After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.
Friday, August 03, 2007
A Passion for Tango Turns Bedroom to Closet, New York Times, Feb. 29, 2004
This is old news, and when I sent it to a friend in L.A., she wrote back, Oh yeah, that article was on the bulletin board at Comme Il Faut when we went together a couple of years ago. Somehow I was busier looking at the shoes than the clippings, and I missed it until now. I've seen this lady dancing in the milongas here in Buenos Aires, and she always is wearing a different fantastic outfit, and she looks great.
But, to quote myself in a previous post :
Without seeing you dance, experienced tangueros can tell by looking at you what level your dancing is at. The First Stage is the eager and naïve beginner, who wears what he happens to find in his closet. Then comes the Second Stage, the full-blown, Look at me, I am a tango dancer! who buys lots of special shoes and clothes--men black shirts, women beads, sequins and fringe, short skirts with high slits--attempting to dance every dance at every milonga. The Third Stage experienced dancer dresses conservatively with elegance and dances only when he or she chooses to, letting the dancing speak and not the clothing.
Here is someone who got carried away more by the wardrobe possibilities than perhaps the dance. And she got stuck in the Second Stage to the extreme of turning her apartment into a closet. Perhaps by now she has scaled down and has reached the Third Stage.
But if not, that's ok too. I remember when I was bellydancing, I hated the whole hour it would take me to put on my fall and make myself up before a performance. What I loved was the dance, and I resented time spent on "the look," even though in bellydancing "the look" is 50%. But many of my bellydancing friends loved that half of it, loved to spend time on making themselves look good and changing their appearance. Actually, it was pretty amazing that an all-American girl could disappear into the bathroom and an hour later come out as a harem odalisque. Some of them told me that the beautifying ritual was the main reason they loved bellydancing.
And I think that sometimes that's true in tango as well. People can fall in love with being tango dancers, with buying sexy tango shoes, and enough slit skirts to fill a new closet. (With men it can manifest itself in two-toned shoes and white scarves.) A dance doesn't exist in a vacuum, especially bellydance and tango, which arose from profound cultures. You can fall in love with the culture as well.
There are many ways to be a tango addict.