After nearly a full month thrust into the fast-paced world of The Cleveland Tango School teacher training program, here are a few words from our friend and colleague Eric. We thoroughly enjoyed working together, and he’ll always have a home here in Cleveland.
It was my second day in Cleveland and a few of us were hanging out at The Spotted Owl. This was on a Tuesday, on bachata night, after taking Alberto and Micaela’s beginner classes at Viva Dance.
I took the class as a follower, as I had done the night before at their class in Oberlin. For leads who already know their shit, going back to the beginning is highly recommended. This is the first dose of training I got from this month.
Sitting at the bar, sipping an overpriced whiskey, I attempted to talk to Micaela about the existential crisis I was having. I was a man-in-transition. I still am in many ways, but on that Tuesday in particular my mind was jumping over itself trying to figure out just who I am now.
I started tango like so many—as a person looking for a way to balance out, or simply not think about the stress and too often felt desperation of my 9 to 5 job. I was a teacher working 7 to 4, but I wasn’t entirely happy doing this. Dance and then tango, later followed by yoga, was how I got through the bulk of many hours spent in frustration.
Almost 7 years later, I’m sitting at a bar with an incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and driven professional tango dancer and teacher, telling her how strange it feels to call myself a “tango professional.”
She looks at me like the friend and colleague she is and says, “I think this tango life suits you, and you suit it.”
A month later, Micaela and I revisited this conversation at the same bar, on a Tuesday, with salsa and bachata music playing in the background. This time none of this life felt foreign to me, and I no longer felt out of place. I was no longer worried about what label I would use to define myself, nor was I concerned about what others would think of it.
After all, a writer is someone who writes. A dancer is someone who dances. A teacher someone who teaches.
I’ve been all of those things for some time already.
I survived a month of classes, private lessons, community practicas, small group practices, a weekend marathon, and held my own tango party in Elkhart after it was all said and done.
A month in Cleveland isn’t enough, but it’s a damn good span of time and place to restart a life doing the thing I love with people I care about.