Classes? Me? Why?


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Am I trolling you?

A few months ago I posted an article saying that I no longer care to take classes. I am happy with my dance and I don’t know if a class can help me to be happier. So why bother taking classes? I am at a stage in dancing where I want to enjoy what I already learned and not struggle more for improvement.

The day the article was posted I signed up for a weekend of classes with Paula Tejeda and Lucas Carizio. Now you are wondering if I am a split personality or if I was just trolling you in my previous article. To be honest, I was also wondering myself. Would I take something from the class that would improve my dance radically? I wasn’t expecting so. After all, how much more happiness can learning how to do a colgada give you? How important is a step in front of living a unique experience with your partner? Not so much. So why did I do that?


The first reason for signing up for those classes was purely curiosity. A show is often a facade. You see couples in videos and you are amazed but the reality behind that might be totally different. Taking classes with a couple you admire lets you see them from a different perspective. A more close-distance perspective. You see how they think about the dance… What is important for them when they dance… Their philosophy about the dance. This alone is a huge plus. If the teachers have a deep understanding of the dance and its different dimensions, you can see what makes them the dancers they are.

Sometimes this can validate that you are indeed in a good place in your journey, some others it may create doubts and some other times it may open doors and show you paths for new unknown territories to explore. My classes with Paula and Lucas mostly validated that I was on the right track and also verified what I was thinking about their philosophy. A modern couple who sees the dance not as a leading-following process but as a back-and-forth communication. You can see that in practice even in the way they teach when they complete each other’s points and phrases.

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I can do this

When you learn a language you are building two kinds of vocabulary. The active and the passive one. The active is vocabulary you use when you produce written or oral speech. It is the words that you need and use almost every day, that have a huge usefulness in your life. The passive vocabulary is much bigger than the active because it also contains words you know the meaning of but rarely use when you speak or write. You may come across them rarely in your everyday life, but you at least know what they mean and you can understand them. But when you speak or write you just don’t use them. You usually say the same thing in simpler terms.

One of the most interesting classes had to do with colgadas in a miloguero way. It was an interesting approach to entering and creating a series of colgadas but that is not important. At the end of the class, I was able to execute it with my partner, in the music of DiSarli which was used as background in the class. However, the same night in the milonga I didn’t use it at all. Not even when I danced with the partner I took the classes with.

I know that maybe I will not use it at all in a milonga but I still enjoyed the class and I still believe I got something out of it. You see… I know how to do this move… I did it in the context of a class… And I have the confidence, that I can do it in the context of a practica. For me, this feels like learning a word in my passive vocabulary. I may not use it at all in the rest of my life but at least I can understand it and I prefer to say the same thing with a simpler word from my active vocabulary.

Choosing my rich dance

One of the financial YouTubers I follow lately is Ramit Sethi. He is a multimillionaire from India who wrote a book entitled “I will teach you to be rich”. Unlike other financial YouTubers out there, Ramit suggests that cutting your everyday mercilessly from pleasures like a coffee from your favourite coffee shop might indeed make you rich someday but it will make you miserable in the process. Instead, he suggests that while building your wealth you need to also enjoy your life. After all, money is nothing more than a tool. A tool we should be using to enjoy life and not make ourselves miserable. So he suggests that you make some conscious decisions on the things in your life that matter most and spend on them extravagantly while cutting back mercilessly on things that don’t matter to you. If for example, you enjoy travelling and eating out don’t think about how much you are going to spend on that. Be extravagant. But on the other hand, if you don’t care about your clothing or everyday transportation, spend very little on them (e.g. use public transport and simple casual clothes). That’s what he calls living your rich life.

This is how I see my dance now. I am accumulating wealth, be it new moves, techniques, or stories about songs and orchestras. etc. I don’t need to use and spend all of it. I can acquire something and keep it in my “account” without necessarily needing to show it to anyone. That is how I see classes now. I know I have acquired something new for my Tango wealth. I have it in my “Tango bank account” but I might never use it and nobody else needs to know about it. It is enough that I have proven to myself that I can do it. I don’t need to prove it to anyone else from now on. This alone, like an X amount in my real bank account, gives me confidence. I know that if I choose to, I can spend this amount or I can use the X, Y, and Z Tango knowledge in my regular milonga dance. However, I consciously choose not to. Why? Because this is not the rich life I want. Because maybe the thing I acquired is not really something that matters to me when I dance so I am not going to use it regularly. My rich dance (like my rich life) is designed based on my own character and tastes and doesn’t need to be the same as anyone else’s.

It takes some self-discipline, humility and self-awareness to know where and why you spend your money as well as your Tango wealth. But it gives you a huge amount of pride, confidence and peace of mind to know your Tango wealth and your unique rich dance. The same as rich people know exactly how and why they spend the money they spend. In the same way, rich people might know they can buy a Ferrari but choose to drive a simple decent everyday car.

You know what? At the end of the day… even Lucas and Paula never used that move when they were dancing socially. At least I didn’t see them. That should tell me something.

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is the story of a man who got wealthy and in between drinks, friends and kisses as the title says lost his love and now regrets it. Wealth is always something difficult to handle whether it is on your dance or in your bank accounts. But when you learn how to do that you can enjoy your own rich life and dance without losing your mind or soul.

So how about you? How do you see your Tango wealth? Do you always use what you take from classes? Do you ever take classes knowing beforehand that you might not use the new knowledge? How have you designed your own rich dance?

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