How does one begin to really know Tango?
I can guarantee you that your average person does not walk off the street and become a Tango dancer. It is a learned process.
In my case, I had danced Tango for several years before I began to really understand it. Tango is not something that one can pick up in a class or two or even 10. Tango is much more than just a dance, of which you can learn a few steps and patterns and then get out on the dance floor. Tango is a deep and complex experience that happens over time. I began to really understand this, after I visited Tango’s birthplace, Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires, Tango is in the air, the food, the smells and sounds of the city and of course the music.
So how do we, as non-porteños, who have become so entranced with this dance, come to know Tango?
Besides, a long trip to Buenos Aires, if you live in the Bay Area, there are a few people that can help you. One of them is Marcelo Solis.
Marcelo Solis says it well here:
“We all feel Tango in our bodies. In each move, each new milonga we go to, each partner we dance with, and each new learning experience reveals that Tango belongs to us, and we belong to Tango. It is a wonderful feeling, and one of the key reasons why Tango is so appealing and why its rhythm is so addictive.
However, Tango also belongs to others…to the people we share it with. If we do not pay attention to that, we may fall into an egotistic, self-centered approach to tango. That would leave us with nothing, or with something we may call tango, but it is not.
Among others we share Tango with, are those who have danced it before us. Most of them are not with us anymore, but many of them are still alive, dancing in the milongas of Buenos Aires. Would you miss the opportunity of meeting them, seeing them dance, chatting, and dancing with them? If you let it pass you by, it will be a big loss for Tango, especially for “your” Tango, the one in which in turn, you will share with those who come after you.”
With these thoughts in mind, Marcelo became one of the founders of: “Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires”. The purpose of ETBA is to help people find connection through Tango and to assist them in achieving their full expression at every milonga they go to, anywhere in the world.
A posting from his website eloquently describes his mission:
“Perhaps you were asking yourself: Why a Tango School?
When I receive a new student in my class I know that he or she wants to learn to dance. But teaching involves not only showing the moves, but also giving the student a sense of placement, helping him or her be aware that you cannot just do any move at any time.
So, I aim to give new students a sense of Tango as a whole, helping them understand that they are learning a culture. I once heard someone calling Tango a “sub-culture”. I do not agree. All the elements I have learned while studying Tango are substantial in the general society, and the broader world culture. I learned the importance of my body as the root of my existence. I learned a lot about my interaction with others, how my happiness or unhappiness affects everybody around me. In sum, I learned that everything I do affects everybody in this world.
I have realized the importance of teaching the beauty of Tango.
In my classes I teach all the elements you may have in your checklist, that every Tango instructor claims to teach. Name your favorite element, I do teach it. However, more important than the element itself is the meaning that the move carries within.”
Marcelo, was born in Rosario, Argentina and grew up dancing the Tango as well as folkloric dances such as Chacarera, and Zamba. He has been living and teaching Tango in the Bay Area for over 15 years.
Learn more about Marcelo Solis here: escuelatangoba.com/about-us/marcelo-solis/
Marcelo’s Teaching Schedule: escuelatangoba.com/sanfrancisco/
Not only does Marcelo teach and hosts milongas and practicas all over the Bay Area, he also organizes an annual Buenos Aries tour. Learn more about the 2013 tour here: escuelatangoba.com/marcelosolis/tour-to-buenos-aires-2013/