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gancho | July 16, 2019

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Dance, dance, otherwise we are all lost*

Dance, dance, otherwise we are all lost*

*The title is a quote by German choreographer Pina Bausch.

 

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Dear reader,

I have always been much more interested in other people’s experiences and thoughts than in my own. I have always been so good at observing others and pondering about the state of the world. I have always found others to be so intriguing that interviewing tango people for “Gancho” came so natural and easy. On the one hand, I could help people see how special they are, and on the other hand, well, no one had to pay particular attention to me. You see, I am one of those very shy people, so shy that it becomes even crippling for the one suffering from that particular brand of extreme shyness.

 

 

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By now, you are probably wondering how bad it can be. Well, a little more than a decade ago when I had to sit for my university exams I exhibited pretty much all the symptoms – uncontrollable trembling, vomiting and diarrhea. Any kind of oral exam, public speaking of any kind (even before a group of friends) led to from a mild to severe form of those symptoms. Why? I do not know. The reaction is not rational and, no, there was no child trauma that caused it. However, there were a lot of traumas that were a result from my crippling shyness. After all, how can you truly focus on an examination paper when at least 50% percent of your energy is focused on preventing you from vomiting on it?

 

 

Nothing seemed to work against my shyness. 10 years singing in a children’s choir and being on stage did not help, neither did my work as a journalist. I mostly write, but there were times when I had to record some text or interview and I would slap myself on the face just to stop the uncontrollable shaking of my body and voice (imagine the reaction of the poor sound technicians :).

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All in all, my condition defined my personal experiences, my spare time, my work and ultimately my life choices. It became something of a mind paralysis and then… I found the tango. To tell you the truth, it happened by accident since I actually wanted to find the rumba, but there were no lessons I could attend, so a friend suggested we tried tango dancing. Up to that point, I had always been fascinated by people who could dance. I could always feel the music (those 10 years as a choir singer did help in this respect), but not move my body being terrified of someone seeing me and my stupid attempts to produce movements that equal dancing. Tango changed that – it is the one dance that requires you to focus on the inner world of yourself and your partner. The outer beauty and aesthetic is a result of and not a precondition for that. It makes you draw your inner world in front of others and helps you discover theirs through dancing. Somehow, song by song, dance by dance tango transformed my paralysing shyness into calmness, acceptance of my own world and better understanding of the world of others. It did not happen overnight, it took years, but it was worth it.

 

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And as a result of tango dancing I met new friends, visited new places to dance and experienced so much more from life. Without tango I would not travel as much, I would not come to Italy for dancing, I would not see the beautiful town of Todi, I would not have the courage to show you how I make silly faces for pictures… or meet the cutest dog in the world named Luna 🙂

 

So, dear reader,

Thank you for your time and for being my accomplice in the cathartic experience of sharing this.

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