October 24, 2008

Grace and the Argentine Tango

Two friends were lying in the grass one spring day, faces to the sun. One was an artist whose career was beginning to flounder, the other a successful business academician but in a rather stagnant job. "What am I going to do now?" the artist whined, "What do you think would be good second career for me?" "I think you should remain an artist," came the academician’s surprising reply. Then they both decided to embrace a challenge - the academic to shake up the status quo, the artist to distract herself from the vagaries of an uncertain vocation. They made a pact then and there to learn something they both considered beyond their zones of comfort, out of their characters, but challenging and interesting. It would be something that they would agree to tackle for one year, no matter how difficult. The pact entailed a promise to talk each other out of quitting before the year was up. So they shot a metaphorical dart out into the cosmos to see where it would land. Neither of them had ever tried ballroom dancing of any kind but that wasn’t far enough from the boundaries of the familiar for them. No, they went further afield yet and agreed to study the Argentine Tango if the opportunity presented itself. Within days, they ran into someone at an art opening who happened to be studying the Argentine Tango and he pointed the way to weekend lessons, Monday night Practicas and monthly Milongas.
The lessons were challenging, the Milongas riotous yet sublime. A new world opened before them. The academician was humbled by learning new sets of skills and to find out just how much work and sacrifice art entails. The artist learned joy and freedom of expression again. The pair talked each other out of quitting when the steps became increasingly complicated and difficult. They arranged for extra practice, music appreciation tapes and videos. The year passed by. The academic moved on to a better job in another state which led to a second even better job as a director of a business institute. The artist created over two-hundred and fifty paintings of the Argentine Tango and started down a path to creative renewal and a return to the athletic days of her youth. It even spawned an interest in and more lessons in Indian Dance, African Dance, The Contra Dance and ten luxurious lessons in ballet.

The painting of the spinning dancer is one of the hundreds of paintings of the Argentine Tango. It was painted from a performance by the renowned Tango dancer and instructor, Harby Gonzales. The painting recently won a small cash award which, combined with the award for "Cat in an Abandoned Interior" two blogs ago, was thrown directly back into our uncertain economy to fund a trip to Charlotte to attend the opening of "The War Against Peace" at the Ciel Gallery.
Artist’s Note: I am no longer studying the Argentine Tango at present and miss it terribly. But click on the link to study the Tango if your are in the vicinity of Columbia SC and find out where else you can study in the Southeast.

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