The dance of love | AspenTimes.com

The dance of love

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Tango takes off in Aspen – Paepcke Park is a summer forum for Argentinian dance

On your run-of-the-mill, Tuesday evening in Aspen, the mood at Paepcke Park takes a turn for the romantic. The sun is just dipping behind Shadow Mountain, and though the sky above is still bright, twinkle lights dot on around the park’s center gazebo.

It’s the perfect atmosphere for a midsummer’s rendezvous – and right when that thought crosses through your mind, the revelers appear, carrying a boom box, and wearing their dancing shoes. Soon enough, they’ve poured drinks, paired off and started to tango in the gazebo to slow, steady music.

Tango? Of course. Aspen has a strong tango community that meets regularly, according to professional tango instructor Heather Morrow. And summertime Tuesday Tangos in Paepcke Park are just part of the action – the group also meets at least twice a month in the Ute City Bank building arcade to dance around 9 p.m. Saturdays, to dance before going to Jimmy’s restaurant and watch (or participate in) a Saturday tango demonstration.Ask her to describe why she loves tango, and Morrow takes a moment or two to think. It’s not a question she takes lightly.

“It’s very freeing,” she says. “You get an intimate connection with another person, with no strings attached, that’s perfectly socially acceptable. It’s a loving communication with a little intensity and passion, and all the gamut of emotions you experience without any words at all.”

Morrow was teaching swing dancing in Santa Fe, N.M. when an Argentinian friend told her to see the movie “Tango Bar” – it would change her life and make her want to move to Argentina. It did change her life. Morrow cleaned a dance studio in Santa Fe for reduced rates on tango classes, studying the Argentinian dance for two and a half years before moving to New York City, where she studied the dance with master teachers. She took her first trip to Argentina in 2000, where she met Jimmy’s restaurant owner Jimmy Yeager, who was also falling in love with the dance form.

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“The complexity in the dance is never ending,” Morrow says. “It’s about feeling good rather than looking good. And it’s wonderful because a man gets to be a man, and a woman a woman in this dance. A woman needs to let go to follow the man, and a man needs confidence to be the leader. It’s like relationship therapy.”

Morrow had been dancing five years before she began teaching. Lately, she teaches at the Red Brick. Her next session of classes begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11. The classes are for all levels of dancers – no experience is necessary – and participants don’t need to bring partners. Each class is $10 to $15.To check out the local tango scene, show up at Jimmy’s restaurant at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays for a tango demonstration with Jimmy Yeager and Mara Goulart.