Last night I had a dream. I dreamed that someone gave me new car. But it wasn’t just any car. It was a brand new Lamborghini Diablo convertible. Sort of like the one Al Pacino drove in the movie “Scent of a Woman”–cherry red with plush leather seats, 520 horsepower V-10 engine, and power everything.
“Boy!” I thought, “This is going to be great! With this baby I’m going to experience driving nirvana.”
So I opened the door, hopped in and what a surprise! The seats weren’t leather. They weren’t even plastic. Instead they were just hard cold steel painted to look like leather.
“Man!” I thought, “This is not going to be so great–this is not going to be driving nirvana. In fact, this is a lot like dancing tango with a partner who has a really bad embrace!”
Regardless of my discomfort, I put the key in the ignition and started the engine. Expecting it to roar to life, I was really disappointed when after a little pause, the engine just coughed, sputtered, and ran really rough and uneven.
“Wow!” I thought, “This is not what I was expecting from such a sleek powerful sports car. This is not going to be driving nirvana. In fact, this is a lot like dancing tango with a partner who has bad timing.”
Nevertheless, I proceeded on and decided to take the car for spin. I put it in gear and took off. But, much to my amazement, it didn’t have power steering! In fact, it had practically no steering at all. I had to force the steering wheel one way and then the other, and when I did there was practically no relationship at all between the way I turned the wheel and the direction the car went. On top of that, the car drifted to one side and then the other. It was frightening, dangerous, and impossible to navigate.
“Yikes!” I screamed, “This is not fun. This is not driving nirvana. In fact it’s just like dancing tango at a crowded milonga with a partner who can’t follow.”
Well, I did my best and managed to finally pull off the road and stop the car without crashing. I got out, walked away and resolved to never drive any new sports cars again just because it was given to me for free—and especially not because of the allure of her….err, I mean, its shiny new paint job and sleek lines.
* * *
P. S. The same metaphor applies to you leaders. No matter how rich you are, or how many fancy steps you know, unless you’ve mastered the fundamentals of a comfortable embrace, clear lead, and exquisite timing, your follower is not going to enjoy the ride.
Well I, for one, would be happy to take your place in driving shiny new lamborghinis given freely to you.
At first read, I thought, I as a follow, was the stiff steering, metal, painted to look like leather, and ditched on the side of the road. And, yes, some leads may make me feel like that with their reluctance to dance with anyone but the best and their reluctance to wait or “listen” to where I am in my study of the dance and what I feel the music is saying to me. And though in my study of the dance, like most follows, strive to feel, “listen” and be lighter than each previous dance. But like every trip to your favorite vacation spot would have its own nuances, every dance will be different, even within the tanda. The bottom line is that I believe followers try and hope not to be the car abandoned on the side of the road. Regardless of the faults and limitations, Thank you for making the dance beautiful for us.
Maybe the car hadn’t been cared for properly.
Maybe it once had nice soft leather seats, no maintenance schedule, reservoirs (resources) went dry or have residue.
Maybe it only had only been driven on poorly maintained roads prior to being brought to the city.
Maybe the driver needed a refresher course or instructions on this make and model.
Maybe even driving on the opposite side of the road.
Maybe this either or both just needs a tune up or some tender loving care !!
Maybe a refresher on what TANGO really is !!
My first knee jerk reaction to the title was……….I know the feeling of nirvana in dancing! Yes.when I first started on this chosen path of Argentine tango, because it appealed to my very core of being, I romantically and enthusiastically embraced the dance and the music. Yes it is a technical dance , but it releases the innermost of a person. One of the first milongas I attended (required by my instructor), I was petrified, but so wanted to try out this amazing dance. I was blessed and had a tanda with a skilled professional dancer and for that tanda, I reached nirvana! We melded into one and I was breathlessly elevated to a state of pure bliss. I let myself be lead without question or resistance and I experienced a beauty and a pleasure rarely found on a dance floor and in the arms of a stranger.
How did it happen? I was a newbie, unskilled, untrained in the art of AT?
The only way it could……..I was mesmerized and transported by an amazingly skilled leader who knew his craft and used it with a timid follower. I knew this was my dance above all others. I was captured and my soul knew no bounds of peace of happiness and exquisiteness. Nirvana it was and the dance still holds the possibility of one day again I will dance with another leader who will transport me. But if not, Helmut, several years ago, you successfully gave me the most amazing dance experience I have ever had in my life. I thank you continuously.
(I was a recent widow and this gave me a reason to live. Argentine tango became and still is my life line. Helmet gave me a rare glimpse of nirvana)
Your analogy of the car could be applied, but I was so taken by the title I needed to respond to my nirvana with AT!
Very good read.
We have all had this experience at some point. I always seem to slink back to my Hyundai thinking how awful of a driver I am. I mean look at that car in the hands of the guy who drives it everyday. Its amazing and yet I can’t even get it around the block once without a stumble.
When I was a brand new dancer and dancing with my instructor at milonga’s, I remember talking to an experienced leader after he had just come off the floor after dancing with her. I said something like isn’t she just an amazing dancer? His response has never left me, “she is like driving a Porsche. She knows where you want to go before you even turn the wheel.”
I will keep taking driving lessons.
Right on. You clearly identify the issue with Craig’s methaphor. Cars are objects. If they change it is for the worse: crash or breakdown. People can change for the better.
I’m confused. I learned tango because the music is so lovely and textured. The dance was challenging and I love to try a challenge. Along the way, I have found many people, both leaders and followers that have supermiosed their values and their issues onto others. What I often thought would be a gathering of people to enjoy learning about themselves , others and the dance and culture of tango, has often been about cliques, evaluations, and adolescent behavior. In the world we live in, and when we give no sanctuary to others without judging, the entire idea of tango, community, celebration of dance is lost in the competition of being the “best” or finding the “best”. Hoping those who read this will not partake in that negative part of the culture and “embrace” everyone.
Yes good metaphors; one other thing on the flip side – some leaders don’t even do a test drive – they may be missing a good ride…
I love it! Very funny! Life is like that….and so is dancing!