Tag Archives: Argentine tango

As a Female Lead in Argentine Tango.

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Photo from one of our local milongas:  LocoTango at the Avalon in Boulder

A couple of years ago I was at a milonga, a tanda was in progress, and I was sitting at our big table alone. All my friends—and my man—were out dancing. As I watched the dancers, longing to be one of them, I looked around at all the other people sitting. All but two were also follows—and there were a lot of us.

In that moment, I decided to learn to lead Argentine tango. I made that decision out of a sense of duty toward all those sitting follows and also out of a feeling of desperation and deep depression (how would I ever get the dances I wanted with so few leads?!). If I remember correctly, there was also a touch of anger in there too.

I was angry that I never seemed to get as many dances as I wanted at a milonga or practica. It was a generic, blanket anger at the whole (broken?) system. It was also a specific anger at the two leads sitting, laughing, and talking together. What’s wrong with them, I thought, that they can’t lead one of the many follows sitting watching. It was an anger at Argentine tango, in general. How dare it be so wonderful that I was completely addicted to it?

I felt a type of solidarity with the other women sitting and watching. These were probably mostly single women who had come to the milonga alone.

I thought about when I used to be single and how I would look forward to a dance. Sometimes the preparation involved many days—or even weeks—of planning and anticipation. I might buy a new dress for a dance, maybe new dance shoes; I might even be making my dress by hand. I’d think about how fun the dance would be. I’d take my time getting ready and then drive (sometimes more than 1.5 hours) to the dance.

Then I remembered the depression of being at dances without getting asked to dance. To have spent all that time and energy, hoping for a great night, and to have it end by finally deciding I’d had enough disappointment and leaving early. The long drive home was seldom pleasant.

It went a lot like this:  What is wrong with me that no one wants to dance with me? Am I too old, too much a beginner, too forward/bossy, too shy, too ugly, too fat, too skinny, not a good enough dancer, not dressed right, etc., etc.? The questions with no answers never stopped. I always speculated all the way home, depressed and sad, feeling like I had wasted my time and money—time driving, time getting ready, time at the milonga.

The next spring, I began taking all my tango lessons as a lead. Argentine tango is not a dance you can pick up in a couple of lessons. When I began taking lead lessons, I was already 5 – 6 years an Argentine tango follow. And does one ever feel competent in tango? I sure don’t—as a lead or follow.

But I was determined and kept at it. I have been leading tango for over a year now. I have had some wonderful dances, some not so great dances, and lots of so-so dances. And I will continue to lead. I will continue to take lessons as a lead. I enjoy following, and I really enjoy leading.

Last week I remembered the beginning of this tango lead journey. I remembered it because a special tanda was in progress. The DJ was out on the floor walking around, playing acoustic guitar. It was a beautiful tanda with beautiful music. My man, away from our table and on his way back, had been approached by a single woman who asked him to dance, and he was out dancing too. Once again, I was alone at my table, longing to dance.

I looked around. For once, there seemed to be more men than women sitting. I was sitting with only one more woman. She was across the floor, sitting alone at her own table too. I looked at the 6 – 7 men sitting, wondering why they didn’t step up and ask us to dance. I remembered that milonga almost two years ago when this same sort of thing had happened.

I looked at the women sitting across from me. I didn’t know her and had never danced with her. But I recognized her. I knew her. We were sisters in this. Instead of trying to cabeceo her (that might not work, since women lead less often than men in Argentine tango, and she didn’t know me), I got up, took the long walk, and asked her, “May I lead you?” I saw and felt the relief and anticipation coming off of her when she nodded yes and stood up.

I have come full circle, I thought. And I was happy. I have plenty of lessons ahead of me—in both leading and following. But I had accomplished the goal I set for myself over two years ago, and it felt wonderful and right to be able to give us both an adequate—and even fun—dance.

 

Argentine Tango Lessons with World Renowned Instructors ~ Gustavo and Giselle.

Give Argentine Tango a Try!

We have been approached by one of the best Argentine tango dancers & instructors in the world, and he wants to offer our group (including you if you’re interested!) semi-private Argentine tango lessons!

 

 

As some of you may know, we have been renting the Boulder Tango Studio (BTS) in The Avalon Ballroom in Boulder for some of our blues dance lessons. Well, the person who invented Nuevo Tango is who we have been renting that space from, and he has offered to do a special class for you/us! We are honored to be approached so that we can offer this special class.

 

Two of Argentine Tango’s finest and most respected dancers and instructors, Gustavo Naviera and his wife Giselle Anne, will be teaching the class. The couple has been performing and instructing around the world since the mid-90’s and host the annual Boulder Tango Festival. Gustavo and Giselle are Argentinian natives and left there to settle in Boulder in 2013 to open BTS.

 

Coming into prominence after performing in the 1990’s Sally Potter movie The Tango Lesson, Gustavo is recognized world-wide as one of the creators of Nuevo Tango (New Tango) a playful, creative style of traditional Argentine Tango.

 

Beginning in February, we will learn Argentine Tango from these masters over an 8-week period in their studio in Boulder (we will skip two weekends during this schedule as Gustavo & Giselle will be traveling). The classes are on Saturday mornings at 10am, beginning February 4th. The class fee is $119 per person (which is less than $15/class) and no experience is required; a partner is not necessary. Each class will be one hour with a 1/2 hour practica (practice session) following each lesson.

 

When you dance with a partner you are close and the dance is very suggestive, but it is not personal… Close is what the music inspires you to become. The embrace looks personal, but what we are actually embracing is the music.”          ~Carlos Gavito

 

Note to intermediate/experienced tango dancers:  Please note that this is a beginner class and everyone in the class will “start from zero,” as Giselle put it.

 

If social dance is a bucket list item for you, please don’t miss the rare opportunity to study and learn from two of the world’s finest tango instructors.

 

“When the tango took hold of me, it was as if I had found the ultimate lover. No single experience can be as fascinating as this dance. No single work of art is so replete with all the joy and sorrow and longing and tragi-comedy of the human race, as is a tango danced between a man and a woman. It is labyrinthine, yet so simple. Each lasts just a few moments, yet it is eternal. There is a purity amidst all its complexities. The more one searches for the meaning behind its mystery, the ever more elusive is the tango… And yet, it is what it is, and we can see it, hear it, feel it, breathe it, live it, in the pleasure of its immediacy. Those of us it holds in its power – we want to shape our whole lives around it, its cadences, its sweat, its subtle messages and surging desires. The tango changes us forever. It changed me forever. Never have I been so intensely in love. Never had I felt so intensely alive. It helps me forget. And it helps me remember sweetly.”

~La Nuit Blanche