Childlike Wonder

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Last December, we had the pleasure and honour to teach tango to over a hundred children at the Polish school in Newbridge. This is a fantastic facility with lovely teachers and a fabulous principal. The children are a credit to all concerned. I can honestly say that I never encountered a group of children so polite and eager to please.

We were delighted to arrive and find a wonderful hall, that could well have been designed for dance with gleaming wooden floors, big windows and lots of bright space in which to conduct our workshops. This was an incredible experience for us. The children were engaged and full of energy, ready to try anything at all. We were amazed at the speed at which they connected with the exercises and movements, learning sequences, steps and poses at lightning speed. We were simply overwhelmed by their openness and joy.
It got me to thinking about how we, as adults tend to limit ourselves the older we become. We allow doubt and self-consciousness to impede our development and progress. Perhaps most importantly, we prevent ourselves from embracing the joy and beauty of the moment because of fear- fear of what others think, fear of how we look, fear of not being good enough, fear of living to the maximum. Unnecessary fears that serve no purpose and damage our spirits.
Dance is a natural response to joy- as natural as laughter. These children expressed this principle to perfection, and yet ironically, they were not “trying” to do or be anything. They were allowing the music and the movement to excite and inspire them. There was simply no division between the dancer and the dance.
Some of the children performed a tango for their end of term show in front of all the teachers and parents. They danced brilliantly and received standing ovations, but it was their attitude yet, again, that impressed me most. These little dancers sparkled on stage, overjoyed with the opportunity to share the occasion with others. Their happiness and excitement was infectious. They transcended technique and detail. They connected every person in the room and allowed everyone to share in their delight. This month, as so many new beginners attend the class, I want to remember the reason why we dance. What would happen if we allowed ourselves to be fully present in joy and facilitated that expression of the dance for ourselves and for our partners. You never know, we might all be as happy and enthused with life as these beautiful children.