This text was written during the COVID-19 pandemic but we believe that it has a universal meaning and can be applied at all times. It is about dance in general, turning to tango from time to time. It can also be useful to those who have never danced before – because this might be the time to start.
Isolated at home, we are trying to make the most of our time, find a cure for apathy that might be present or maybe even plant seeds that will continue to blossom in our homes and in our lives when all of this is over, reminding us of the good choices that we’ve made.
We see dance as one of the answers.
If we use these days to spontaneously bring dance into our homes, it will stay there after all of this is over, bringing us even more delight. It is important that we free these days of any pressures or demands, so that we may approach dancing at home with ease. That will also result in faster advancement – that feeling when one day we realize “Wow, I’ve made so much progress”. Maybe it won’t be easy from the start, maybe we’ll need some motivation and organizing, but we believe that we’ll come out of it in an even better dancing mood.
After days of staying at home, what is the quickest way to loosen and cheer up? What is that one single thing that brings together physical activity, relaxation, meditative calm, the feeling of freedom and surrender, while at the same time having a positive impact on our surroundings?
There are probably other things, but dancing is definitely one of them. Here are eleven reasons that confirm that:
1. The art of living
There is no better way to get out of the stiffness of everyday job ambitions and stress than to allow ourselves to add dance to everything we do. Especially when we are doing things we consider “serious”, “things of great importance”. Let’s relax them and enrich them with ease, , connection with the world around us and an inner balance that we learned through dance. Especially now when so many things are uncertain.
Dancing has its place at home, in everyday activities, in life itself. It should spread throughout the whole day and not be kept reserved just for that one slot in our spare time… It is wonderful to add some dance to everything. Here’s a chance to do just that.
2. Better physical shape
It is unbelievable how much muscles weaken, circulation slows down and the spine loses its support after just a few lazy days. Maybe we are already getting tired while walking up the stairs, we feel slow and kind of down?
All of this affects our appetite, digestion, sleep… It is a vicious circle. It is just now that we realize how much we were active and we didn’t even realize it. Dancing is something that can give us the answer to these ‘stay at home’ challenges!
If we dance at home, after all this is over we will have added an important activity to our schedules that will keep us in better shape all our lives.
3. Better mood
A good mood is a combination of many things and dancing in our room will put us in it through relaxation, the sense of purpose, the physical activity and its effects, giving in to the rhythm and the music as a whole, and through the feeling of responding actively to the situation.
4. A stronger immune system
This is something we get combining all of the previous reasons! These days especially, but also in general, this is an important reason to dance.
We all know how much dancing is good for your health. Numerous published studies have explored health benefits brought by dancing. Dance is not just any physical activity. It involves the whole body, waking it and making it ready to respond to anything, even illness. Dancing is the shortest path to strengthening your life force, and we all know that illness usually comes when we are lacking a deeper motivation.
Even though the embrace gets credit for a lot of the good effects of tango, there are many more of its effects we can enjoy without the embrace.
The important thing now is to avoid too much lying around and making our system incapable of providing an active response to the challenges around us.
5. “Dance independence”
By deciding to dance at home, we will push our dance progress forward, more independently than ever. It might not be the easiest way, but how much we enjoy ourselves in the end depends on it.
Maybe I started dancing immediately after the first restrictions of movement came, or maybe my being will start asking for it after days of laziness, possible overeating and watching too much content. Then, maybe for the first time, I will learn to dance by myself, to organize myself, to explore outside of the dance studio, to figure out suggestions, to find different instructors, and try out something harder.
After the first challenges, comes the thrill of revelation. I’ll figure out many “dance tricks” by myself. I’ll find that it’s much easier to make a video of myself and learn from it. I’ll enjoy the fact that I can rewind the video and slow it down much more than I can do with an instructor. I’ll be happy because I can work at my own pace while practicing – I can watch the video, analyze it, think about it, try again, or maybe there is some other way?
I will know what it feels like to dance without comparing myself to others. I will dance for the sake of dancing.
6. “Dance like no one’s watching”
This last thing is our the next reason. Enjoying your body and expressing yourself, without the goal of it being good enough – just dancing! To let go like we do when we are singing in the shower. To explore and free our expression like never before… Without being afraid of it looking weird. When, if not now?
