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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Es sensual, no es sexual.

The last time I heard someone say that (in english anyway) was at a bar. A friend that I had amazing chemsitry with, but he thought I was “sensual, not sexual” and he decided we couldn’t date. Whatever.

The FIRST time I heard that, more importantly, was when I was living in Argentina in 1998 at my first tango lesson. Carlos Ochoa was our teacher and he explained that the tango isn’t a sexual dance, but a sensual dance. And that it is based on the embarazado–the hug, the embrace. I took two lessons and have had that sentence burned into my memory, along with onnnne, twoooo, threeee, four, cross. Fiiiiiiiiiiive, six together. Those are the steps to the paso basico of the Argentine Tango.

Tonight I tried it out again, went back to the dance studio and took tango lessons for the first time since Carlos Ochoa’s class in La Plata. IT WAS WONDERFUL. I am meant to be on the dance floor dancing tango–fuck the foxtrot, this girl is tango material.

The teacher looked at me, “Have you ever taken tango lessons?” “I-i-i-in Argentina,” I stuttered back. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that the class is drop-in, start any week. “I guess I have to teach you guys the basics again. Everybody face the mirror.” But then suddenly, he realized that I was a good thing, “It’s a miracle, we have even numbers.”

You know how only engaged couples go to Ballroom class? Only single people go to Tango lessons. (Well, there was one couple, but since we were rotating partners, it didn’t even matter.) One guy really knew how to lead, “THere’s no hurry, I’ll tell you what to do with my body.”

I promise, we were just dancing. I forgot how much I love the tango. I forgot that I’m good at the tango. I forgot all the wonderful things about tango. Needless to say, I’ll be there next week to learn more ocho’s and fancy foot work.

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