Not happy to settle for the easy life, it was with a real sense of adventure that Helen Halldórsdóttir opened her own tango dance studio in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, often called the “Mecca of Tango”.
Helen, or “La Vikinga” as she is known in Argentina, spoke about tango and life in Argentina on RÚV radio station Rás 1.
Helen started dancing tango in Sweden and says it was a real challenge for her when she started out; largely because of the extent to which the person dancing the female role has to surrender control of the dance to the male partner, which she was uncomfortable with to begin with.
She rose to the challenge, she says, and ended up falling in love with tango. “We need to be precisely in the now to dance tango,” she says when asked why so many people are enchanted by tango.
“We can’t be thinking about anything else when we’re dancing tango. Then there’s the lovely, seductive music, and it emphasizes both the gentle and feminine, and the masculine.”
Within a few years, Helen began teaching others tango and the path of her life took her from Sweden to Buenos Aires. The Argentinian capital suffers from tango fever—with regular performances and plenty of dance schools and studios. Despite this, Helen soon felt the urge to open her own.
“I felt there needed to be a place where everyone was welcome,” Helen says—explaining that women can take the lead role in the dance and that same-sex couples can dance together at her studio, where they may not be comfortable doing so at more traditional places.
As a result, her studio was fairly controversial to begin with, but has since become a springboard for young musicians and dancers.
Today, Helen travels the world teaching tango and has become something of an ambassador for the dance in the LGBT community.