Life Below Zero star Sue Aikens is here with us for a Tango Adventure!

So guess what everybody! We have the amazing, unfathomable Susan Aikens, star of the show National Geographic documentary series “Life Below Zero” with us here in Buenos Aires for a Tango Adventure! Sue is an outdoorswoman, adventurer, survivor, hunter, angler, businesswoman, loner, and now… a new tango dancer.

Sue lives in isolation 500 miles from Fairbanks and just a few miles from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at Kavik River Camp, an exploration camp she has created to enable people to explore nature in the area. You have to take a plane to get to Kavik. Sue built her own runway! (And many other things.) Sue has become a well-loved star (check out the passion of her fans’ reviews on this page) on “Life Below Zero,” which shows the daily battles to survive in a harsh climate. When chatting with Sue, she told me clients wanting to spend time during the deep dark winter are screened by asking questions like, How many fingers are you willing to lose? Apparently the temperatures are so cold you can lose fingers if you are not careful and don’t follow instructions. Fans of the show have followed Sue’s challenges with recovering from a bear attack (the bear had her head in its mouth but she escaped) and a snowmobiling accident.

You can read about the bear attack in this Men’s Journal profile. Sue told Men’s Journal, “I had to sew my own head together, and my arm, and before my hips popped out, I went across the river, found the bear, shot him, called the trooper, and there I lay for 10 days.”  According to the story, she was “finally taken to Fairbanks for treatment, and later to the Lower 48 for hip and spinal surgery.”

So you can see how wild it is that Sue has come to Buenos Aires to go from snow queen  to dancing queen with our Tango Adventure team to explore other sides of herself, including of course, following in tango. For a woman who is often battling bears to survive in the most remote parts of Alaska, the choice to explore the culture of tango in Buenos Aires is….well, in a word…remarkable! There are no words for this! Sue often talks about living outside the comfort zone. I love this quote she gave in an interview, “You’re never more alive than when you’re on the edge.”

What I’ve discovered about Sue is that she is very funny, caring and thoughtful–she is quite the woman. I must say, the more I get to know her, the more blown away I am. She shows us the possibility of transformation, for sure, and the many experiences we can live in one lifetime, as you can see in the photos below. Many online say Sue has more balls than a man, but I would say she has ovaries. Why is courage associated with balls? Come on, let’s find some more body parts to associate with bravery, ladies!

All of this will give you an appreciation for the contrast in the photos you are about to see…

Here are some snaps from Sue’s Tango Adventure with us so far. . .

With TFG (Tango Fairygodfather!) Kevin

Out dancing with Nico, one of our favorite taxi dancers, and TFG (Tango Fairygodmother) Wanda, both key member of our Tango Adventure team

Dancing with Gustavo, another key member of our Tango Adventure team, at Plaza Dorrego, one of the friendly milongas we take you to.

Testing out the new tango dress while shopping for tango shoes

The search for the dress…a far cry from the fashion in uppermost Alaska

Out dancing with TFG Wanda

Having merienda (afternoon snack) with Sasha, the head honcho 😉 and soul of the Tango Adventure and Solo Chica Tango Adventure Coordinator Julia who makes the magic happen

Our Adventure with Sue is just midway through because she is doing two weeks with us. If you’re going to come all this way to dive into tango, you might as well make the most of it. We are psyched to have Sue here with us for two weeks so we have more time to get to know each other!

You can follow along for more on Sue’s Tango Adventure on the Tango.Adventure Instagram and on Sue’s Instagram.

If you want to explore coming on your own Tango Adventure, take the first step. It’s really easy. Sign up for more info on this page. See you there!

For 2020: 31 Days of Asking Men to Dance

la glorieta milonga buenos aires tango

January 1, 2020: Night One of the Experiment at La Glorieta. Photo: fellow tanguera Geneviève Allard

It’s the first day of 2020. I decided to start this year with a bang of new year’s energy. I am beginning a new Challenge: 31 Days of Asking Men to Dance. A new decade merits a new experiment!

In truth, my idea was a recycle of an idea from last year, but reduce, reuse, recycle, right? In January 2019 I decided to do a research project after another conversation with a fellow tanguera about my frustration with going out to dance, and often spending much of the night or afternoon waiting for a cabeceo (the nod of the head a man uses when he asks a woman to dance). My plan was to go out dancing tango 31 nights in a row with the express intention of asking men to dance. My rule for myself was: if you go to a milonga or practica, you must ask at least one man to dance with a mirada (the look of desire used by a woman in her eyes to show she wants to dance), a cabeceo (a head nod usually used by men to invite) or verbally (which would be OK to do in more casual milongas but not so much in formal, elegant milongas).

No matter how I needed to challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone to be the initiator of the dance.

Now what’s the big deal with asking men to dance? We do live in the 21st century and I’m in my forties, not junior high school! There is a brewing feminist movement in tango (the Movimiento Feminista de Tango). I have written an essay “How Can You Be a Feminist and Like Tango?”. I’ve taught my Tango Goddess workshops to help women feel more empowered at the milonga and in their everyday lives as they pussywalk down the street.

