The Space Next Door

On boundaries, freedom and sense
Hey, guys, listen here!

I've recently realized how to improve my dancing tremendously.
I mean not just to modify it a little, but to make it way better.

I study five independent things at the moment. Although these things are not related to each other at first sight, they meet in the same point (in my head). New concepts that I get from my teachers suddenly bring old thoughts to the surface. Those thoughts that appeared once and then were forgotten and so haven't played a large part in my life yet. Now being supported by the new concepts these old thoughts and ideas renewed and came up with a bang affecting me.

There are two of them.
But now, with the support of new ideas, these thoughts gained strength and began affecting me.
At home I have a semicircle with a radius of 112.5 cm. This is the length of my headphones' wire. I dance within this semicircle, connected to my laptop. I don't feel either any restrictions, nor inner constraints while dancing. Sometimes only my feet dance, sometimes I use "panuelo", sometimes only my arms and body dance (it reminds me the World of Dance competition=) by the way, have you seen this year winner of the battles? He's stunning).

Suddenly I've realized what's the difference between my dance at home and my dance on milonga or pena.
It's the lack of freedom.

When I dance at home, I am not restricted or bound by anything. Of course, I have physical limitations of my body and of those 112,5 cm, but there are no emotional or mental restraints?
When I dance with people I can feel these restraints very clearly.
They limit and hinder me emotionally and therefore physically, too.

It is interesting that almost always these self-restraints cause the opposite result to what I wanted to achieve restraining myself. I do it because I have an image of myself and the others in my head, and I don't want to look different than this image. However, I feel these restraints as boundaries that I keep breaking all the time. So I start feeling angry, chastising myself and sprinkling ashes on my head. Then I feel scared and want to hide from everyone and everything.

Here's an example. When dancing folklore I restrain myself so my movements are chained and it looks like I am wooden Buratino. Although the purpose of such self-restraining is to look better and not to look negligent and careless. That is the goal and the way to achieve it contradict each other.

This old habit to withdraw into myself is still strong, of course. I cannot overcome it just like that in a snap. Though I know it is possible and I can do it. I just have to adopt this new habit, and then…
The habit of closing inside is still stronger, of course, but you can't fight it by the click of your fingers.
As for the second idea...
When I dance, I make a lot of empty meaningless movements.

I make some of tango steps just because I need to connect two movements together. I make some movements in folklore because I want to move from one point to another according to the dance scheme. Some of the movements I make while waiting for a certain music moment. I do not plan all the movements that I am going to make. I don't think specifically about the figures of the dance, but my subneocortex part knows somehow that there will be specific rhythm soon so I can dance it this or that way.

However, I stepped back from the main point. I make very few meaningful movements. Frankly speaking, it's very cool if such a movement happens to me at least once a tanda.

When dancing I feel like I am in a trance. I can think about whatever but the dance. I can think about the partner, about the traffic, about my job, about what I am going to eat, or I can even figure out what to ask my partner between songs. My body acts independently, it just moves and that's how my dance appears. Without my direct participation. I can talk while dancing, and it doesn't really affect my dancing technic.

Sometimes I wake out from this trance, by myself or with my partner's help. As though she asks me, hey, are you still here? I surprise, wow, she speaks! Not literally, of course. It usually happens when my partner decides to do something by herself, to take initiative in dancing instead of accepting what I offer her.
The meaning of motion can be completely different. The essence is not in external changes, not the form.
The form can be the same or different, it does not affect the meaning. The bottom line is in how I myself feel this movement. Why do I make it? For what purpose? Even when there's an answer (for example, in order to move together with the whole ronda), there is still another question. Why do I make these steps speaking about dancing with this specific partner?

I know there are tangeros who prefer dancing together with the ronda and with the others, but right now I don't support this idea. For me ronda is just a place with specific rules where I can create my own dance with my partner, and the only function of other couples is not to make it difficult for us. I try not to bother them and follow these rules in return. According to this point of view the fact that I make some movements in order to make it feel comfortable for everyone doesn't affect our couple's dance.

However I can get wants and needs met and add some meaning to my dance together with following the rules of ronda. I just have to be engaged and involved in my dancing, go deeply into it, and make myself really see my partner. I have to experience every movement I make.

Sometimes I am not fully engaged and involved in my dancing so I can experience only the beginning instead of complete movement. I have to realize where me and my partner are, what the music says and how it all connects together. It's also important to remember about the external world such as the ronda and the other partners.

I think it's much more easier for girls, because they have far less distractions, especially if they dance with their eyes closed. On the other hand, it's more complicated for them, because a leader understands what meaning has the movement as he starts it, continues and finishes. So he knows exactly what it is. Besides, a leader has some kind of unconscious plan for further movements and steps. Girls can get more involved and become leaders and suggest to change my leading. Or, they can implement the meaning to the movement I suggest. I think it is much more complicated than to recognize the sense and idea and just then to make a movement. But girls could have different opinion.
You have to dive into the dance.You have to "see" the partner. You have to make a move and live it through completely.
These two ideas came upon me at the same time. Well, both of them are not totally new for me, but I've just realized them fully. I didn't have enough courage to risk and implement them into my dancing. Having realized this, I let myself relax more, got totally involved in the dancing process and the result was surprising.

It feels completely different.

It is incomparable at all. I can't say how it looks from my partner's point of view, but to me it it feels like a BANG!

Suddenly I discovered the brand new universe next door and now I'm trying to figure out, how so?
Author: Vladimir Krylov. Translation: Dunya Valova.
Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
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