TANGO & RELATIONSHIPS
When I was asked why I had so many friends who are dancers, I answered, ” Dancers know life better. ” Here I want to add that Tangueros and tangueras should understand relationships better.
There is a lot more to tango than just 3-minute romance, it is full of the hidden skills and tips on maintaining a healthy relationship.
Good tango is not only a perfect connection with joy, but also a journey of coordinating, adjusting, understanding, tolerating and appreciating. A good relationship is a good tango that lasts for a life.
1 Different but not unequal
As a leader, he leads but not dominates. As a follower, she follows but with her own style. They are different but not unequal. In a relationship, she won’t open the door for him to show her love. He won’t shed tears when is mistreated. She and he have their own way to contribute yin and yang with equal respect, trust and love in a harmonious relationship.
In tango, we share an axis, but we have our own axes. A balanced relationship is not only based on mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual trust, but also based on self-respect, self-understanding and self- trust. If we put all our emotional weight on our partners, our world will be collapse the moment when the other half withdraw for good.
It is up to you but not your lovers to decide if you are happy or not. Don’t rely on your partners for happiness. YOU are the reason you are happy. Then pass the happiness on to your love.
3 You reap what you sow
You have right to choose whom you would like to dance with, but you have to face the consequence for what you choose. If you choose a super dancer but full of ego who is actually thinking dancing with a sack of potatoes, but you enjoy it and thrill at the idea that your girly friends would be jealous, then enjoy yourself in this way. If you choose a gentleman who just only walk, but you feel the connection with everything, even though everybody thinks he is boring, then enjoy it. We take the responsibility for whom we bring into our lives. If you truly love a person and will dance on the knives for him/her, do it and enjoy it, but do not complain the knives–you had choice.
Find out who you are, where you are, what you really want before you step into a relationship. If a relationship is aimed for vanity or occupation, you’d better stay away from it or ready to swallow those may be sweet but poisonous fruits.
4 Request a better self before request a better partner
You may be a “good dancer” in a beginner’s eyes, you may be a beginner to a dancer who has danced for 10 years. We all like to dance with better dancers. However, if you are reluctant to dance with beginners, then understand better dancers’ decline. You put yourself in the chain of the game, then accept the rules. Whatever your partner or your level is, tango need to be danced with a soul.
In a relationship, before request better partners, improve yourself first. Before dwell on each other’s dark sides, check out your own short comings first. We chose partners because they are RIGHT to us rather than they are better than others.
5 Respect personal space
A tango hug could be very close, but the closeness is with respect, being permitted and caring but no invasion, inferiority or flirt. Each other is connected but with comfortable space to express. In a relationship the closeness stops where the different opinions occur. Share your agreement, keep the disagreement in your own space, invite each other but don’t force each other into your space.
6 We want, but we don’t need
Chemistry happens when you dance with a right person and right music. However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy that tanda with other partners or to other music. We want somebody but not NEED somebody in our life. The moment when you have this idea, “It will be the end of the world if I lost him/her,” it will be the end of YOUR world. When somebody doesn’t deserve your love, don’t forget when you lost a tree, you’ve got a forest waiting for you. You will realise one day, it doesn’t have to be that only one to complete your love story.
7 Attitude matters
One of my friends told me, “I like to dance with you, because you always say sorry, but it is always my fault.” It really doesn’t matter who should be sorry, the attitude does matter. When a conflict happens between a couple, it is more important to show your patience, toleration, understanding and love than to prove who is right , who is wrong.
8 Finish a relationship gracefully
When music finishes, the couple thank each other make it a nice ending of a tanda even though they wouldn’t like to dance with each other any more. When the other half is determined to leave you, it’s hurt, but do not hate, do not beg him/her back to your life. There is a word called self-respect, thank him/her gracefully for the happy days and carry on with your new tanda of life.