Well, we teach what we need to learn. It’s still not easy for me to ask a man to dance in Buenos Aires if he isn’t already a friend or someone I have danced with many times. The codes in tango still send a strong message that men invite, and women wait to be invited.

Deep down for me, and I suspect for many women, there is a feeling that we are more attractive if we are invited rather than actively inviting the men. It’s the same old Cinderella complex, waiting for a man to come, wake you from a passive slumber to validate you. In fact, many men seem to like the idea of women asking them to dance to take the constant pressure of initiation off them. But I’ve also heard from a man that he didn’t want women to ask him to dance because he felt that would be taking away the last clear domain of power that men had. Whatever.

I would have shared last year’s results with you but I lost the phone, so I lost the data recorded in audio messages each time I left the milonga. I can tell you last year I got plenty of yesses and nos. The yesses made the nos worth it because the dances that came along with the yesses were often quite good–and I truly don’t think I would have danced with those men if I hadn’t invited them. There is also a power in knowing I can be rejected and survive the no. In a way, that’s freedom.

So my dears, if at first you do not succeed then try try again. This year we start fresh. I’m going to attempt to do 31 whole nights. Let’s see. That’s an intense goal since I am also working mightily to complete a memoir that I started in 2012 (!!!!) but I’m thinking all this dancing will be good for my writing-brain power because we need a balance of mental and physical activity to stay creative.

So I am going to try the experiment this year and live-blog it as I go along on this post, adding a new entry with data and emotional observations each night after I go out.

Here we go…

Day 1: January 1, 2020 

Milonga: La Glorieta, an outdoor gazebo in Belgrano where people gather to dance nightly.

Me and one of my targets! He said yes. 😉

Results: Spectacular. I asked 7 men to dance, verbally each time. All seven said yes. At least one was someone who I have danced with once before years ago, but I’m sure he thinks he is much higher level than me. Because he was standing alone looking rather glum I asked him anyway.

My language of choice for all the men was “Bailas?” (“Do you dance?”), “Quer bailar?” (“Do you want to dance?” or “Bailamos” (“Let’s dance.”) I used “Bailamos” only with someone I know socially. Using a verbal invitation works at La Glorieta and other more casual milongas. I don’t know if inviting verbally would work well at a formal milonga like Canning. I may have to lean more on a heavy mirada or cabeceo. We’ll see over the next 31 days.

My strategy was often to wait until one song had passed in the four-song tanda. Waiting gave me more confidence and made me feel less like I was attacking them. I realize it feels better to let go of this need to feel desired in my experiment because my stronger need is to dance and feel empowered. My mood was much better because I was asking the men and choosing who I wanted to dance with rather than standing around hoping someone I wanted to dance with would ask me. I felt like a bubblier version of myself than the passive me who stands around waiting.

I asked one man to dance whom I have often danced with. He seemed a bit taken aback that I was the one asking. At first I almost thought he wanted to play it hysterico (hot and cold) and decline my invitation because he was used to approaching me but then all was good and we danced a lovely tanda.

All of the other guys seemed quite fine with invitation. “Dale,” or “Dale si” is what most of them said.

There was one man that I tried to invite with my eyes using my mirada, who I thought met my eyes but then he walked past me. He seemed to have made eye contact with another woman standing behind me. That was OK because well, you win some and you lose some. Overall this experiment started off with winning way more than usual lately.

That was a wrap for night one!

Day 2: January 2, 2020

I was planning to go to De Querusa but with all the hubbub of the New Year and the grand start of this project I am feeling too tired. I need to rest! I’ll stay in tonight to watch Outlander. I’ll make up for it tomorrow by asking EXTRA men to dance.

Day 3: January 3, 2020 

Milonga: Cheek to Cheek, an afternoon milonga

 

The Friday afternoon practica Cheek to Cheek is not a traditional milonga where men and women sit on opposite sides of the dance floor but it’s definitely more of an elite milonga than La Glorieta so I was feeling nervous about taking my “31 Days of Asking Men to Dance” Challenge to Cheek to Cheek. La Glorieta is a “friendly milonga”–Cheek to Cheek not so much. The last time I went to Cheek to Cheek a few months ago there was poca gente (very few people) and they were all ridiculously high-level dancers. I danced with the organizer and I feared that it was a pity tanda because I had been sitting there in planchar mode for over an hour. Planchar is the Argentine verb meaning “to iron.” In tango language, to planchar means sitting for hours, frustrated, not dancing.

So how did it go? I entered the milonga and saw a familiar face of a sweet guy from La Plata. La Plata is about an hour south of Buenos Aires. The dancers from La Plata are often good (and passionate, they drive a long time to get to the milonga). I greeted him with a kiss on the cheek which is probably not what I would have done if it were not for the 31 Days of Asking Men to Dance Challenge. This whole challenge of asking men to dance is making me more outgoing and less timido in general. After I changed my shoes he invited me with a cabeceo, but I really believe that my being more friendly and warm with the kiss paved the way for the invitation. I can’t claim I invited him, but I do think I helped make the invitation happen by being friendlier than I often am. (Not because I don’t want to be friendly, but I can be kind of shy and inward! Especially if I am feeling insecure.)

