The Passage opens with...a tango

One of the most sensuous videos of the most sensuous dance, by choreographer Trish Sie. "Skyscrapers" is now being performed, with live versions of theses costume changes, in Pilobolus' new program. (I want all of Sie's colour-wheel ensembles, and check her shoes!)

A description of Pilobolus' exploration of tango is here

Every Thursday evening, a group of tango dancers gather in the park across the street from our apartment. All ages and abilities dance for abut two hours. A beautiful woman offers free lessons to novices who restrict themselves to the cobblestones, carefully learning the counts and weighting.

Tango teacher, left, with student

Experienced partners dance in the gazebo pavilion, a few steps up.

In the gazebo

Though not as stunningly attired as Sie and her partner, dresses prevail, and everyone has The Shoes, even the beginners on the paving stones.  My mother called this a "Cuban heel", and it's one of the few places I see this solid, built-to-move shoe.

Tango takes a wide heel

I long to give it a whirl; the langorous grace is irresistible. Do you tango?


Anonymous said…
I went to tango lessons for a while with my boyfriend. The music is wonderful and the dance is incredible.

However, we have never argued so much, ever! It was enormously difficult to master, especially for men, so eventually we gave up. I'd like to able to do it - but it was such hard work.

The dance is fully improvised with no 'steps', routines or timings as such (at least it should be). This is the beauty of the dance - its all about leading and following.

When I 'followed' experienced male dancers I really was in heaven - it was almost a spiritual experience. you must enter a sort of zen-like trance and be fully immersed in the moment, entirely concentrating on every subtle movement of your partner's body, which directs you totally, never with any anticipation of what might come next. Sort of turning off a whole level of thought and agency, and using your brain in a completely different way. I feel I'm explaining it badly, but it really can be poetical, magical and sensuous.

I would advise you though, that if your partner is not a very fast learner and already very good at dance or sports, there will be an awful lot of kicking each other in the leg and arguing before you reach these magic heights! You might be better off going on your own, if he doesn't mind!!
déjà pseu said…
Welcome back, Duchesse!

I love watching Tango, but have never learned it. I fear le monsieur would not be a good partner as he doesn't have the confidence (when dancing, anyway) to lead.
Duchesse said…
Anonymous: Thank you for this nuanced explanation.. When Pilobolus learned tango, the director mentioned that the dancers had to forget much of their training; I'm guessing it is the submission and brain switch of which you speak that made it so difficult. Your comments also reminded me of Sally Potter's film "The Tango Lesson"- have you seen it?

Pseu: Thanks, good to be back. Yes, some of us will need other partners... for this dance.
Kristien62 said…
Lovely to be reading your blog again, Duchesse. I hope you enjoyed every minute of this beautiful summer.
LPC said…
Welcome back! No, I don't tango;).
materfamilias said…
So good to have you back!
A colleague fell so in love with Tango that she took a leave and spent several months in Argentina studying the dance -- and came back with a Latin lover! She does tend to the grand dramas of life, yes, but somehow this adventure seems completely congruous with the whole Romance of the Tango.
I've bookmarked your video to enjoy after my first day back in class. Thank you!
Welcome back Duchesse!
No tango dancers in our wee bungalow...
but I do love to watch it!
Duchesse said…
Kristien62: I hope yours was glorious, too.

LPC: Thank you; I'll bet you can dance, though!

materfamilias: Well *that* is a story and again reminds me of the film "The Tango Lesson", which I may have to track down to watch again. And how did it unfold?

hostess: Tangoing kitties?
Anonymous said…
vThis is really interesting! I enjoy reading and watching :-)
materfamilias said…
Back to say THANK YOU! again, after watching the video -- that is absolutely delicious!
materfamilias said…
Oh, and btw, poor fellow came back here, following her, but she tired of him before the visa expired . . . her life is a continuing drama I watch, from the sidelines, in some awe . . .
Duchesse said…
materfamilias: Glad you liked it. Soundls like "tire of the teacher, but not the dance"?
Anonymous said…
So good to have to you back - are you doing to write a 'What I did on my vacation' essay?

Duchesse said…
Eleanorjane: One of the things I did was use MyFitnessPal, at your suggestion. Result will be the topic of an upcoming post. Thank you!
Anonymous said…
This word came to my mind regarding Peter Pan collar: jejune (peurile) and below is where I remember it being used:

•1975: Sonja (Diane Keaton): "That is incredibly jejune". Boris (Woody Allen): That's jejune? You have the temerity to say that I'm talking to you out of jejunosity? I am one of the most june people in all of the Russias!" - Woody Allen, Love And Death

If you would like to view this clip it's at

Youtube search "Love and Death - Jejune"
Duchesse said…
Anonymous: Funny- I had originally written "jejeune" re the collar, but edited it, thinking I sounded...recherché.
Mardel said…
Ahh tango! So beautiful but I don't.

I seem to think I would have trouble relinquishing control. Perhaps with the right partner...but then, that too is the magic of tango.
diverchic said…
You're back! Hurray!
The Tango is hot. Send me that man and I will learn.
HB said…
I am late on the draw - welcome back! So looking forward to catching up on your September posts thus far.

I do tango among other dances. Learning to follow, or lead, isn't something I'd recommend as a bonding experience with one's partner. It's so individual to learn how to listen and communicate with your body. And all the dancers I know caution newcomers to remember "it's just a dance." The connection we feel, and which is essential to a good dance, may not translate off the dance floor. All that said, I think it's a blast and can't imagine life without dancing.

Argentine tango, in particular, is a unique partner dance form in its overall lack of explicit patterning or phrasing compared to forms more based in the jazz tradition, latin music or courtly dances (ballroom, etc). The music, too, ranges all over the place as a reflection of the social history in Argentina. It's simply fascinating and possible to spend hours upon hours practicing only to end up feeling humble and yet entranced.
Duchesse said…
HB: Thank you! Your last words, "hours upon hours practicing only to end up feeling humble and yet entranced" reminded me of the years I spent many evenings in jazz ballet classes. Yet I still dream of being on that floor, of the ecstatic state achieved after 2.5 hours of flat out movement.

Since my partners were usually not interested in women (outside of partner work in class) there was no chance of taking the partnering to another aspect of life.

What do you think of Sie's dancing?

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