TangoForge does Burlesque

redlightnovemberposterFor some time, I’ve been interested in presenting tango in the context of burlesque.

I’m a fan, and whenever I’m enjoying it, I’m reminded of the many and contradictory relations between tango and burlesque:

  • Like burlesque, tango is All About Gender — I call it “drag for straight people
  • When I see a burlesque show I always feel sorry for the girls, because I get to dress sexy and show off every night when I go out dancing, not just once a month…
  • Like burlesque, tango is erotic but defocuses genitalia. Watching me do a very normal tango dance at my house, a friend said “that was so sexual I felt I should leave the room.”
  • Tango and burlesque are both about walking in high heels. We have a technology for the sexy walk…
  • For me, tango “style” is too conservative. I like to dance in platform boots…
  • While I think tango teachers need to stop advertising tango with clichés (fishnet stocking + red dress with slit + high heels + suit) because a lot of people don’t relate to them. The exception is Burlesque people, who do relate to the tango cliché style. They might want to try?

Without resolving any of that…

The aspect of tango that I’m most interested in showing as a performer is the fact that every single step is improvised and every movement of my leg is led by my partner. We are communicating in real time, by touch, and that level of connection is HOT. (I say it feels like a second date, when you are unwaveringly present and attentive to one another, and then spend the rest of the relationship trying to get that feeling back.) For some time I’ve been imagining a burlesque number in which my partner blindfolds me to draw attention to the fact that I can follow his improvisation only by touch…


Here’s the script we gave to the MC:

Ok ladies and gentlemen, there is something I have got to get you to understand before we start the next number.

What you are about to see is not choreographed. NOT choreographed. It is improvised — it’s about to be improvised before your eyes.

Improvised means that they have no idea what they’re going to do yet.


There are going to be boots. Every single thing you see those boots do is conceived and directed by the man in white. And at any given moment he has roughly 71 options to choose from. And he can only communicate with his skin.

Please welcome Tango Forge.
And here’s the video:

I want you to know that you are not alone…

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?




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Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

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Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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