The Tao of Tango Paperback – 6 Jul 2006
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About the Author
At the tender age of 4, a light bulb went on over Johanna's head. Literally. Although born in New York, she moved with her family when she was three to a tiny Mexican town where milk was still delivered on donkeys. The only blond in town, she really stood out on the Cinco de Mayo parade float she rode, patting out tortillas. One night, on a bare plywood stage lit by naked light bulbs, she did the twist for her kindergarten recital in front of a gaggle of adoring parents. And even if a star was not born, the glow of that little bare bulb never left her. When she was five she moved to Mexico City, and attended the American School from which she eventually graduated. Apparently, that got the travel bug going, and she was very fortunate to trot around the world, visiting most of Western (and some of eastern) Europe, a good chunk of South America, Africa, India/Nepal, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada.
Johanna received her B.A. in English and American Literature from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, (with a semester abroad in England) and returned to Mexico where she began a short-lived career as a copywriter in advertising. Her work brought her to New York where, after four years of "bigger, better, and improved", she headed the call of that bulb from the past: acting. In the ensuing years her writing was put on hold until several years after her move to California. In the aftermath of a divorce, she was introduced to the Argentine Tango, an event that would prove to be a turning point in her life. The floodgates were thrust open and Johanna began writing again, completing several articles, a couple of plays, a handful of short stories, and, of course, The Tao of Tango.
Johanna has been dancing the Tango since 1995, performing in the U.S. and abroad, and has been a private coach and practice partner for several years. More recently she has developed a workshop based on The Tao of Tango, which has met with great enthusiasm.
Besides writing, Johanna also directs plays, enjoys hiking in the hills around her home in Los Feliz, California, and has a fetish for felines - a trait her darling beloved tolerates bravely.
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Top Customer Reviews
The American Amazon.com website has, at the time of writing (mid-May 2011),
29 reviews, nearly all of which are graded as 5-star (excellent). The 1 exception is a 3-star (good) review, which is from a Taoist reviewer, not from a tango dancer reviewer. For tango dancers, this may be the best book on the market!
The book has been published in Spanish and English and both versions are currently available. I bought two copies of the book, over 3 years ago. The first was mine. I was so impressed I ordered a second copy as a gift to a friend. Of over 40 books on tango that I have bought, read and own, this is one of the most important, and it is one of my top-5. It may well be my desert island number 1 tango book.
Siegmann is not a writer of obscure or esoteric nonsense. This work is clear and insightful and it is pure tango, though her language is often very beautiful, it is always personal and felt. When she discovered tango, she felt that she...
"... [had] found the Holy Grail...I was conversing in some language of the soul that resided in a part of me I never knew existed ... I was consciously experiencing my female energy for the first time." (Pages 2-3)
I am inspired to write a review of this intelligent and heart-warming treatise on tango because, at the time of writing, justice has not been done; there are no reviews on the English Amazon website and, I hate to say it but I have heard awful and nonsensical hearsay, that this book has nothing to do with tango. How far from the truth some will go to peddle their spiteful lies!Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
On the surface, Tango is rooted in the sensuality and seduction that goes on between a man and a woman. But deeper things are going on. As Ms. Seigmann discovered, it is a conversation "in some language of the soul that resided in some part of me I never knew existed."
Drawing on key principles of Taoism, Ms. Siegmann shows how all people, whether men or women, are mixtures of characteristics that are either yang (masculine) or yin (feminine), and in order to be successful, in either Life or in Tango, each person must have these energies in balance within themselves. Yet in our post-Feminism world, this is rarely the case, for either gender. Johanna Siegmann discovered, as have many others, that learning to tango is much more than learning a new dance.
In order to dance tango properly, whether we are a man or a woman, we must be in touch with both our halves, both the confident masculine part, and the sensitive feminine part. Per Ms. Siegmann, "True happiness lies in the mutual embrace of both our [masculine and feminine] energies." Only when we can draw on both these qualities will our tango have the deep character for which it is so justly revered. In a real sense, it is a journey of self-discovery and healing. We find that, whether interacting on the dancefloor or in a Life relationship, having our energies in balance promises nothing less than a resolution of the age-old "battle of the sexes."
I recommend this book to anyone, either you are dancing tango or not; it's short and very easy to read. And if you don't find a nice dance technique suggestion in it, you might find something that would be applicable in your every day life in a relation with your significant one or friends, or colleagues at work.
As the result of "feminism", we can enjoy a fairer balance of power with men, but what femininity is still remains a complete mystery to us. The book dares to praise passivity, surrendering and following, and reminds us that those words can still carry derogative connotations. At the same time it tells us about male and female energies present in each one of us and with that, it frees us of limiting patterns of behavior.
Dancing Tango is a beautiful way to play, rehearse and observe how we are as women and men. The Tao of Tango refers to it in a provocative, measured and grounded way.
Tango performer, teacher and choreographer
Co-founder of TangoMujer
In summation, the biggest obstacle that confronted me in trying to read and appreciate this book is that I was expecting, and was wanting, it to be something other than what it is. I wanted it to focus more directly on, and go more deeply into, Taoism and its relationship with Tango, which is what the title suggested to me. I could only get through two thirds of the book before giving up. Perhaps other people may find it helpful or enjoyable, but I didn't.