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Introduction to the Tango Diaries

There is nothing new under the sun.

But that's the way we love it.  So I'm adding my voice to the growing hoardes of women who have something to say about tango.

I haven't been dancing tango nearly long enough to have earned the right to say anything about it. Anything I might write about tango may come off as cocky, naïve, or just plain wrong.

But I've had a lifetime's experience of being me, and of living in a world with other people in it, and that's kind of the same thing. And that I can write about until my fingers fall off.

I held myself back from writing for a long time because I didn't want to be a cliché. One more chick who doesn't come from Argentina falls in love with tango and suddenly can't shut up about it. I've seen that movie. I've read those books. And not one of them thought about tango, and life, the way I think about tango, and life.

Therefore there was clearly no point to the exercise.

But then I remembered that all writers are just frustrated readers. And finally my reading frustration achieved critical mass. The book I wanted to read simply did not exist. So I was going to have to write it.

Initially I thought my tango diaries would revolve around my technical process. I would award myself extra points if I wrote an essay that appeared to be about technique and then at the end spun everything around and turned out to be about life. But eventually I let tango itself dictate my form: tango is confiding who you are in the moment, and that balance of ingredients is always shifting. Technique is in there, but so is everything else. And that whole pile of everything was what would have to go into my tango diaries.

So here they are. I wrote them on my iPhone while walking down the street, in composition books on other peoples' stoops, and on the backs of grocery lists when I should have been getting my son ready for preschool. I'm not saying that what I have to say is philosophically insightful, informative, or even right. I just write as a form of trepanning, to ease the congestion of words that builds up against my cranium.

And, once in a while, something comes out that feels true.

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