What dance is a creative fusion of cultures, spontaneous as jazz, that embodies the passion of a young nation? Argentine tango blends African rhythms, Italian instruments, Jewish klezmer, German bandoneon, and Spanish popular music. In Argentina, December 11th is National Tango Day. Two key figures in tango music, Carlos Gardel (1890) and Julio De Caro (1899) were born on December 11.
Before we were parents, Evan and I danced tango twice a week. He and I took lessons, went to prácticas (practices) and milongas (dances). Evan accepted the challenge of leading the complex steps and I learned to follow. After a year dancing at an arm’s length, we graduated to close embrace, dancing cheek to cheek. We lost sight of our feet and communicated sternum to sternum. When we truly connected to one another and the music, it felt as if we were floating around the room.
We danced with friends and each other in Madison for five years. In our wood-floored apartment, we hosted the first home milonga for our group. Evan and I continued tango until my abdomen wouldn’t make the signature s-like ocho move when I was 5 months pregnant. Now when we go to summer big band dances at Devil’s Lake in Baraboo, Wisconsin, we often tango to a fox trot song, and we teach our child to ballroom dance.
Do you like to dance? What is your favorite pastime?
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! –Rebecca