“When you lead you are also following, and when you are following you are also leading.” | Sojun Mel Weitsman

We have the term “effortless effort”­—it is not hard and it is not easy. There is riding the wave and following the wave. When you are surfing and you catch a big wave you wait for just the right moment for the wave to crest. When you are riding the wave you are also driving the wave. You can’t tell whether you are riding or driving. It’s that kind of ease. The wave and you are one. You and the horse are one. This is non-dual practice. Dogen calls it turning and being turned.

When you are in a leading position then you are turning the practice, and when you are in a following position you are being lead by the practice. You should know which is which. Sometimes leading and sometimes following, but when you lead you are also following, and when you are following you are also leading with perfect balance, perfect coordination, perfect harmony. When we are all practicing together in this way, prajna arises and illuminates our world. This is patience beyond patience.

From “Practicing Prajna Paramita,” a talk by Sojun Mel Weitsman. Full text available at http://www.chzc.org/mel20.htm

Women’s History Month: Maja Petrović

Croatian-born maestra Maja Petrović was exposed to arts and culture early in her life. She began dancing at age 3, and, during her 10 years in music school, she studied both the piano and flute. In 2002, Maja and her partner Marko Miljević discovered tango, and five years later they began teaching in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2014, the two embarked on careers as full-time teachers and performers, traveling worldwide to share their wealth of knowledge and love of the dance. Among their influences, they cite Pablo Rodríguez, Noelia Hurtado, Carlitos Espinoza and other contemporary protagonists. Maja’s style is characterized by spry, musical adornos, dancing between the phrase, and keen expression of legato and staccato movement. Here are Maja and Marko interpreting D’Arienzo’s “Este Carnaval.” #womenshistorymonth

Women’s History Month: Noelia Hurtado

On the first day of Spring, we celebrate maestra Noelia Hurtado! A darling of the international tango scene, Noelia began studying tango at age 12 after accompanying her father to a lesson. Noelia is best known for bringing effortless style, rich musicality, sensuality and playfulness to the dance. She met her former partner Pablo Rodriguez at the famed Sunderland Club in 2003, and in 2006 they were crowned Metropolitan Champions of Tango Salon of Buenos Aires and Metropolitan Sub-Champions of Milonga. Creative partnerships with Pablo Rodriguez and Carlos Espinoza have made her one of the most in-demand maestras in the world and the most-viewed tanguera on the internet. Ladies and gents, Noelia and Carlos dancing to Osvaldo Pugliese’s arrangement of “Chiqué.” #womenshistorymonth

Women’s History Month: Natasha Lewinger

Uruguayan maestra Natasha Lewinger has danced tango since 2007, and has taught for over 10 years, having collaborated professionally with Pablo Rodriguez, Pancho Martínez Pey, Pedro Farias, Silvio La Via and others. In 2016, she and Greek tanguero Haris Mihail began a creative partnership exploring musicality, symmetry and dynamics in their interpretations of Golden Age music. Natasha described her approach to tango with, “You could say that my energy, posture and embrace belong to the milonguero style, but I work with many elements of tango salon such as the dynamics in giros and elegance with the lines of the legs. For me the thing that prevails in dance is the connection, and after, the technique. The technique is very important and in fact my explanations are very technical, but all this with the premise that the feelings are above the technique and not the other way around.” Here are Natasha and Haris performing Florindo Sassone’s “Pescadores de Perlas” #womenshistorymonth


Women’s History Month: Paulina Cazabon

Chilean maestra and tango educator Paulina Cazabon has danced professionally with greats such as Carlos Espinoza and John Zabala. Today, she performs and teaches internationally with partner José Luis González. Together, they became national champions of tango in Chile and placed 7th in the 2010 Tango World Championship. They name Jorge Daniel Dispari and Maria “La Turca” del Carmen, the mother of Geraldine Rojas, as their most influential teachers. Here’s Paulina and José tearing up the floor to D’Arienzo’s Milonga Querida. #womenshistorymonth

Women’s History Month: Veronica Toumanova

Veronica Toumanova is a tango dancer, educator, organizer, and writer who travels extensively to teach, perform and give lectures. A co-founder of Tango Mon Amour, she was introduced to tango in 2000 while living in the Netherlands, and has used her background in modern dance and classical ballet to inform her style and technique. In 2015 she published “Why Tango,” a compilation of her popular essays that have been translated into 18 languages and shared by tangueros worldwide. Here’s one of Veronica’s many enlightened writings. #womenshistorymonth

Women’s History Month: Maria Inés Bogado

Maria Inés Bogado began dancing at the age of 12 and earned a degree in Argentine Folklore at the Centro Polivalente de Arte de Ezeiza. Tango entered her life in 1994 just as the dance began to rise globally. She confessed that, at the recommendation of friends, she began training at the Sunderland Club práctica during a period in which she’d grown bored with her own dancing. There she met Sebastián Jiminez in 2008 — Maria Inés had just graduated college, and Sebastián was only 15 years old. In 2010, after training together for two years under Rosa Forte and Carlos Pérez, they won the Tango Mundial (Salón category). Maria Inés’ dancing is characterized by classic polish and a touch of brass. She continues to teach and perform internationally. Here’s Maria Inés and Sebastián interpreting De Angelis’ Pobre Flor with Carlos Dante and Julio Martel on vocals. #womenshistorymonth

Women’s History Month: Rosa Forte

Rosa Forte, milonguera and maestra, is celebrated for teaching and disseminating tango alongside her husband, Carlos Pérez, at the renowned Sunderland Club in Buenos Aires. Together they danced socially until their marriage in the early 60s, and returned to tango professionally in 1994, taking over classes for maestro Jose “Lampazo” Vazquez. Since then they’ve hosted a popular práctica at Sunderland that continues to draw dancers from around the globe. By 2013, they’d trained 6 of the prior 7 tango world champions in the salon category, including Maria Ines Bogado and Sebastian Jimenez, and Hiroshi Yamao and Kyoko Yamao. Here’s Rosa and Carlos interpreting Di Sarli’s Bahia Blanca.