Category Archives: social skills

Art is a necessity not a luxury

Moving together has been one of the many things this Art we call dance, is here to do.
As every Art, dance brings people together. Inspires them to create communities, helps them realize how much they have in common. Helps them understand one another, encourage and inspire each other to become better. And to become better not only in dance but as human beings!

Can we break apart?

Unfortunately it feels like we already have in some way, broken apart…
Lets take Tango as an example, who knows when we will be able to go back to social dancing…But this is not the only great hit…

This pandemic is the final blow for most Artists living under a great pressure.
With or without Covid19 Artists need 2 or 3 jobs to survive. They run from school to school, from gig to gig, from job to job. Performing Artists make their own costumes, pay for the venues, run the PR. They don’t get paid to rehearse and they don’t even sometimes get paid per show, but per ticket they sell. Every man for himself!

If you talk with any Tango organizer they will tell you how tough it is to sustain the milonga and even worse the festival.
Every Dance teacher can tell you about the endless hours they spend preparing for classes, rehearsing, practicing, taking classes, staying in shape, only to be crushed by the hourly rates that can really be as low as minimum wage in dance schools that are either struggling too or that they have fallen for this destroying mentality of “This is how the Arts are! Nobody does it for the money! You have to really love it to make it”

Art is a necessity not a luxury

This mentality that the Arts are just for hobby, something to pass the time, not a real job…have made the Arts something insignificant, something not necessary, not important, something that is nice to do if you have free time and money.
And us, Artists have fallen for it..! We believe that we have to fit that ridiculous profile of the starving artist we see in all American movies. To make heroes out of ourselves just to prove that we are doing something worthwhile, something important, something necessary.
To prove that to do what you LOVE should be your job, as if that is not obvious!

It is with that mentality, that we will drop all our criteria to get our gig going, to put ourselves out there, to make ourselves known… We will put other Artists down, we will work with the worst of people, we won’t defend our coworker in need, we won’t even defend ourselves. Every man for himself!

Art though is not a luxury; it is not a just nice thing to spend your extra time on. Something you do to forget your sorrows.
The Arts are here to elevate the human mind and spirit. To help people realize their role in this society. Art helps us realize our capabilities; helps us build up inspiration and courage from what people can create together. The Arts give people courage and strength to aspire for a better community, a better society, a better life.

The Artists therefore can not possibly fit that starving artist profile. Can not be crushed people, egoistically running around to get themselves known. The Artists inspire their students, their followers, their audiences. We show people that WE can move the whole world together!

The virus didn’t break us apart, but this economic system where human kind comes always second behind money did
Artists are here to show that nobody is alone! Together WE can move the world!

This is an invitation

The next class you take, the next play you watch, the next song you hear, the next poem you read and the piece of Art you admire, try to see what is this person really try to share with you…

I for example teach you Tango but I also teach you anatomy, biomechanics and how your body was built to move…That is my passion..! But most and foremost I teach you how to research and explore; how to learn through movement. And that is a life skill.

What life skills do other teachers, dancers, painters, writers, musicians, actors…all the other Artists you follow share with you

Remember together WE can move the world!

Chrisa

P.S: and if you want to start dancing right now…haha…here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeFJxkNgUVQ&list=PLllIglFQNLn8TzQscnkvBgsKjdweeEZO-&index=6

It is unfair to treat loneliness with Tango

What does loneliness feel like?
When you are lonely, how is your body feeling?

I think it feels like extreme hunger…
After not having eaten for hours, after your stomach has stopped gurgling and your hands have stopped shaking, after you’ve gotten used to feeling weak, and you are just feeling empty

You can still carry on with your day, but at the same time you feel empty, and you are hoping to find some kind of support.

If and when you get the opportunity to eat you grab anything offered to you, anything placed in front of you!

After having filled your stomach though you can be feeling anything from relief and happiness to fear, sadness and desperation, depending on how you got to experience extreme hunger.

That is what loneliness feels like, to me; like emotional hunger.

Tango to meet new people Vs Tango to feel closer to people.

Notice the difference….

Tango being a social dance is indeed a great place for meeting new people.
We start with classes where usually we find a group of people that we get closer with. Then we start going to milongas and there slowly but surely we get to meet more and more people.

It is a good and healthy way to expand our circle of friends and acquaintances 

Going to Tango though because we want to feel closer to another human being, to feel connected; because we are lonely, is something completely different.
Empty and deprived of human connection, when the opportunity to feel connected presents itself we just grab it. We take any dance we can get, no questions asked…

Best case scenario; our dances are just ok, not terrible, not great, just ok. This way they fill some part of the gap, leaving us asking for more… Under the sweetness of having been emotionally fed, it is possible that we will feel confident enough to take this further, and connected with our partner after the tanda ends. It is likely that we will actually make a new friend..!

