Charles and Wella Augustine have been doing the Argentine tango since they met at a social dance seven years ago.
“The heart of the Argentine tango is just walking,” Charles says. “Unlike tango in International and American ballroom dancing, it’s an improvisational social dance. There’s no competition involved; it’s really about everyone’s own personal style, which really speaks to me.”
“To have that connection with another person, without having any kind of words—just listening to them move and then to have them listen to you—I think it’s really beautiful,” Wella says.
Tango for a Cause
The Augustines teach community classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced students, and they donate the proceeds to Oregon Cancer Foundation. The money is used to provide financial assistance to cancer patients undergoing treatment in Lane County, as well as education and support services for survivors and caregivers.
This community fundraiser allows the foundation to help more people, while offering participants a fun way to be active.
“Argentine tango is appropriate for all ages and skill levels, from people who have never done this before to experienced dancers,” says OCF executive director Amy Johnston who has attended the class.
Argentine Tango has also been shown to be beneficial for cancer survivors. Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that the Argentine tango can help counteract some of the balance and movement problems cancer survivors experience as side effects of treatment.
At the end of the day, Charles and Wella say it’s the social interactions that make this dance and this experience so memorable.
“I think tango has a lot of parallels to just life in general,” Wella says. “You have to be grounded, you have to be on your axis, you have to be able to balance on your own and then be able to do that with somebody else.”
“I like the idea of going back to that very personal, very connected, not just Facebook friends, but physical interaction. I think it’s very valuable, Charles says.
The Argentine tango classes meet on most Friday evenings at Celebrations Belly Dance and Yoga Studio in Eugene. The beginners class is held at 7 p.m., followed by the intermediate/advanced class at 8:15 p.m. Students will learn basic Argentine tango movements, connection, navigation and etiquette. The goal of the class is to provide students the necessary skills to dance socially. Each class is $10.
Learn more about upcoming classes by following Dance for a Cause on Facebook.