The Upcoming Big Gala

Kathrin Lake, author of From Survival to Thrival documents her first Tango lessons inspired by Tim Ferriss’s book The 4 -Hour Workweek.

Tango lesson #8 – three big lessons for everyone.

Once again Gabriela has pushed me to learn intermediate steps and pieces of choreography beyond what is normal for beginners, but Jim and I have finally figured out why she is doing this. I am not quite the Tango protegé she and my ego wants to believe. We figured that she is trying to get me to catch up to Jim.  Why? So we can dance together in the big Tango Gala next weekend. OMG this sounds like the plot of a schlocky Hollywood film!  No, it is not a competition just a dance, and also a demo of some of the  world’s best tango artists.

So we learned a classic slinky tango sequence that draws all the focus to the woman and her gams. Now, a word about this. I like my body.  And it has taken me years to feel that way about it, but I still envy women with nice legs.  Even when I pare down to my skinniest I have stocky legs – they are not horrible – but they are far from classic dancer’s legs.  My mother used to say, “Just be thankful you don’t have a set of toothpicks and some knobby knees.”  And I am thankful for that. I like what I have. But, what is a girl to do when coming up to the big Gala?

In another chapter in my life E got me into taking bellydancing. She had been taking it for awhile and I was a beginner. We were practicing one afternoon and I was trying hard to get it right and finally she said, “Just fake it, ’til you make it.”

“Really?” I said.

“Just think of everything you thought bellydancing was when you were a girl, and would play at it. Whatever you thought of it then, exotic mystery, harems, the Dance of the Seven Veils, Barbara Eden and I Dream of Jeannie, you should still use.”

In essence, just play it as if you are it, not as if you are learning it.  So, I let myself go to that place, and had fun swinging my hips more and using my arms and hands more fluidly.  Is it surprising that my dancing got much better?  So, the same thing goes for tango. Be as sensual and mysterious as you like.  Pretend you are a double agent flirting with another secret agent.  Whatever it takes.

Two lessons to get out of this one… no three. First,’ fake it ’til you make it,’ is a terrific practice when you are learning. Second, don’t let go of your fantasy about things because it keeps whatever it is beautiful and alluring. Even as you are adding the reality, keep the fantasy. Third, you can’t dance well if you worry about what you or your gams look like, so just love them and make everyone else love them, not by how they look but by how you move them.

These are all lessons you can transfer to just about everything in life, even the last lesson. If you worry too much what others think you are not moving as fluidly as you can in life.  Whenever you realize you are doing this to excess, pause and do a rethink. Check in and see if you might be creating something that is no longer worth creating.

Kathrin Lake, author of From Survival to Thrival See retreats to Mexico on sale now.

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