My husband and I went to see a production of "Forever Tango!" presented at the Angela Peralta Theater just two blocks from our home here in Mazatlan.

After all, since we're moving to Argentina in July, we need to learn more about tango, which was born in Buenos Aires back in the late 1800s.

It was a great show--passionate dancing, stirring music, spectacular costumes. But I wanted to know more about how this dance form started, so I did a little research on the history of tango.

Despite the fact that we tend to consider tango to be a dance performed in high society while wearing gorgeous dresses, the roots of this dance are decidedly low class.

In the 1880s, Buenos Aires attracted immigrants from around the world--Germans, Italians, Africans--as well as those moving tothe burgeoning city from the pampas in theArgentine countryside. These new arrivals brought their cultures with them, and as the lonely working men and women longed for companionship as well as a bit of home, a new form of music, dance and culture evolved.

Though many still argue the exact origin of the word "tango" it is generally considered to be derived from a word describing the drumming music of the African immigrants. The Germans added the accordion, and a new craze in European dancing--a scandalous new position in which the man actually rested his arm on the back of his womanpartner!--trickled into the gatherings of thosewho were alone and seeking a way to releasetheir despair and express their passion.

The only women in Buenos Aires willing to dance in this provocative style at that time were the prostitutes, so tango was developed by immigrants looking for love in the houses of ill repute. Later, men actuallypracticed dancing the tango with other men so they could become skilled enoughto impress the wealthy European ladies who made visits to the exciting, prosperous country of Argentina after the turn of the century.

In fact, Argentina was so wealthy at that time that those in Paris and London would refer to someone with considerable means as being "rich as an Argentinean." Tango became a dazzling form of entertainment among the rich and famous of Europe, and eventually this higher status was conferred upon the smoldering dance in its native Buenos Aires.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of dances that were once considered too risque for the general public--the Charleston, the twist, hip-hop--but few have risen from the lowest class to the highest in such spectacular form.

"What does this have to do with mindfulness?" you are asking.

Well, everything.

You see, tango was embraced--eventually--once people were able to view it in a new way. The same bawdy dance carriedout in dark brothels in Buenos Aires was considered sophisticated and daringly modern once it was dressed up and presented at Paris cocktail parties.

Mindfulness helps us see the world ina nonjudgmental way. It inspires creativity as well--we can see possibilities that wouldn't be so obvious if we were looking through that veil of judgment.

What if you DIDN'T consider this particular thought negative? What if you DIDN'T seethat particular practice as scandalous?

What if you saw the world--and yourself--as simply full of possibilities?

Learning to watch our responses is a lot like dancing the tango--we need to be fully present. We need to be braveenough to look really, really closely.

If we don't focus, we're likely to get kicked in a rather personal place. If we are tuned in, we will floweffortlessly with little resistance andtremendous grace.

Mindfulness helps us move through lifewith awareness, creativity, and acertain flair that says "I'm paying attention."

Glittering dresses are optional.

Author's Bio: 

Maya Talisman Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her playful, eyes-wide-open approach to everyday awareness has been featured in numerous publications around the world. She publishes the Friday Mind Massage, a free weekly ezine with subscribers in over 100 countries. To subscribe, visit