Category Archives: motivation

Don’t think..!Just be yourself!

How many times have you heard this phrase:
“Don’t think! Just feel and be yourself!”

OMG!
I hate it!

And the worst thing is, I have said it myself to many people… Now I guess it is a good time to apologize…
I am sorry, truly sorry, for adding on to your frustration but believe me I didn’t do it on purpose.

Being a beginner at something again, now after many years, teaches me every time I get in class, that being yourself in something foreign is impossible!
If you know nothing about that new thing; how can you possibly know who you are in it?

Be yourself… because in this society you are not allowed to be lost!

When you start Tango or any other new thing for that matter … but lets stick to Tango for now… You are going to  feel confused, lacking in some way, frustrated or simply put lost!

You are doing something new, specifically dancing with a stranger in your face! If that person is not a strange you are still moving together in ways you usually don’t. And you have to find a way to lead and follow some step successfully while following the social codicos of a milonga and meeting people’s expectations.

All this inevitably will make you stand differently, move differently, BE differently. It will make you lose your identity…. But only in a good way!

Should you just accept it then..?

Passive acceptance, can be the first step, but it shouldn’t be the only step.

Instead of trying with all your strength to bring what you know of “yourself” in the dance, start seeing yourself and your body as maybe your old neighbourhood; a place you hadn’t been in for a long time.

Start with noticing things that look and feel familiar… and then notice the things that surprise you, the things you have never seen before, you didn’t know existed in your body, in your movement vocabulary, in yourself!

Tango and any other activity can be an opportunity to get lost and find yourself again and again. An opportunity to surprise yourself.
And yes! It is hard and it sucks in the beginning but keep at it for the day, when you will be able to say to yourself:

“Well! I didn’t know you had it in you!”

😉
Chrisa

P.S: Would you like more posts like this..?
https://bautanz.com/2018/10/11/tango-as-a-tool-toward-a-richer-life/

It is all connected– Tango, Yoga and beyond

My Tango chats are usually with other Tango professionals… like the recent one with Veronica Toumanova.
This time though I decided to do something different… or is it actually the same..?
Hmmm… We shall soon find out, I guess..!
But today I chatting Tango, Yoga, learning strategies, teaching approaches, social and life skills

Tango, Yoga and everything in between

Jill Newberry Evans of jillyoga.ca is a friend and great coworker.

For a very long time now we have been talking about how we teach movement, how our students express their needs and goals and how we can help them get closer to their goals by exposing the different paths they can follow to get there.

Every time we got started that kind of a chat we always found ourselves finishing each other’s sentences and sharing stories that had so much in common that “it is all connected” became like  our little slogan

And so we thought… since it is all connected and since we can learn from one another why not bring this chat to world of the web so other people who are involved in different and seemingly unrelated activities can start connecting the dots and finding this way other more efficient and fun ways to get to their goals.

It is all connected…

We believe that there is a connecting thread, not only between Tango and Yoga but between all activities.
As Jill told me during one of our chats: “I don’t teach Yoga… I teach movement and life skills!

There are times that narrowing down and focusing on your ONE favorite activity will help to boost your progress…
But there is also the time when you need to revisit the principles of that activity under a different light and approach it following a slightly different path to be able to experience it in its totality; to be able to grow in it

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments along with your struggles and stories so we can get back with more!

I am not just sitting… I am Being!

Wednesday 12:00pm… (a regular day turned to an experience of being)

It was an amazing day outside. And so I set out to go for a quick walk… 5mins… A quick breath out of the studio..!

The sun was bright and warming and the little sitting “garden” where I spent my summers last year, had expanded and looked beautiful and so I walked straight to it  for a few moments of peace..!

But alas… The moment I sat down my fingers were reaching for the phone… I resisted and instead I looked at the other people,  some in groups chatting, some alone reading the paper, having lunch or tapping on their phone.

I am not going to lie, it did feel uncomfortable, being there alone, doing nothing…

My fingers reached for the phone… I resisted…!
This time I focused on everything else around me…
The trees
The flowers
The people passing by
The squirrels chasing each other…

I listened to the sounds of the city coming, to the song of the birds, to the people chatting next to me…
(…turns out my Spanish have gotten better after all! haha…)

I just sat there…

I did nothing else aside from taking all of this in… And somehow through listening to the environment, to everything around me somehow that made me aware of where I was in that environment, made me feel a part of it.

My phone buzzed… I ignored it…
Instead I closed my eyes and turned to face the sun!
Feeling the warmth, listening intently, and doing nothing more than being present!

My phone buzzed again… Again, I ignored it…
I knew I only had one minute before I had to head back inside! So I allowed myself to just BE for that one minute.

I am not just sitting. I am Being..!

