Holding the correct frame for the tango. Taking steps with a smooth motion. Executing turns with the entire body. Communicating with your partner.
And the constant reminder of the steps: “Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.”
All of these were part of a tango lesson Saturday morning at Oregon State University’s Women’s Building, part of a weekend of workshops put on by the university’s Ballroom Dance Club.
Glenn Weiss, a world-class professional ballroom dancer and instructor, was the big draw for the event. He taught the tango lesson and continues to teach today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Christina Anttonen, the president of the club, said the club puts on workshops with professionals like Weiss once a year, but it puts on smaller workshops about once a term, and it holds dances every Wednesday night throughout the school term.
Anttonen, a double major in business and education, said the events include a mixture of students and community members.
She said the people are attracted to the events because of the fun social aspect of dance. The first lesson on Saturday attracted about 70 people.
“(Weiss) is teaching social dance, not performing. He’s teaching a new way to connect with people,” she said.
Anttonen said she’s an introvert, but noted that the dance classes and events offer a social situation in which she feels comfortable.
“Talking to people makes me nervous," she said. "With social dance, I can be with a group of people but it allows me to be one-on-one with a person."
Corvallis resident Luby Pospisil and his fiancée, Ann Robinson, attended the event together. Pospisil said he took dance classes at OSU when he was an engineering student 40 years ago.
“It goes to show they have a robust dancing program that stands the test of time,” he said.
Robinson said the pair actually met at a social dance event, and the community members attending the dance events are tight-knit.
“It’s fun in a lot of ways, primarily because these are our friends,” she said.
She added that the dancing is healthy because it keeps people active mentally and physically.
Pospisil said he likes that the club brings people like Weiss to campus, and he finds dancing thrilling.
“After the dance, when I go home, I feel elevated. It’s almost euphoric,” he said.