The work I began with Mateo (my L.A. tango teacher) continues with my new tango teacher in Marin—Gabriel. I explore with Gabriel the nuances of this connective dance and also the “energy of life”.

You Can’t Hide Who You Are in Tango

Jan 11, 2013

Dear Gabriel,

I am writing you again because I have more things that I would like to share related to our work together.  Ideally, it would be better to say this in person, but the structure of the lessons makes that difficult, and since I have a lot to say, I think it would be better if I write it out.

Gabriel, I think when someone touches you in a way that is meaningful, it is important to express that and let it be known.  I will elaborate on this . . .

Our last few lessons have been extremely significant for me.  I started to explain to you in our last lesson about how I usually tune into another person by tuning into my body.  So I go inside not because I am self-absorbed but because that is where I receive information about the other’s emotional state.  As I made reference to, my body becomes like a mirror and at times I will literally feel what the other person is feeling.

Everyone in tango talks about connection, but nobody defines what it is.  So I assumed connection meant doing what I described above, but that is NOT what it means in tango.  You are teaching me that, in tango, “connection” means feeling the other person’s body movement and allowing my body to respond to it with great sensitivity.  In order to do that, I cannot just tune into my body.  I can get emotional and energetic information that way, but I cannot feel how your muscles are moving by doing this.  That requires me to expand my state of consciousness to include the physical movement of your body on all levels.  The good news is that I am aware.  The challenge for me is to shift my awareness into new areas and allow my consciousness to expand.  This is a stretch for me and requires a lot of effort, but I see the impact on my dancing, so that motivates me.  I think it is likely that, with time and practice, I will be able to do this more naturally, without having to focus and concentrate so hard.

The next part I am going to share is more personal, but it’s also related to our work together.  As I mentioned in the previous e-mail I sent you, I have an extensive trauma history with men beginning at a very early age.  This has made me especially appreciative of the respect you extend to me through the way you touch me.  My body registered this immediately and deeply during our first lesson.  You said this to me once, “You can’t hide who you are in tango.”  I have a slightly different version of the same message, “The body doesn’t lie.  It doesn’t know how.”  So I have been deeply appreciative of the respect you extend to me, as well as your clear and clean boundaries.  It has made learning feel safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.

Thank you for your presence, your sensitivity, your kindness, your respect, and your clear and clean boundaries, which allow me to flourish in so many ways . . .



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