9 Only you know…
In a new milonga when people don’t know one another, they intend to dance with “Beautiful”. But at last, the partners who have the same feeling of the music, who are easier to follow or lead stay on the dance floor longer. You might have been changing your girl/boy friends like changing your clothes in your golden age. At the end of your life the one who hold your wrinkled hand and feed porridge in your empty mouth( no teeth left ) is the only apple of your eyes. A pretty face will be wrinkled, but a true heart can never be old.
10 ”Happily ever after” ?
You both have had a nice tanda, it doesn’t mean you will have the same lovely next tandas for sure. When a couple say, “Yes, I do.” , which doesn’t mean they will live happily ever after unless they take care of their marriage carefully.
Dance with the ones who would like to dance with you; Love the one who truly loves you.
When you have some problems in your relationship, tango it out. 😉
The Journey of Dance
Warning: It is long. It is in “Annglish”.
I was requested to write a biography in my CV to explain why dancing is my passion. This question hooked out all my sealed in memories that I hadn’t looked back on.
When I was 8, I was refused to join a school dance performance because I “had a bit too big a face”. The worse thing was I didn’t take it as offensive and took it for granted, because our teacher said so. Since then the voices from the outside world led me. People were classified, some were born with the privilege to dance and to be taught to dance and some not. I started to dislike my face. I didn’t realise a voice was still screaming in my inner world,“I want to dance!”
Many years later, in my college dance club, I found my little heaven, where anybody could go whoever they were slim or chubby, with two left feet or two right feet. I learned dancing, I taught friends to dance. I shared the happiness of dancing with them. I could make myself happy and make people around me happy!
After I married and had children, I stopped dancing and didn’t think or expect to get back to dance floor anymore as I would feel guilty as a mum.
In my most difficult and desperate phase of my life, I was convinced by social workers to go out and dance, they said, “You should not feel guilty, how could children be happy if their mum is not happy?”
Dancing healed me. During the two hours on the dance floor, I was taken from “hell” to “heaven”. I was just ME without any social label. I felt I was still alive. The people on the dance floor seemed happier than in other places I visited. There is another reason to love life even when you feel there is no hope. My jazz jive teacher said, “you are the quickest learning pupil I have taught in my teaching career.” He had a dance with me and videoed it, he said,” Send it to your mum, tell her what I said, she must be very proud of you!” He hadn’t realised how much it meant to me.
However, where there is sunshine, there are always shadows.
One of my close Chinese friends who was a “perfect” mum tried to “protect” my reputation, “Don’t tell people you go out dancing. If you do, they won’t think you are a responsible mum.” Once when I told a mum friend how dancing made me happy and healthy, she said, “I am too busy for those crazy things.” It did hurt when those comments came from friends I trust and was opened to …
Since then I told every friend that I liked go out dancing and that I was a mum. I can say proudly, except for only one occasion, when, during organising a whole day event, I had to be home late, I have never had a babysitter for my children to go to a dance, or other social event. One happy dance could feed my soul and refresh my body for weeks or months and gave the children a happier mum. Should a mum be disrespect because she likes to dance?
I started to organise charity dance parties with such fun and always with the kindest and most generous and unselfish people involved in with the best atmosphere and vibe! Dancing also can make more people who don’t dance happy!
I love ballroom. 10 kinds of beautiful music to 5 elegant ballroom dances and 5 passionate Latin dances. I never get sick of listening to them, not to mention dancing to them.
Luckily, my ballroom dance partners, most of them being typical British gentlemen who have given me great positive encouragement and help. However, there was one… When he passed ballroom bronze, I asked him, “ Can I do it, too?” He simply said,”No, you can’t.” This time I didn’t swallow the negativity. I told myself,”Yes, I can!” I passed ballroom medals from bronze to golden award within one year. Now I am half way to passing my professional teaching exams. Some days, along with my other things to do, I could only sleep for 3 hours, but they were my fruitful happy days, seeing myself improve at such a pace.