My first dance. I didn’t ask him but I may have made it happen by being friendly.

What happened after? My friend Jorge showed up. Jorge is a taxi dancer in the Solo Chica Tango Adventure so he’s part of our team. If you come along on a Solo Chica Tango Adventure you might dance with him too. (You can read Jorge’s bio here.) I can’t claim to have gone out of my comfort zone to invite him either since we have danced many times, but I can say, I asked him “Bailas?” at exactly the same time he said to me, “Bailamos.” It seems like “Bailamos” (“Let’s dance”) is a much more normal thing to say to a friend and “Bailas?” (“Do you dance?”) makes more sense to say to someone new. I’m still working out this verbal invitation language since I have spent most of my tango career following the rules of showing my interest with a mirada (look of desire) and not words.

Jorge one of our taxi dancers for the Solo Chica Tango Adventure–and moi! It’s always nice to run into a friend at the milonga. He doesn’t count in the Challenge but his presence boosted my confidence.

After I am happy to say I invited two men! They both said yes. One was a Polish man living in Italy who seemed to be a beginnerish dancer. Very sweet. He seemed happy I invited him. The other was a wonderful dancer that I went on a date with once. We didn’t wind up dating. It can be kind of awkward to see someone that you don’t wind up dating at the milonga. I felt he ignored me for the last year when we saw each other at milongas. Maybe he thought I ignored him? Who knows? This time because I had my Challenge fueling me I forced myself to creep up behind him and tap him lightly on the shoulder. He turned his head around and said, “Quer bailar?” with a friendly smile. We danced a magical tanda. I missed dancing with him. We dance together so well.

I’m only on day three, which is technically day two. I am getting more and better tandas than I would have been dancing otherwise. Going into the milonga with the intention of asking at least one man to dance is definitely working. I’m feeling more present, less passive. No rejections so far, but I’m sure that will change when I ask more people. I have only asked 9 men so far! What’s going to happen at a traditional milonga when I ask a man? I don’t know.

I am quite pleased with the experiment so far. I am feeling less shy and more outgoing in general.

Day 4: January 4, 2020 

Practica: La Maria, an afternoon practica

La Maria is an afternoon practica on Saturdays where I have been going to dance over the last month based on the recommendation from a tango friend who told me the level was better than the DNI practica, which I have had a love-hate relationship with for years. Overall I’ve had a good time at La Maria and have been happy with the switch in my Saturday afternoon tango routine but I’ve certainly faced frustrating moments of feeling ignored there too.

On day four I received my first nos at La Maria. Three nos to be exact, or 2.5, if you count the last guy who told me “No, not this tanda because it’s D’Arrienzo” (too fast) but we can do another tango tanda. I am not sure if that should be called a full no but he didn’t ask me to dance for the last one, and I wasn’t going to ask again because I felt that would be a little bit pathetic, so for the purposes of this study I will call his a no. (However I did chat with him about how and why we got into tango. I may have planted the seeds for a future tanda.)

I was glad about the first “no” because I didn’t want men to be saying yes to me out of obligation or pity. His no proved that a man could say no. Of course I knew that was true because I had gotten “no” many times in the past! I wasn’t surprised because this guy seemed to be one of the high-level dancers who barely danced at all–he only dances with a few chosen few. The second “no” came from a guy who appeared to be a foreigner. I was surprised he said no, because usually foreigners are happy to be asked–they don’t have automatic dance partners. He wound up standing a long time in a corner so maybe he also wasn’t in a dancing mood, who knows?

At first I felt energized and happy with the “nos,” because I knew this project really hadn’t gotten started until I got a “no.” There would be no reality to the challenge without “nos” because that would have meant I was only asking foreigners or men I already knew. In fact, I had asked total strangers but this time I asked high-level strangers. The “nos” felt good because I survived them, and then went on to ask other men to dance who said yes. I danced a milonga tanda with a Brazilian who ran a tango school in Porto Alegre, and a German man who had been dancing tango in Buenos Aires since the 80s. That’s really something. Tango was coming out of obscurity after the dictatorships in the 80s. I feel myself dancing better because I am dancing more. On average I have been dancing 7-10 tandas since I started this Challenge, compared to the 2-3 tandas per milonga I was dancing before. Going out with the intention of asking men to dance has definitely generated far more tandas. It’s also made me feel more in control of my destiny. I am more concerned with identifying men I want to dance with and scheming about how I will ask them rather than sitting in a chair, eyeing men, fruitfully or not, which had gotten awfully boring and depressing after a while.

I must admit after two “nos” I felt tired. I almost invited a man that I have danced with a couple times, but who is a bit inconsistent in his desire to dance with me, I didn’t have much left in the way of strength to take another no. Three “nos” may be the limit of what my ego can take.

Happily though I had four yesses, plus the three men who invited me without any work on my part.

I call Day Four a continued success.

