by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: Kelli started dancing tango about a year ago and loved it, but when a friend became ill, she took a break to help him. After he passed, she decided to go back to what she loved—Argentine tango.
Why tango: As a child, Kelli used to listen to Gardel and other tango musicians with her grandmother. When she questioned grandma’s choice in music she was told it’s part of her heritage — Kelli is part Argentine.
As an adult she wanted to learn tango but living in L.A. she found it intimidating. So when she moved to the Bay Area, she Googled: Tango in Marin and Alma del Tango popped up. “I had no more excuses,” says Kelli.
Favorite part: When Kelli is dancing tango, she tunes everything else out. “I’m so intent on focusing with my partner, I lose all concept of time. I become fully immersed in the music.” She loves the music of Francisco Canaro, “I listen as much as I can.”
About Debbie & John. “They are lovely…the perfect teachers for me, not intimidating at all,” says the tanguera. “They are warm and welcoming, I feel like part of their tango family. I hope they can dance forever!” The first time Kelli danced with Debbie she thought, “Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to be like.”
Anything else? Kelli’s goal is to learn to lead and follow, “it’s the best way to understand the whole dance,” she explains.
Last word: A visit to Buenos Aires to trace her roots and get into the tango culture is on her bucket list. Her grandmother told her where to look for relatives. “I hope they all dance tango!”