Get Fit and Empower Yourself With The Argentine Tango

By: ARIANA HERNANDEZ

Edited by: CHRISTINA COLAVECCHIA

A couple years ago, I had just gone through a bad breakup and was looking for a new hobby to keep myself distracted. In looking for a different way to stay active, I stumbled upon a very elegant dance called the Argentine Tango. Even though Tango is one of the most difficult dances to learn, I decided to emerge myself into the dance by taking a beginners class. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

According to Anthony Davis, a dance instructor at Carry on Dancing, “Tango is not sequences of steps and learned figures. Each step is a complete element that ends with the leader having the option to lead all manner of different variations from that step. This depends on a number of key elements such as the responsiveness of the follower, space available and their own initiative – all within the framework of the music.”

This very slow, intimate dance made me feel like a whole new person- it was rejuvenating. Learning the Tango will boost your self-esteem, making you feel sexy, confident, and empowered. It teaches all the qualities it takes to be an admired, transformational leader and will teach you to rid yourself of any insecurities that are stopping you from being
confident.

One of the issues I faced when trying to learn the Tango was my inability to follow and to let my instincts take over. The feminist in me made me less willing to “follow” a man (who most often takes the lead in this dance). Not to mention, I am by nature a fairly impatient person. In time I learned that the man acts out of chivalry and offers the invitation for the next move and it is the woman that decides whether or not she will act on it. This, in turn, leaves most of the power within the hands of the woman because with this invitation, the follower could accept, but possibly change the variation. In this case, the lead has to be able to interpret and instantly adapt to the new situation. Balance this kind of decision making with focusing solely on trusting that the other person will move you in the right direction (after you have
given your consent of course). Can you say multitasking?

In order to get me to this level of trust, I was instructed to follow with my eyes closed for a few lessons. I had a very talented dance partner that once said to me, “You need to learn to trust. You just have to let go of any worries that are weighing on your shoulders. It is only when you relax that the true dancer will come out.” He was right; once I gave in I was able
to become a truly skilled dancer.

Dancing around on a crowded floor with many other couples trying to maneuver their way around requires a great deal of trust in the person who is leading you. It is the leader who is responsible for using their confidence and clarity to create a strong connection, one in which their followers can trust. Followers will allow themselves to be lead by being strong and confident with intense concentration, while being relaxed and responsive. The connection is imperative to making the dance flow properly. If the connection is broken, the dance is lost and the rhythm of the dance will be disrupted.

This partnership is unique and different to each dancing couple. Each dancer interprets the music in their own way, and responds and adapts to the environment with their own style. Once you know the basic steps, it is almost as if your body moves out of instinct. Like riding a bike, Tango soon becomes second nature as you learn to trust yourself to make the best decisions for that moment in time, a lesson that may be valuable as it applies to other aspects of life.

There are not many other situations in life where you will experience this level of personal trust and connection; it is a very powerful gift, one that some may not experience in a lifetime. “Taking classes has immensely improved my relationship with my fiancé, and it was also a way for us to get out and have a fun evening,” says 25-year-old Ericka, who has been dancing for 3 years now. It is important to note that taking classes is not just something done by those who are in relationships. The Tango has been taught in many schools as a method of discipline, allowing high school students to experience the fun that
Tango has to offer while also unconsciously reaping its benefits. I took the class by myself, met tons of people, and it turned out to be great “me” time.

There are many cardiovascular benefits of tango that left me out of breath after the hours worth of dancing that I did. In the time I was learning how to Tango, my body felt great. I was burning calories, getting in shape, and burning fat. The Tango also strengthens major body muscles in your arms, legs, and thighs. Posture is also a big factor in mastering the art of this dance. Both the leader and the follower must have good posture, which has a positive benefit for everyday life.

For those who are more interested in its meditative benefits, Tango has many ties to yoga, Tai Chi and other martial arts. These are all things that require a lot of controlled energy allowing you to explore a more peaceful interaction. The mental stimulation that the Tango creates is powerful on many levels, helping you to release all of the stresses that haunt you in the business world and in the rest of your life. Because it is a dance that operates at a slower pace, once you understand the pauses that go along with the music, it allots you time to actually enjoy the dance, giving you a nice momentary escape from reality.

In the end I found that Tango offered me a new outlook. It will allow you to grow and develop new abilities and find new strengths within yourself. It is a great tool for personal growth and self-expression that will empower you and will ultimately help you live a healthier more fulfilled life.

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Fitness, Your Lifestyle

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