jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Tango inspiration

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Watching children perform dance moves or simply run down the street in all the un-self-conscious delights of locomotion, I’ve often wished that I started skating as a young child. Children play with balance, position and movement without worrying how they look to others; the experience of age often results in our internalizing all kinds of limits to our possible range of motion. True, we get better at certain things, but we also package ourselves, “choosing” a particular sport over others, deciding that we are not “good” at dancing and sitting on the sidelines, always being told to keep our voices down.

But romanticizing the freedom of childhood is too convenient and too simple, and since giving up freestyle for ice dance, I’ve grown to appreciate being older and learning the possibilities of new ways of moving even though I am older. One way of moving that I think doesn’t work for children is tango. Tango requires intensity, a strength of intention, the desire to get into somebody else’s space, resulting in impossibly-fraught entanglements of the body that (hopefully) resolve themselves magically.

Some pictures that I found (wish I’d seen this performance!) that really capture how stunningly beautiful all this is.

Jessica Wolfrum and Michael Wolfrum in "Al Sur del Sur" (Chicago 2011), choreographed by Sabrina and Ruben Veliz. Photo by Sandro.

Jessica Wolfrum and Michael Wolfrum in “Al Sur del Sur” (Chicago 2011), choreographed by Sabrina and Ruben Veliz. Photo by Sandro.


Speaking of passion, right now I am listening to Yo-Yo Ma playing Piazzolla’s Libertango. Punsalan and Swallow did a wonderful program at the 1998 Nagano Olympics to a set of Piazzolla tangos; for those of you too young to remember, here’s the YouTube link.

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

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