What You Know

College is full of surprises. Talk to any current student or alumnus and time and time again you hear the phrase:

“It was the last thing I imagined I would be doing in college!”

Everyone seems to have that something that they never anticipated becoming passionate about but discovered during college that influenced their life. This can be extracurricularly or academically. The title of this post, and something I keep thinking about as I write this, is from a Dear Sugar column. If you’ve never heard of Cheryl Strayed, I highly recommend Tiny Beautiful Things; it is perhaps my favorite book. Maybe you’ve heard of Wild? I’ve digressed…my point is this: there are known-knowns, known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns.

Recently (what got me thinking about all this), Swarthmore’s tango club, SwaTango, hosted a milonga — a tango social dance. The event was a smashing success, with a lesson, 3 performances, and over 100 people from Media, Philadelphia, and other colleges.

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Tango was not something I ever knew or thought about. It was the last thing I imagined I would do in college! But here I am deep in tango culture. Tango is a bit of a cult. Not everyone knows about it, but those who do are very dedicated.

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Our own club member, Annie, looking lovely!

SwaTango meets once a week and has local teachers (Lori and Howard — see their performance at the milonga here!) come to campus to teach. It wasn’t until the spring when I started going to the studio in nearby Media that I truly got hooked. I then tangoed all summer in Virginia, when I visited Washington, D.C., and even when I went on vacation in the UK!

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I love tango. I love tango culture, the history, the traditions. I love the people! I love that tango has taught me so much about non-verbal communication, something we use everyday in every way. Mostly only middle-aged people like tango the way I do, but I’m ok with that. I hope to dance the rest of my life, but in a million years, I never would have seen myself doing, much less loving, tango. With any luck, next year at this time I will have studied abroad, been to Buenos Aires, and danced in the birthplace of Argentine tango.

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Our tango team who performed this!

College brings all sorts of surprises. I knew I would try new things. I didn’t have a clue what those things were before coming to Swarthmore. There was no way I would have known that I would pick up dancing. There were times this semester when I was very stressed, but tango got me through it. It’s always so refreshing to get off campus, to not think about school and life and to just feel the music and let my feet do all the work. What will your tango be? At Swarthmore there are a myriad of clubs. From athletic adventures (ranging from traditional soccer to frisbee to equestrian to quidditch) and artistic endeavors (poetry, art, and music) to social dancing (swing, salsa, tango, folk) and social activism (environmental, feminist, etc.) Swat has it all. And what we don’t have, you can easily start, or bring back. This is what happened with a club I’m very involved in, called Multi, for those who identify with multiple heritages. What will you discover in college?

Ankle hugs,

Casey

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