I began this post a few days ago, two days before the attacks on Paris, to be exact. And in light of these events, I had to wonder if it’s still relevant. Do heartfelt emotions about a tango festival really matter when considering the hundreds of innocent people attacked? But after some consideration, I decided yes, it does matter. I believe that the goodwill and pure joy that develops when people from multiple cultures dance together, does make a difference. At times like this, when heartbreak is felt across the world, this is when, more than ever that we should come together, embrace each other and dance together. Our hearts may ache, but by being together we can help heal emotional wounds. The joy and unity that is created during events such as tango festivals, resonates out into the world, and our collective consciousness is raised.
With those thoughts, here is my post about being grateful for Tango.
Its easy to grumble and complain about the tango scene in the Bay Area. People say it can be snobbish, or that there are too many leaders or too many followers. We complain if the milonga is too hot, or the floor is sticky, or too slippery or its too crowded. But in reality, we are incredibly blessed. San Francisco, one of the most beloved cities in the world, also has an incredible Tango scene. Dancers from all over the world come to San Francisco to enjoy the milongas and to dance with the locals. Every night of the week we have multiple choices of venues, and since there are so many options, we can choose where to go based on the music, the DJ or even whichever is closest to our home. Besides all the amazing instructors, live music and talented DJs, to me what makes San Francisco so special are the people. Its the friendships that transpire, developed during classes and workshops, through chats in the middle of tandas or over glasses of wine or dinner before or after dancing. And living in this big city, it’s so nice to walk off the street into a milonga and be welcomed by hugs and kisses and familiar friendly faces.
Sometimes it takes an event that invites dancers from all over to remind us how good we have it here. I’m talking about the San Francisco Tango Marathon. Having just enjoyed its fifth year and having experienced it since day one, I have to say its only gotten better. In a way, it’s matured and grown into itself, more polished yet relaxed and confident.
There is something about dancing for three days and nights in a row, that by the end, it becomes hard to stop. By day three of SFTM, my feet and body were aching and yet much like an addict in search of my next fix, I had a deep desire to keep the momentum going. When Sunday evening rolled around, even though I ached, I also began to feel more relaxed. Finding my next dance partner suddenly became easy and each tanda became sublime. The consecutive meshing of hearts and minds with strangers, arms wrapped around bodies, heads touching, all seemed so natural. No one was really a stranger, we were all just tango dancers, all there with the same purpose…to dance together.
I loved reading your article above for so many reasons. I have just moved back to the Bay Area after 20 years. I am in Pleasanton while I find where to put my roots, which has to be connected to dance and came across your website as Tango is the Dance my body is resonating with to learn. I have danced free form for many years and include dance in whatever energy work I am teaching. What would you offer as a first step to take to get involved in the tango community here, either in the Tri Valley or San Francisco. It seems SF has more going on. Thank you for any support you can bring. Warmly, Rose
Thank you Rose and welcome to the Bay Area! The best way to get involved in Tango is to take a class. Tangomango.org is a great resource for Bay Area tango, classes, milongas, performances and more. Select “East Bay” to find classes near you. Your instructor or fellow classmates can then suggest which milongas to visit. Hope to meet you soon!