New Year’s 2019: Fuel for your Fire

postitleswirl

I never know what to do on New Years Eve. I’m skeptical about the value proposition of expensive parties. I skirt the silent sharp dagger of another year’s lack of a midnight kiss. When I do go out, I worry that I didn’t choose the right party, that I haven’t placed myself in the most powerful possible place.

It goes without saying, but perhaps should be said, that the New Year, whether you reckon this starts on the 1st of January, or on your birthday, or on a date unique to your private calendar, is a day to seize power.

The much-maligned concept of “Resolutions” is a Reminder of this power.

I understand that there are lots of things that make us feel not powerful – just try living as a foreigner for 9 years in 4 countries… making your way in an industry in which men still do the talking and get almost all of the jobs… doing great work and not getting paid… or being a sparkly diva who goes home alone at night, or…

Despite all this, somehow people persist in seeing me as powerful – feedback so confusing that I had to write a book about it. But that was last year.

This year, I’m sitting before a Christmas Tree. My first tree in 9 years. I’m bursting into tears every few hours in contemplation of the gifts I’ve received in those years. I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude. To my dance partners, to the friends who open their homes and hearts to me, to the students who carry me on their wings where there is simply no bridge, to the tango organizers who opened space for me, to the artists i witnessed as a child – performers who taught me not to hold anything back.

Above the Tree hang the photos of all the partners who enabled my tango to grow through these last 12 years. Each partner’s imagination, trust, and time is apparent in the development of TangoForge, and my dance. There are more than 18 of them, but lest you envy me, know too that most of them broke my heart in one way or another. The dancer you admire is made of scars and tears. Indeed it was a long time ago that I learned it is indeed possible to dance and cry at the same time.

In 2017 I spent months analyzing tango and myself, looking for the link between the great diversity of people who step onto this floor. I finally realized that my deepest desire is the same as those who have yet to start and those who dance a lot. It’s the experience of partnership. This is my holy grail. As a Christmas gift to you,  I have written a very personal blogpost to honor this experience: Buscamos. But that was last week.

Now it’s time to get ready for a New Year. Later today I will climb the ladder to our “flying temple”. There I place my intentions, alongside those of my friends, students, and community. Our “Festung” (fortress) protects the intentions from discouragement while we go out and try to figure out how to manifest them.

An intention is not a dream. An intention is something you desire and will. And it very well may be beyond your own skills, energy, and planning capacity. It starts with the first bold act of daring to write your intention on a piece of paper. Give it that first step of reality. Then put that paper in a sacred place, and trust. You will know the second step. And from there, you will see the next…

. . .

I have not built TangoForge with capital, or programming skills. I have built it with intention. My first steps toward that intention inspired people who joined me to make real what was once only words under coffee stains in a notebook near the sea.

My intention for this year is to be

Fuel for your Fire.

The technique I have developed over the last nine years was driven by the quest to demystify tango. I determined to distill tango so I could teach systematically, in scientific, objective, verifiable terms. The goal was for my students to surpass me as soon as possible, and indeed my students now learn at an astonishing speed. This teaching system is now fully documented in our Digital School. Any dancer anywhere anytime can have full information about tango.

I am also working to expand the space of what and where tango can be. I’m doing this through my own artistic investigation, by making new Altertango spaces, and by diligently studying how we can make tango popular so that our communities are sustainable and we are magnetizing partners to delight us over the next decades. In early 2019 I started to document the most successful tango community building project I’ve ever witnessed, Berlin’s extraordinary Milonga Popular. The resulting “ThinkBook” is a collaboration with the founder, Sven Elze. We want to spread these ideas globally, so please talk about these ideas with your communities and friends.

I want you to know that you are not alone…

embrace orig crop

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

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Important Insights

Books

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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