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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Tao of Tango Book Club: First Reading Selection

UPDATE 1/14/08: Hi everyone! Let's try this again. ;-)

I know there are some of you out there in the blogosphere who want to participate in our little book club/salon. It was hard getting together with the holidays and everything, so let's start this over from the beginning.

**If you haven't read Johanna's good news, check it out here.**

Since we're starting from the beginning, I've reposted the Book Club discussion concept, as well as the first reading assignment. If someone wants to start off the conversation, please do. Otherwise it will be just me and Johanna, and we will be lonely without you.

So, please read below, and let's jump into the Preface and Chapter 1!


For each installment of our Tao of Tango discussion, I'll select one or more points to open the conversation. I think our book club community would love to hear how this book made you examine or understand tango as it pertains to your personal experience. Again, if you have not read the book but feel you want to contribute based upon the excerpts or questions posed, please do.

Please feel free to address the questions here, or you can also discuss something else that made an impact on you in the reading. All I ask (to keep things simple):
  1. Reply in keeping with the reading matter (don't jump ahead to a chapter we haven't covered yet).
  2. Reply in this blog so all of us can keep a consistent thread of conversation. If there is more than one chapter, please reference the particular chapter so it is easier for us to know what you are replying to.
  3. Don't feel that you have to reply to every question. Reply to as many or as few questions as you like. (But if you're normally just reading, please give participation a try... don't sit on the sidelines all the time. Don't be shy. We'd like to hear from you!)
  4. If you would like to reply to or comment on another reader's comment, that's fine. I know you all will be respectful of each other and see no reason to moderate comments.
We can tweak things as we go along if we need to. Okay, enough rules...thanks!


Reading Selection: Preface

In the preface, the author gives us an insight into her personality based on her understanding of male/female energies. She describes her struggle to appreciate/accept the feminine, passive energy (yin) and her identification with a more masculine, active energy (yang) was based on her impression that passivity=weakness and activity=independence. The author states:
I simply could not understand that there was a monumental difference between male and female energy and male and female behavior.

  1. How do you define the difference between energy and behavior? How do you feel that energy and behavior affect your dancing?
  2. Did you consciously think of tango as a way to self-understanding? Did you ever see it for anything other than a dance? If so, when?
  3. Is there another point in the Preface that you would like to address? (Please give us an excerpt or page number in your comment so we know where you are coming from.)
Reading Selection: Chapter 1 - The First Step

In this chapter, the author describes how she started tango and the surprising impact this dance had on her immediately. I would call this chapter a description of an awakening.
  1. How did you get started in tango? What were the circumstances that made you start?
  2. What was the first real "lesson" that you learned from tango, besides the basic steps? What made you realize that tango could be more than just a dance?
  3. Is there something about the essence of tango that you consciously try to keep integrated into your daily life?
  4. Is there another point in Chapter 1 that you would like to address? (Please give us an excerpt or page number in your comment so we know where you are coming from.)


Jules December 15, 2008 at 8:54 PM  

I am quite serious about tango but I have never heard of this book... I recently came back to Tango after a period of grief in which I thought I would never be able to dance tango again. It appears that Tango was the glue holding my marriage of 20+ years together, then my partner announced he was leaving me (and America) to live with the "love of his life" (a Hungarian pianist living in Vienna, three years older than our daughter)
But that's all another story.
I started Tango about 8 years ago to learn something about regaining trust for my partner/husband. He had/has some recurring domestic abuse patterns which I was determined to "transcend". He didn't like Tango and so it became another weapon in his arsenal in our conflict. I learned some really unhealthy Tango habits. And coming back to Tango without him has meant learning everything all over again without the unhealthy parts. I have longing to be equal in a partnership but not identical. Rather to be acknowleged for my value as a follower. Tango was/is a spiritual practice for me, but the change is that now I don't dance with people who jerk me around, which messes up my shoulder, or condescend to me as if I am so lucky that they will deign to dance with me. And that is something I want to integrate into my life.
The alignment is crucial and the line, or awareness, running through the back of the body. The back of the head to heel is important in how you position yourself inside your energy field.