by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: Tango was very big in Antonio’s home country of Uruguay, and his mother introduced him to the dance when he was just 8 years old. His second connection with Argentine tango was as an accordion player touring Europe with an opera company in a performance that explored the impact of tango on Parisian society.
Katia’s tango journey began three years ago when the couple started taking lessons as a way of doing a physical activity that would also connect them artistically.
Why tango: “I fell in love with it on a trip to Uruguay,” says Katia. She and Antonio were in a restaurant/bar and she saw women come in with tango shoes in their bags. “My jaw dropped. I wanted to do it,” she says. “When we started taking classes it felt like a meditation for a couple…you have to get in synch with each other…that’s the only rule.”
“In my case,” says Antonio, “I thought oh, I know tango. But I discovered it’s one of the most challenging things I could do. As a leader I had to learn how to move my body to induce the follower to do what I wanted. Leading requires sensitivity which can be difficult for men.”
Favorite part: For Antonio, it’s the building of intention, and a nonverbal connection. “It’s a true act of connection,” he explains, “because you know what you want as a leader and you must create the space for your partner.”
Katia agrees. “It’s about building a connection, and the constant reminder to relax. The more you relax the better. When I close my eyes it’s the best dance. Otherwise I lead!”
“And I struggle,” Antonio chimes in, laughing.
About Debbie & John: “I really like them … they have a very good connection and both are very passionate,” says Katia. Antonio likes their body language communication – “it’s very precise. I like seeing them in action. I like their passion, their love for tango. I am very inspired by their artistry.”
Anything else? Antonio and Katia will be dancing in Dreamscapes, the upcoming student production.
“Because we travel at that time of year we’ve never been able to be in the show,” Katia explains. But this year they made a deal with Debbie: “We told her if she’d give us the routine we’d practice while we’re away. We’re very proud to go back to Uruguay with a piece we can show,” says Antonio.
Last word: Antonio sees tango as “a healthy co-dependency.”