Tango has taken over the lives of Meredith Klein and Andres Amarilla. The dance partners founded the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School more than 12 years ago.
Klein has been dancing tango nonstop since 1999 and said it’s unlike any other dance.
“It’s a very complex dance,” she said. “It’s very intricate and requires a lot of coordination.”
Amarilla is from Argentina and has been dancing since he was 11 years-old. He says tango came naturally to him.
“The combination of movement and community and interaction with another person makes it a special interaction,” said Amarilla.
Both say that tango has deep roots in Hispanic culture, but it has other influences as well.
“Like Latin America, which has so many different cultural influences and so many different traditions, tango also is this incredible mix of peoples and cultures from around the world,” said Klein.
The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns hit their school hard. In a socially distanced world, teaching an intimate dance is somewhat impossible. The school realized that it had to adapt, so instead of teaching with a dance partner, Amarilla uses a stick. It is different, but it has not stopped people from learning.
The school has also started virtual events as well. Back in May, it held a virtual tango festival that had more than 400 attendees.
“The fact that people are still engaged online is giving a sign that as soon as people are safe to dance that people are going to flood the events and have a binge on tango,” said Amarilla.
Klein and Amarilla said that even though tango is going through a tough time, they still have hope for the future.
“All these human resources that exist to carry tango forward are immeasurable more than at any moment in time. So I am confident that all of that equals a revival on the other side of all this,” said Klein. “We just don’t know when it will be. None of us do. Hopefully it will be soon.”