by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: About 11 years ago, Sylvia’s then-boyfriend took her to Esalen for a workshop called “Tango is More Than a Dance.” Though her boyfriend didn’t relate to the dance, Sylvia fell in love with it, and a few months later she joined the instructor on a trip to Buenos Aires…the first of many.
Why tango: “Curiosity led me to the dance in the first place,” says Sylvia. “Tango is more than a dance, you bet it is. It’s a metaphor for life.”
Favorite part: A therapist practicing Process Acupressure, Sylvia finds that her work in the world is a lot like tango. “It involves following the lead of the patient and listening carefully to what’s being said so I can follow and be connected. Tango helps me do that.”
She especially enjoys dancing with people she doesn’t know. “When you take that risk, sometimes it’s absolutely magical. You may never see them again, but you’ve had that connection.”
About Debbie & John: “Debbie is doing something nobody else is doing. Her women’s technique class is crucial. And the student performances encourage one to challenge oneself.”
She also likes the structure of Debbie and John’s classes…”the way they build…there’s something for everyone,” she says. “Even if you start in the beginning class, by the end of the evening you’ve learned something more.” She also appreciates that they continue to hone their own skills, and applauds their efforts in turning the studio into a performance space. “They put in hours and hours to make it a welcoming, joyful, nurturing place for people of all levels,” she observes.
Anything else? Sylvia has performed in several Alma del Tango student productions, including this year’s Tango Magic. And, she took teacher training so she’d be able to teach her six granddaughters to dance tango if they were interested. Her 6-month-old grandson is a leader in the making. When she babysits with him she turns on tango music and dances him around. “I want him to have it in his body,” says his tango grandmamma.
Last Word: Sylvia likes to lead as well as follow. “I don’t do fancy things,” she says. “It’s a lovely experience and has given me a greater appreciation of the difficulty of leading.”