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The Tao of Tango Paperback – 6 Jul 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155212410X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552124109
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 829,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"All the technique and classes in the world did not address the real problem ... as long as I placed my attention outwards [whilst dancing, I ignored] the inner connection." (pages 94-95)

The American 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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book stunning and easy to read, and i found that it was aligned to how I think.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 35 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance Tango, Be Whole 17 Jan. 2006
By Jay Rabe - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Tao of Tango by Johanna Siegmann is a delightful chronicle of her discovery of the inner world of Argentine Tango - plus an insightful look at the application of Taoist philosophy to both Life and Tango.

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."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's About the Connection 20 Dec. 2005
By Lena Hrybok - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is not so much about steps or sequences, so don't expect to learn cool moves from it. It's more about what lays beyond the movement. A balance between two energies: feminine and masculine that is what creates that strong unforgettable connection between people in dance or in life.

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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East meets West on the tango floor 4 Jan. 2010
By Dennis Hartley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Siegmann deftly sheds light on this unique dance form from a spiritual/ metaphysical point of view. In particular, her distinction between male/female energy and behavior is a powerful concept that helps us provide a framework to better understand gender issues in our still somewhat patriarchal culture. She shows that tango can be treated as a metaphor for many areas in life, including a deeper understanding of our own natures.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Power of Balance 16 May 2005
By Valeria Solomonoff - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Tao of Tango is successful because it probes the right questions.

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.

Valeria Solomonoff

Tango performer, teacher and choreographer

Co-founder of TangoMujer

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Me 29 Sept. 2010
By A. Living Creature - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've studied Taoism with some depth, and have practiced Tai Chi Chuan for 10 years. More recently I've sought to learn dancing the Argentine Tango. In all of this, I've noticed quite clearly the intersection between the principles of Taoism, Tai Chi Chuan and Tango. I'm certain that a great book could be written on the subject of that intersection. Unfortunately, this is not such a book. This book is actually a journal entry style account of the author's personal journey and self-discovery while learning to dance Tango, and thinking about the Tao. While her words sometimes impart a nice observation, the material didn't qualify for me as particularly profound or extraordinarily insightful. Maybe this would be good material to consider for someone new to Tango, or who has never thought about it deeply. I think that the title set me up to expect something else, and my hope for that something else led me to be disappointed with what the content of this book actually is. Aside from that, I thought the writing style could have been better; a lot of the emphasized text in the book distracted me from better appreciating what the author wanted to say.

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.
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