Here’s a spontaneous little video I recorded sitting on a stoop on the street after leaving La Maria.

 

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Day 5: Another rest day!
Wow, this asking men to dance thing is intense! I’m taking another rest day because I need a break, and because tomorrow morning I will get up early to go on a day trip to Tigre, a river community an hour outside of Buenos Aires. The excursion will include tango so I will be sure to ask a man to dance. Stay tuned for the pictures. These will be lovely and different: tango in nature is the best.

Day 6: Tango in Tigre
I wasn’t able to go to a milonga because I went to to this Tango in Tigre Day Trip to check it out as an option for Solo Chicas who come on our Tango Adventures. The day was marvellous: maravilloso! Beautiful people, home-made food by Hugo Satorre, a world-known bandoneonist, yoga, swimming, kayak, and a bit of tango to live music on the pier before we took the boat back to Tigre. Tigre is a small city with a river community just outside Buenos Aires. It’s the easiest place to get a nature fix on a day trip.

 

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Day 6 of my 31-Day Challenge of Asking Men to Dance was spent in Tigre with these beautiful people. I came to check out this day trip for our Solo Chicas. I give it a yes! Hugo Satorre a world-known bandoneonist played for us and cooked us amazing food (gluten-free with care for celiac me). Check the blog post for more than on the asking men to dance report and for the amazing coincidence of the day: meeting @soleviladrich a young feminist who recently co-created a documentary Esto No Es El Tango: El Abrazo Dissidente on all the ways women, queer people and rule breakers are challenging rigid definitions of tango. Perfect timing on Day 6 of the Challenge. It’s great when the universe brings together like-minded people on a mission. She and her friends had even talked about me as the first woman to marry myself in Argentina-a whole other feminist story. Solidarity! #tango #feminism #friends #tigre #bandoneon #dance #nature #amor

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So did I ask any men to dance? Well, no, because the only man to ask was married and he was glued to the hip of his spouse so I didn’t want to rock the boat too hard. However, on the way back in the boat, Sole Viladrich, another woman who had come on the day trip, and I discovered that we had massive amounts in common. Sole just released her documentary “Esto No Es El Tango: El Abrazo Dissidente” all about women, queer people, trans people, and other rule-breakers challenging rigid notions of tango. I told her about my Challenge and how very happy I was to get my first NOs at La Maria on Day 4. In the end, this is all about building resilience and it wouldn’t be real if men only said yes. Of course men have the right to say no too! Anyone does.

We talked about the distinct challenge of asking men to dance in traditional milongas such as Cachirulo, which are run by a kind of ten commandments of tango. You can read more about the ultra-traditional Cachirulo in this New York Times piece “A Caricature of the Patriarchy: Argentine Feminists Remake Tango”. Sole said that she had seen a woman denunciado (denounced) in Cachirulo for asking men to dance. Wow. It will be a dare on a whole other level to break the codes in a traditional milonga. I know I will have to try it this month, and I’m scared! I might call Sole to come and film my attempts.

On a related note, Sole knew all about me as the first woman to marry myself in Argentina! That was funny to hear: her young feminist friends had been asking, “Why don’t we do that too?” because of this story by Jason Mayne in TeleNoche about my self-marriage ceremony in the Japanese Gardens in April 2019. You never know the impact of your actions!

The women are rising in Argentina.

Onward.

Day 7: January 7, 2020
Oh my god, what was I thinking? 31 days in a row? Over the last couple of years I usually only go out twice a week! It was a night of rest to prepare for Day 8.

Day 8: January 8, 2020

Milonga: Maldita Milonga with Orchestra Affronte, an afternoon practica 4-8 

A night out with Sue Aikens and Wanda Abramor, Tango Fairygodmother in the Tango Adventure buenos airs

A night out with Wanda, our magical Tango Fairygodmother for the Solo Chica Tango Adventure, and Sue Aikens, star of the National Geographic show Life Below Zero, who is here with us for a Tango Adventure! More on that in a separate post.

I asked one man to dance, a total stranger, and he said yes. No drama whatsoever.

Day 9: January 9, 2020 

Milonga: De Querusa 

I went out on a whim because I craved the embrace. I often feel I will sleep better if I dance tango. Better sleep was my motivation on Day 9. It worked. I went to bed more pleasurably tired than if I had been watching Netflix all night.

Officially both of my verbal invitations were refused by awkward foreign dancers. That would be two nos. However, from the moment I arrived I interacted in friendly, easy ways with men I have been dancing with recently, which resulted in three rather magical rapid-fire tandas that left me feeling like a sweaty, popular dancing queen.

I’m starting to feel like verbally asking men to dance is not hard. The sting of the no is not bothering me as much. However, it still holds true that I can only tolerate two nos. Any more than that starts to feel like a downer.

I’m also reaping the benefits of going out more often. It’s definitely true that it’s easier to get dances when you are a regular in the tango scene.

I simply feel happier in the milonga now because I feel less powerless. Even if I get a no, I feel like I have more power to decide who I want to dance with. Let’s see if that feeling of power continues.

