No-one teaches specific classes on connection. Most teachers will talk about the importance of staying connected to your partner but without defining what that means or how to get connected in the first place. I’ve heard teachers talk about ‘dancing heart to heart’, ‘indicating intention’, ‘staying in front of your partner’, but they also talk about ‘opening the embrace’, ‘moving to a side-by-side stance’, ‘just go and your partner will follow’. How can we do those things and still be connected?
I finally realised the essence of connection whilst in Covid-19 lockdown alone. Suddenly finding myself without the thing that I had devoted almost all my spare time to for over ten years brought home to me what it was that made tango so special for me. And that was connection. To my partner, to the music, and to the other people around me.
I am an introvert by nature, quite comfortable in my own company and happy to spend lots of time pondering life, the universe and everything. I was not working during lockdown but had plenty to occupy my time and was financially in an ok position. I had plenty of contact with friends and family via the wonders of technology and was extremely lucky in that none of those close to me had been seriously affected by the virus. I was doing ok and grateful for what I had. But there was an underlying stress. As the weeks went on, I would more and more often find myself close to tears. I stopped watching videos of people dancing almost straight away. Then I stopped listening to tango music. Then I stopped Facebook altogether after a video of a mum hugging her grown up son through a shower-curtain left me depressed and tearful for days.
Having spent 12 weeks without touching another living being, I realised the importance of physical connection. Having to stop listening to music I loved because it now made me cry, I realised the emotional connection that music creates within us. And finally, watching people sitting alone in their homes during a virtual milonga sharing messages, I realised that sharing what we love with other human beings who feel the same way is the most powerful connection of all.