On Boundaries

In previous post I wrote about mistakes, and how they can be a source of creativity, as well as touched lightly on the subject of boundaries.

Another source of creativity in improvisation theatre is to create artificial boundaries for yourself. Practically all exercises in improvisation theatre involve some kind of limitation. You are not allowed to use some letter at all in your lines, you are told on the fly what what emotion you have to express in your next (improvised) line, etc. Unless you have experienced it yourself, it seems counter-intuitive that these limitations can actually enhance creativity. But setting an artificial, more stricter boundaries seems to make us somehow psychologically less rigid.

We seem to have a quite strange relationship with boundaries. We feel that boundaries somehow limit us. But, it seems that opposite is actually true. It can be argued that without boundaries, we cannot in fact grow, to transcend the boundaries. (The article is somewhat New Agey, but raises some very valid points.)

I re-learned this again in the context of the tango burnout. I wrote earlier, that I had a practical solution that seemed to work out most of the time. This turned out not to be true. After writing that, I spend several evenings in milongas with the agony of feeling discontent about tango, but unable to do anything about it.

However, a week later I took I private class from a tango teacher familiar with Alexander technique. He gave me a few practical advices. Applying those advices, the discontentment was completely gone in the next milonga. I could feel that sometimes followers were tense, but it no longer bothered me at all.

The advice that maybe had the biggest impact was directly related to boundaries. I wrote earlier that I had felt that I was responsible of making the follower to relax. But I learned that I had also unconsciously felt responsibility to seek for the connection in to the embrace more than was healthy. This made me lean in to the embrace, which hurt my own axis, as well as made it more difficult for followers to keep theirs.

After I concentrated on being on my own axis, as well as certain relaxation techniques from Mr. Alexander, my dancing was no longer disturbed by the tensions, and I could feel myself relax in the dance even with followers with whom I had real trouble dancing with before, and even when I was not too enthusiastic about the music.

There was a price for this, however. In a practica with my long-time practice partner, our connection was lost. But we found it again towards the end of the practica. It had very concretely become more the responsibility of the follower to seek for the connection.


About Mikko

A man hopelessly bitten by the argentine tango bug.
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