Day 24: De Querusa and Canning

Well, we can see there is a large gap here between Days 9 and 24. In this entry I return to the same milonga I wrote about last time! I really must laugh at my ambition Day 1 of going out every night. What delusional New Year’s energy!

The truth is I have gone out to dance six times in the last two weeks but I didn’t focus on asking men to dance other than on Day 12 at Plaza Dorrego — and we will have a super-fun video for you about that later. The reason(s)? One, at many of the milongas I was with Sue Aikens, the fascinating bear-hunter turned tanguera (and star of the National Geographic show “Life Below Zero”) who joined us for a Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires so my attention was more on Sue. That said, at at least one time in one of those milongas I did invite a man to dance verbally, and he said yes. The other nights quite frankly I was tired. Asking men to dance requires energy on another level than going out to dance. First, I have to pick out a man to invite, then I need to screw up my courage to break gender codes and face the risk of rejection–well, it’s a lot. So I played it mellow on those nights respecting my energy.

Last night I went back to De Querusa, a moderately friendly milonga where I have some nice regular partners.

Invitations by me, and the way I did it: Two heavy miradas with a slight dash of an head nod (slightly cabeceo-like toward two men, somewhat regular partners, or at least men I had danced with before). Both resulted in dances. One verbal invitation to a French beginner when I was feeling bored and frustrated. He was the one I had never danced with before. I asked him “Bailas?” and he didn’t know what that meant, which resulted in an awkward exchange in English, and then a lovely dance. Those three were at De Querusa. Then at Canning, I used a delicate tap on the back and a head nod toward the floor with a man where I know for sure we enjoy dancing with each other–our musical sensitivities and embrace are very compatible. Resulting in another divine dance before calling it a night. The Challenge helped me to initiate the dance quickly because I knew I wanted to go to bed. Tapping him on the back was much better than sitting there passively waiting for him to invite me. We might not have danced because I was turning into a pumpkin fast.

This Challenge is an experiment in new-habit-formation as well as building courage and resilience. After a while the new habit of inviting men to dance becomes integrated and slightly less dramatic to practice. At the same time I expect and accept there will be plenty of milongas when I simply don’t feel the strength. I’m trying to not beat myself up when my more tired, shy nights happen. When I have energy, I invite!

On Day 24 it should be noted that I attended an intermediate tango class as a leader–for me what’s most interesting now is learning to lead. As a new leader, I return to the absorption and flow state of being a beginner. I met another woman who is learning to lead in the class. Zita from Melbourne and I had a lot of fun practicing together, and then I saw Zita out at De Querusa. I invited her to dance the last tanda, which we danced in a rather deliciously absurd way. There’s also a lot less pressure to be “good” at tango starting over in a new role. Beginner’s mind is the best. In many ways I think being a beginner follower in tango is the most fun when everything is new and intoxicating, and you can’t think for a second because your body, mind and soul need to completely focus to follow.

Day 25: January 25, 2020

Milongas: La Maria and La Carretta

At La Maria I asked two men to dance. I had already danced one tanda with the first man I asked–and he invited me. We were sitting next to each other chatting when I asked if he wanted to dance a second. He said he was thinking the same. So it wasn’t the biggest stretch but my invitation did strike the flame.

The second man was someone that I danced with many times in the past but we have not danced in about 9 months. He falls into a certain category in tango: a hurtful one. I think this phenomenon is familiar to many in tango. There’s someone you danced with for a long time, seemingly enjoyably, but for whatever reason that person doesn’t want to dance with you anymore  so he or she ignores you. This is a cold side of tango that I really do not enjoy.

Well, I was sitting there bored, not dancing, and neither was he, so I decided to ask him to dance because of the Challenge. I had already been acting more friendly to him in general and kissed him on the cheek when I arrived. I got close to him at the bar and asked “Queres bailar?” He either didn’t understand me or possibly he needed to be the one to ask “Queres bailar?” After a bit of chit-chat he asked me the same thing back. Either he wasn’t used to a woman approaching him, he didn’t understand me, or he had a macho need to invite. I suspect it was the latter.

Did he want to dance with me or was he saying yes out of obligation? This is a question that women have asked me since I started the Challenge. A lot of women have a horror about dancing with someone who doesn’t really want to dance with them. Well, the answer is yes, mostly I feel the men I invite are happy to dance with me when I ask. With this particular guy… I didn’t feel his heart and soul in the dance, but I would say that this was an exception. He is also a mansplainer–I know that from taking a tango class with him. So I don’t think he’s my ideal dance parter anyway because he strikes me as a bit machista. I like the more sensitive, open-minded, kind and friendly men. But that’s OK. We can do a tanda together when I don’t have anyone else to dance with. Ha!

