On not being a good dancer

The worst thing you can do to me is to tell me that I am a good dancer. I know your intention is good, so there is no need for you to blame yourself. But it is just not useful.

I dance because I wish to experience more of those rare moments when we move as single-body, four-legged animal. During these moments many things happen that are typically assosiated with “good dancing”: relaxation, creativity, musicality, flow of energy, etc.

These moments do not belong to “me”. “Me”, my ego, can only prevent these moments, because my ego disconnects me from others, in this case from you, my dance partner. Ego does not make these moments happen. “I” am not their cause.

The trouble begins when I think I am a good dancer. It lifts my ego, creates hubris in me. My ego will eventually come down through painful experiences. Greater the hubris, greater the fall.

It may take time for me to experience the fall, but my dancing is affected immediately. I am lost in myself, chasing my self-image of me as a good dancer. I “try hard” to be a good dancer. But those rare moments did not occur because I was “trying hard” in the moment, they just kind of happened.

Often, “trying hard” makes me tense, and makes my dance worse.

Neither does it seem helpful for me to wallow in self-pity, to think that I am a bad dancer. The self-pity seems to be part of the same cycle.

“Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
— C.S. Lewis

It seems useful to cultivate real humility, based on sincerity. I have certain consistent strengths and certain consistent weaknesses. And there is lots of variation in my “level of dancing”. There are “good days” and “bad days”. There are “good tandas” and “bad tandas”, even with same people to same music. Within tandas, there are “good moments” and “bad moments”.

In midst of all this, there are those rare experiences of pure tango bliss. In front of such experiences one feels naturally in awe. Maybe real humility can arise from these experiences, as they are completely beyond my control.


About Mikko

A man hopelessly bitten by the argentine tango bug.
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