The Tango Center in Eugene Oregon is one of the few places in the country to have their own building devoted entirely to tango. The building is located right downtown and according to Greg Bryant, the caretaker and founder of the Tango Center, it is rare for tango to be seen so often in one place by the general public. Most places to tango around the country are found through knowing someone with inside information or from accessing a website or a paper that gives information about a space that is being rented for a tango event. It is no surprise that Greg can make it work, Eugene holds the largest cooperative festival in the country and has been addressing progressive social services such as offering community health insurance since the mid-60s. Eugene also has a thriving market and street vendor scene. It reminds me Madison, WI, in some ways (a town close to home) although in Eugene it is legal for women to be topless in public, and outside of Eugene there is a festival out in the mountains that involves a naked tango dance! (I am not sure if I want to go there....and I guess it is too damn cold in Wisconsin for such happenings).
According to Greg, there have been some recent struggles in downtown Eugene involving developers who want to tear down parts of downtown Eugene to rebuild a bigger and better town! Hmmmm, destroy people's homes and places of work to build new stuff. Sounds like the developers really have the well being of Eugene residents in their best interests. Urban development (or "sprawl" according to some) is not as clear cut as it may seem (no pun intended).
The good thing is that the Tango Center is still around, and even better is that since we were there the last time there are new dancers and more musicians including two tango bands :)
Sunday, July 1, 2007