Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Painting and Dancing Tango Are The Same

I was discussing this very thing with my dance teacher the other day. As I am a painter he often uses art analogies to get his point across, for instance in tango – the man as the leader is the painter and the woman as the follower is the brush and together they create a beautiful painting on the dance floor.

It often happens that I find myself frustrated when I dance, nothing will flow and it all just feels like a struggle. Likewise with painting. This usually happens when I try to hard to get it right, both with dancing and with a new painting. I also start to lose the enjoyment in both. In painting as with dance, you need to learn the technical stuff – this is the foundation, but then you need to be able to let go and just express yourself.
The more you can let go and lose yourself in the music, the easier it seems to become and the more fun you will have while dancing.
With tango and with painting I find if I let go of the outcome and stop worrying so much about how it will look, the more free I start to feel and the more I enjoy the process.

So my take on this is: Enjoy the process and let the outcome take care of itself.

Separate the technical stuff – practice what you need to practice, but you need those moments on the dance floor and in the studio to just be. This is when you chase all that technical clutter out of your mind and believe that your body knows what to do.

Here is what happened to me.
After a particularly unsatisfying tango lesson last week and after a long discussion about letting go and not trying too hard, the following day I decided to have a go at abstract art – something I have always liked but have never tried.
I had no idea of what I was going to paint, all I wanted was to let go and express myself on canvas. After the first one, I enjoyed myself so much that I produced another two, all on the same day. It seems it unleashed my creativity and broke the stuck spell I was in due to wanting to try too hard and worrying too much about the end result.

I am including these small paintings in this post. They are very experimental as it is also the first time I have tried acrylics. I don’t know that they will be considered great art, but it is a start and I would like to explore this way of painting more.
I also want to try this approach on the dance floor and see what happens.
Perhaps I will remember how I felt while I was painting these and try to recreate that same feeling.

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