Updated: Apr 12
You never cross the same river twice.
To all tango students struggling to learn new steps and figures, I want to offer a Zen perspective that may provide you with a new way of thinking about your practice. It is said in Zen that "you never cross the same river twice." This means that the river is always changing, and every time you cross it, it is a new experience.
Similarly, every time you dance tango, it is a new experience. You may have danced the same steps many times, but the circumstances are always different. The music is different, the atmosphere is different, and most importantly, you are different. You bring a new energy and a new mindset to the dance every time you step onto the floor.
Instead of just learning new steps and figures, try to enjoy the fact that tango is always changing. Dance with an open heart and a beginner's mind, approaching each dance as if it were your first. Let go of your expectations and your need for control, and allow the music to guide you.
Remember that tango is not just about the steps; it is about the connection between you, your partner, and the music. Don't let your obsession with learning new steps overshadow the joy of dancing with heart. In Buenos Aires, the mecca of tango, they understand this. They dance with heart, and that is what makes their tango so special.
So, my advice to you is to focus on the process, not the outcome. Embrace the ever-changing nature of tango and dance with your heart. Trust that the steps and figures will come with time and practice, and that the real joy of tango lies in the journey, not the destination.