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Profound Thoughts - Be Kind

Post a question on our forum here.
Post a question on our forum here.

Being nice is a very underappreciated quality in our society. Our society rewards flash and doesn't tend to notice nice. But we believe that being nice is one of the best predictors of someone's ability to build a happy and satisfying life. We believe that being nice affects the person who is nice far more than the person to whom someone is nice.

Think how dancing tango gives you so many opportunities to be nice. Every time you dance with someone, you can choose to respect what they do well; you can choose to make those 3 minutes a positive, empowering experience for your partner.

It continually amazes us how much it makes us happy when we succeed in catalysting others to be happy.

Artist Name:
Gideon Kremer
Song Title:
All In The Past (Remembering Oskar Strock)
Album Title:
Tracing Astor
Artist Website:

(From the website): Kremerata Baltica, a chamber orchestra, was created in 1997 by renowned violinist Gidon Kremer, who serves as the orchestra's artistic director and solo violinist. The high artistic quality of the ensemble is the result of the exceptional talent of the individual musicians and Kremer's innovative approach to repertoire.

We wanted to remind you to be kind. That includes being kind to yourself and being kind to your partner. Now tell a good story.
OK, here's the story: I was teaching a class, actually, yesterday, and there's this couple, they're decent dancers, they came in, they've never done tango before, but, you know, they've done other dancing.
And we show this step, pretty hard step, and they were doing perfectly fine, but she's like "That wasn't exactly the way David did it", and it was more rough, and the leader wasn't as clicked, she just has this long list of things that were bad. And then...
I can't all be like... No, no, and then the guy is like, "Well, I see you want to do it like this, and the thing you've said before is the stupidest thing I've ever heard", and I know, it's pretty extreme
And don't do that.
It doesn't do any good, it doesn't make better dancing, it doesn't make anybody feel good
So fundamentally, if you have actionable feedback, so oftentimes people say things like "You did this thing wrong", and...
Or even worse - "That was stupid"
So the worse thing than stupid, is saying really bad stuff, and you can't fix it at all.
There's no information about how and what do you want to change
And then the next level of badness is "You're screwing me up". Well, it might be specific: "You're throwing me off balance", "You're hitting my leg with your shin"
It seems like it's actionable, but actually it's not, because we don't know why the balance is being thrown off, or why the leg is being hit with a shin.
And so this is actually still not a feedback that's useful
The next level of detail is where it starts to be useful
And I would say instead of "You are doing this to me, oh how I suffer", you say "Could we try it differently"
"How about if", blah-blah-blah, "How about if we step you here somehow"
And then, as a leader, I could say "What can I do to help make that happen?" And then I could ask her, what can she do? So that we together can figure out how to step in a slightly different place and then we can see, experimentally, if it feels better.
So it's a whole different attitude, that assumes that both the leader and the follower are on the same side of the fence with the goal, mutual goal of making the dance a beautiful experience, which is really what it should be.
This idea of being kind is a core, important idea.
And to yourself, as well, yeah.
So people can be so critical of themselves, and as teachers, we'll come around and want to make one little correction
Somebody is doing something extremely well, but we see one little tiny change they can make that will make it even better.
And so we come around, and say "You're doing it extremely well, but if you made this little tiny change - it would be even better"
And they say "Oh my goodness, I know I'm not good, I knew I could never learn this, I'm just hopeless, I'll never get it". And they're being so mean to themselves about it.
And they're doing it great!
So the idea is that not only it is really important to be kind to your partner, but be kind to yourself as well, recognize that what you're doing is good, cut yourself some slack when there's something that needs to be improved.
Well, for example, last night around two in the morning, after [the show], maybe it was two-thirty, no, about two in the morning
Yeah, we had a party, a tango party last night
And I was speaking with a fellow who was pretty new to tango, he'd been dancing a couple of months, and he was going through this list
He was like "Whoa, I was told a little too much, how should I stand up? How should I hold her right? How should I..."
He had like eight things that he wanted to think about at the same time, the man's mind could explode
Yeah, that's not kind
And so really, for beginners, one or two things is enough, and you work on them, and you get better, and you do the next thing, and that's fine, that's the normal process.
And oftentimes when we're teaching, and this is really interesting, there'll be an advanced dancer who's dancing with the beginning dancers, and of the kindness of their heart, they really mean well,
They'll start to give the beginner all this different feedback, this "how you could do this better", and...
Usually, if we saw this beginner, we would say "Do this one thing better, at most these two things"
We'll pick the thing that they need the most, the thing that will make the biggest improvement on what they're doing, and we'll ask them to concentrate on that one thing.
But with some of our advanced dancers, we've taught them all this technique about a particular movement, they know seventeen different little tiny things, because tango does have a lot of technique
that will make this one combination or this one movement better, and they want to lay all of it on a brand new follower at once.
Yeah, the poor person. And so, fundamentally, instead of this oppositional thing "You did this to me" or "You screwed that up", it becomes a partnership, "Can we try this"
Right, so it's a very different dynamic, and instead of having the world to tack you at once, I want to instead have the experience be "We're dancing and we're having fun, and we're trying maybe to improve a particular aspect of our dancing in some specific way"
And then finally, it partly is kind of about enjoying the good stuff too, you know, enjoy when it goes well, enjoy the fact that you've learned this cool thing.
And enjoy that for your partner too, with your partner. "Whoa, what you just did was cool, or better".