Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Dance yourself dizzy
It's about a year since I first started to learn Argentine Tango and over the past 12 months I'm really pleased with the progress I've made, and more to the point, the fun I've had learning. I've made some great new friends and found a way of getting out and about for a bit of a social life. I've remembered what it's like to learn something new and not know how to do it, that it's ok to make mistakes, that you have to go through being a beginner to get to being better, that it is entirely the natural way of things. Having spent too many years being 'grown up' I realise now that I'd forgotten that feeling, and whilst scary, it's also liberating to feel it again.
So now, a year on, I'm looking forward to my first Tango 'event'! This weekend sees the Scotland International Tango Festival right here in Stirling. I'm booked in for 4 workshops, 2 dances and open access to the Tango Lounge, and I can't wait. I'll be learning about the basics at the first workshop on Posture, Walking and the Embrace, before moving on to various embellishments in the other workshops on Boleos, Giros and Volcadas and Colgadas. Hopefully I'll be practising them all at the Braveheart Ball on Saturday night. But whatever, I'm sure I'll be enjoying myself, and getting a workout at the same time.
And in case you're wondering, the roots of tango are well and truly in Buenos Aires. It is a dance of the barrios, vibrant with passion and performed as a living dance still to this day. As with many other popular pastimes, it spread to the more affluent classes and the rest is history. It's not without its political dimensions either. In the 1950s, tango was frowned upon and was driven underground. This resulted in a very close and tight form of the dance being developed as venues got smaller and smaller but the crowds of dancers didn't. You can't dance tango without getting close, so people with personal space issues who try tango will either get over their issues really fast, or give up!
Whatever the history, it's an amazing dance to learn. Precision, spontaneity and passion all in one art form. As a woman the feeling of giving up responsibility and simply following can be incredibly liberating. Difficult to do, but liberating all the same. I'd recommend it to anyone - in fact, there are still tickets left for this weekend and a fabulous beginner's package available, so if you want to give it a go, why not pop across to Stirling and have a try this weekend.
See you there, I'll be the one in the blue tango shoes with the big grin on my face!!