I suppose I should introduce myself. This is, after all, my very first blog. And, the very first post. I’m not sure how I decided to do this. Blogging isn’t something I planned on doing. But, here goes. I’m Emily, a Salt Lake City Tango dancer. So, How DID I get into this dance from Argentina? It’s super far away, and over the years this dance had fallen in and out of popularity over and over. It’s been characterized as beautiful and its been caricatured. Luckily for me, it’s immensely popular again. It’s in every major city in the world, and a lot of small towns as well. Why? Why is it so popular? I can only answer for myself…….what my first experience was like.
You know that feeling you get when you walk into your childhood home after a long time away? Or maybe it’s a smell that triggers something inside, something you hadn’t known was there for many years. It fills you up with an emotion. An emotion akin to loss, or renewal. You might call it nostalgia. Anyway, on a Wednesday, in July of 2009, I had that feeling. I indeed remember that it was the first Wednesday in July. It’s like remembering where I was when Regan was shot, when the space shuttle went down, or when I first watched the smoke coming from the buildings of the world trade center. Only this was different. This was good. I walked into a dance studio and watched a man and a woman dance. It was five minutes before class was to start, so they were dancing alone. This was the first time I had ever seen a dance like this in person. It was simple, elegant, and mesmerizing. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. And standing there, I knew I was changed. Yep, in those first 5 minutes, I knew. I think if you ask any Argentine Tango dancer, they will tell you they’ve had a similar experience. It’s almost intoxicating. I know it sounds over the top, but for me, it hit like a ton of bricks. I actually had to leave the room to catch my breath and compose myself. There was something else in their dance, something intangible, something connective….
How did I end up there? Really, it was pure luck. My sister Kristiina was asked to attend the class by a good friend, who was helping teach it. My sister had no intention of going alone, so she asked me to go with her. I was her moral support . You see, she knows how I feel about dance. She knew it wouldn’t take much to get me there. Kristiina had watched me dream about dance her whole life. From my earliest memories, I have always loved it. The music gets inside your bones. You can feel it radiating from the inside out and you can’t hold still. But, 16 years earlier, I had given up on the idea of ever dancing anywhere other than my own living room. The dream died in my early 20s (lack of training will do that). So when I walked into this room, a room full of people who might understand the way I feel, I knew I had found a home. A home in this dance. A dance that is humbling to learn, beautiful to watch, and fills the dancer (at least this one) with joy when she walks onto the floor and takes the embrace that is offered. I’m not going to say I had instant success. I signed up for a months worth of classes. When the month ended, life happened. I had things to do and people to take care of. There was little time for tripping around the dance floor. But, over the months and next couple of years, I was able to make this wonderful dance part of my life. At first, just attending dances sporadically, and then gradually going more and more as my time would permit.
The great thing is, I love that I am still learning and growing. It’s impossible to learn everything in Tango. Anyone who says differently is kidding themselves. The nuances are endless. How do I dance with this person vs. that person? And that’s just the beginning. I see myself learning when I’m 60, 65, and on. When I am 80, I’ll be the old lady on the floor trying to keep my balance. Just walking counter-clockwise with any unsuspecting fool who will be nice enough to take the little old lady around for a tanda .
So, here I am. Posting to my first blog, about this passion that I have to share. It’s a journey for me. It’s about the moment right now. A moment that is created with three simple element…… two people moving with a song.