Students learn to dance to the sounds of music in local classes
On a recent evening, men and women slowly strolled into a brightly lit room. They came from all walks of life--students, psychologists, stay-at-home moms--but they were transformed into dancers. Some took off their street shoes, tucked them in a corner of the room and put something more comfortable on their feet. Others loosened their limbs.
Someone turned up the music. As soon as the violins began playing, the men and women paired up and held out their arms to embrace. On cue, their hands and feet moved intricately in concert. They didn't need words, but they were communicating nonetheless.
They were speaking the language of dance.
For Barbara Valdez, there was no place she would have rather been. On this evening, she was taking a weekly Argentine tango class at the community room at Los Gatos High School.
"I just want to dance with someone who makes it feel magical," she said.
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Consuming everyone's attention at the birthday party of Morgan Hill resident Peggy Schnorr were the two Argentinean-style Tango dancers (Argentine being a BIG meat-eating country), Sue Flanagan (sometimes known as Eléna) and her dancing partner, Bernardo Lucero, left the guests of the party slack-jawed at the improvised, sultry movements on the floor of the Community Center party room. I could almost swear I saw Presbyterian Pastor Mark Inouye cross himself. The Schnorr's, both dance enthusiasts, made sure all of their guests had a chance to show off their moves with a swing dance lesson and I must say I was impressed with the nearly 100 percent participation of the male guests.
Tango dancing is a fun, sexy way to get and stay in shape
The first rule of tango is, in my opinion, to think sexy. The second is to drink plenty of water, because, man, is it a workout.
I am far from the picture of grace, but I was willing to subject myself to potential humiliation in the name of the never-ending quest to find something active, healthy and, most importantly, fun.
So, I met with Sue Lindenberg, dance instructor and owner of Tango Fantástico based in Morgan Hill to learn some ins and outs of tango dancing. Despite a little apprehension, I was confident I could pull off the tango if it was anything like the cartoon image in my head: two people half marching, half swaggering in a straight line with their cheeks and bodies pressed close together, a rose clutched in the woman's teeth.
But tango is nothing like that.
The first thing I had to learn was how to walk. Sue showed me how she wanted me to roll forward, hips low, legs stretched. I almost killed myself.
"I want you to think to yourself, This is the sexiest floor I've ever seen, and I can't wait to caress it with my feet," Sue said to me, as she glides beautifully and silently in her black heels across the wood. "Let your body be heavy and sink down."
I do my best to imitate her, but I clunk my heels down noisily and look as though I'm trying to do an odd version of the chicken dance. The next thing I needed to learn was how to follow. Sue played the man's role, so we stood face to face, my arms resting on hers in a kind of open hug.
"Let your arms be heavy on mine," she explains to me. "I'm leading you, and you've got to be able to feel where I'm moving so you can follow me. Try to move where I move, but don't look at my feet. Argentine tango is wholly improvised by the leader rather than being choreographed like ballroom dances, so the follower doesn't know where to go until the leader takes them there."
Tango Fantástico, a unique concept providing on location performances of authentic Argentine Tango, spreads the culture of Argentina with the passion of Tango to communities through corporate, private and fundraising activities.
Traditionally the performing arts have been limited to grand theatres with prestigious addresses in metropolitan cities. The expensive tickets and unspoken requirement for elegant attire have prohibited the vast majority from enjoying the unparalleled passion and expression of Argentine Tango. The objective of Tango Fantástico is to fill that void by offering short programs and promotional performances through parties and galas, fundraisers and cultural events as entertainment for private, corporate and public gatherings.
Tango Fantástico is a marketing and promotional company, focused on procuring extraordinary local talent and conducting collective performances, on location, tailored to each event. Engagements will range from festive to historical, encompassing the art of dance and the culture of Argentina. Occasionally, special engagements from visiting Maestros from Argentina may become available.
Whether for business promotion, charitable fundraiser, private festivity or holiday celebration, Tango Fantástico promises to give outstanding crowd-pleasing performances.