Tackling the Tango


Many moons ago I was a keen Latin American dancer. At a time when most of my 14 year old peers were spending their evenings trying to persuade the local barmen to serve them alcohol I was in a dance studio strutting my stuff with an instructor who was at least 60. We practiced the jive and cha cha cha under the watchful eye of his wife and I was scoring top marks in my exams.

The Funnier Side

I was a dedicated pupil but I would frequently run into trouble when I saw the funny side of the action. Practising new moves would often result in trips, stumbles and even a tangled mess of limbs as we crashed to the floor and these episodes would inevitably be followed by an uncontrollable fit of the giggles on my part. Any dance could run me into trouble but it was in performing the rhumba that I most often upset my teacher. This dance was a bit steamy and sexy in nature for a 14 year old with an elderly partner and I just couldn’t manage a straight face. Being urged to swing my hips was enough to set me off and so heaven knows what I would have been like if I had been learning the Tango.

The Dance of Passion

The Tango is the most overtly passionate ballroom dance of them all and thankfully it was not on my agenda as I was only tackling the Latin disciplines. Tango means “touch” in Latin, a most appropriate name for a dance that evokes a sense of sleazy, smokey bars, Latin lovers and secret affairs. Trying to summon those sorts of emotions with my instructor in the examination hall would have been a┬ámajor mission that would almost certainly have ended badly.

The Tango Awaits

Now I am considering a return to dancing as I am looking for an entertaining way to keep fit and active. The gym holds no allure for me and so dancing would be the perfect solution but having passed all of the major Latin exams it would be sensible to tackle ballroom this time. The prospect of the Tango both excites me and fills me with dread. The dance will be a familiar one to followers of Strictly Come Dancing where the routines often garner enthusiastic responses from the audiences who just love the drama of it all.

No Laughing Matter

Can I cope with the passion and the intertwined legs without a fit of the giggles? Probably not! I will just have to get myself properly in the mood before I set off for the classes. The right costume would help immensely although it won’t improve my finances and perhaps a visit to a seedy bar for a dose of liquid courage if not the atmosphere!

I could always invest in some of the wonderful work of artist Fabian Perez. The Argentine is renowned for his pictures of Tango dancers which perfectly conjure the passion and the tension of the moment. I will position one of the pictures above my desk to get me in the mood and then tackle the Tango with passion!


Article by Sally Stacey