In life, like in tango, we sometimes need to break the rules. Carmen, a Mexican tango teacher who emigrated to Barcelona, is trying to do just that, and hoping that in the process she’ll teach other dancers how to express their identity with complete freedom and fluidity.
Carmen says grew up in a society where “It wasn’t just the men who were sexist but the women too!” yet from a young age, when at village parties her older sisters were the only dance partners she could find, she leant to dance as a man. She made the masculine moves and took the lead, and on reflection thinks a lot of what she does now dates back to this time.
It all led to her decision to teach tango a little differently. In Carmen’s classes everyone learns to lead and everyone learns to follow and from there they all do a bit of both. This simple idea grew the first ‘Queer Tango’ milonga in Barcelona.
Carmen doesn’t think she’s doing anything political. She just wonders why everyone wouldn’t want to try both. But In a society where we too often spurn our instincts in favour of the security of an expected role, where the fear of the unknown is so strong, we often risk giving up our identity without realising it. Maybe Carmen tango is teaching us some impressive moves.