“One and two.”
“One and extend.”
A large wooden door set back on a brick wall on East Sixth Street, between Subway and Skinquake, was left partially open.
Through the wooden door, creaky with age, and up a set of long, wooden stairs, graduate student Ardea Smith sat in one of many black chairs lining a white wall.
“I took one tango class when I was in Argentina and I’ve always enjoyed watching performers,” Smith said. “I guess that’s what got me into tango.”
On Monday, the Bloomington Argentine Tango Organization met for their evening practice at the Lodge.
At least 15 dancers showed up.
“I’ve always liked the pace of the dance,” Smith said. “It has a slower quality than the salsa and it’s a lot easier to listen to what the lead is telling you. It’s definitely been an interesting class.”
Sunlight streamed through the clear windows, shining on the marred wooden floor of the dance studio. As people slowly filtered in and filled the chairs on the far wall, changing into their dancing shoes, tango instructor Amaury de Sigueira entered the room. Greeting his students, de Sigueira went to the stereo on the other side of the room.
“I was a martial artist for many years,” de Sigueira said. “After practicing for so many years, tango was a nice change for me.”
Originally from Brazil, de Sigueira moved to Bloomington in 2005 to pursue graduate studies in education. He started the tango organization in 2006.
“I wanted to give something back to the city,” de Sigueira said. “Everybody in Bloomington seems to want to give something back, and I wanted to as well. If I could share this I would be doing something culturally for the community.”
The first half of practice, which ran from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., focused mainly on warming up and practicing basic steps, including the salida basica and linear technique.
The second half of practice turned to a more detailed aspect of tango, the pivoting and turning technique.
De Sigueira charges his students a minimal fee for practice and he receives none of the benefits. All proceeds are given to scholarships for dancers and are used to bring instructors to workshops.
“I had a friend who recommended this group to me,” Bloomington resident Sidd Maini said. “I’ve been coming for three years now.”
In addition to weekly practices, the organization has a monthly tango social dance called the milonga. This weekend, the organization is bringing Jorge Torres, a world-renowned tango choreographer and dancer, to the stage.
“The biggest thing that drew me to this organization is the community,” dance assistant Elise Boruvka said. “The people are really friendly. They start with the fundamentals and basics and I could actually understand what I was doing. Everyone here has a common interest, tango, and come together and have fun.”
De Sigueira said the idea is not to be just a dance club as the organization wants to give back to the community.
“Tango has changed me as a person,” Maini said. “It’s a very elegant, common dance that I enjoy.”
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