Attitude is everything

Cool title, no? Attitude is everything. I’ve had this idea for a blog post for about the last 6 weeks, maybe longer. The mind map had most of the elements on it but I couldn’t find the words to get it into writing, to elaborate what I wanted to say.

Last night while reading blogs, watching a couple of videos and thinking about some things that happened at milongas last week, things fell into place. There was another click inside my head and the next step on my tango journey is now clear. And I think I have something to justify that snappy title.

In tango, as in work, love, life, attitude really is everything. I think it was Henry Ford who said something like “There are 2 kinds of people. Those who think they can, and those who think they can’t. Interestingly, both are usually correct.”

As a leader in tango I need 3 things: skill, musicality and attitude. Skill comes with instruction and practice. I need lots of practice. Operating a heightist partner selection policy isn’t helping on the quantity of practice I get. I’ll be relaxing that policy over time. Musicality is essential. Tango is an improvised dance, an interpretation of what the music says to the dancers in the moment. I have always felt musicality is an innate characteristic, it can’t be taught. You’re born with a certain amount and that’s it. It might be possible to develop what you’ve got with practice but only so far. If that weren’t the case then we would all be Mozarts or Fred Astaires [insert your favourite composer/dancer here].

Skill and musicality are important but attitude – actually arrogance – is EVERYTHING. If you’re a timid little mouse then no amount of skill and musicality is going to take you very far in tango. Tango is not only improvised, it is macho. It is a dance for alpha males. This is exemplified by bad dancer porteños. I am not a great tango dancer but I can recognise bad dancing when I see it. Contrary to what some people believe there really are some bad porteño leaders. I’ve watched them at various milongas wrong foot their partner, trip over their steps, miss the music. Not just once or twice, but consistently through an entire tango, tanda, and milonga. But they have infinite amounts of self belief. As far as they’re concerned they are fabulous and they are the next Pablo Veron or Pedro Sanchez [insert your greatest tango dancer here]. If I could find the source of their self-belief and bottle it I’d make a fortune.

Actually I know where it comes from. It is internal. And it is self-fulfulling. How do we change our attitude? Hypnosis maybe, or NLP or some other fancy schmancy technique? Well, if you must. But the best way – by just doing it. Positive reinforcement. What Henry said!

Last Wednesday 4 tangueras complimented my leading; 2 tourists and 2 porteñas. I have decided to stop arguing with them, with my teachers, and the other followers who tell me I’m a lovely dancer. Accept that they are right, believe it. I am a lovely dancer. I have a long way to go yet. But I am a lovely dancer.

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6 Responses to “Attitude is everything”

  1. Cherie says:

    You are a lovely dancer!

  2. Jamesy says:

    By George he’s got it !! or put another way
    “I think I am, therefore I am”
    That is why the majority of english men will only dance a stilted version of tango. It may look quit nice and technically may be ok but as they used to say in an american advertisment. Where’s the Meat???
    Show a bit a passion and attitude and all of a sudden you have a different dance. Go for it Mark, or should we start calling you Marco
    I danced with Jo for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was very very nice, managed to keep her within bounds apart from one large Boleo, I am sure you will have a great time in the Comp.
    Regards
    J & S

    • Mark says:

      Hi JB,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ve been using “Marcus” when booking tables at the milongas because they just don’t understand “Mark”.

      There must be limits to “I think I am, therefore I am” otherwise we’d all win the lottery and be able to teleport instantaneously from anywhere to anywhere. It’s time to find them and push them.

      I can’t believe you hadn’t danced with Jo until a couple of weeks ago. Very very nice doesn’t really do her justice. I am so looking forward to August!

      Cheers,
      Mark.

  3. Mostlysane says:

    Hey Mark,
    Been reading these for a while. Not been leaving many comments, in fact only 1 other so far. I’ll leave it to you to work out which one…

    One thing I will say. I’m very impressed with the quality of your writing. You have a great way of getting your ideas across. Maybe there’s a new career beckoning. If so, remember my 10%. 😛 But seriously, keep doing them, they’re great to read.

    Re-attitude.
    From someone who is an NLP master pratitioner (shush don’t tell anyone). Yes it will help, but most of it comes down to confidence and self belief (I’m starting to sound like Tony Robbins – another NLP person).

    Just say to yourself.
    1. I am the party
    2. I am the only important person in my world.

    Say it over and over and over. When you start believing it, the rest will come.

    Keep going and will see you at your first book signing.

    • Mark says:

      New mantra: I am a great writer. I am a great writer….

      Cheers, Andy. You can have 5% of whatever I make on my first book (I am a great negotiator).

      Disclaimer: tongue firmly in cheek while writing frivolous reply.

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