Monday, May 17, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
An Argentine art form in Ann Arbor
'U'club turns students,
townies into tango-ers
By EMMA JESZKE
For many, summertime in Ann
Arbor means front porch-frequenting
with cold beverages, little-to-no class
and trying not to suffocate under
the humid blanket that is Michigan
summer. But amidst the chilled-out
leftover students and re-emerging
townies is agroup of people who, twice
a week, flock to the basement of Angell
Hall to turn up the heat even further.
The Michigan Argentine Tango
Club (MATC) is a sexy slice of nation-
ally recognized talent that is open
to all, regardless of 'U' affiliation.
Through the combination of chem-
istry between group members and
pheromones zipping through the air,
MATC creates a magnetic energy that
pulsates through the hallway where its
shockingly affordable dance lessons
As the women glide in strappy
high-heeled shoes, hand-in-hand with
wide-smiling male partners, stopping
to exchange affections with nearly
every couple they pass, it's pretty clear
that these people are here together to
share in their passion: They all abso-
lutely love to tango.
"What's cool about (MATC) is,
because it's an all-volunteer club and
there's no competition, we all help
each other - it's a very friendly envi-
ronment," said Patrick Lademan, an
MATC member since 2002 and cur-
rent beginner series instructor.
None of the instructors working
with the group are in it for a paycheck.
Instead, after working their way up,
they feel it is enough of a reward to
pass on their tango skills to newbies.
Because literally everything in the club
is done on a volunteer basis, MATC is
successful in its aim to provide low-
cost tango lessons to students and
townies (it's $20 for an 8-week pass for
students, $30 for non-students). Drop-
ins can pay a special rate for just one
"Because we are volunteer-run, all
we are trying to do is pay our expens-
es, which are just the room costs,
things like equipment and bringing
well-known instructors to big festi-
vals," said Elizabeth Garcia, a 2004
LSA graduate and former MATC vice
Solveig Heinz, a fourth year Ph.D.
candidate in LSA who has been
involved with MATC in various capac-
ities for four years, feels that keeping
MATC members get fancy for milongoas, tango parties held every other Saturday.
the club in the hands of those willing
to work and teach for free creates a
sense of community that would not
"We learn it together and we give to
each other and we teach each other,"
"(The club is) a socialist model at
ONLY at the Ann Arbor Store! - 1621 S. State St.
Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
-Music Stands l~l
.GIE.TOO and Much, Much More!
the collective level, but at the individ-
ual level you are free to practice free-
market,, capitalist economy," added
Dinesh Pal, a post-doctorate scholar in
the medical school and instructor for
an advanced beginner class. "You are
free to reach for whatever height you
Along with keeping the tango
environment friendly and affordable,
MATC strives to make the dance
accessible, to make even the most
clumsy-footed klutzes feelcapable.
"Our club in particular really tries
to stay true to the roots of Argentin-
eantangojust keepingitas this street
dance that's for anybody," Garcia
said. "There are other forms of tango
that are more polished, that are more
flashy, which are fine and totally valid
but our club generallysticks to how
"'Dancingwiththe Stars' makes all
of us nauseous, actually," Pal added.
Tango-ers get an intimate twist on
experiencing cultural diversity here
at the University.
"The club is, I would guess, about
70 percent international," Heinz said.
"If you look at the board, you have
everything from Lebanon to Germany
... I just taught with someone who is
Chinese. And it's the idea that you are
so close - literally, physically so close
- to a complete stranger, and that's
often not part of our cultures at all.
And you have this moment you share,
with the music, ten minutes, and then:
"When you say 'thank you' in tango,
it mteans 'I'm done,' " she added. "You
say it, and then you smile and walk off
- oh, it's divine."
Lademan emphasized MATC's
focus on a "homogeneous community
of people who all dance together,"
whether dating, single or married.
"Dinesh is married and has a child
and I'm engaged and pregnant, but
when we dance tango, we'reglike this,"
Heinz said - before grabbing Pal to
strike a fabricated pose of passion-rid-
"And that's the beauty of it," she
See TANGO, Page 9
$100 OFF Mention This AD
And Receive $100 Off. Now is the
AT perfect time to prep with one of the
nation's leaders in test preparation.
- Small Classes
G A Expert Instructors
-Free Extra Help