I went on to La Carreta with Zita after dinner.  It was my first time at La Carretta: a Saturday milonga that starts at midnight and goes until 5 am! Not really my speed since my free days are dedicated to finishing my upcoming book right now. My number one priority is writing at the moment. I asked two men who were sitting next to me on the couch. The man on the right said no. He was dressed in elegant wide-legged dark pants and a white shirt seemed to be from an Asian country–not sure which, not Asian-American or Asian-Australian–and he seemed disoriented that I invited him. It’s possible that he didn’t understand either “Queres bailar?” or “Do you want to dance?” Or I simply blew his mind as a stranger asking him to dance. I didn’t mind the rejection so much because I was tired and wanted to go home. The second was an Argentine sitting to my left, also elegantly dressed–a serious tanguero. I asked on the third song of the tanda, back to my strategy of not wanting to push too much. He said “dale.” (OK.) We danced a lovely two songs, albeit open embrace with distance between us. He probably opened up the embrace because I was really sweaty. I didn’t go home between the two milongas. Yesterday was extremely hot and humid in Buenos Aires. I left happy to go to bed at 1:15 am with many embraces from the day in my body that eased me off to sleep.

Want to come away to Buenos Aires and learn how to invite men to dance, or to attract invitations to dance? Come away with Sasha’s Tango Adventure program for a 7-Day community-based, transformative dance immersion vacation in Buenos Aires and you will learn that and way more. Solo Chica means this program is designed to make it easy for you to come as a woman alone. Solo Chico Adventures for men are available. We also offer Couple Adventures. Here’s the link to find out more.

Meet three inspiring women soon to be on the loose for Solo Chica Tango Adventures in Buenos Aires

Meet three inspiring women soon to be on the loose for Solo Chica Tango Adventures in Buenos Aires

Have you ever dreamed of getting away from everyone you know and going on an adventure where you get to try on new sides of yourself and learn something new? The magic happens outside of the comfort zone. First you may need some support to step out of your comfort zone.

Solo Chica is designed to help you do just that–get on a plane, go somewhere new, and learn something new in a safe, contained way because you have our curated Itinerary and supportive program to guide you. You won’t be figuring this all out on your own.

We are super excited to officially launching the Solo Chica Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires with the stories of three women (American and British) who are soon to embark on an international growth adventure with our team.

In the contest, we asked them why we should choose them to receive extra support in a free coaching session with me (Sasha) and why we should choose them to be the new face of Solo Chica in a free three-hour Tango Goddess Photo Shoot (value $499) with a photographer who shoots for Netlix.

  • We chose Kelly as our Grand Prize winner because she wants to help us show that tango can be for every body type, and racial/ethnic background. We think that message is so important. 
  • We chose Cathy because she told us she wants to reimagine womanhood with a partner or not, and to heal regrets about not being a mother. And she is a priest! We needed to have her on board.
  • We chose Justyn because she is a two-time cancer survivor who uses all her life experiences and learnings to inspire others to use their own powers to heal themselves through the Brave Souls Project.

Two are total beginners. One is an advanced beginner. All three women are taking a leap outside their comfort zones to learn a dance in a city where they know no one–until now. Here are some of the people they are about to meet.

 

So who are these brave Solo Chicas?

Here are their stories. 

Kelly Macias, Washington, DC, Grand Prize Winner of a coaching session with Sasha and a Tango Goddess Photo Shoot (value $500)

In Kelly’s words: “I’m a writer and a consultant and my consulting practice is focused on supporting organizations to increase their racial and gender equity so that they can do social justice work in the world. I would describe myself as a dreamer—I’m much more interested in possibilities, creating and building new things and developing what could be than by feeling limited by what actually is.”

Kelly’s Tango: “I would say that I’m an advanced beginner. I’ve been having a love affair with tango since 2004 but it is currently an unrequited love because I’ve been inconsistent. I’ve taken group lessons, privates, workshops over the last 15 years but sporadically. I enjoy salsa, bachata, merengue and hip hop. If money were not an issue, I’d have given up my work long ago and moved to Buenos Aires to pursue my dream of being a tango star!”

Why should we choose you for the launch contest to receive this extra free coaching support?  “I’ve spent the last few years feeling very disconnected from my sexuality, sensuality and feminine energy, as a whole. I would the opportunity to get support in exploring it.

I would be an enthusiastic ambassador for the program and could imagine partnering with Sola Chica in some way to promote diversity (racial/ethnic, body type, career, etc). within the program. I’m already sold on what a great and transformative experience this could be and I’d want to spread the word so that folks know that tango really is for everybody and every body type!“

What would it mean for you to rediscover the Tango Goddess in you through the photo shoot? “Like many working women in their forties, I’ve been busy focusing on my career for the last several years. The stress of trying to be successful in a hectic society centered around class and patriarchy and white supremacy has taken its toll. I’m no longer as carefree or vulnerable as I used to be.

Add technology and social media to the mix, and it has meant that I spend most of my time in front of a computer screen than tending to my intimate relationships. I want to connect back to my vulnerability and sensuality and joy and think that the Tango Goddess photo shoot is a way to liberate myself from all that has been weighing me down.”

What else would you like to discover through this experience? “I want to have multiple tangasms and discover pleasure, intimacy, and connection through my lived experiences!”

We are all for it. We are excited to have Kelly in Buenos Aires for her Solo Chica Tango Adventure and for the Tango in Paradise weekend in Escobar in November…and we can’t wait to see her Tango Goddess pictures.

