Tango junkie’ to cure aloof winter Swedes

Hot steamy nights, bodies passionately embraced. The Swedish skies darken and autumn advances, but Binoy Milton D’souza is dancing his way through the autumn rains and encourages others to join him.

It’s Cold Up North, a project started by D’souza at the beginning of 2013, is introducing Gothenburg to the passion and romance of Argentine tango. For D’souza, while it’s not his full-time job, it’s a near full-time passion. And it seems, the idea is winning this west coast city over.

The notion to start tango workshops in Gothenburg occurred to this self-proclaimed “tango junkie” in January 2013. As an expat living in Gothenburg for the last four years, D’souza knows that expats lose their entire support network when moving to a new country. It can be a very tough and very isolating experience.

tango-sweden“Rather than just stop at a bar, which many expats do, learning tango leads to the discovery of new interests, new people, and a discovery of one’s own body … which is always good,” says D’souza.

While the project targets and hopes to connect expats, D’souza’s group welcomes Gothenburg locals as well.

“Living in Sweden, it’s quite possible to go through an entire day managing most aspects of your life on the phone, or online, without meaningful human interaction, or sometimes, without even touching another human being,” D’souza says.

“I’m continually surprised to see how little people touch each other in Sweden, especially when I’m back from another country. For most of us who work in office environments, it’s not surprising to use our bodies mostly as transportation devices from home to work, and vice versa.”

While he thinks social contact is in short supply here in Gothenburg, D’souza reports that since its inception at the beginning of the year, attendance for the tango workshops has grown rapidly. It’s Cold Up North provides monthly workshops for beginners at various locations around the city. The monthly course now sells out.

“It was cold, and it was dark. I thought, why not reach out and try to provide some hope,” says D’souza. “During the autumn and winter in Sweden, when most of the action moves indoors, it’s easy to experience a feeling of society going into hibernation.”

“Argentine tango is a great way to experience the magic of human touch again,” he adds. “As a bonus, you meet other gorgeous human beings.”

Each workshop is given for one weekend per month. “It’s quite intensive,” says D’souza. The workshop runs for three hours a day over the course of two days. With the growing popularity of the project, D’souza now brings in additional teachers from other countries to help accent the learning. Several collaborators have visited Gothenburg to lend their passion for the dance.

“Tango, however, is not for everyone,” says D’souza. “It’s like learning a new language … a language spoken with your body. “People may want to learn a new language but some are not willing to invest the hard work. Tango is like that.”

Originally published on The Local.

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