Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dance me to love again

As a tango baby who has learned many a lesson about myself-in-relationship in just one short year of dance class once a week, I've learned to love the tango for the reasons I feared it initially. It's about connection - about leading and following with your heart. You have to be comfortable with closeness. Not something that is easy to do in the wake of dissolution with gnarly breakup matter still clouding your aura.

I resonated with My Love Affair with Tango, by Maria Finn as she enumerated its transformational possibilities for the heartsunk and lovetorn based on her experience.

Here's an excerpt:

"I asked him why he had started dancing. “My 7-year-old daughter wanted to know why her mother and I divorced. I didn’t know. And I couldn’t explain how you can love someone so much, then split so far apart. So I began tango to learn how to be with a woman without expecting anything. How to find balance with
another person.”

"He offered a quick lesson, and I accepted. First I had to lean against him—I had to trust the lead entirely. I could smell the nape of his neck, feel the slight slope of his shoulders and the soft pulse of his heart. It quickly felt suffocating, and such closeness made me feel squeamish. He showed me how to step around him while my chest stayed aligned with his. But I was too uncomfortable to be so near someone I didn’t know. My own marriage had just ended, and I still felt dead inside.

"I couldn’t help but linger when this stranger returned to the group. The tango songs were laments of heartbreak, but the dancers brought to mind the perfect state of bliss. I thought of an idea from Plato’s Symposium: People were once whole, but because they didn’t properly honor the gods, they were split apart and doomed to be forever searching for their other half. To find one’s missing half is to once again experience harmony and happiness. That’s what the dancers in Central Park looked like—finally reunited.

"Maybe, I thought, I could learn to tango if I were with a man I loved. But not with total strangers.

"I’d never been so wrong."

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