You are probably wondering what does all this have to do with Tango…
But for years, when I heard people saying things like: “I can just sit there and listen to the music…!”
I thought they were being pretentious, because I couldn’t figure out how someone can just sit there alone and not feel like a loser or at least feel embarrassed or frustrated…

But this experience was a little light bulb moment for me.
It was tough in the beginning to push away the discomfort of sitting there alone doing nothing and so I started doing something…

I listened actively, looked intently, and allowed myself to be present in that moment.

And so I am hoping to inspire you to do the same.  To  allow yourselves to BE in the environment of your garden, your home, your dance studio, your weekly milonga.

To listen actively to the music, to look intently at the dancers on the floor. And to hear the whispers, the laughter of the people beside you, the glasses ticking and the wine pouring.

Listen to the environment to find yourself present in that environment. You are not just sitting. You are BEING!

😉
Chrisa
P.S: If you want a drop of inspiration such as this one, you can get them now through Alexa: Drops of inspiration

“Find your passion. Find your love!” Veronica Toumanova

When I asked Veronica Toumanova what would be one phrase that she would like to write on a billboard she said to me:

“Find your passion. Find your love!” 

And then added a phrase of the great Eric Franklin:
“In dance the most important technique is the love of dance”

What I loved about my chat with Veronica Toumanova

You know between Toronto and Paris there is a time difference of 6 hours–they are ahead…! We got this chat set up for Sunday morning 8:30am… What you might not know is that I am not a morning person and that it was Greek Easter on Saturday so I got to bed rather early… in the morning…hahaha

If you are now thinking:
Boohoohoo! Poor Chrisa she didn’t get her beauty sleep..!

You are ABSOLUTELY right!
Because this lady gave me so much energy, so much inspiration, so much power and will and love that I am now empowered for months!

That is what I loved about our chat: her passion and her sharing personality, which I am sure all of you who have taken classes with her have already experienced.

So even though this is a bit longer than all the other Tango chats, I want to encourage you to listen to it, it will make time stop!

If you are looking for inspiration, for answers on why you are suffering in the milongas and classes, for how we learn and why you feel like you are progressing too slow and most importantly how you can keep going when the frustrating moments come..? Then I believe you won’t be disappointed.

So, click on the video above and enjoy!

Chat notes:

How you can reach Veronica Toumanova: www.verotango.com
or through Facebook: Veronica Toumanova
or through Tango Mon Amour: http://www.tangomonamour.com

Read her book “Why Tango”: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Tango-learning-dancing-argentino/dp/1517189470

El Corte milonga/ classes/ workshops: http://www.elcorte.com

Eric Franklin: https://franklinmethod.com

 

 

How to become more creative on the dance floor

{Fear} less in the dance floor * Escape the dance of boredom * Be bold be beautiful be YOU

“I want to feel creative, I want to share the moment with my partner… Isn’t that what Tango is really about anyway…?” H

One of my students Mr. H, was really frustrated when he joined Intelligent Tango. During our welcome call, he shared his passion for Tango but also his deep disappointment of how he felt stuck, nervous, and robotic while on the dance floor.

Knowing that Tango is an improvisational dance he was hoping to be “creative and expressive” on the dance floor and able to enjoy his dances with his partner.

This is one of the biggest Tango- pains… Longing for THAT moment of freedom, for when we will be able to just dance, and be ourselves, that never comes…

Why we are not creative on the dance floor?

Most people will say that it is lack of confidence. And that is partly true… I mean, of course the more you dance the more comfortable you will get with it and therefore you will be able to enjoy it more

BUT are you going to be creative, or are you just going to be preforming more moves with ease..?
They are two very different things!

So, lets take a step back and look at the big picture, here for a moment. What do we have..?

We mostly have classes and workshops that are based either on technique or on sequences.
Personally, after having spent a few years teaching sequence-based classes and then switching over to technique-based classes, I came to realize that both are deficient in one of many ways: they are strictly instructional!

Now why is that a problem, you may wonder… we need instruction after all, no?

Yes of course we do!
At the same time though, we need a bridge from instructional, to improvisational, to spontaneous, to creative.
If we as teachers do not provide our students with that bridge they will always feel stuck in the instructional phase.
Even if they know enough sequences that they can put them together and dance a full song, they will still not feel/ be creative.

A bridge between instruction and improvisation

The first step towards improvising, towards creating is noticing

It doesn’t matter if the class is technique or sequence based, as long you start paying attention to how a movement–as it is developing–is changing your body, what it feels like, whether your senses are picking up any feedback.

The second step would be mapping or tracking that experience

It could through a mechanical tracking device…haha… a video camera. Or through a physical tracking device, your own nervous system.
Part of what our nervous system does is to record patterns.
This way you can come back to those experiences, revisit them, and see if you want to build on them or if you want repeat them.

