Last tango class of the Summer in Galway City and a beautiful evening in the Rowing Club on the River Corrib to gather and celebrate the last season, meet old and new friends and look forward to a return again in the Autumn.
I should explain that I met Alison, my wife, about four years ago when I attended my first Argentine Tango class. Alison had been dancing tango for a number of years at that time and was quite accomplished. So taken with the dance, she had travelled to Buenos Aires to experience at first hand the tango in the salons and dancehalls of its native environment. Within a short time I was taken with the dance and the dancer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Alison’s good friends Marion and Enrique, from France and Argentina respectively, were teaching tango at that time in the city and in a number of venues about the county and in my early heady enthusiasm I initially attended three classes a week, one in Galway, one in Kinvara and one in Clonboo, near Headford, thinking nothing of the hour-long drive there and back in the evenings.
Tango is addictive, but I’ve been remiss in attending classes for a while due to other commitments. I’m still at best only a mediocre dancer, with insufficient patience to improve but I do love the monthly milongas, the dances organised in Galway’s Rowing Club or elsewhere about the city. A combination of grace, elegance and connection, Argentine Tango is not choreographed and depends principally upon the connection made between the dancers, the follower reading the intention of the leader, with etiquette suggesting that a man generally dances a tanda, three dances, with a lady.
I have to admit that when I began I found it a culture shock for someone innately conservative…the close dancing embrace between two complete strangers.….the tendency of men who are friends to embrace one another on meeting or parting or kissing ladies on both cheeks on greeting was a shock for someone for whom a handshake at most was the norm….all happily second nature now… I can honestly say that tango has taught me far more than the dance itself and brought into my life a wonderful group of friends from all walks of life.
When I look back on my first classes and on the awkwardness I felt initially I have to smile to myself at my habit of apologising on almost every second step to the lady with whom I was dancing for what I took to be a misstep or mistake but in time I realised the truth of Al Pacino’s reassurance to Donna, that ‘there are no mistakes in the tango….not like life….it’s simple….that’s what makes the tango so great….if you make a mistake, you get all tangled up….you just tango on..’
Daniel enjoying the sunset on the River Corrib
Marla from Poland and Francis from Taughmacconnell, Ballinasloe
Francis, myself and Stephen, a poor tango dancer between two of the best
Marion and Enrique, who have taught Argentine Tango in Galway for several years.
A small selection of those who dance tango in Galway
The remains of the day