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Argentine tango heats up Durango

Dance instructor Carrie Field will host an Argentine tango workshop in Durango this weekend. (Courtesy)
Workshop to be held this weekend

We don’t need to give you a weather report, but good grief it’s cold outside, and it probably won’t be heating up anytime soon. And when temperatures drop, sometimes you’ve got to make your own heat.

Enter this weekend’s Argentine tango workshops.

Three dance classes will be held Saturday and Sunday at Groove U Studio. There will also be a milonga – a social dance – held Saturday night at Durango Winery.

Argentine tango originated in Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay in the 18th century, according to dancefacts.net. A quick YouTube search of dancers performing it show a mesmerizing routine of footwork and sultry moves.

And while learning the dance can be challenging, beginners shouldn’t be intimidated, said Carrie Field, this weekend’s instructor.

“Argentine tango as a social dance is what we are up to. Some of the YouTube things you may see are performance or competition,” she said in an email. “The dance of Argentine tango as it is danced in bars and cafes in Buenos Aires and all over the world is about walking in an embrace. It is an improvisational dance, meaning each step is led and followed. Other social dances have a basic step or sequence of moves that the couple return to. If tango had a basic step (it) would be walking in a hug to the music. Tango is about the connection, meaning being mindful while moving together to the music.”

If you go

WHAT: Argentine Tango Workshops.

WHEN: Three classes: Absolute Beginners Workshop, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday; Continuing Beginners Workshop, 2-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Groove U Studio, 26369 U.S. Highway 160.

COST: $150 for all three classes/$60 for single workshop.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://bit.ly/3QPxEaM.

NOTE: There will also be an Argentine Tango milonga that will be held from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Durango Winery, 900 Main Ave., Suite E (downstairs). Cost at the door is $10. The public is invited.

Field began learning the dance in around 2005 when she was living in Taos, New Mexico, and she took a class with a friend. From there, she said, she was hooked. Since that class, she has taken classes in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos and has even traveled to Buenos Aires to learn more.

The Durango workshops are for beginners, said Jason Chapman, organizer of the weekend and a longtime member of Durango Tango. This is the second weekend that Argentine tango workshops are being held – the first was in December. He said that all levels of dancers are welcome. The classes will be progressive, meaning that the three will build on each other. And if you don’t have a partner to go with you that’s no problem, he said. Field will teach everyone how to be both a leader and a follower in the dance.

“The first class, Saturday morning’s class, is absolute beginners. You don’t need a partner – if you have someone else that wants to do it with you, especially a lead, fantastic,” he said. “Carrie is going to teach both roles to each person. And the reason she does that is because of how difficult it is to make sure that there is a good balance of lead/follow. Oftentimes, it’s very sad for someone to get all dressed up and come out to a dance and you hardly dance at all because there are too many followers and not enough leaders.”

Chapman said he hopes to rebuild the tango community in Durango that was lost during the pandemic. There used to be between 40 and 50 people involved, he said.

“When COVID came, we had key people move out of town; COVID killed it,” he said. “A lot of our key people left. And so I just took it upon myself to motivate this – I want this in my community. ... There’s a community in Santa Fe, community in Albuquerque, Salt Lake, there’s Los Angeles, there’s Portland – every major city, and some minor, there’s tango there. It died here in Durango.”

Dancers learn about Argentine tango during a workshop held in December in Durango. Another set of workshops will be held this weekend. (Courtesy)

He said that Argentine tango is so popular worldwide, there’s even an app for it.

“Our closest big community for Argentine tango is Albuquerque, and so I did some events there. They have a festival there that numbers probably 600, 800 people. And Argentine tango is available on every continent. It’s a global thing,” he said. “There’s an app that you can have on your phone that says, ‘Hey, I’m on layover in DIA or LAX or whatever for this long, who wants to dance?’ And you can get responses.”

One of the highlights of the weekend will be a “milonga,’ or social dance, that will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Durango Winery, 900 Main Ave., downstairs. Chapman said it will be a chance for students to work on the moves they learned during the day, and the public is invited as well.


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