Student of the Month ~ Rick Kutten

by Lanny Udell

Portrait of Student of the Month Rick KuttenDancing tango since: Rick is new to the tango world having started just three months ago (at this writing). His journey to tango started with solo dance, also known as self-expression dance. He had never done any partner dancing until a friend said, “let’s try East Coast Swing.”

Back story: Rick and his friend signed up for East Coast Swing at Dance Arts. “It took me three months to learn how to do a triple step,” he laughs. “I felt like I had two left feet.” Then they decided to check out Jasmine Worrell’s Swing class at Alma del Tango. Rick fell in love with Jasmine’s way of teaching, and he’s been dancing with her for 3 ½ years.

While working with Jasmine, Rick says, he struggled. “Then something magical happened. My partner and I found each other…on the dance floor and in the music. It was amazing! Intoxicating! Ecstatic! Ephemeral! Now I know why I am dancing. Because there are moments of magical, mystical union…of what? Love? Life? The universe?” (In tango the phenomenon is known as tango bliss.)

When did tango enter the picture? Last summer Rick heard that Eduardo Saucedo was coming to Alma del Tango for his annual August residency, and he decided to stick his toe into the tango waters. With tango, he jokes, “I discovered I had two right feet!” After Eduardo left, Rick found that everything he’d learned had evaporated, so he started over with Debbie and John.

Why tango: “I’m a drama queen,” says the tanguero, “and tango has a lot of drama. It’s a good fit for me to have a style where my drama, feeling, creativity and musicality have a place for expression.”

Rick recalls that when he was learning swing, his critical ego was so strong. “I wish I could have enjoyed being a beginner, but I did not.” Now, with tango, he is taking his time to enjoy the process. “I know I will be a good tango dancer, in time.”

About Debbie & John: “They offer a warm and welcoming field for beginners,” says Rick. He finds them patient and generous with their time. “Their love for tango clearly comes through. I know it’s challenging to help beginners get their mojo going. It’s a unique challenge and they do it well.”

Anything else: Rick attends Level 1 and 2 classes and will soon start going to the Friday night class and practica. He describes himself as a “strong and generous” lead. I want my lead to be obvious…I want my follower to ‘get’ my lead.”

Tango dancer Rick Kutten at Alma del Tango

Rick takes a break during the cortina. (Is that his next partner behind him?)

Last word: Rick sees tango as a long-term relationship. He’s “super-excited about the open expanse of possibilities tango offers.”

 

 

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