Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. (Amy Cuddy)
Last week one of my newest students to Argentine Tango said that he would just like a magic pill to learn tango. And then I received a link to an inspiring Ted Talk video by Amy Cuddy entitled: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. I received it as a link from several people as it was blogged about in several different arenas including health. Besides the fact that Ted Talks are usually captivating and moving, Cuddy’s talk made me tie it to tango.
As a dancer I have always been interested in body language. From a young age I found myself observing people and their curious behaviors. I remember being a good mimic when I was little, which became useful during my brief stints as an actor and then again as a choreographer. So the idea of body language changing and shaping behavior was not new to me.
Amy Cuddy in her Ted Talk discusses not only how our bodies can change our minds but that our minds can change our behavior and our behavior changes outcomes. She conducted studies to test hormonal levels of testosterone and cortisol when people were feeling powerful and when they were not. She had them embody poses, what she calls powerful poses and lower power positions. Several experiments were conducted and there were noticeable differences in testosterone and cortisol levels. Those people who spent 2 minutes in a power pose prior to the task of participating in a job interview showed a rise in their testosterone levels and their cortisol levels dropped. Whereas those who were asked to spend 2 minutes in a low power pose had a drop in testosterone and an increase in cortisol levels. Please see her video for her explanation and her statistics from her studies.
So how does this relate to tango? I am so glad you ask!!!
I have been adapting what Maestra Graciela Gonzalez refers to as the lion and the lioness in my tango teaching, which I have been referring to as our tango attitude. We can act and embody the idea of a confident lion moving into space or a lioness about to devour her prey in our tango. Tango attitude is about walking and claiming space with confidence. If you can do it in other aspects of your life you can bring it to your tango. For both roles we want to embody presence, passion, enthusiasm, authenticity and confidence, words used in Cuddy’s presentation as well. I challenge all of us to spend 2 minutes in power poses before we tango. See how it feels. Let me know.
See how my ASU Tango 2 students embody power poses.