Solo Chica Contest Winner Kelly Macias on her trip to Buenos Aires with my Tango Adventure team, November, 2019
Way back in the pre-pandemic era, I created the brand Solo Chica to encourage women to travel alone.
To launch Solo Chica, we sponsored a contest.
We chose Kelly Macias from Washington, DC as the winner.
Kelly is a writer, storyteller and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant focused on social justice, currently based in Washington, DC. She uses storytelling as a key part of her DEI work to create worlds where everyone gets seen and everyone matters.
Kelly has been in love with tango for years but she was not dancing or studying when we first met. She reached out to me for life coaching, initially with reconnecting to her body and pleasure as the goal with the idea that she might get back into tango too. Through our coaching relationship, she decided to come to Buenos Aires for a Solo Chica Tango Adventure. Kelly came to Buenos Aires just a few months before the pandemia (the pandemic!) sidelined us from the dance floor.
We loved Kelly’s answers. Why should we choose you for the launch contest? “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.”
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.”
The grand prize: a Free Tango Goddess Photo Shoot with our resident genius photographer Tan Kurttekin, who shoots for Netflix among other clients!
We are super excited to share the results of the photo shoot with you here. Kelly is definitely a TANGO GODDESS! She was already a goddess before she arrived.
In this video that we recorded in Plaza Dorrego, where tango is danced on Sunday nights in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, and the streets are taken over early in the day by pounding drums and a street fair, Kelly talks about what it was like to work with me in a coaching relationship and to combine that work with the trip to Argentina.
Before we started working together, Kelly struggled with her own doubts about whether tango is really a dance for a curvy, Black woman. She hadn’t seen many other women in the US tango scene who looked like her. She worried that to dance tango, one had to have a thin ballet-like body.
I could understand that fear. I used to feel the same way. I thought being a curvy woman would make being a tango dancer impossible. I’m sure many others have felt this way. Far too many women (and some men too) put our desires on hold thinking we need to get to some magical number on the scale, or BMI, before we go out in the world and do the things we want to do.
The most amazing part is how Kelly found me. She googled “curvy woman tango” and found me through an Internet search. I don’t ever remember using those words in a blog post, but I do put my body out there as an example that one doesn’t have to be skinny or flat-chested to be a dancer.
Kelly told us, “I feel much more connected to my body compared to at home, less hip and back pain. Just in general feeling much more alive and embodied and aware of what’s happening in my body. Also the feeling of not being stressed. I can feel space opened up. And the heaviness that I feel normally has been lifted. My muscles are working in ways that they haven’t in years.”
“I learned that the lessons that apply to tango, apply to life. Things about connection and being able to connect with strangers through dance. Dancing with a good dancer sort of feels like falling in love. So there’s been this experience that’s sort of like falling in love. Every time I’m dancing, every time I’m held at a milonga or at a practice, every time I trust someone new it’s just this wonderful sort of high feeling that I haven’t felt in a really long time so this experience it’s been transformative in that way.”
With the wonderful Wanda Abramor, a key teacher in my Tango Your Life/Tango Adventure team
As a poster girl for solo female tango travel to Buenos Aires, Kelly told us she wanted to help us show that tango is for everybody, and every body type, racial/ethnic background, age, and background. We are completely on board for this mission of inclusion!
It’s important to touch on the history of tango here. The African origins of tango in Argentina have often been erased since many Argentines perceive themselves as a white country with European roots. The African influence was present and vital in the roots of tango, and these days more people are talking about that. This recognition of the role of African influence in tango goes in parallel with social change happening in Argentina. It’s common to hear stories from people who realize they had a Black grandmother that nobody talked about. More and more Argentines are identifying themselves as Afro-descendants.
Kelly was the perfect fit for the Solo Chica Program because this project was created to show more women the infinite doors tango can open up beyond the dance itself.
Kelly said so many good things in our interview that we wanted to share more clips with you to share her story so you can see those in the Instagram clips below:
“Less Politics, More Tango”
“Mistakes as Part of the Dance,”
“The African Roots of Tango in Buenos Aires.”