"Fortune present gifts not according to the book"

My tango story is a love story in one more than one respect. I started dancing tango when I visited Buenos Aires from Finland in March and April of 2008. My reason for visiting Buenos Aires had nothing to do with tango, at least, not initially. I had madly fallen in love with a girl I met a year earlier in Finland. She was travelling the world and ended up in Argentina for some time, and I decided to visit her to see if things could work out between us. She introduced me to tango, and me and tango liked each other. So much, in fact, that I spent the next five weeks taking lessons every single day. Oh, the folly of not going to milongas often enough while there... Yes, I was absolutely new to the world of tango (and actually to the whole concept of social dancing, not having danced anything ever before), but I was soaking it up as if wanting to make up for all the lost time.

When I returned to Helsinki six weeks later I continued dancing, and found a small but dedicated community of young people dancing Argentine tango. It was only here I learned, over time, to hold myself on the dance floor of a bustling milonga. I spent a good 18 months there, dancing four to five evenings a week while I was finishing up my PhD thesis. And I'm pretty sure tango prevented me from going nutters while doing so. Recently I returned to the Netherlands and have been exploring the scene there. I found a lovely tango school in Rotterdam and have stepped up the tempo a bit more still. I'm not an addict, no.

Why tango? As the above story suggests it was chance more than anything else that we met. I initially tried salsa as well, but the music and dance were less to my liking. I guess the melancholic nature of the music and dark romantic associations just suited me well. And I have been toying with the idea of social dancing before, but just never made the time to explore it before. In a way this was bound to happen sooner or later. I must add though, that continued exposure has only deepened my appreciation of tango. The improvisational nature of the dance, the sheer limitless ways in which to move... it's simply fascinating! Especially once you reach a certain level where you feel confident enough of yourself, you sometimes have a dance where you and your partner are utterly in phase with each other; such moments are exhilarating and blissful! It seems that I only become more addicted to tango the more I do it. And two years down the line I feel I'm still only scratching the surface, there's still so much to learn, so much to improve, so much to enjoy! I think I'm hooked for life... but, I'm not an addict, no.

As for the other half of this love story I alluded to in the beginning; it did not turn into a passionate and short-lived affair. Rather, we found in each other a sincere friendship that has only strengthened over time and endures to this day, much like tango.

- L.

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