What’s the story behind this picture? What are we looking at, in Selfie Sunday #3?
In 1999 I stumbled upon argentine tango. The dance, I mean. I was already familiar with tango music since years and loved it. Little did I know that there was a whole subculture around it with a specific dance. Like many people, I had done some ballroom dancing / social dancing when I was in high school. Tango was one of the dances, next to the cha cha cha, the viennese waltz and so forth. Ballroom dancing turned out to be not really my cup of tea. Being tiny, shy, short haired and no boobs (yet), I was the ultimate wallflower. Also, doing memorized steps did not really ‘touch’ me.
You probably do not know this, but the Argentine Tango has little to nothing to do with the social dance tango!
As soon as I was taken along to a tango lesson one day, I was in love. Wow, if social tango was like memorizing and reciting a text or poem, then this was like learning a complete language. And with that language the communications and conversations you could have were endless. Wow again!
Between 1999 and today, I went from ‘just’ dancing / following, to learning how to dance as a leader (the role of the man, normally), to teaching tango, performing (incidentally) and DJ-ing during tango gatherings. I went to Buenos Aires twice, fell in love with a Canadian tango dancer there and -ironically- broke up with him there as well, six years later;-).
I danced, taught and DJ-ed in the Netherlands, of course, but also in Buenos Aires, Singapore, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, Seoul, Montreal, amongst others.
The picture that we see here, was taken in Pune, India. I am dancing with Marilina, an Argentinian woman who lived in Pune at the time. I am leading her. The tango community in Pune is tiny and ‘young’, but I met some great women. Two of them are dutch. What a coincidence!
Tango communities and tango salons are not always nice, generous or welcoming, especially not for ‘older’ women like myself. But it still is a wonderful way to meet new people when you are in a new place, town or country. And when the chemistry between your dance partner (for those 15 minutes), you and the music works, then that feels great. It’s like magic!
Dancing tango relaxes my body and mind. Headaches disappear, thoughts get replaced by emotions. It’s all about self-expression, communication, musicality, feeling, movement and connection. I hate sports and all those types of activity, but tango ? ….tango I love!
Do you dance tango? Or another dance? Or maybe you do something else (painting, pottery, writing) that gives you a similar experience? That lifts you to another level? That makes you shift from head to heart? Tell me, what works like magic for you and why and how?