Learn Tango in Geelong. On hearing Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Zero Hour’ album in 1989, Pam & Richard Jarvis’s world changed. They were inspired to visit Buenos Aires, before the flood of tango tourism, returning frequently to study with chosen ‘maestros’, and dance with ‘milongueros’, tango’s traditional custodians.
They now share their knowledge and passion back in Geelong, teaching Community Tango in the unassuming Christ Church Hall. Hundreds of locals have learned to dance the authentic Argentine tango in their classes.
At ‘supper and social tango’ nights on the first Monday every month students practise what is taught in group classes (third Wednesday and two other Mondays). Students come at 7.30pm, sign in and put money in a box.
‘We want people to dance,’ says Pam. ‘If they don’t have the means to pay, it’s OK. The modest charge doesn’t cover all costs so we are fortunate Southern Cross Tango sponsors us as their community outreach arm.
‘Anyone who wants to learn is welcome. Tango is for everybody. Advanced dancers help newcomers. On supper nights some bring a plate; some just enjoy what others bring.
‘Tango’s history is colourful and shaded. At times, tango almost died out, but that is another story.’ [You might be interested in reading ‘Luna Tango’ by local author Ali Sinclair, who met with Pam when she was researching her story.]
‘Dancing to tango music is relaxing, sensual and respectful. We enjoy its precision and connection with a partner. Dancers improvise with creative combinations of steps. Dancing tango helps improve brain function, core strength, posture and balance.
‘The music fascinated us; so we learned to dance. We dance everywhere. We’ve performed on stage- there’s always an older couple in a traditional tango show.’
Pam chose Christ Church because it is a true community centre, where people in need have been served free, nourishing meals daily for more than 20 years.
‘Offering tango is our way of giving back to the community. We offer safe, healthy, affordable socialising and exercise. It is fun, and beautiful experience.’
Pam is a popular public speaker, presenting lectures on tango’s cultural history and health benefits. A Tango Project with Alzheimer’s Australia (Geelong), has been trialled successfully. Experienced students assisted, including one who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
‘We share the gift that we received all those year ago in Buenos Aires. We invite you to come along and be moved, like we have been.’