Practical Mommy’s Impractical Art Project

Step 2: But Why Tango?

At this point, I began living my life by the signs. Sometimes, I didn’t exactly know what they meant but at least I was paying attention. This was a new thing for me since up until then, I was a take charge kinda girl. I was convinced that the only way to get anywhere in life or get anything done, meant I had to do it myself. Period.

My DIY Method is what had allowed me to transplant myself at age 13 to halfway around the world. This philosophy is how I graduated at the top of my class, how I landed one of two prized positions at a prestigious ad agency, how I created a stellar career as a designer, how I got to be 36 years old, 2.5 kids, in the top 5% of household incomes in the world, and feeling… profoundly empty.Obviously, there was a flaw in my approach although I was not exactly sure what it was. I had a nagging feeling it had to do with BALANCE. Hence, my theme word (link) for 2009 was “receive.” As a symbol of this new and hopefully improved way of living, I donned my signature necklace. It was a symbol and reminder for myself that I was open to suggestions.

Suggestion #1: The book.
Suggestion #2: a brochure for a Tango I class at COCA.

Another week passed.

Suggestion #3: While cruising around on the Great Day St. Louis site watching myself (LOL!), what should pop up on the screen but a segment on Argentine Tango — featuring the two instructors whose class I had stumbled on the week before. Hmmm….

Most people only need three prompts but I got a bonus, either because I’m slow or  because I asked God specifically to make my next move evidently clear.

BONUS Suggestion #4: Late one night, as I did my just-before-bed Facebooking, an update appeared on my feed saying, “Heather is having tango dreams.”

I signed up the next day.

Why tango? Because I wasn’t getting any “You must dance Salsa!” nudges from the Universe, okay? But the answer that I volunteered when we went around the circle in class was, “I need to learn how to follow.”

I had “followed” my way to class. Heck! I had “followed” my way into a moving van six months prior! I was nothing but open for where I was going to be led next.

Related Articles
Step 1: The Dance

Practical Mommy’s Impractical Art Project: Intro

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yoga Parenting. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.


  1. I want to work with musicians and create their album art design. I want to be the actual person who does the design and layout structure.ANY advice at all would help, no matter how little you may think it is. I basically don’t have anyone to help me with this, so I’m just digging for help.

  2. Nancy Campbell says:

    TANGO – In college, many years ago, I took a course titled “Folklore y literatura en Sudamerica” – This course was all in Spanish (my being a Latin American Studies major), but the main text was in English. This was Lord’s book about the origins of folk archetypes. We switched back to Spanish when we discussed the tango….

    Our instructor was from Argentina, and the tango was her focal point. we got to watch old films from the 30s, and feel the rhythm. We studied the folk origins of the tango, as well as its stellar figures such as Carlos Gardel. Tango acutally began high in the Andes with an indigenous rhythm called the ‘milonga’. It’s a wonderful rhythm to play on the guitar. “Dan……de-da’da-dan…’da…etc.” The overriding, easily recognized rhythm of the tango is a faster, slightly more syncopated version of this milonga. Look up Violeta Parra to find some early versions of songs related to Tango.

    Leave it to the Italians to turn this into the steamy dance that evolved in the Italian barrios of Buenos Aires. There were many Italian immigrants into Argentina in the late 1800s and later. Just as in the U.S., the immigrants tended to end up in the poorer neighborhoods. They freuqently would have the best music – probably assisting their assimilation into a new place, being an outlet for angst….just look at NOLa (a/k/a New Orleans – my birthplace).

    The night clubs where Tango evolved were in this area. The amalgam of local and immigrant culture ‘invented’ the tango – with its heartbeat rhythm and the soulful, passionate lyrics.

    …and of course, I could never picture the tango evolving in a location such as where I live now in the upper Mid-West of the U.S…, when gringos need to feel a passionate, heart-beat rhythm to help us feel alive, we ‘discover’ music. Salsa, tango, cumbia, bambuco, paso doble, meringue, rumba, etc…..Latin dance just tends to fit the bill.

    Viva la danza! Que viva el tango! (Yeah – I know the upside down exclamation points are missing!)

  3. Nancy, thank you for sharing all of this about tango. The Milonga is still practiced today and there are classes offered specifically for this rhythm and style. It’s really fun but challenging for me still.

    One of the things I like about tango is that because it’s a walking step, it can be danced to all sorts of music. I personally love waltzes! I am aware that there are different styles of tango music and musicians/groups that have authored those styles (DiSarli, d’Arienzo, Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra) but I know very little about each specifically and I’m not sure I would recognize them yet without someone pointing it out.

    One of my instructors, Michael likes to say that tango is continually evolving.

  4. One of the most memorable evenings I’ve had was while watching a tango demonstration. I had not looked forward to going. The dance was planned as entertainment for a bunch of stiff-suited career folks (me included) who were there to mingle and “network.” The tango demonstration threw the entire event onto a new plane. Genuine smiles abounded and the reserve typically associated with such things melted away. The people whose perspectives changed most that evening weren’t even dancing. It’s a powerful dance.