Sunday, October 22, 2006

It Could Happen To You

Up to now most books written as testimonials of personal Tango experiences tend to fall under the category of out of body encounters of the me-silly kind. Like, "have you ever 'ocho' at the DMV?" Or, "I saw Santa Tangoing with my mommy to Jingle Bells." Or the lunacy of asking the rethorical question, "you know you are a Tango junkie if..."

Some day somebody will actually document the real experiences which most of us have lived from the day the Tango found us. They may describe the first time they saw a couple dancing Tango. They may even remember exactly the date, their state of mind, and the circumstances of their lives at the time. Those with a lot more mileage will doubtless credit Tango Argentino, the legendary show of the nineteen eighties, with the compelling desire to be able to Tango, to experience the passion and sensuality, not to mention the prowess smartly staged by a group of seemingly average, middle aged couples.

Others may remember hearing from a friend, or picking up a flyer where Argentine Tango lessons were being offered. Trusting, and with a naive sense of anticipation, you may have begun to take at face value all the rethorical coating that accompanied every lesson, every frustrated attempt to imitate the role model being presented to you. You may not longer remember the names of the teachers that began to come in and out in a revolving door like fashion, all the while your mind feeling like a Texas size omelette.

There might be cases where the stories will take on their own spin given personal and geographical circumstances. There might be accounts of styles wars within a city, mostly the result of shrewd operators in cahoots with ethically challenged professionals prying upon the trust and blind allegiance of eager learners. It would take a lot of soul searching and a mega dose of self respect and self esteem for ackowledging cases of blunt breach of trust, disappointment and the realization that no matter how one says it, lies and deception have short legs.

However in spite of the emotional exposure with all risk when allowing the Tango to take over our lives, there is a moment when we finally get it, or not. They say that Tango is a very personal thing, that no respectable dancer will face the scorn of their peers for being imitators, and we have heard of those who have taken their "secrets" to the grave. On the other hand they say that there are no secrets in the Tango, only those who refuse to see its simplicity, its infinite set of possibilities, its endurance through acceptance and rejection, its universal appeal to the human soul far beyond frontiers and idiosyncrasies.

The story I like to write is about every door that opened to show another set of doors which in time opened themselves into larger universes where men and women who lived and danced longer gave a mole or a mountain of their own experience, their imperfect, yet special human qualities, their internal energy and their intimate expression of a rhythm. All within the context of making you aware of your own possibilities, your own achievements, and your fragile humanity.
I would qualify many cynical attitudes as those from passionate men and women who might be afraid to be disappointed again, but I would continue to pass along what has been given to me, as an unexpected (and may be undeserved) gift . The privilege of looking into other's Tango life experiences and learn form them. It could happen to me that I'm called to tell the story of my appreciation for those who guided my steps. Or It could happen to you.

Alberto Paz
Copyright (c) 2001, Planet Tango. All Rights Reserved

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