I’ve always struggled to explain my sudden calling for Argentine Tango. My parents, who accompanied me to the opening night of Flying Into Daylight, have found it hard to comprehend why I spend at least two nights of the week hanging out with ‘dancing weirdos’ (my mother’s words) and hugging strangers in a hall in North London. But in Live Theatre’s beautiful and intimate space where every floor tile and chair looks as if it has been air lifted from a milonga in Buenos Aires… they can finally get a glimpse into this world.
My pulse raced a little faster as the house lights went down and Julian Rowlands’ bandoneon chords filled the theatre. Marco (Jos Vantyler) swaggered on stage oozing Latin sex appeal against a bewildered Virginia (Summer Strallen). I was transported back to the sounds, smells and chaos of Buenos Aires and the moment when I, like Virginia, stood outside the door of a Tango school wondering if I should head in, or if it would just be easier to jump on a flight back home to England.
It has been an incredible journey. Two years later Ron Hutchinson and I sat in a coffee shop in London to discuss making my story into a full length play, and since then we’ve watched an amazing creative team bring it to life and finally, witnessed it’s opening night. We have now taken off, from page to stage – but I was anxious what the audience would make of this tale, a story that is an incredibly personal part of my life and which is still a baffling obsession to many.
Tango from the outside can appeal superficially sensual, not helped understandably by the lycra fashions and close contact. My original story was a love letter to Tango and a country that I am reminded daily how much I miss. Ron and Max’s production helped me remember why I have taken huge risks for this dance, and I left the theatre that night with the overwhelming urge to grab my dance shoes and find the nearest milonga. As it happened, I ended up in Belgium two days later for a tango marathon weekend.
I can’t guarantee the audience will want to swap their trainers for Tango shoes, but what is evoked so beautifully is how integral and liberating art, music and dance is in within our lives. And maybe now, just a little more, my mother will understand why I disappear at midnight.
Pictured: Victoria dancing at a recent Milonga in Belgium, December 2014. Photo by Peter Forret, Tango Paparazzo