We are shaped by what we love

I was driving home from our class in London on Sunday night and the sign in front of a local church caught my eye.  It said:  “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love”.

The phrase was thought-provoking and led me to considered how loving tango has changed my life.  I was first captivated by the music of tango after seeing a famous tango show in the 1990’s.  It took me many more years to fall in love with dancing tango.  I flirted with it, eager to discover its highs.  Soon I found myself hopelessly infatuated and suffered emotional ups and downs during classes and milongas; I was in ecstasy when a certain milonguero invited me to dance one week and crushed when he became unavailable the next.

My crush grew into a deeper love when I discovered that tango was not a game.  I no longer pursued my favourite milongueros and stopped evaluating my night in terms of how many great dances I had.  I began to enjoy the process, the social connection and the shared community.  My aha moment came when I was ready to forsake tango forever because I had no time for it (my job was too stressful) and it seemed to have no time for me (we had had a mute falling out).  I went dancing anyway and discovered that I had become someone with the patience and perspective to see that I could love tango unconditionally, even if it felt like it did not love me back.  I could accept its warts (and my own) and continue the relationship.

Over the last 10 years, tango has shaped me professionally and personally.  I married into the tango profession and began teaching tango full-time.  Miguel and I bought a house in Buenos Aires and converted our duo into a tango trio with the birth of our daughter, Livia.   Tango has taught me to listen with all my senses and to lead (and follow!) with all of my heart.  I have learned what it means to be “piola” and “picara”.  I am a patient teacher, partner and mother.  I laugh a lot more now and take myself much less seriously than I did in my pre-tango life.  Tango encouraged me to take risks and face uncertain outcomes, to persevere in spite of difficulties and do it with a smile and in high heels!  I have become a true adventurer in my own life, living in the moment and keen to experience what tomorrow might bring.

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