On Easter-Bunnies of Tango
by Olga Metzner, first published on 29 March on tangobetter blog.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long while. There are dancers, male and female, who seem to not be able to rest and relax. They may be beginners, intermediates or advanced dancers. They may be very different, but there are things that unite them.
It’s almost Easter now. So I finally came up with a proper and sweet way to address such dancers. I’ll call them Easter-Bunnies of Tango.
Who are Tango Easter-Bunnies?
Easter-Bunnies are cute, fluffy and you can’t take your eyes off them. Everyone wants to touch them and play with them. They bring joy when you see them, and yet you forget about them rather soon after Easter is over.
What do I mean by all this? There are many things that I can ascribe to being an Easter-Bunny of tango. For example, it’s being impatient. Or not being able to slow down. Or having a compulsion to dance like a hurricane to the sweetest Fresedos. Or on the contrary, not having any expression of the storm raging in D’Arienzos or Puglieses, instead shyly shuffling along. Or dancing the moves, forgetting about being a character and a person behind all this.
I have been one myself.
I have been a Tango Easter-Bunny for years, and I didn’t know it. I was too young, and too excited, and too immature, and too unskilled, and too impatient to appreciate that. I went to marathons and danced not sitting down for a single tanda during the whole weekend. I was bored with Di Sarli and sprung to life when DJs played D’Arienzos and Troilos. It even showed in my facial expression when I danced, just look at the photo above!
More than that, at some point I got a reputation of a dancer with “sooooo much energy!!!” (read: “crazy dancer”). I have always been very sporty, and it also showed in my dance. Once a leader compared dancing with me with having a gym workout! At first I didn’t mind, but then I started wondering if it’s a good thing? Is it good to always be too energetic? Why do I have to invest inhuman power into my dance, each and every time? Should I not be more relaxed?
And slowly, through internal mental work and through countless hours of exercising and classes, I started to change. I still have lots of energy, but I’m careful about when I release it.
On the psychology of movement in a couple.
One of my favourite things to say to followers in classes is “be lazy”. Yes! I want followers to be considerate about where they send their energy, about how fast they move, about whether they move at all if their leaders are not giving them enough clear lead. Yes ladies! Be LAZY and considerate about where and how you spend your energy! Let the leaders CONVINCE you! (N.B. Convince you but not DRAG you. You move yourself, not leaders push you around! I talk a lot about the described concept in my classes, particularly in my technique workshops)
You must learn to be PERSUASIVE and gentlemanly. A gentleman is not running around like a teenager in puberty. A gentleman is not shuffling around with barely any movement of his body. A gentleman in tango is a leader who can do all kinds of things, but CHOOSES carefully when and whether. A gentleman is generous with his lead and thinks in the first place about his follower. Leaders, CONVINCE followers to be with you, follow you, engage with you. Pushing, pulling and running around like mad chicken is not very convincing, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 More about this in pretty much every single class of ours, because we find it so important!
So all in all, while Easter-Bunnies are cute and fluffy, they are not taken seriously. They are for playing only. If you want to be taken seriously, learn to be more patient, and grow up a little (independent of your age. We are talking about maturity here. There are some mature 16-year-olds out there).
Tango is a mature thing. It’s about patience. It’s about respect. It’s fun, but it’s not all partying to teenage trash pop.
Don’t be a Tango Easter-Bunny, be a Tango Lion.
With lots of Love,