Serious Humor

This page was inspired by Omar Romagnoli, a dear friend and tango instructor from Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. 

After reading “It’s All About,” Omar asked what “Kitty Videos” meant, the last words of the article. I said: “It’s a humorous reference to my affection for watching cat and kitten videos. “No…wait…” implies that I realize it has no relevance and is out of place.” His question brought to mind a revelation that changed my tango life.

My first five years were “dramatic” because I took everything very seriously. The teachers were serious, the music was serious. the dancers were serious, the lessons were serious, tango’s history and origins were serious, and, in my mind, making a mistake was especially serious. If I missed a lead, I felt that person might never dance with me again. If I made a mistake in class, I was sure the teacher and everyone else had noticed. Although I enjoyed the challenges and the material was exciting, it seemed I would never become skilled, or, more importantly, worthy, of dancing this amazing creation. I’d been dancing from age six, learned quickly, loved performing, teaching, coaching students and adults. This was the first time I’d run into…a wall.
Everything was more difficult, complex, and demanding than anything I’d ever experienced in the dance world. As much as I loved tango, it was stressful and I came to realize what was missing. I began searching for humor and started by looking at myself, literally. During a practice I was walking backward, away from the mirror and was shocked to see how far apart my feet and ankles were! I thought I was bringing them together, but the glaring evidence showed otherwise. It looked awkward and anything but graceful, skilled or elegant. The vast difference between how I thought I looked and reality struck my funny bone. How could I have been so far off and not have a clue? The giggle fit that followed that “Aaargh!” moment opened the door to finding humor in this serious dance, and it was everywhere.
I gradually realized that others were doing the same goofy things I was and began incorporating some of those things into my writing. Whatever I wrote had to originate from something I’d messed up and had seen others do. Finding the fun made a remarkable difference that completely revised my approach to all things tango. An error became a reason to share a light moment with a partner. Mistakes became  opportunities rather than disappointments.
Tango had my mind and heart at first sight and my soul soon after. Humor has greatly enhanced all of those, and has taken on a life of its own now and then, as in “Kitty Videos.”

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