November 16 2014

Dear fellow Listservians,

What a joy and honour to write to all of you today! (no pressure)
l'll show you a glimpse of a deep life passion: traditional Argentine Tango.

At age 19 I heard Piazzolla's music for the first time. Tango, I was told. It was so beautiful that it brought me to tears. The thought of dancing to this touching music was extremely attractive - but hey, there's no point in starting to learn to dance when you're an adult, right? All this difficult, profound stuff like Ballet, Flamenco, Tango is an art and to make something out of that, you should begin at a very young age, when the body and the soul can still be moulded...

So for a long time, I thought that Tango was my Grand Missed Opportunity in life and that I - rooted in Northern Europe - should definitely reincarnate in Buenos Aires instead of in Holland next time ;-)

How wrong I was!

I had my first Tango lesson at age 34 and I dance for 7 years now. It is fantastic.

Argentine Tango originates at the Rio de La Plata (Buenos Aires, Montevideo) around 1900.

Although the appearance seems quite traditional, it is still a young dance and in constant development up till today. It's danced all over the world. However, it is also a kind of hidden sub culture and a secret community if you're not into it.

It's all based on walking-together and pure improvisation. Much more than steps, you learn about a system of movement and a posture, about stretching and relaxing your body (and your mind...) at the same time. About how to interpret music and rythm in a very personal way. You learn about a close embrace with a dance partner and about subtle communication through body language.

Tango is also and especially a social activity.

We go out to Milongas ('tango discos') and dance with different partners. Every joy, every sorrow and even every dull moment can be expressed in Tango. The music is carrying us through, when 20, 50 or 180 couples are sharing a dancefloor together and moving in lanes like on a highway, creating a common flow.

We are 20 or 80 years old. We dance together. We're female, male, hetero, gay, transgender and of any skin colour. Tall or petite, fast or slow, skinny or heavy. Full of energy or dreamy and easy - wearing our best dresses or our favourite jeans. You can be extrovert or introvert, macho or soft or both. We dance together. In an open or close embrace, sharing a heartbeat. We are the truth of ourselves when we dance.

In Tango there is always music, movement, oxytocine (a happy hormone) and the prettiest shoes you've ever seen. There are many friends and fellow dancers to meet, at local or exotic far-away Milongas. The dance is about connection, intimacy, awareness, physical contact and concentration, all immersed in music. There are many broken or healed hearts on the floor. The moment is ours, life is ours, again and again, dance after dance, night after night…

So if you like or need a plan B in life, put on a smile, look for Tango lessons and find your way to the Milongas. A truly fascinating world of music, dance and connection is there to be found!

For the picture: I'm female, Dutch, 40, divorced, a dedicated high school teacher, a student at university (again), a fanatic book reader and a happy Argentine Tango dancer.

I hope you're having a glorious day today :-)

Take care out there -

[email protected]
Gouda, the Netherlands

comments powered by Disqus