1. LVR: How did you discover Argentine tango?
— I am a Porteña, an Argentinean from Buenos Aires. I think that we all carry tango within ourselves. But like all young people at the time (I was 20), I thought that tango was old-fashioned.
One day, a friend took me to a milonga and, little by little, my way of thinking changed. I began to enjoy going to the milonga and gradually, I came to find it… wonderful!
The years went by and I met a dancer who asked me to work with him.
And now, I have been dancing this fabulous dance for twelve years.
2. LVR: It is an honour for us to have you as godmother for the fifth La Vie en Rose festival. This isn’t the first time that you have taken part at a queer tango festival (you were at the festival in Mexico last year). What does queer tango mean to you and why do you think it is important to defend its values?
— It really is an honour for me. I’m delighted to be part of the La Vie en Rose festival.
To answer, let me tell you a little bit about my background, and the wonderful family I was given. I was raised by my mother. My father was a sailor and wasn’t around. My grandfather Otto was a very important figure for me.
Otto had adopted my mother and was gay. So were my uncles, aunts and godparents. So I was always part of this community because I grew up in it. My home, my parents and this family that I was fortunate enough to have taught me how to believe in love regardless of gender.
For me, queer tango represents this very natural freedom with which I was brought up. Let people dance with whomever they please without being judged!A good way of defending this freedom is to learn RESPECT. It’s quite a small word, but a lot of people don’t know what it means.
And I am more sad than angry about people who aren’t accepting.
3. LVR: Tamara – you have become a phenomenon in the tango world. You seem to have something of the diva and femme fatale about you, and yet you are something very different at the same time. You play with your image a lot and in some ways, you like to provoke. In short – you are a completely unique personality. Do you see yourself as something of a freak in the tango world?
–(Laughs)”Something of a freak” – is that all?! You don’t know me at all if you think that.
I am a dancer and an anti-dancer. I play with my image a lot and nothing is off-limits. As you say, I play with the image of “femme fatale” but my bedroom is like that of a ten-year old girl. I love to play and act. I had a lot of freedom when I was growing up. Obviously, I have come in for a lot of negative judgement and criticism from some people but in my opinion, there is something missing in their hearts and minds and they are lacking in creativity. And, above all, a lot of jealousy is involved because I am daring and I accept who I am.
I love and admire people who dare to play like me.
4. LVR: Is there something special about how you teach tango? Is there anything that you like to show in particular?
— I am committed to each of my students. I make sure that my classes are clear and that no one leaves with any lingering doubts or frustrations – this is fundamental for me.
I see myself as a very technical and thoughtful dancer. I devote a lot of energy to studying and I pass all of this on when I teach. And the most important thing is that I love to teach.
5. LVR: This is a tricky question… as a professional dancer and a woman in environment thought of as sexist, have you suffered from discrimination or violence because you are a woman?
— Yes, I have suffered.
I have suffered from physical and psychological violence. I have been beaten and left rock-bottom psychologically, covered in bruises with a broken hand. This happened with my first partner. I learned a lot from this experience and came out stronger and I don’t let anyone mistreat me anymore. I’ve been called fat, ugly and a bad dancer. I’ve been told that I will never dance…
And here I am enjoying doing what I love most – dancing! Never giving in, always fighting to be stronger each time.
But just as there are very violent men and women, there are wonderful men and women too. I have had all kinds of experiences.
I have been lucky enough to have had extraordinary colleagues.
6. LVR: It has been a long time since you were last in Paris. You are making your big comeback for a festival called “La Vie en Rose”! What does tango in Paris mean to you?
— Much happiness – coming to one of the world’s most beautiful cities to take part in La Vie en Rose is bliss… Returning to Paris where I performed in my first shows in 2006… so many memories… and the passing of time.
I am very happy and grateful.
7. LVR: To finish, can you tell us about your current projects?
— For this year, I am just back from Japan where I was working. It was a wonderful experience. Generally, Japanese society is very chauvinistic, but I performed and taught with a female Argentinean dancer living there and the public’s response was incredible! I loved it!
Now, I am on my European tour and in October I will be in Central America for the 8th International Queer Tango Festival of Mexico.