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TANGO FOR CONNECTION – BUT ARE WE REALLY CONNECTED?
By Paras Saghi

We are the organisers of the widely-known Taboe Tango Camps in Holland. How did we get the idea and what we do in this alternative festival, as a result of a personal quest for a deeper and more connected ‘all in’ tango experience?

I think many dancers agree that tango contributes to an interconnected, more trusting and joyful world. Why exactly? Tango – besides the pleasure of the dance itself – is a wonderful opportunity to be together, without any distance created by social classes, professions, age, religion and other obstacles. All these disappear  at once in the embrace and hopla! – we are all part of a planet-wide tango community! The only requirement is to be able to dance tango. As we all have different tastes, wishes and preferences we always find enough nice dance partners


After exploring the local tango scene, many dancers travel further and further to discover the tango world all around. They leave their city, country or even their continent and travel to distant festivals, marathons and camps and meet other cultures and people. Why is it so nice to go to these festivals? I guess, because it’s so refreshing to move out of our everyday life and every-week milongas with the same people. We can meet new dancers, new experiences, new teachers, new love affairs...

It was like this for me too. How exiting! However, after some years my enthusiasm ebbed away. I missed something... but what? At many festivals the encounters were so fast, ever changing, skin-deep... Despite the fact that my body enjoyed the ‘oxytocine shot’ (a feel-good hormone), my heart felt often empty after the milongas.  I was longing for an event with fewer people, where we got to know each other better, really feeling part of the group, going deeper, doing different activities besides dancing. Within a few weeks the idea for my ideal tango event was born. Together with my partner, Paul, we have now reached the 10th Taboe Tango Camp. To tell the truth, we didn’t have any well thought-out concept, we just improvised in many ways, did what felt good and made us happy. And as we are playful and creative people and enthusiastic tango teachers it gave us the opportunity to create something beautiful.

 

Taboe is special because the 150-200 dancers live together for the whole week without any daily (milonga) visitors. It allows the dancers to relax, get to know each other, feel safe and accepted in the group. To develop and mix up the group besides the dance, the days are spiced up with small social assignments, secret tasks, playful milonga ‘kick offs’ and relaxed ‘kick outs’. We also talk about ‘taboo’ tango issues that are rarely mentioned, are even difficult to many of us, such as: not being asked, saying no/getting refused, too much intimacy etc. All this makes easier to connect with ourselves and each other.

To prepare ourselves for such an event we choose a focus, a main theme. What really excites us, challenge us, and helps us to make new, meaningful (tango-)steps in life? This theme is represented throughout the whole week in the workshops and beyond.
There is a free choice from many workshops a day, mostly around the central theme such as ‘choice’, ‘sound’, ‘stillness’, ‘surprise’. Naturally, the dancers who come are interested  – besides just dancing – in the social or spiritual aspect of the tango, want to learn about themselves. Our intention is to enrich the tango not only with new steps and technique, but also by addressing the ‘inner’ side of the dance: intensity, flow, confidence, male/female energy and so on, as we believe that this is also very important for a beautiful dance in connection.

Sessions like chi gong, yoga, tae-bo, mindfulness and singing are all different ways to prepare, open up and relax the body/mind for tango.
We started with a more intimate event, the TaoTango weekends now. We enjoy to work with tango this way and hope it contributes to the life of many!
There are so many different kinds of camps, festivals in the colourful tango world and they are all enriching the worldwide connection. We are happy and grateful to have found tango as a beautiful vehicle to gather with other people in openness and harmony.

More info about the 10th Taboe Camp 8-14 July : www.tangatelier.nl