End of an addiction?

I’ve been back in Buenos Aires since 9 January. The city is hot and sticky, the milongas crowded and I’m hardly dancing at all. Somewhere in Patagonia my already shaky tango mojo decided to disappear altogether. Perhaps it jumped ship down in Antarctica. I don’t know where or when, I didn’t actually see it sneak off. I came back to Pax hostel again, collected my tango gear from the friend I’d left it with and went to a milonga. And didn’t dance. I listened to the music, watched the dancers, and didn’t dance.

I felt distinctly rusty in November, even more so in January. Could classes help? I scoured the tango blogs and any other sources I could find for recommendations for group classes. Checked out a few teachers through videos of them on Youtube (not ideal but gives an idea of what their classes might be like) and went to a couple of classes to chcck them out in person. My opinion of group classes here in Buenos Aires has always been that they’re too random. You never know if you’ll get the advertised teacher, what level they’ll pitch the class at, how many people will be there or what the balance of leaders and followers will be. Private lessons are just too expensive. The group classes I enjoyed most and found most useful were the Carlos Perez ones at Club Sunderland on Monday and Wednesday evenings. They’re just walking. That’s it, just walking. The level of interest and involvement from the teacher was minimal however. The classes last about 30 minutes and are followed by a practica. By practica time there seems to always be a few more leaders than followers and people have their favourites to practise with.  I just didn’t feel like practising.

A dear tanguera friend joined me here for a couple of weeks at the end of January. My mojo improved with her encouragement but my enthusiasm failed to return. In the past when my confidence has been lacking I have still been enthusiastic. Since she went home I’ve been to only a handful of milongas and averaged about one tanda at each. The passion I felt for tango before leaving the UK a year ago has disappeared. Dancing it is not bringing me joy. So there’s not much to keep me in Buenos Aires at the moment.

My plans for 2012 were predicated on a couple of factors, one of  them being tango. Time for another re-think.

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8 Responses to “End of an addiction?”

  1. Ruth says:

    Hi Mark,
    This seems really sad, but things do change and you had a great time dancing Tango for quite a long time. Do you remember I lost my swimming mojo. After swimming as my excercise (no gym or anythng like that) for 15 years, sometimes seven days a week, one day I just didn’t want to get wet and in the last five years have only swam a handful of times!
    I have really enjoyed your blog and look forward to receiving it, so I do hope that you carry on with it even if you are now a recovering addict!
    Hope to see you soon.
    Ruth x

    • Mark says:

      Hi Ruth,

      I’ve always maintained tango is a lifetime journey and I’m only a few years in. So if my enthusiasm has waned now, it’ll be back at some point in the future. I think I’m in remission rather than cured or recovering. Hopefully my enthusiasm for modern jive and WCS won’t have disappeared in the same way next time I get the opportunity to indulge in them.

      I’ll probably see you very soon.

  2. Linda Redknap says:

    Ooh Mark. What are we going to do with you. Dare I say, the harder you try to capture the elusive dragon, the more it will slip away. Maybe you really should just go and dive for a while, and then see how you feel. Don’t underestimate the capacity of other sad factors in your life affecting your wish to dance. And I think that’s especially true for tango, whose music can evoke powerful feelings which can just be too much to add to the mis. Take care xx

    • Mark says:

      Hey Linda,

      I don’t know; I’m still trying to work it out. I’m pretty sure tango will re-assert its hold at some point. I still enjoy listening to the music and watching others dance; I just don’t feel like doing it myself at present. “End of an addiction?” is probably an exaggeration but it makes for a more interesting post title than “Temporary lack of enthusiasm” or similar.

      More diving is an appealing option. As always I have a couple of other options I’m considering too.

      Thanks for the comments and support.

  3. Alan Jones says:

    Hello Mark,sad to read that you feel this way about tango at the moment. They say that 99% of the people that try the tango leave the dance,and let’s hope that you are not one of them! I have been through all these emotions regarding tango,perhaps to have a break from it,or even give it up.But when a favourite tango is being played,say,’Poema’,or a favoured partner turns up unexpectedly at a milonga,suddenly you change your mind! And if all else fails,remember the Troilo saying,when a young boy told him that he didn’t like the tango:”Son,the tango will wait for you”. Kind regards,Alan Jones from Pilands,Southampton.

  4. Christine says:

    Hi Mark
    I can totally understand your comments, sometimes the tango journey is hard and feels like it is taking too much energy from you. Good to take a break, or just step back a bit at such times.
    At times in life we sometimes re-prioritise, but like you say, it’s not that you’ve ‘given up’, it’s just that you’re ‘not doing it at the moment’.

    We’re about half way through our visit to Buenos Aires now (it’s not an easy place to keep sane in :-) ) and I’ve managed to get known in a couple of nice Milongas where I get lots of dancing. Others are more difficult and it’s hard not to personalise it, I just keep thinking about the positive experienes.

    Will look forward to reading about your ongoing adventures – please keep blogging.
    C

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Christine. I’ve done a bit of tango while I’m back in the UK and mostly enjoyed it. I’ve been dancing with friends and I think the people have made the difference. Also I’ve been jiving and west coast swinging and the endorphins from those rub off on the tango.

      Buenos Aires can be a harsh environment for visiting tangueros. I’m glad you’ve found some happy tango homes. The longer you stay the more you can find.

      I’m heading back to Koh Tao in a few days for more diving. Tango will be on the back burner for a while…

      Enjoy the rest of your time in Buenos Aires.
      Mark.

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