Check out Kelly’s website, and be sure to follow Kelly on Instagram for her Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires. 

Cathy Mark, London UK, winner of a coaching session with Sasha

Tell us more about you; “I am a menopausal priest on a journey of healing and rediscovery as I work towards accepting that I may never find ‘the one’ to settle down with and I will now never have biological children of my own. I want to rediscover love, light and laughter in a self-affirming way.”

Describe your tango experience: “Total beginner.”

What else would you like to discover through this experience: “Learn to love myself again. Learn to forgive myself. Learn to laugh again.”

Cathy will be coming from the UK. She loves traveling and her favorite destination to date is Sri Lanka. She also recently visited Finland and Morocco.

Cathy is coming in 2020. As we develop the Solo Chica program, we may develop an email list that lets people connect with other Solo Chicas who want to adventure together. We are excited to welcome Cathy and see how her adventure unfolds!

Justyn Livingston, Bend, Oregon, Winner of a coaching session with Sasha

Tell us about you: “I am an artist, painter, former professional ice-skater, and meditation teacher/coach.  I am thriving after two cancer diagnoses, and have been doing deep inner work with Dr Joe Dispenza. It is time for me to ‘take it off the mat’ and live it. Tango in Paradise and Solo Chica seem like a great place to start. ;-)” 

If you are chosen as a winner in the Launch Contest and you receive a free 1-hour coaching session with Sasha, what would you like to focus on? “Furthering my ‘feminine mojo’ (we need a new word! verve?). I have been single for a long time, and would like to shift my energy and draw a fitting partner in dance and in life. I want to integrate what many beautiful European women have and exude, which is a confident sensuality and style in all ages.”

“Our culture considers women my age to be invisible. It’s time to change that. Surgeries and cancer treatments have been difficult gifts and I intend to live beyond those perceived limitations.”

Why tango?: “I spent a few years in Eugene and Corvallis dancing Cuban Salsa with a little bit of DanzSon, and loved it. In my earlier years I studied ballet, flamenco, modern dance and jazz. I’ve taken one tango workshop and found it compelling on many levels. Specifically, the energetic lead that occurs when two people are tuned in to each other and in the present moment.”

Helping others: Justyn’s experiences on cancer’s healing path led her to create The Brave Souls Project, where she supports others on their healing journeys. BSP helps people transform their health by rewiring their responses to thoughts and emotions from fear and anxiety into healing and opportunity. She helps others in group and one-on-one sessions, using the power of guided meditation, epigenetics and neuroscience to help people shift their outlook.

Through her experience in Solo Chica, Justyn wants to “inspire other women to claim their lives, whole-heartedly. If not now, then when?”

Justyn will be at the October 18-20 Tango in Paradise weekend with us an hour outside the city at the start of her curated Solo Chica Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires. We are really excited to be part of her story.

Be sure to follow her Solo Chica Adventure on the Brave Souls Project Instagram.

PS Everyone who comes on a Solo Chica Tango Adventure gets a Tango Fairygodmother or father to accompany them in the milongas to dance, meet people, and discover the three transformational elements in the Solo Chica Tango program: the look, the embrace, and the walk. Justyn is so excited about meeting her Tango Fairygodfather Kevin she shouted it out on Instagram. 

Here’s a video where you can see the Solo Chica Adventure that awaits these three ladies–and possibly you … 

Are you a Solo Chica?

It doesn’t matter if you are single or married. Solo Chica doesn’t depend on your relationship status. Being a Solo Chica means you want to travel alone in style. 

The Solo Chica Tango Adventure is accessible and easy to do. All adventures start with one step.

Enter your email below. We will send you more information in a beautiful PDF showing you the adventure that awaits you in Buenos Aires.  

Introducing Solo Chica: Curated Transformative Travel Adventures for #femalesolotravelers 35+

Have you thought about traveling alone for your next vacation, but you are afraid that solo travel could be a bit lonely? Not with Solo Chica! Today I am excited to announce our exciting new thing–designed to make it easy for you to get on a plane for an adventure on your own. Easy. Done. Itinerary in hand.

Solo Chica is all about helping women 35+ travel alone with carefully curated Itineraries for transformative learning experiences. With Solo Chica, you can travel to off-the-beaten-path worlds in a local culture without having to figure this all out alone. You’ll be immediately connected with local people when you land who will guide you on a course of personal transformation–through a dance, a photo shoot, or who knows what…Solo Chica-style!

Women who are under 35 can be Solo Chicas too–so can men! We designed Solo Chica for 35+ solo travelers in mind because we want to support women to travel alone. Younger women and men have more built-in support for traveling alone through hostels.

Doesn’t it seem more “normal” for younger people to travel solo? After a certain age, the message gets drummed into us that we are support to travel with a partner, family, or friends. At Solo Chica, we support you to travel solo or with whoever you want. There is something sublime about solo travel. Solo travel stretches you, showing you new parts of yourself as you meet more people and take risks in a place where no one knows you.

