by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: Marty has been dancing most of his life, primarily swing dance. For him, dancing brings together two of his passions—sports (movement) and music. He had taken some tango classes years ago and came back to it about 14 months ago.
Back story: In May 2012, Marty was blindsided by a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. He became paralyzed and was hospitalized for six months, undergoing aggressive treatment. Told he might not walk again, Marty was determined to get through this ordeal and stayed focused on his desire to get back on the dance floor and the ski slopes. After his release from the hospital, he began rehab in early 2013.
“Dance is good therapy,” says Marty. “I still have issues with balance but tango helps.”
Debbie Goodwin agrees: “Studies have shown Argentine Tango to be therapeutic for all types of physical and emotional conditions. Its multifaceted movement stimulates the brain, improving coordination and balance.”
Never expecting this level of recovery, Marty’s neurologist didn’t think he’d dance or ski again.
Why tango: For Marty, tango is the most communicative dance between two partners. “There is room for interpretation, you can really work within the structure of the music,” he explains.
About Debbie & John: Marty heard about Alma del Tango while taking swing dance classes at another Marin venue. He attends the Level 1 and 2 tango classes on Wednesday nights. “Debbie and John break down the patterns very well, in an understandable fashion. Their interactions are fun…they don’t always agree but they work it out in the class.”
He also likes the building itself. “It’s fun to go there…it’s like a clubhouse with friends to dance with. It furthers the sense of community of Alma Del Tango.”
Anything else? Marty is the proud owner of a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado. “1978 was the last year of the really big Caddies – America’s luxury car,” he explains. “In 1979 they began downsizing. The ’78 still had the full-sized “three body trunk. It’s like a ship, you don’t drive it you pilot it.”
Last word: Marty’s ultimate ambition is to dance the swango – a fusion of swing and tango. (See examples on YouTube)