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Northern Ohio Live - Two To Tango

August 1, 2006
Northern Ohio Live - 8/1/06
We Tried It, by Ivan SheehanNOL Logo


All things considered, I’d like to think I turned out quite well. Yet a mild affliction has hindered my social life on more than one occasion: my two left feet. Though I have disguised the malady for years, it was time to face the music – and then dance to it. So, it was with slight trepidation that I agreed to meet Dr. Jeannette Potts, also known as Dr. Tango.

Prior to receiving my “tango lesson for life,” I am told to bring music I would like to dance to. Anything will work, I am told (Potts has been known to tango to Korn), so I bring a few Stones records. After Potts assesses my tango potential during a brief interview, “Paint it Black” plays from the stereo, and I am asked
to show my “moves.” Dignity to the wind, I oscillate like a rhythmically challenged Mick Jagger. Graciously hiding her laughter, Potts introduces some music associated with different tango styles, and we decide to stick with a more traditional approach.

My assumptions about dance lessons are instantly dismissed. We start with “feel.” It really does take two to tango, and luckily, at least one of us knows how. We move about the room, trying to follow the rhythm of the music. I keep my torso rigid, while my legs stumble about as Potts helps guide me, still allowing me to “lead.” Potts notes that the dance is a symbiotic, trusting relationship, founded on anticipation of the partner’s moves. We strive to have our “hearts” facing each other at all times. I pick up the rhythm and start feeling confident. I ask to learn some proper moves. Easier said than done.

Potts introduces the basic (who decided they’re basic?) tango steps – the salida. After an astonishingly brief time, I have it down fairly well. Potts and I practice the steps to different songs, switching the rhythms, making mistakes, laughing at them, continuing, having fun. I’m having fun dancing? Potts lets me lead nearly the whole time, except for instances where my ignorance is far from bliss. Once I am reasonably comfortable with the salida, Potts introduces some of the more exciting flourishes of the dance, including the gancho, or hook, which catches me off guard. The move brings her leg up high around my thigh. It makes me nervous. But this dance is about trust, and I trust her.

She dances a molinete, or circle, around me (again, I am leading), elegantly doing ochos, in which she makes a figure-eight motion. Then into the ocho cortado, which leads us back into the salida. I think. After nearly two hours, we call it a day. I leave feeling pleased with myself. I agree with her sentiments about tango as it relates to relationships, fostering collaboration, balance and harmony. I just hope my relationships are better than my tango skills. And who knows? After a few more lessons, Potts may make a milonguero out of me.

Also, I never once stepped on her toes.

For more information about Dr. Potts/Dr. Tango’s Lessons for Life!, visit

Dr. Tango & Ivan

Dr. Tango with Northern Ohio Live's Ivan Sheehan.

Our sincere thanks to The Club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls

for graciously providing their facility for this event!



What is business but a dance between two companies?
What is life but a dance between people?
— Jeannette Potts, M.D. - Dr. Tango
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