 Give us your week of vacation. Solo Chica will turn your trip into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What’s a Solo Chica™ Adventure? 

Solo Chica is a new kind of solo travel adventure designed by Quirkyalone author and life coach Sasha Cagen (moi!) to make it easy for you to get on the plane for a curated 7-day transformative vacation. Easy. Done. Itinerary in hand.

Solo Chica is designed for busy women who want adventure. With every Solo Chica Adventure, you get an Itinerary that has been created by local insiders to give you a travel experience that’s fulfilling, easy, authentic, and safe.

Every Solo Chica Itinerary includes contacts for the people to guide you on a transformative experience. 

Because Solo Chica not a group tour, you will have the freedom to come when you want and to move according to your own choices and desires. You’ll be open for serendipity when you travel while also having structure and support. (Goodbye annoying prepackaged tours that schedule every moment tiring you out.)

The future is Solo Chica

Interest in female solo travel is skyrocketing. Not only are more people single today than ever more married and partnered women want to go on soul-fulfilling trips on their own. My coaching clients want to talk about how to travel solo without feeling lonely. I’ve also heard from married women, I want to go on a Solo Chica Adventure! You can!

However, there are still a lot of questions and frustrations for older solo female travelers: 

  • Where to stay if you want to meet people but don’t want to stay at a twentysomething party hostel? 
  • How do you handle going out alone at night? 
  • Where to go so you are not surrounded by couples and families, talking to no one, and feeling terribly lonely? (Been there, done that!)
  • What to do if you are concerned about safety or loneliness but you are not a group tour person? 

Solo Chica was created as one answer to these questions. 

You want to get off the tourist bus and deep into the culture wherever you go. 

You like to travel with purpose and meet new people.

You want to get back in your body and reconnect with the parts of you that are fun, sensual and exude joie de vivre. 

But you work a lot … You don’t have time to plan.

We have something for you!

Why are we focused on the chicas?

We call it Solo Chica because our focus is empowering women to travel alone for transformative learning experiences.

We are open to the cool, self-aware men too! 

Solo Chica fits in with the overall mission here at sashacagen.com. Much of my work with Quirkyalone, my life coaching work, and online courses have been about helping you to reduce your fear being single so that you can hold out for the kind of relationship you really want. When you aren’t afraid of being alone, you won’t settle

Traveling alone is part of this equation. You want to feel free to live your dreams whether you are single or in partnership. 

If not now, when?

Don’ t waste your life hiding in comfort zones. Come on a Solo Chica Adventure!

Our First Solo Chica Itinerary is the Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires. Watch this video to see the Adventure that awaits Solo Chicas in Buenos Aires…

 

Every Solo Chica Itinerary will get you out of your head and back into your body.

Why the body focus? Because the tech industry got us good. We are all hopelessly addicted to our screens and thinking way too much! We need to reconnect with our flesh.

In the social media era, tango is the perfect first Solo Chica Adventure. Tango allows us to be in the present moment with another person we can see, touch, feel, and enjoy connecting with. Tango also helps us to reconnect with our masculinity, femininity, sensuality and confidence. 

In the Solo Chica Tango Adventure Itinerary, we give you 7 days of carefully curated tango bliss from morning to night in Buenos Aires, where tango was born.

Solo Chica is not only a vacation. It’s a personal growth adventure designed to help you:

  • Reconnect to your sensuality. Rediscover parts of you that you that have been lost or suppressed when you reconnect your sensual self through tango.
  • Become more physically confident in ways you can draw on for dating, flirting, and work/leadership whether you are a woman or a man. For women, hello pussywalking!
  • Discover what tango has to teach you about yourself, life, and relationships…with a high probability of tangasms! Every person on our carefully curated Solo Chica Buenos Aires team was chosen for their warmth, excellence, and their ability to show you the tangasmic path of tango.

Your Tango Fairygodmother (or father) will show you the way to your look, your walk, and your tangasm. Yes, your Tango Fairygodmother. You can read all the details about the role your Tango Fairygodmother or father will take in your Adventure here. 

Stay tuned for Solo Chica Launch Contest Winners! 

As we were developing Solo Chica, we ran a contest earlier this year asking the women and men who told us they wanted to come on a Tango Adventure why we should give them extra support in a free coaching session and with a free Tango Goddess Photo Shoot (one of the amazing things you can do as part of your Solo Chica Adventure as insider pricing.)

Later this week we will announce the winners of the Solo Chica Launch Contest. They are all brave, inspiring women who will soon arrive in Buenos Aires for their curated Solo Chica Adventures.

Be sure you are signed up to the newsletter to get the post. 

Here are some of the amazing people waiting for you in Buenos Aires!

We are waiting for you!

Are you a Solo Chica?

It doesn’t matter if you are single or married. Solo Chica doesn’t depend on your relationship status. Being a Solo Chica means you want to travel alone in style. 

The Solo Chica Tango Adventure is accessible and easy to do. All adventures start with one step.

Enter your email below. We will send you more information in a beautiful PDF showing you the adventure that awaits you in Buenos Aires.