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A little insight into the life of Free Spirit - a melting pot of our thoughts, beliefs, suggestions & ideas to inspire you on your path as you journey through life.

Published: 11/07/2017

Dance Like Nobody's Watching



It's been a long time dream of mine.  To spend a month learning Spanish in the mornings and Tango in the afternoons in Buenos Aires.  However due to a lack of time (or more so an over ambitious sense of adventure to see all the places I want to on this trip) I now only have one week here.  But what the heck.. lets do it for a week anyway!  Better than nothing..

I meet Adrian my tango coach.  I had googled "private tango lessons BA" and of the 3 tutors I looked at, for some reason I picked him.  Maybe the seemingly cheesy quote on the website - "I believe tango should be danced with the heart not with the mind" stood out at me I don't know.. I just liked the philosophy. 

From the first lesson I knew I made the right choice.  I impressed myself with how much my muscles remembered from 15 years old which was the last time I was taught the Tango and many other Latin and Ballroom dances.  However my first lesson was not so much fancy footwork, but about connection. 

 



Dancing tango you share an axis with your partner.  The right amount of pressure is key.  Not too strong, not too soft.  You support each other.  This way, when the lead comes, and I follow, it comes quite naturally...Until my head gets in the way and I mess up.

I recognise this.  I've been here before...

When I'm teaching yoga, if I'm in my head, worrying about what's coming next, I mess up.  When I just trust myself, the flow comes and it's easy... the same when I try to surf.. if I just trust myself and go with the flow.. I catch the wave.. 

We dance and I find myself dipping in and out of the flow..

It's incredible.  Adrian can feel the exact moment I lose it and when I come back.  It's impossible for me to be poker faced.  The connection is there super strong one minute and then bam! Gone the next.. 

"Close your eyes" he says.  I do it.  We dance the whole dance no mistakes.

Wow!  I cannot explain it.  But to take away a major sense and just FEEL is magical.



The first two classes I'm dancing in socks but I'm serious about this so I decide to invest in a pair of tango shoes...

I'm not really a shoe kind of girl.  I live in my flip flops or converse and rarely wear heels but I must admit I'm a little bit giddy as my eyes delight over all the sparkle and colour in the tango shoe shop!

I try on about 20 pairs but in the end opt for the most simple, tan colour.

As much as I adore the sparkle and glitter, I cannot bring myself to buy such a fancy pair right now.  Maybe if or when I'm more advanced.. however it's the same as I when I was learning to surf.  I didn't let myself buy a Spring suit (sexy legless thing) before I caught my first wave on my own.. I feel a certain uniform needs to be worked for and earned!

In the shoes it's tricky, but I persevere and Adrian teaches me a few new steps each day.  I continue to dip in and out of my flow as my brain tries to remember the new information but more and more I start to relax into and just enjoy..

I've been leaving each lesson with a huge smile on my face and even before the end of the week I know why... dancing is one of my biggest passions.  And I don't do it nearly enough.. I had forgotten just how it makes me feel..

 

Yoga, yes.  Surfing, yes.  Swimming, volleyball, beach boot camps.. all these things I really love and do all the time.  However none of them get me right in the heart.  

Travelling does the same to me and I've always known this.  But dancing... It's something that I knew but kind of forgot about.. but it's a passion!  A passion that's there and I cannot ignore it.

So it doesn't matter if I get the steps wrong.. it doesn't matter if Adrian has to show me something 5 times before I get it.. I don't get frustrated because I LOVE IT SO MUCH!  It's about enjoying every minute and not an end result...

Not yet.

 



I go to my first Milonga (a tango night - there's 150 every week in Buenos Aires!) and my friend Kasey from the hostel comes along..

Adrian has briefed me on how it works..  

The girls wait to be asked to dance.  And the guys ask by making eye contact and giving a discreet nod, and the girl accepts by doing the same, or politely declining by looking away.  That way all pride and embarrassment is saved by both parties.

Wow.  So old school.  But it's all about the dancing, not a dating scene.  And I realise this as we spend the first hour watching people's gazes.. backwards and forwards.. it's fascinating to watch even if you don't want to dance..

But I do want to dance.  However I must admit I'm a bit awkward with the whole eye contact thing!  I can't help but feel like I'm trying to pick up and, missing my boyfriend like crazy, I of course have no intention of!

I'd be much more comfortable asking a guy myself, "hey dude do you wanna dance this one?"... but apparently you "ask with the eyes"... jeeeeeezz...

Thankfully a kind old man breaks the ice (and rules) and come right up to our table and asks me to dance.  Of course.  I'm keen to practice what I've learnt and I'm not interested on age, looks, gender.. as long as he can dance!

Sadly, he can't.  He's a beginner too (more than me!) and the whole thing's a disaster.. we kind of laugh and I sit down a little disappointed.. 

But I get a second chance.. a rather large old guy.. let's call him Pavarotti.. at the next table catches my eye and asks.  Yes.  This one CAN dance.  Really well.  And I remember everything Adrian taught me about connection and embrace him;

"When you are dancing with someone, for those 5 minutes they are the only person in the world.."

It sounds romantic.  But for me, it's just about sharing the love of the dance.  Yes with my tutor it's easy because he's a nice guy and he's not ugly and he's teaching me something I love.  But with (let's be honest) a fat sweaty man..?

...Actually... I did!  In that dingy Milonga hall in San Telmo, Pavarotti and I had a connection.  For 5 whole minutes, I was dancing with him, and nobody else.

That is how much I love to Tango.

I'm so so grateful to Adrian for not only teaching me some fancy steps.. but for sharing his passion, dedication, mindfulness and philosophy.. like yoga, Tango can be a metaphor for life.  

Whatever is happening on the mat.  Whatever is happening on the dance floor, can reflect on what's happening in life.

Think too much about the past or the future and you lose the very essence of the present moment.. 

And if I struggled with being present before.. this is one thing where I'm right here.  Fully.  Absolutely. Here.

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