Sasha Cagen

Sasha Cagen / People of Tango
Sasha Cagen. Writer and Coach. Photographed on Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, 2023.

Tango helped me to heal from trauma. I’m interested in putting that out there because I am interested in seeing what comes back. I would like to know if other people have also healed themselves through tango.

Tango provided this mirror for me to see myself in relation to a person – who could be a woman or a man – and the way I was showing up in the dance was very different from the way that people saw me. Outside, they saw me as being this strong person. But in tango my posture was more submissive. Having that pointed out to me in the learning process gave me this shock of awareness about how I show up in relationships too. And also a feeling of hope that I could change it – because I was changing my posture in tango.

“I learned tango as being an act of love and I think that’s a really important part of it. It’s a play-date, a theater of love.”

sasha cagen

I first learned tango in Colombia. My first, most important teacher was very heart-centered. He taught me in our first classes that tango was like going on a date and every time he asked me to take a step it was like asking me to go take a walk in the park. It was a very sweet thing. I learned tango as being an act of love and I think that’s a really important part of it. It’s a play-date, a theater of love.

That’s what’s so interesting and confusing and paradoxical about the hug because the hug encompasses romance, a brother-sister feeling or two lovers – all those different things can be in the hug. There is a feeling of love and not just technique. That feeling of love is what I seek.

Sometimes I argue with myself and I ask myself: Am I wasting my life dancing tango? I definitely have that thought a lot of times. Am I just a hedonist? The question has a sort of American Puritanical flavor to it. These are the key years of my life to produce. Did I just waste them all dancing at La Viruta between 2 and 4 AM? I don’t even do that anymore but that was the fear.

But in the end – and this is a big point in the book I’m writing now – that pleasure is very fueling and necessary. The pleasure polishes and shines a person so you can do what’s most important. I think choosing what you do based on pleasure, and because you have pleasure in your life, can make you more brilliant and ideally more strategic about what matters most and not just doing a lot of stuff just to do it.