By Thomas Tarapacki
There's probably no other dance that has the romantic and sensual expression of the Tango. Therefore, it's very appropriate this Valentine's Day that new Tango dance classes are being launched in Buffalo.
A 5-week series of Argentine Tango instruction is starting on Thursday, February 19th at the St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church on Colonial Circle. The main instructor will be Travis Widrick.
You've read in Buffalo Rising about the active Swing Dance community in Buffalo, but I recently discovered there's also a very strong local following for the Tango, a dance that's very different from the Swing. The Tango originated in Argentina in the late 19th century, and combines elements of various cultures, including African, European and Latin American. The style of dance (of which there are many variations) supposedly originated in the brothels and tenements of Buenos Aires. The drama and emotion of the dance led Argentine musician Enrique Santos Discépolo to describe Tango as "a sad thought which is danced."
To an untrained observer (like me), the Tango presented quite a contrast from the Swing Dancing I observed over at Shakti Yoga. Not only was it slower and almost cat-like with many walking movements, but it has a theatrical and romantic quality. It's no surprise that the Tango has been prominently featured in a variety of movies, including The Scent of A Woman and True Lies.
The tango is improvisational and natural. It can be danced in a simple way, or by using more sophisticated elements. Step sequences can vary according to the music. As Pacino said in The Scent of a Woman: ´The tango is the easiest dance. If you make a mistake and get tangled up, you just tango on."
One of the leaders of the local Tango upsurge, Travis Widrick, heads Buffalo Tango X. He has studied with Tango Instructors from all over the world including many from Argentina. He intends to make a trip Buenos Aires himself this year to learn more about the Tango.
The Argentine Tango classes are being offered from beginner through intermediate levels. The Beginners/Fundamentals class starts at 8:00PM and goes to 9:00PM with a half-hour practice afterwards. Once you have mastered the Fundamentals, there is an Intermediate class offered from 7:00 to 8:00PM . The classes are held at the St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Circle in Buffalo. The cost is $60 per series/per person, and $110 per couple/per series (The discounted cost is $30 and $50, respectively, for those with valid college ID.) You can register as late as the day of the first class, but once the series has started, registration will be closed.
If interested, you also might want to check out a Guided Practica that will be held at Chow Chocolate, 731 Main Street, on Monday, February 16th from 7:30 to 10:00PM. It only costs $5 to get in on the fun.