Our Tango Journey: How I Started Tango

Hello dear reader, my name is Jason and I have been dancing Tango in Brisbane for the last three years. I have been approached by Moonlight Tango to share some of my thoughts and views on a range of things related to Tango and I am excited to start with this. Since everyone has a story of how they started Tango, I decided I would start with sharing my own story. I hope you find it interesting and I look forward to sharing more ideas in the future.


I started my dancing journey by learning swing in 2012. From an early age, I had always wanted to learn how to partner dance and was drawn to the vintage styles of the 1940's so Swing seemed like the obvious fit for me. I was hooked from my very first dance class and I knew I wanted to be a dancer for the rest of my life. I had become driven to be the best dancer that I could be.


I took classes, attended socials, I even travelled across Australia to attend dance exchanges and workshops, both with local and international teachers. I also had the opportunity to perform and teach Swing dancing in Brisbane. Despite my love for the dance, after seven years of dancing Swing I had begun to feel like I had reached a plateau in my dancing. While this is a common occurrence among dancers and usually comes and goes frequently, it did not feel like the usual slump in my dancing that I could push through.


I had begun for feel unchallenged in classes and in my dancing in general. Though I still experienced joy in social dancing, it didn't feel like I had much variety in my abilities anymore. I attempted to overcome this roadblock in my dancing in the usual ways, but nothing seemed to have any meaningful affect in overcoming the plateau. It felt like something was missing in my dancing that I was unable to figure out.


While out social dancing at a local event, I was talking to one of my old dance teachers from my earlier years as a dancer about my troubles with my dancing. She spoke to me about how she had taken up a new dance style to shake things up a bit and how it was exciting to try something new. A while after this discussion with my teacher I thought about my dancing and about the direction it was going and decided that I would try to learn a new dance style. I thought this would help me learn more about the way my body moved in dancing and would potentially give me the opportunity to reinvigorate my love of the dance.


Once I had made the decision to try a new dance, I had to then decide what that new dance would be. I had considered several different types, like Salsa being a more commonly known style through to Ballroom, from which Balboa can trace some roots to and was also a dance I experienced as a child visiting my grandparents. It was a few weeks later, while considering my options, that in a Balboa class I mentioned my search and intention to try out a new dance to a Follower friend in the class. Coincidentally, she had been thinking of going back to a dance style she had done a while ago, Tango.


She invited me to come along with her to do a beginner class with her to try it out and I accepted. I had noticed several Tango dancers had come through at various points to try out Balboa so I was curious to see what Tango was all about. We decided to try out a beginner class on a Wednesday night with the Tango school Brisbane House of Tango. I had done a little teaser class from some Swing dance friends who had done Tango a long time ago so I did have a small idea what I might find when I went to class but I otherwise did not know what to expect.


From what I remember of that first class, I recall being nervous and anxious waiting outside for my Friend to arrive before going in. From the start I knew that I was going to have to try to compartmentalise how I knew how to move from Swing, but I found it very interesting the differences and similarities between the dances. I was particularly drawn towards the level of precision that was needed between the partners in order to make the dance flow.


I left that class very excited to see where it would lead me. It felt like I was growing as a dancer again. I went home and spent a bit of time researching and watching Tango dancers on YouTube, exchanging videos with my friend. I would go to Swing classes and talk about how I tried Tango and how exciting it was to try something different. I think I made some of them nervous that I was abandoning Swing dancing, though I suppose in hindsight they may have been right about that.


I became very driven to improve quickly and with my friend, we began nervously attending our first socials in a few short months. I had been sharing my time between Swing and Tango but soon it became apparent that I began to favour Tango slowly. It has given me feelings that I have not had when dancing before. While I still have a special place in my heart for Swing dancing, Tango is now an important part of my life and I am looking forward to where my Tango journey will lead me next.



Jason dancing at Love Street Milonga


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