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Tango dancer shifts from beginner to class leader



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Tango facilitators Amaury de Siqueira and Elise Boruvka demonstrate form March 8 in the Georgian Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. Boruvka was a member in the Argentine tango class in 2008 as an undergrad at IU and is now a co-facilitator. Izzy Myszak

Argentine tango class facilitator Elise Boruvka, 32, said her favorite part of class is when a dancer has an “aha” moment. About a decade ago, she was a participant.

The class is Sundays from 4-6 p.m. in the Georgian Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. Normally, around 12 dancers attend because the class is capped at 12 people for efficiency. The class is organized into six-week sessions, but participants can start anytime as long as there is room. The cost is $30 for students and $45 for non-students.

“It kind of came as a natural progression in that as I learned the dance, then the ideas and opportunities to kind of share what I learned with others were available,” Boruvka said.

Boruvka’s dance pursuits began when she was an IU undergraduate student majoring in international studies. She became a member of IU’s Ballroom Dance Club, and in summer 2008 attended a swing dance class for six weeks. 

Boruvka said she had wanted to be involved in dance since she was in high school.

“When I came to IU, that was the first opportunity to really explore dancing,” she said.

During the swing dance class, another dancer told Boruvka about a tango class offered by the Bloomington Argentine Tango Organization. She said that at the time, it was just another dance she was interested in learning.

“Once I started the classes, I really liked how the classes were building on the fundamentals of the dance,” Boruvka said. “Also the community was really friendly and open, so that just really drew me in.”

Boruvka continued to attend the six-week sessions. She said she became a facilitator for the class around 2010 or 2011.

She is also a doctoral student majoring in public management.

Boruvka facilitates the tango class with Amaury de Siqueira, one of the founders of the Bloomington Argentine Tango Organization. De Siqueira said he and Boruvka do not think of themselves as teachers, but more as facilitators guiding the class on its tango journey.

“You have to be very flexible in empathizing and understanding,” de Siqueira said. “And Elise has this natural ability to put herself in the position of others and see how she can more effectively help them.”

De Siqueira said the dancers in class often feel that Elise is empathetic.

“She does not make people feel like they’re not adequate,” de Siqueira said.

Sunday’s class was the first of one of the six-week sessions, but all the participants had attended previous sessions. Colleen Seghi, who attended Sunday evening, has attended the classes for seven years.

“I feel like it’s super relaxing,” Seghi said. “It just is really kind of addictive.”

Seghi said Boruvka answers any questions the participants have. She also demonstrates moves in front of class. Sunday evening, she partnered up with a class member who was left without a partner.

“She’s very patient, super kind,” Seghi said. “She’s an amazing instructor.”

Boruvka showed participants how to walk in tango, which is like gliding or sauntering across the floor. She showed them how to keep their posture, how to use their hips when walking and how to dance with a partner.

Boruvka said tango is not a romantic dance like the media sometimes portrays. Rather, it is a social dance that comes with a social code.'

When a gentleman wants to ask a woman to dance, he performs a cabeceo by making eye contact with her and nodding his head. If she accepts she will nod back, but if she refuses she will turn her head away, Boruvka said.

The dancers in the class use this code when Boruvka and de Siqueira throw a milonga, a structured social gathering for occasional dancing.

“I felt a lot of comfort in knowing the code before I went to a milonga,” Boruvka said.

Boruvka said during a milonga, everyone starts sitting down and talking while there is tango music playing. They get up to dance whenever they feel like it, she said. 

“There’s no embarrassment about it,” Boruvka said. “What’s great about it is you have strangers coming together to dance, and they have a wonderful time dancing together.”

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