Earning Our Daily Tangos   Leave a comment

Earning Our Daily Tangos

By Alberto Paz
September/October 1998

Time flies when you are having fun. Far removed from the stereotypes and clichés that the Argentine tango seems to induce when we first become aware of its existence, learning to retrain our bodies and finding out more about our inner souls, brings about a change in the way we conduct ourselves and the way we restructure our lives. That is, if we are willing to change and assume the new found responsibility of taking care of ourselves in ways that perhaps we never thought of.

For the second year in a row, the Labor Day Weekend in Reno, Nevada proved to be the pinnacle of our yearly efforts. That is the time of the year when we engage ourselves with a special group of friends for a weekend long of enjoyment of the tango experience. New ideas flow freely, old and new concepts are put under scrutiny, a fraternal spirit rolls in like a shroud of mystical fog in the middle of a serene ocean. It is like being invited to a major premiere and finding out that you are in it.

Soon after that, we embarked on another first time experience. Teaching our dance in paradise. The mere mention of Hawaii in connection with tango tends to make people smile with a “how lucky can you get” look, followed by an accomplice wink that presumes the making of a curro, the lunfardo equivalent of a con job that Buenos Aires journalists are using to describe the plane loads of “tango experts” and “movie stars” that are being auctioned around the country as the second coming of El cachafaz.

Indeed we got very lucky because soon after our arrival we met a group of dedicated tango dancers who weekly give up their God given right to sip Mai Tais on the beach, to dress in regulation tango black and put their bodies through the motions of salidas and cruzadas. Returning from ten days in Honolulu without a trace of suntan gave a better insight of understanding how committed a pig really is to the making of the ham that goes along with the eggs for breakfast.

It also gave a newer sense of respect for the people who want to learn to dance tango. That sense grew further when we went back to Troy, Michigan and then visited Cleveland, Ohio for the first time. No matter the color of their skins, the accent of their voices, the shapes of their bodies or the level of their education, we met some of the most wonderful individuals and we connected with everyone of them at the intellectual and emotional levels. In some cases it was very humbling to be treated as the cable repairman on a deserted island. It has added more weight to our sense of responsibility to continue bringing to you an honest and fair proposition.

We consider it a privilege sharing our personal experience, our love for the tango, and the teachings of the great masters passed along from Petroleo to Mingo to ourselves and to our friends. Nothing new, just the facts, the empowering thrill of knowledge, the good old time religion tenet of earning our daily tango with the sweat of our feet.

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