Latest version of “Tango Jest” presented at The Greatest Event of My Tango Life, July 28, 2018 at Berretin Studio. (Referring to a Medical Bills Aid Benefit Milonga.)
In 1994 at Clay Nelson’s Dance Studio, Melvin asked, “Have you heard about the new dance Clay is teaching? It’s called Armenian Tango, or something like that.
Hilda said, “Never heard of it. What’s it like?”
Melvin: “Well, he said it was hard to describe but easy to do and mostly walking. I’m going to take the class. Wanna be my partner?”
Hilda: “It doesn’t sound that exciting, but ok. What kind of shoes should I wear?”
Melvin: “Probably doesn’t matter. Tennies, sandals, flip-flops.
A few months later Hilda said: “Clay was right. This dance IS hard to describe, but it’s also hard to do. I thought you said he said it would be easy.
Melvin: “He DID…several times. Hey…do you think he might have said that just to get us to try it?”
(AHA!) Melvin had just discovered the Universal Tango Sales Pitch.)
Isn’t that what we do? If we told the truth, no one with an IQ larger than their shoe size would try it! And…misery loves company…let’s be honest…we like watching others struggle with the same things we struggle with.
After Clay had been hosting milongas a couple of years, one night I said, “Look, there’s a couple here from Seattle!” Clay said, “Wow. Looks like we’re officially on the Tango Map.”
During Tango Fest 1999 at Temple Ballroom when I told Clay we had run out of name tags, (hand-printed, stick-on) the Wizard queried, “You mean there are 100 people here?”
The Wizard’s 2017 ValenTango message to the hundreds who had preregistered said: Your packet contains class tokens, wrist band, class schedule, practice schedule and recommended nap times. The Deluxe packet also contains an ice pack, ace bandage, aspirin, Altoids, Alka-seltzer, and a list of Couples Counselors. Take Note! You MUST wear your wrist band at all times, even if it’s the only thing you’re wearing.
In 1998, ValenTango was held at the Crystal Ballroom and McMenamins promoted it as a Sweetheart Tango Ball. Over 400 ballroom dancers showed up in fancy tuxedos and flowing dresses. Fifty or so Argentine Tango enthusiasts spent the evening staying out of their way and ducking flying body parts.
If women did all the asking and men did the waiting, and there were several extra men at every milonga, would we still be having this, or any tango-related, conversation?
The best part about you reading this is that it means you haven’t quit all those times you may have felt like it.
So…what is this dance? Fiery footwork or smooth walking? Short steps or long strides? Serious or playful? The hardest thing we’ve ever tried or the most rewarding?