Birthing of an Afro Argentine Tango Dancers Group
by Jean-Pierre Sighé
A fresh breeze blows gently in the San Francisco Bay Area Tango community. With a magnificent inspiration, it carries the unique potential of profoundly impacting the Tango community. It touches the heart and soul of many who still have not embarked on Tango’s transformational journey. The juxtaposed gentleness and strength of such a breeze is no coincidence. It has been encouraged and woven by none other than the legendary Facundo Posadas. Eager to share his knowledge, he has also been generous in sharing his passion for the history of Tango, a history he knows intimately. The Posadas Family has not merely generated the fabulous dancer Facundo, but has produced several musicians and the famous Tango composer Carlos Posadas.
Inspired by Facundo Posadas, we are delighted to participate in the birthing of an idea whose time has come: an Afro Tango Dancers Group (I will not yet here reveal the very efficient acronym of the group, until it is officially announced by its Administrators). The San Francisco Bay Area magnifies the beauty of this country’s melting-pot with the entire world represented in all levels of human endeavor - eating, dancing, creating, etc. Thus, our goal is to encourage a portion of the population that has been very absent in the festivities of Tango. We reach out to the Afro community and invoke the magic of Tango to swirl within them.
The emphasis during our preliminary meetings focuses wisely on natural inclusiveness. It is indeed this direction that will allow this collection of like minds to serve as a channel for the many people yet to discover Tango,
wonder about it, and eventually fall in love with it. Tango has often been taught as if it fell from the sky, with no cultural context to it other than the trivializing “Tango was born in the brothels of Buenos Aires”. We propose to complete the beautiful records of Tango with more tales, keeping alive this segment of human history. Why obscure a part of our own human creativity? Let us be elevated by celebrating each other’s accomplishments. Let us embrace the totality of the human spirit.
There will always be those who do not yet aspire to this place of vision where Unity prevails beyond the illusions of differences. There will always be those who have not yet cultivated their sense of curiosity to embrace the differences and reflect on the many forms possible; some unfortunately view differences as a threat. Still, many have risen to see the beauty of the Grace channeled by the humble slave; have marveled at the immaculate Lotus growing in smelly swamps; are able to admire a plant as thorny as the rose-tree produce a beautiful fragrant flower. Yes, those who are enlightened, should always be ready to resist the temptation to dissimulate the truth in order to satisfy the pernicious, self-centered and empty proclamation of ownership. The credit due should and must be given whenever applicable.
I am discovering with pleasure that even during the most difficult times for Black people in Argentina, some historians and free thinkers have had the
courage to write about the injustices they witnessed. They understood that to erase the contribution of Black people from the history of Argentina has produced a diminished history. Any free thinker might distress when observing the holes in Tango’s history. How frustrating to want to know what has been lost or missing- after only 100 years. How fortunate that - by way of the Internet - much history has been uploaded by good-willed people.
And so this newly formed group hopes to assist in further opening the channels of information for those willing to know more. We do not intend to preach; however, we will not and should not hold back the information about Candombe and its progenies: Milonga, Canyengue, Tango. To share that information will cultivate better dancers as they will be better connected to the vivifying energy of the root. Just as in music, the harmonic correspondences here apply completely; as nothing is ever destroyed, but is constantly transformed and reformed.
With an open heart and mind, I call upon you, dancers of this Twenty-first Century of all creed, race and color to join us and participate in the effort that is destined to become one of the landmarks in Tango dancing in this country and the world. I so do visualize it and I so do count on your human spirit to visualize it too. Would you? ... Let’s Tango!