If the dance is bad then it will make us absolutely miserable.
Not only because we hate the dance or the partner or both but mostly because we expected to hate, we knew we would probably them but we couldn’t refuse them. Proven right, we step off the dance floor, more disappointed with ourselves than ever! 

This though is NOT the worst case scenario…

In fact, the dances that are great are the WORST!
I am referring to the dances that a bit of magic happens… Where you feel that you and your partner are the perfect match… And the whole tanda is just an endless flow, that unfortunately is bound to end..! You finish the tanda and you are in a dreamy state… Feeling so full with emotion, you almost feel….shhhh…in L.O.V.E.

You leave the dance floor and reality starts to kick-in. And again you might anything from relief and happiness to fear, sadness and desperation depending on what got you so emotionally deprived.

See…we can’t win on the dance floor… but we might be able to win off it!

It is unfair to treat loneliness with Tango!

Meeting people through Tango is a good idea. Making Tango the medium through which we experience closeness and connection is unfair!

It is unfair to us. But also unfair to Tango, to Art and to our community.

No dance form on its own can defeat loneliness. But it can empower us to reach out to other people. It can inspire us and give us the confidence boost we need to start expressing ourselves more and connecting to people who are in tune with what we have to say.

Free your dances from that burden…
You only know how to do that because you know the root of the problem.
Accepting there is a problem is step one.
Identifying where the real problem lies is step two Exploring different ways of solving it is step three

And there Tango can help… by being Tango… By being JUST a dance!

Is it easy? NO
Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

Chrisa

P.S.: There is one person I haven’t gotten the chance to thank enough for this, my teacher Ramit Sethi, who taught me the strategy behind finding a way out and gave me the tools to start expressing myself and effectively reaching loads of other people. He gave me the opportunity to create Bautanz. Now I can say “WE” and not “I”

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

 

 

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

Don’t follow the milonga etiquette, just be nice!

“You said what?” Me
Only this last week I have found myself thinking: “You said whaaat..?” like 3897 times… haha… in milongas/classes…

via GIPHY

And so I thought it is a good time for a funny compilation of what not to say in a milonga/ class environment. Not though with the intention to repeat the well-known rules of milonga etiquette but mostly to show that it is simply a matter of good manners.

Most of these, I now think they are funny and I hope you will find them funny as well….

Things to say and NOT to say in milongas

Are you a good dancer who doesn’t get as many dances as you can?
Do you leave the milongas feeling a bit frustrated or discouraged?
Has that hurt your feelings or confidence?
Or has it made you think that most dancers in your community are just snobs or that you just can’t understand the opposite sex..?

Have you ever thought that it might have nothing to do with your dance skills, the community, the opposite sex’s mentality or your age and looks BUT with what comes out of your mouth?!? haha

Let’s see a few of last weeks examples:

YOU CAN SAY: Oh! dear it is a very warm night. It feels like a just had a work-out…haha
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: You are very sweaty, do you want me to lend you a shirt?

YOU CAN SAY: I went to X festival, it was really amazing…
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: I went to X festival and danced with such amazing dancers. Coming back though really sucks

YOU CAN SAY: Thank you!
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: You did great! You are following very well! or Oh! You know you have to talk to X he did this same sequence, only so much better… Why don’t you talk to him?!?!

YOU CAN SAY: How is your night going? Having fun?
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: How come you haven’t danced with me?

YOU CAN SAY: No, thank you maybe another time
BUT YOU CAN’T SAY: “I am not dancing with beginners”

It is not about the milonga etiquette..!

Yes all of the above were in fact said some in milongas and some in classes, last week..! haha

Crazy week? Maybe!

What do you notice though?
What you can and can not say, has nothing to do with the milonga etiquette here, but more with basic social skills and politeness

In general, you don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable and awkward by telling them how sweaty they are..!
And you certainly don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings by sending them away, in a blunt way just because they are beginners. You don’t have to dance with them but you can decline in a nice way.
And yes maybe other communities are better than yours but you don’t have to be a snob now, do you..?

People choose their partners based on dance skill but also based on character.
Personally, I wouldn’t like to be stuck for 12mins with someone who is rude and/ or makes me feel uncomfortable… Would you?

Think about it… Do you have any examples of rudeness or social discomfort..?
Leave a comment below with your story!

Chrisa