Three years ago, I encountered tango, it is a dance for my soul, it is not only a dance, it is art, philosophy, love of life. Every tanda is a conversation with my soul and a moment of being me. It is the only dance with my eyes closed indulging in my own world with freedom, spontaneity, unpredictable joy of the harmony and peace with the music, dance floor, dance partner and everything. It is a movement of meditation on the dance floor.
Like most beginners, the first milonga I went to was a big challenge of my self-confidence. I got no dances except for one tanda with a dancer I knew. A gentleman walked up to me finally. I stood up excitedly. He said, “I just want to tell you, when you dance, your head is facing the wrong direction, but I am not going to dance with you.” Then he walked away leaving me standing there with a frozen smile. Maybe he didn’t intend to hurt me, but I was engulfed in the coldness, which pierced my bones. I decided to leave that place, which seemed, I was not included. Then out of the blue, a real gentleman came up to me and invited me to dance. It was the only warmth of that night. He is now one of the backbones of our tango family.
Tango clubs are thriving with variality and their own characters like all kinds of colours on the spectrum. I dreamed to set up one with the special colour of warmth and passion I want for healing and caring but not just only for dance.
With the enormous help and support from my tango friends and other tango clubs, the wish has come to true. At our Tango Cotswold Christmas Lunch, while I was watching our tango family hugging, chatting, laughing with beautiful smiles on their faces, I immersed myself in the ever so joyful and harmonious moment. I had such a weird but natural feeling, like a satisfied and proud mum looking at her baby.
I saw a picture. A mare is galloping. She fell into the trap with thorns, angels landed and wrapped her bleeding wound and help her stand up. She carried on in her journey. She got spurred, she rushed ahead crazily by the pain. Then she found herself running in a wonderland. Looking back–what a beautiful journey with those angels and amazing scenery! Without the traps and thorns, she might not have chance to meet the angels. Without the spur, she wouldn’t arrive at the wonderland and so fast.
It was dancing that helped restore me as a mum’s confidence to deal with that very difficult phase in my life and gave me hope that there is happiness to be had. Dance bring like-minded happy people to me and I was not alone. Dance makes me to know myself and love myself and then build up the ability to love others, then unintentionally attract more love back to myself in a lovely beautiful spiral of life. I was happiest when I was dancing and found that my enthusiasm and passion encourage other people to join in the fun too. Dancing mirrors the journey of my life of searching the meaning of life, of me growing up, looking into my soul and exploring inner joy, self healing and healing others.
I found the secret of happiness from this journey. The more you share, the more you get. If you give honesty you get the loyalty. If you give trust, you gain respect. If you drop some seeds of kindness, you will harvest love one day.
I have learned lessons from this journey. Fighting against negativity can only make us more negative. If darkness invades, we shine ourselves and darkness will disappear.We have to make ourselves happy before making people around us happy. We have to have the ability to love ourselves before we are able to love others. We can’t carry on our journey with a heavy burden of guilt and resentment towards ourselves and others. We can’t really forgive ourselves and let our darkness go until we forgive those who brought us darkness and negativity. At the end of the day, we don’t need to prove others were wrong at us, we prove we can! In fact, we even don’t have to prove we can. It doesn’t matter anymore what people think of us. The main point is to know what our souls really hunger for. Life is not about competition, it is self-transcendence. No one can put us down except for ourselves. Nothing can destroy a humble but strong soul with love—the love of ourselves, the love of others and the love of life.
In this journey, I have been spoiled like a princess, vain like a peacock, self-conscious like a doormat, lost like dust. Now I know I am none of these things. I am ME. I am not just full of sunshine, but with grey zone and dark corners that can’t see the light. Thank all of those people in my life who made me who I am today. They are lightening up my life and cleansing my soul. The love I gained from this journey is priceless. I don’t think the joy of being a millionaire can compare with the joy of being ME.
Now I heard the voice I lost when I was 8 and now I like my big face.
My friend who was helping me with my CV emailed me, “I’m so pleased that this application has given you an opportunity to recall your past in such a way that you can see how far you have come and how much you have achieved!! You should be proud of yourself!!! “
I am 🙂