The difference between waiting patiently and being present


Why is it that Marks rave about dancing with beginners, and sometimes feel less free with advanced Revels? Of course there’s the possibility of being intimidated by your partner, but there’s more than that going on.

Advanced Revels don’t need to concentrate as hard as beginners. Beginners are delightfully rapt by the whole experience. An advanced Revel is very sensitive to aspects of the mark that make her uncomfortable. She’s also difficult to surprise because she’s experienced everything. She may even have the unfortunate tendency to interpret the lead according to a familiar sequence rather than really listening. (Automatisms…)

What can be especially unpleasant when there is a perception of mismatch of level is an attitude that feels condescending. If I feel this from a Mark, I have no desire to dance with him again, regardless of how fabulous he is. I don’t like it any better from Revels. This attitude can easily take over from real concentration.

What feels lovely (and is also healing) in tango is the experience of witness when our partner is fully present. When our partner is merely waiting patiently for our next move, it’s not at all the same thing. Fully present is hanging on our every word. Waiting patiently we can feel the seething boredom, perhaps judgment, the withheld impatience or anticipation.

All this flows through the embrace far more easily than we imagine.


Do you want to be a better dancer

but don’t feel you are getting what you need from your teachers?

Or do you get contradictory advice from different partners?

I got tired of hearing men tell me to be “natural”, “don’t do anything”, and “you’re floppy”, followed by “you’re stiff” …  So I studied biomechanics until I could teach perfect connection quickly.

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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.

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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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