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The Church of Tango


Cherie started writing this story at the time it began–in February of 1992, when she was so depressed after her husband’s death she wanted to swallow all of his left-over meds and follow him into the beyond. So what began in a way as a journal or diary became the chronicle of her road to survival in four countries. And once she made that decision to live no matter what tragedy came her way, she plugged on, through one tremendous loss after another, by dancing. No, not yet had the tango found her, but whatever dance there was at the time came to her rescue. She had always been a dancer, and now she knew dance could save her from despair.

As her adventures unfolded, the manuscript grew and grew. She had to make cuts in events, characters, reflections and realizations. That was the hardest part of bringing this story to fruition. So much is left out.

Cherie taught traditional tango in Buenos Aires for many years with her Argentine partner, and their international students all asked her, “How did you end up teaching tango in Argentina?” This book is her answer.

Lots of women have come to Buenos Aires for tango, stayed a while, gone back home and then wrote about their experiences. There are a couple of tango histories available in English, as well as a couple of Buenos Aires milonga guide books.

There are self-help books using tango as a way to better interpersonal relationships. There are some novels about tango in Buenos Aires.This award-winning memoir is not like any of them; it is not a “tango book,” but a story of survival that cuts across death, cancer, Alzheimer’s, loss of home and homeland and cherished heirlooms and possessions, loss of shared histories, of hope for one’s children, of hope for the future, of love. But it’s also about finding love and unexpected joy. And about listening to the music and dancing.

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