Ok! I am feeling I need to share an example here…
creative walk
by Anais Gomez: https://anaisgomez.deviantart.com/art/Walking-Cycle-thumbnails-556119469

This image above shows us the efficient way to walk, how our body was built to walk.
Notice on the top row  right in the middle, how the manikin’s body has a forward intention. The chest is open, the hips are back, the spine is long… Do these remind you of anything..? Tangoooo Class! haha

Notice#1: your body goes through these cues every moment of your day that you happen to take a step
Notice#2: as you are practicing your walks pay attention to all the other positions of transition
Notice#3: get a sense of how it is to walk in the way your body was build to walk
Notice#4: how does it make you feel? And how it affects your dance?

Track#1: instead of trying to confirm the rules of Tango, and what you already know, trust and dive into this with an explorative mind, let every practice make a mark in your unconscious
Track#2: Write down or share your experience with a friend in great detail
Track#3: make videos, look at yourself going through the motion without being judgemental but trying to identify the patterns of movement

How do you know it is working?
If the next time you go in, to practice on your walk, and the first thought that comes to mind is: “Remember yesterday when you did X and your walk felt like Y..?”

When you can ask yourself: Remember yesterday…?
You are on the RIGHT path!
And when you start feeling you actually have the awareness to answer: “YES! Lets explore further”
You are actually progressing towards being creative

What does being creative really mean?

Many people when they hear creative the first word that comes to mind is: FREE!

And I am one of these people..hahaha
But what does being free means?

Free doesn’t mean absence of rules. Being free means you have such a deep knowledge and such a great understanding of the rules, that you can revisit them, you can break them, you can change them and you can create your own.

As the Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen has said in her book “Sensing, feeling and Action”: “Our creativity flows out of our unconscious–an unknown giving birth to knowing as our consciousness listens. Our conscious mind can then discover the form or pattern that emerges from the unfolding of the creative process. The insight into the pattern of the process can further open and expand the awareness of unconscious expression

As you may understand it is a beautiful dialog, between our conscious and unconscious mind. and though it seems abstract and like a long way there, it is TOTALLY worth it!

We can do it together if you want to… the only thing you need to do is to subscribe!

Hope to see you in the Bautanz Community,
Chrisa

P.S: More on getting more creative: The penultimate rules on being more creative– by James Altucher

 

 

Don’t buy into your own Tango-BS…!

Pardon my french but it is a throwback Wednesday, and the more I think about how I behaved in the past and what it cost me there is no other way to describe all that negative talk I gave to myself but Tango-BS.

Saturday night in a big milonga a few years ago…

Myself and a group of friends head over for our weekly dance.
We get there in a Greek person manner–aka around 11pm..!haha
And of course the place is packed, there are only a few free chairs by the wall arranged in doctor’s-office manner
You know, patients sitting side by side, half- turning and whispering to each other:: “What a great scientist”… haha..

We weren’t patients but we certainly looked like ones.
Pasted smiles on our faces, looking blankly ahead, with an aura of I-don’t-want-to-be-here and OF COURSE… whispering to each other….haha…its the chairs I tell you..!
But we were saying something like: “Argh! The energy in this place…” “There is no one to dance with…” “It just feels so unwelcoming…”

A few unsatisfying dances later, and we were on our way to home feeling more grim than when we entered.

After that night I didn’t go back there for months.

I chose places a lot smaller, occupied by groups of people with a specific view over Tango. And I had created the strongest excuse for myself: “I just can’t bear to go back to that place. The energy is just soooooo…”  (so..? I don’t know)

via GIPHY

And the icing on the cake..? I had surrounded myself with people who would jump to the opportunity to make that view even stronger. That created a comforting feeling, the illusion of being right, the illusion of being happy.

When we were not dancing we would either be talking about Tango as an idea, a concept, a healing modality, a true Art or complaining about everything and everyone.

BREAKING NEWS

We were the TANGO MESSIAHS  and you have missed the opportunity to get your spot in the Tango heavens! Hahaha…NOT!

In reality we were a bunch of Tangueros/as wanna-be-s, living in a bubble, who had bought into their own BS!

What Tango-BS are you buying in?
  1. My community is too unwelcoming?
  2. People they don’t want to get any better,  just don’t want to practice?
  3. Argh! The energy is too tough?
  4. There is literally nobody to dance with?
  5. Men prefer the young and good-looking ones…. Etc etc

I am sorry but THIS is pure, true TANGO-BS!
Personally it was tough to admit that I was in a bad place psychologically, and being a bit shy I couldn’t reach out to anyone.
So I preferred to throw the blame on other people… I bet at some level you are doing the same. SO get down to what really is the problem!

As Jerzy Gregorek says in Tribe of Mentors  “take 100 responsibility for {your} part” (Ferriss, Timothy. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World –pg. 115)

Start to look at how YOU can change first before you demand from others to change then you will start to that there is a lot room for YOU to grow, to enjoy your milongas more and to make new friends.

Better your dance level, better your outfit, better your attitude, better your psychology, better your mindset. YOU can do all that.

It all starts with YOU!
But if you are still not sure how, subscribe to Bautanz, and we can do it together..! 😉

Chrisa