To “dance” tango or any other dance as freely and emotionally as possible, and not “work through it” in the best way! This is something that is harder to work on with other dancers around… While we free our expression we often feel pretentious, weird – someone even said arrogant.
Here is a chance to evolve and free that quality in the intimacy of our homes, enjoying it in the days ahead.
Those who learn to enjoy by themselves start to radiate with an energy that attracts other people.
7. Put everyone around you in a dancing mood!
Spreading the idea of dancing to your loved ones can truly brighten up the days ahead for everyone, bringing with it a chance to get to a new level of dancing freedom. This step as an animator is optional, but it should be taken into consideration. It could bring us lots of beautiful interactions.
Some people like dancing alone better, and find dancing with a partner, especially in close contact, very challenging. On the other hand, having a partner is a precondition to many others to be able to let their being flow with the music. It’s like it’s awkward for us to dance by ourselves, without a partner, and especially in front of other people? We understand. Dancing is an intimate thing in which we open up our feelings – that is why it is important to open up and free ourselves in order to enjoy it even more. Because captivating music is often played while other people are around.
After freeing ourselves in the intimacy of our home, it is amazing when we can dance freely and let go in front of others, without worrying about what anyone will say. Usually there’s just one attempt that separates us from that goal and the reward is a new level of feeling good.
By doing this, we will inspire our loved ones by examples of proactivity, freedom and commitment. By example of a content, happy person. Maybe after all of this, they’ll join us in our dancing mood. Maybe we’ll end up with new dance partners, and bond and get closer in new ways. Maybe we will realize that we are much better animators than we could have dreamed of!
Also, going out to non-tango events will be much more filled with dance. One might ask, “Why was I missing out on all of this up until now?”
8. Strengthen your weak spots
At home, especially now when we cannot embrace others, we can explore the things that might have presented a challenge, that we didn’t have the time or the motivation for, when we spent our tango hours embracing. All of us, when we dance with a partner, bring our own ingredients and use them to build something new together. This is a chance for us to meet with eachother with even more pleasure once this is over.
A chance to pay special attention to specific elements does not necessarily have to be limited to partner dances.
In tango, for example, men can develop their impulse and their technical elements, while women can work on their expressiveness and independence, embellishments and everything else that they have always wanted to work on, but maybe didn’t get the space for.
You know what you’d like to make more comfortable and filled with more enjoyment and ease.
9. We are surrounded by dance props – let’s find them!
We’ll figure out how to use parts of our homes – walls, furniture…, in order to better our dance and enjoy it. Just because dance equipment doesn’t exist and “dance gyms and practice rooms” are not a thing, doesn’t mean that we should not develop them. Here is a chance to take that step!
10. Dance to the music of your choice!
How many times have you wished for the DJ or your instructor to play your favorite song during class? Maybe something non-tango or maybe a really old, intimate Guardia Vieja?
Only you know what gets you going. Or you have yet to find out? Here is an amazing chance to do that.
11. An active response to a crisis
In the end, we believe that all those who let dance into their homes will learn a big life lesson. The lesson of responding actively to a crisis – of the things that happen when we are brave and explore the unknown, when we do something we found strange at one point, when we get up and when we get lazy, when we free our movement and when we ask ourselves what will the people around me say… This may be a big lesson about freedom. A lesson learned from experiencing restrictions. A lesson that will benefit us for the rest of our lives.
We probably cannot even predict where a dance response like this can lead. In addition to everything mentioned previously, we see glimpses of tens, even hundreds of people coming together and practicing live, even though they might be from different countries. New acquaintances are being made, experiences are shared between people who were strangers until yesterday, new classes are being found, as well as instructors, and even new selves… These days dance is revealing to us its new functions and proving its universality. It has always guarded our freedom – from the fields of cotton, across the ports of Buenos Aires and the capitalist world we live in, all the way to the present day when we are once again forced to find freedom in ourselves – in the only place it can truly be found.
We can surely find other strong reasons. You can let us know about yours. Your experiences bring us joy and excitement. We will be here to keep you in a dancing mood with our content. You can find our weekly schedule HERE.
Also, the Internet is full of high-quality online dance content these days.
Dance at home – stay healthy and in a dancing mood
Autor: Darko Dožić
One of the founders and an instructor at Tango Natural.