by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: Jason discovered Argentine tango in 2003. After moving to Chicago from a small town in Wisconsin in the late 90’s, he got into ballroom dance, and then salsa, as a way to meet people. While he enjoyed the sensuality of salsa, after a few years he began to find it repetitive. He happened to live three doors down from a tango studio, Tango Chicago. And the rest is history.
Why tango: “I wanted to work the other side of my brain,” says Jason whose career has been in Finance and IT. “Social dancing gives me the chance to get out and meet people and to express my creative side in a non-linear way.”
After Jason and his former wife moved to the Bay Area in 2009, he took an eight-year hiatus from tango. In February of this year, he felt the tango itch. He looked around for a class and found Alma del Tango. Even though he had a strong base in tango, “I felt like I was starting from scratch,” says the tanguero.
Favorite part: “The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve liked having the ability to develop musicality and exercise my creativity with another person,” explains Jason. He enjoys the feedback that comes from connecting with a partner, and the way she can expand the movement by adding her own embellishment.
About Debbie & John: “I really like their teaching,” says Jason. “The best thing is their two different thinking styles…you can listen to either one depending on your learning style. John is more analytical like me. He can explain the moves analytically while Debbie is intuitive. She’ll say, ‘Let me dance with you and feel what you’re doing.’ She’ll point things out that I’m not thinking about. Having access to both is great.” Jason also likes that they bring in guest teachers allowing students to experience other teachers and appreciate them for what they’re good at.
Anything else? Jason advises couples who are dancing tango together that the leader should go to more classes so he stays a step ahead. “It helps to manage the relationship,” he says with a knowing smile.
Last word: My high school wallflower days are over!