China and Argentina are finding new common ground in a joint love for tango, the seductive and confrontational Argentinean dance that is finding new fertile ground in China.
Shelly Hou (R) and Juan Berthier, a Sino-Argentinean couple, drive to their tango class in Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 13, 2017. China and Argentina are finding new common ground in a joint love for tango, the seductive and confrontational Argentinean dance that is finding new fertile ground in China. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)
Xinhua spent some time in Argentina with a Sino-Argentinean couple, Shelly Hou and Juan Berthier, who have begun gathering students in Buenos Aires.
In the city's Salon Canning, the two dancers put on a "milonga," a space where tango lovers come to dance and give free rein to their passion.
Hou, born in Shanghai, told Xinhua that her passion for tango began when she saw it performed on television. "After that, I took a holiday to Buenos Aires and moved here in 2013 to learn Spanish and tango," she said.
She met Berthier at the National University of the Arts (UNA), where they began learning tango together.
"We were friends for a year and ended up as a couple, dancing together," added her Argentinean partner.
"We began practicing together and I was surprised to find he (Juan) knew a lot about China, such as traditional Chinese medicine and history. We have progressed together, we take classes, we practice and work together," explained Hou.
According to her, "with the advantage of two cultures, we began giving regular tango classes in Buenos Aires, especially for Chinese people who live or travel here and want to learn tango. We speak about each other's experiences, in China and Argentina."
Now, moved by their passion, Hou and Berthier receive many students from China, as well as the U.S., Canada and beyond.
"The classes are not just about tango, and they are also a place to meet new friends, to share cultures, ideas and experiences together, especially between Argentineans and Chinese," said Hou.
Asked about tango's appeal, Hou describes it as a "mysterious and beautiful dance which represents Argentina. Through tango, more Chinese like me are discovering this country, the culture and its people. It brings us together as a family."
"I arrived here alone, without knowing anything or anyone. I began learning Spanish and tango and I began to discover the country. Tango is not just a dance from Argentina, and it also represents Argentina's culture," she said.
Now, Hou and Berthier are preparing a trip to China. "We want to teach tango there," said the Argentinean man.