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AAMC Reporter - Back Page Feature

October 1, 2006

Back Page Feature

Tango as Life Coach


Patients know Jeanette Potts, M.D., as a renowned urologist at The Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological Institute. To medical students and residents, she is known as an assistant clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, or as a part-time faculty member at the MetroHealth Medical Center. To many others, however, she is simply known as Dr. Tango. For Potts, who has both Polish and Mexican roots and grew up dancing the polka and the merengue, the tango holds a mysterious appeal.

"Tango was something a little more exotic," she said. "It just captivated me from the start. It's the most challenging of dances, but it's also the most spontaneous and most expressive."

Potts dances for pleasure and performs publicly on occasion (she is not an instructor) but in large part uses the tango as a whirling, breathing metaphor for personal and professional success. In 2004, Potts started a consulting company and attends executive and institutional retreats, where she incorporates tango performances into multidisciplinary and cross-industrial lectures.

"It's an ongoing challenge in tango to stop anticipating," Potts noted as one tango-centric life lesson. "It's not the same as being unprepared. You just have to treat every situation as a new case. Bring preparedness to everything, but not prejudice."

Tango, Potts said, also can provide insight for physicians.

"You're a better listener when you're dancing because you have to focus on the music," she said. "That skill helps in the clinic as well. When there's impatience on the part of the doctor, it helps to listen to, but not anticipate, what the patient will say. Listening is probably the most powerful diagnostic tool we have as clinicians."

Dr. Tango

Whether presenting a business workshop on stress management or demonstrating the art of the dance, Dr. Tango LLC teaches Lessons For Life in a way no other motivational speaker or executive coach does!

What is business but a dance between two companies?
What is life but a dance between people?
— Jeannette Potts, M.D. - Dr. Tango
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