We celebrated our ten year anniversary in Tango at the beginning of this year. Actually, we didn't really "celebrate" - it was more like an observation, "My goodness, how time flies!" kind of thing. And then we went out and danced as usual.
Nevertheless, ten years is milestone and we have been thinking about what it means for ten years to pass in Tango. We've certainly come a long way since our fledgling steps in the group class held in a basement studio at Mad for Dance deep downtown. Our first salida, our first giro, our first milonga, attending our first tango event, the different instructors we took classes with, our first time in Buenos Aires, our first performance in Buenos Aires, and on and on....
There's always been a sense that we are moving forward. We practice every week for an hour and every two or three months we have some kind of breakthrough, either internally, externally, or internally manifesting itself externally. Conversations with our teachers, conversations with each other, snippets of video on Youtube, things that we experience, books that we have read, flashes of inspiration - all contribute to the momentum and the endless change in the way we dance. We look at us now, we look back to where we used to be, and we can't help but think about the future - where will we be ten years from now?
We hope that our Tango will continue to become better, deeper, more expressive, more enjoyable - a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now. Barring some surprise or catastrophic event, it is a pretty safe prediction that we would achieve this goal to some degree.
We wouldn't say unfortunately, because it has nothing to do with good fortune or misfortune and more to do with human nature - many dancers do not have such modest aspirations. Some want more attention - they high kick and spin recklessly to show off in crowded milongas now and hope one day to receive an invitation to perform for real. Some want more recognition - they become "authorities" to any one who would listen and teach on the dance floor instead of following or leading properly and hope one day to become instructors. Yet others use Tango as a way to increase their sense of superiority, but they go about it the wrong way - by becoming snobbishly what they think is more "authentic", by maintaining their "clique" and dancing only with members within it, to the extent that they hide at milongas only catering to "their people" and never come out to dance with anyone else.
We predict that these people will achieve what they have set out to do. What they won't achieve is Tango that is better, deeper, more expressive or more enjoyable. Some dancers who had been veterans when we started dancing ten years ago are still dancing in exactly the same way or worse ten years later. They may be instructors now, or have performed, or consider themselves some kind of Tango "Elite", but the quality of their dancing has either stayed the same or deteriorated. And the Magic 8-ball says than ten years after, it will be pretty much the same.
We shake our heads but none of this really matters. It doesn't matter what we want to achieve in Tango, it doesn't matter what the others want to achieve in Tango. It doesn't matter even if Tango lives, or if Tango dies. We go out to dance, if we are lucky we will enjoy ourselves and all our worries are suspended for a few hours. If we are not lucky the music will suck, the floor will be a disaster zone and/or we will get kicked in the shins and/or we want to fight with the guy/gal who is dancing like an asshole in all lanes with their spiky heels up in the air. Who cares where we will be, or where the others will be tomorrow or ten years from now? It is only a dance.
We received bad news today that a good friend from our martial arts days has been diagnosed with leukemia. Only forty years old, and with a young child! We saw her just a year ago, when she came with her husband and daughter to visit Toronto to see whether they wanted to move back here for the sake of her daughter's education. She was full of dreams and hopes for the future of her family and her child. Her illness is something no one could have predicted. We told her to be strong, to stay optimistic and we told her that we would pray for her recovery.
For now we will keep on dancing and keep on writing. Whatever the future may bring, we have to live one day at a time, and make the most of it.
We started Tango at Mad for Dance studios ten years ago, and we have been practicing there all these years. The studio is closing at the end of August. Thank you Michael and Raija for renting your beautiful space to us, our Tango would not be where it is today without the opportunity to practice in your studio. Mad for Dance will always be a cherished part of our Tango memories.
Martha's Apartment in Buenos Aires
A Non-exhaustive set of Tango links in Toronto
- La Cachila - weekly milonga
- Paradiso -- weekly milonga
- Practica El Beso
- WE Tango
- Tango Sur - classes, shows
- Rhythm and Motion - classes, milonga, practica, annual Toronto Tango Festival
- Tango Obsession - classes, weekly Practica La Coqueta
- Tango Lirico - classes, practica, weekly milonga
- Tango de Oro - classes, shows
- Tango Soul Productions - classes, weekly milonga, shows, El Congreso annual Tango Festival
- Vivatango - classes
- Tango Argentino - classes
- Club Milonga - classes, special events
- Alternatango - classes, weekly milonga
- University of Toronto Tango Club - classes, practica
- El Abrazo - classes
- Tangoloft - twice monthly milonga