Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tango and Masculinity

A businesswoman friend in Australia observed from our on-line discussions last week that I "nurture masculinity" through my work.  I had to reflect on that comment. 

I had begun to notice about 5 years ago in Italy how my one-on-one work with individuals in brief moments during my group tango classes gradually started building deep self-confidence in both men and women, especially around their sexual identities.  When I got back to my "homeland", the U.S., where I could teach and market in English, it was natural for me to want to deliberately focus on that gift I had developed, and it was much easier to do it here than it had been in Italy; I just feel freer in my own language and culture.  
* in the photo above: World-renowned Argentine Tango artist and teacher Oliver Kolker

Naturally, as a female teacher I can dance more intimately with men students; I know exactly what I want to feel from them and I help them    achieve it.  And so I've been able to really explore the transformation that these men experience as they study with me. And boy, - I mean, "man," - has this been gratifying!  I sometimes feel all this love pouring out to men everywhere who suffer quietly because this aspect of their natural self expression has been stifled in our civilization's effort to get rid of the macho garbage we wanted to weed out over the last four decades. And I'd venture that today thousands, if not millions, of men also suffer quietly because they are starving to receive loving feminine energy through intimacy, which in my opinion is their birthright.  

That's because the same is true for women: not only does a quiet, daily suffering result from the stifling of feminine sexual self-expression, but also a secret aching for loving masculine energy transmitted through intimacy (sexual or non). . . this can even occur in a loving relationship where the couple shares a busy, stressful life. 

Imagine a fine, supportive, even affectionate relationship today, focused on supporting each other's careers, raising happy kids, and creating a nice home together.  But deep sexual expression may be lacking.  Often, married dates are to movies, theater, dinners with friends, charity events - the focus is always outward, not inside the couple.  Our mainstream culture doesn't provide a language with which to do that.

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Back to masculinity, I see my role as teaching men, by helping them master the manly art of tango, to feel confidently and abundantly masculine deep down, so that as each man expresses his unique self artistically, creatively and playfully to the music, he lovingly gives the women in his embrace the masculine energy that she so deeply desires. This in turn ignites and nourishes her womanly energy so that she, fully expressing herself in his arms through the womanly art of tango, gives her loving feminine energy to him.  And here we are, living a healthy and joyous yin-yang cycle of intimate sexual expression, by dancing artistic and sensual tango, whether it's with our spouse of many years, or with a stranger that we may never see again.  

The point of the "permission seduction" encounter in tango, as I call it, is not so much to achieve an outcome like finding a mate or rekindling a marital romance, though those are certainly potential benefits, but rather to allow us to fully express our sexual identities and get the oxytocin high that comes from beautifully bonding with our sexual opposite for the 12 minutes of a set of tangos.  

Italian yoga master Moreno Lupetti, a former mind-body mentor of mine, used to say something that I'll never forget.  I'll do my best to say translate his thoughts to English:  

"A cherry tree fulfills itself by producing cherries, even if it resides in a remote little cleft of a valley on a mountaintop, where no one ever passes to eat the fruit or enjoy the beauty of its springtime blossoms.  (And by the way, the cherry tree produces cherries without effort.  Making cherries is it's way of being.)  It is essential for us to do what we were each put on earth to do.  Denying the full expression of one's individual talents and gifts, whether or not they produce any measurable gains, inevitably causes illness."  In fact, Moreno, who had been trained by the late Indian master Baba Bedi, attributed every single physical disorder to the stifling of individual talents!

This isn't very different from the teachings of alternative health professionals, practitioners of energy-medicine or mind-body medicine, and self-help gurus like the great author and publisher Louise Hay (http://hayhouse.com, as well as visionary medical leaders like Deepak Chopra and my friend, student and teacher, Dr. Christiane Northrup

The understanding that illnesses and physical disorders are our body's way of alerting us, and sometimes screaming to us, that something is amiss in our expression of our true selves, led me to believe that repressing the full-expression of our sexual identities can cause diseases and disorders of our sexual organs. And conversely, joyous, complete self- expression surely promotes the good health of those organs. (This is an area for further investigation for which I have asked Dr. Northrup's help!)

I'll be talking more about this in the future.

So through my teaching of the art of tango, I believe I’m really nurturing intimacy and sexuality, in addition to masculinity.  And you can call me crazy, but I firmly believe that through my approach to teaching tango, I'm promoting the good health and prevention of disease of men's and woman's sex organs!

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Tangueros, want to get a sampling of my teaching?  Sign up for FREE and receive my 2-week e-course: "9 Surprising Tango Tips for Men" at  It will be delivered right to your email inbox!

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