, before you even get to embrace? Are you?
How do you know your partners are having fun in your embrace?
Now we are passed the awkward phase of getting into the embrace, and we are finally touching.
THIS is the moment of truth. How do they react?
Have you ever been for a massage that was just heavenly good? If so, think about it, I am sure you knew it was going to be great from the very first touch.
If not…GO GET ONE! You are missing out! haha
Same thing here. When you touch, when you finally get into the embrace, how is their body reacting to it? Are they internalizing the touch or are they just standing there like a Tango- wall?
You know, our bodies are very clever. Our skin is not just a boundary. In its middle layer, we find numerous nerve endings. The skin and the nervous system are strongly connected in this way. That affects our perceptions and feelings about the world and others around us. As toddlers, we learn to identify ourselves, through identifying the outside world– the non-self–and that happens primarily through touch, through the skin.
But also during our everyday life as adults, “(…) the environment touches our skin, and its qualities are transformed into messages that we interpret as heat, cold, pleasure, pain, comfort, pressure etc. We can respond to these message through reflex, instinct, or choice.” (…) “We can never touch one thing, we always touch two at the same instant, the object and ourselves”. (wisdom of the body moving- An introduction to body-mind centering)
The question therefore here is, do your partners react to your touch? To they choose to unite with you or to separate from you?
What if I am not sure how to do that?
Well, that is expected. Most of us in our everyday lives, we choose separation to unison.
We use and support the idea of our skin working as an armor, as it is continually sensing the environment.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean to say, you need to go out and rediscover the world, like:
Oh! It is -10 with a breeze…mmmm…I feel cold.
Yes obviously! Now put some gloves on! haha
What I am suggesting is,that you see touch as a shadow of movement and movement as the shadow of touch.
Or maybe better said by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: “Touch is the other side of movement. Movement is the other side of touch. They are the shadow of each other”
So the best and only way to start understanding how your partners are reacting, while you are dancing, is to start reacting to their touch and to their movement.
I think the best spots to start are, the hands and torso.
You can simply place, your hand into your partner’s hand, establishing the boundary. Or AFTER you touch, you start creating the curling movement of your fingers around your partner’s hand, in response to that first touch.
The torso can be more interesting, as you can fully internalize, the touch, to the bone structure, the lungs, the heart and the diaphragm, allowing your embrace to change.
You can practice this with and without a partner
Of course you can start using your skin, and the sensations you get through the skin, in your next milonga/ practica, during your dances with different partners.
Or if you manage to stop yourselves from feeling like a weirdo, you can practice, your hand hold, on objects. Creating the touch and then curling movement of the fingers. Reading through the touch of your finger tips and responding to that, and so on and so forth.
Consider also how the edge of the table is, different from a bottle. Or a small water bottle is different from the 1.5L of Coca Cola.
For the torso connection, you can practice lying down on the floor, or against a wall, internalizing and creating movement based on the pressure and/ or the weight. Reading through the expansion/ closure of the torso, the expansion/ suffocation in the lungs, expansion/ closure of the frame etc, and responding anew to that.
The better you get to know yourself, the more in tune you are going to be with your partners.
You will be able to feel, how the pressure in the hand and the torso, after being internalized by your partner’s body, creates movement. And vice versa, how does that whole movement actually feel in your hands?
Such subtle observations are hard to be made if they are only external. You need to understand the other person through touch, through yourself, and therefore understand yourselves too.
Try it out and send me your questions and thoughts
P.S: Watch it! NO exaggerations…like breathing in people’s ears, squeezing them in your embrace or rubbing their hand, pressing in, pushing towards…ts ts ts
Published: 10 Feb 2017 @ 13:12