Archive for the ‘heartland of america’ Tag

The gift of tango   Leave a comment

Summer vocation

By Alberto Paz
October/November 1999

Standing in the living room, we formed a circle and held hands. One by one we introduced ourselves. Some came from Texas, others from Chicago. Then there were the hosts, the family who owned the farm surrounding the home where the ritual was taking place. We were from California, and the words “traveling tango teachers” sounded awkward and somehow out of context with the spirit of the moment. Suddenly, and all at once, they began to sing a harmonious hymn that filled the room with sounds of purity, love and a heartfelt appreciation for the joy of being alive, surrounded by friends and family. Then, we sat down at the dinner table and celebrated Thanksgiving in the heartland of America.

We’ve been traveling quite a lot embracing our chosen vocation of preserving and fostering the development of new and established Argentine tango communities. We bring along our passionate love and dedication for the music, poetry and dance, empowering the force of knowledge to free the minds, to encourage the bodies to accept the closeness of other bodies for engaging in enjoyment of the music and joyful sharing of the dance. Returning to places we have been, where the Argentine tango already has a established presence, we have also discovered new fledgling hamlets. There, the desire to dance the tango is only surpassed by the energy and passion with which the people go out of their way to reach out, grasping as much tango as is humanly possible.

In retrospect, our intuition, our confidence and our faith in people has allowed us to establish a presence for the tango as far north as the city of Anchorage in Alaska, and as deep in the south as the city of New Orleans. Along the way, we met great people in Winnipeg, Canada, and found ourselves a family in the heartland of America. So, when Thanksgiving caught us wandering through the prairie, we never felt away from home. We never paused to question what does a traveling tango teacher do when the moan of the bandoneon and the whine of the violin, are replaced by the call of the turkey on Thanksgiving day .

We found ourselves holding hands with our new friends and their families, saying grace and feeling thankful that our lives are so blessed with the gift of tango. We are thankful for the possibility of sharing that gift with warm, gentle, generous and caring human beings who had morphed from total strangers to affectionate friends in the brief time it takes to embrace and walk a few times around the dance floor.

This is the kind of rewarding experience that reminds us about the quality of life that Argentine tango can bring to those who dare to be close. There is nothing like the shared intimacy of a sound, a scent, a gesture, a look, a smile, a tear. Intense moments that soothe the soul, energize the heart and make us feel alive, vibrant, inspired, and above all thankful. We have connected, we have made an everlasting impression, and there is a part of us that forever will be special. Step by step we keep navigating the dance floor of life. As we go around, there is always something or somebody who reminds us how important it is to be at peace with ourselves, to give each other the gift of tango, to hold hands, to embrace, to love the music, to absorb the culture, to teach by learning and to learn by teaching.

A Very Good Year   Leave a comment

A Very Good Year

By Alberto Paz
December 1998

We have completed another year of our lives. It has been a great one and we can’t wait to start the new year so we can continue enjoying the many experiences that the tango keeps bringing to us.

This was the year when doors were kindly and generously opened for us to allow us to meet flesh to flesh with hundreds of tango lovers across the country. For that, we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to teach, practice and dance the Argentine tango all over the fruited land. From the paradisaical islands of Hawaii to the heartland of America, the essence and nuances of the music of Buenos Aires resounded in halls, ballrooms, living rooms and converted garages. More faces and names occupy our thoughts as we rejoice in the blessings that the tango keeps bringing.

This has been a year of flattering (and some not so flattering) imitations of the style, look and feel of El Firulete, the publication that you have helped forge into a fresh, original and contemporaneous sounding board for all tango happenings around the nation. As we roam around month after month sharing our dance with people all over, each monthly issue is conceived on the fly. In spite of the accolades that we have received and the recognition that El Firulete has obtained all over the world, it continues to be a friendly way to keep in touch with our friends, a hard copy reminder not to take ourselves too seriously, and above all a necessary quota of good humor, a relaxing way to have some quality time to stop and smell the roses.

It is also comforting to return time after time to places where we have been and rekindle the good times we spent living the life of the tango. One of the great destinations turned out to be Reno in Nevada during the Labor Day weekend. We are already focused on 1999 and as many of you have asked us, we will not wait until everybody has had their tango weeks to pass the word. We want you to make your plans now. As it has been in the past, it will be the best getaway to celebrate your dedication and devotion to the Argentine tango. We are also itching to go back to Buenos Aires. They tell me that the scene has changed over the past two years. There are some friends who want to go together as a group. It looks like it may just happen this way. The curious thing is that now we will have to work around a busy teaching schedule that gets underway right after the new year when we first fly to the extreme cold of Alaska and then to the sunny shores of Florida.

All along, we continue to manage to be in the Bay Area most Monday nights to greet people from all over the world atop the nineteenth floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel for a very special evening of tango.

Indeed, it has been a very good year thanks to the appreciation and support of a great many tango lovers like you. That’s why as it comes to an end, we will have you in our thoughts and our hearts when the strike of midnight on December 31 finds us negotiating the sounds of Carlos Di Sarli around a dance floor somewhere on the Planet.

To all of you, our warmest and sincere wish for a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!.