What do you think? As a follower in this dance of Argentine Tango do you think of yourself as submitting or as surrendering? Leaders, do you think of your follower as being submissive or surrendering?
These 2 words came up recently in a tango discussion in relation to the follower’s role in tango. And of course, I thought how much language gets in the way of our actual dance experience but nonetheless I wanted to tackle the ideas for a blog. So I went to Merriam (Webster) first and was not really pleased with what I found for both of these words and, not so surprisingly, they were similar.
: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win
: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
: the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant
: an act of submitting to the authority or control of another
: the state of being obedient : the act of accepting the authority or control of someone else
Having been brought up as an independent woman, I cringe at the thought of these definitions in relation to my dancing (or to my life!). I don’t think of myself as being or doing either when I dance.
I began to look further, as the person I was conversing with was suggesting that he perceived many dancers as submissive and not as surrendering in the dance. This might be interpreted as the idea of “I am dancing you” vs “I am dancing with you”. And so I searched further and found myself back in the realm of metaphysics and modern day mystics.
One person who immediately came to mind was author, David Deida, who I know some people find thoroughly amazing and life changing. I found this quote:
The word “surrender” is often interpreted as giving up, as weakness, as admitting defeat. Although this is one way to use the word, we will use it in a different way. Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are. It means to open with no boundaries, emotional or physical, so you ease wide beyond any limiting sense of self you might have.
Of course when people think of or refer to Deida they are often talking about sex and funny how that is the case in tango too!
Hannah Marcotti on her website offers us another variation on the theme of surrender:
There is an ease when we learn how to embrace surrender. Feeling without fight. Fear and struggle are met with truth and grace. Releasing and allowing feel spectacular with the flow from stuck into surrender. Surrender is an entry point for joy. Surrender can guide you into stillness, moving, creating, acting and flowing.
And flowing is what we want in our dances. As I have said in another blog, even the English words that we use, Lead and Follow, don’t really do justice to the magnificence of what we do in our roles in this dance.
Think about it and consider your very important role next time you dance.
For more inspiring quotes including Deida’s: