I started dancing in 1997, after seeing Sally Potter's Tango Lesson. I was in Bologna, Italy and the film was dubbed in Italian, which I do not speak, so I think I was able to feel the emotion of the dance more clearly. I spent that next year in London, and learning to dance argentine tango was a great - albeit painful - way to get out into the culture of London. Sometimes I'm amazed I made it through those first months of total embarassment and confusion! Luckily I had a few little tastes of the tango drug that kept me going...
The bliss of tango for me comes when I can abandon my ego, abandon conscious thought, and just totally connect with my partner and the music and the dance floor. Achieving this abandon - which is profound freedom - is incredibaly hard, and even today, 10 years later, it takes effort and concentration to get there, and it is never guaranteed. It takes practice, discipline, obsession, insanity even. But it is worth it... some of the time, ;-)
I returned to San Francisco and studied with a variety of teachers until I found someone who spoke to me: Roberto Riobo. He was one of the only teachers that really engaged the emotional and psychological aspects of tango in a meaningful way. Every lesson included many exercises to release inhibitions and helped me connect with the feeling of the dance, not just the technical physicality. Anyone can learn fancy steps, but to dance with deep feeling is rare, very rare.
In 2001 the first Gotan Project album came out. We were floored: You can dance to this? It's not traditional?! And we were hooked, it opened the floodgates and tango took a big step out into the world. I know many people don't want to lose touch with the origins of tango, and neither do I, but for me dancing to music that means something to me personally - it is of my time and culture - allows me to connect with it so much more. I love traditional tango, but I also love the rich variety we can find in nuevo and alternative tango. I can't go back. ;-)
So I started to DJ, and eventually Cellspace was started and that's where I cut my teeth. We all played a lot of undanceable music, but we learned fast and now I pride myself on finding interesting music that is first and foremost danceable. Yes, every so often I will throw in something challenging and crazy, but I've got to keep you honest, right!?
And I started to teach in 2004. I focus on 'the fundamentals' at all levels, posture, connection, musicality. It took me years to feel comfortable with the tango and going back to the basics is still helpful for me today. And I love teaching some crazy guanchos I learned from Pulpo and Luisa, among other 'steps'.
Tango becomes all incompassing: it's a social scene, a craft and an escape. I do like Carlos Gavito's quote:
"The important thing is to know why we want to dance. We dance a solitude that we have inside us and cannot occupy with anything. This gap, that emptiness to which we put movement is the tango."
"Lo importante es saber para quŽ queremos bailar. Bailamos una soledad que tenemos dentro de nosotros y no la podemos ocupar con nada. Ese vac’o al que le ponemos movimiento es el tango."
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
© 2006, Demetrius González. All rights reserved.