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The Tango Lesson | 1997

Mar 23rd, 2011 by Bärbel | 2

The Tango Lesson | 1997

“This is why I started to dance tango”

In 1997, one of my fellow students from the University of Bonn, who was dancing a bit of Tango, asked me and another friend if we wanted to see The Tango Lesson. I didn’t know anything about the film, which was directed by and starred Sally Potter. It turned out to be an autobiographical dramatization of Sally Potter’s first experience with Tango. After seeing a Tango performance in Paris, she becomes impassioned with the desire to learn how to dance Tango. Needless to say, she also becomes impassioned with the performer, Pablo Verón, who plays himself. She travels to Buenos Aires and immerses herself into learning the Tango. I saw the film and got really hooked by the story, which was incidentally, divided into chapters called, “The First Lesson,” “The Second Lesson,” “The Third Lesson,” etc. Her way of learning-by-just-doing really grabbed me. This was also my way of doing things—focus and go deep. Two days after I saw the film, I attended a Milonga in Bonn. After the intro class, the local Argentine Tango teacher asked me, a total beginner, for a dance—at my first Milonga, ever! Knowing nearly nothing, I had my first Tango dance experience. Or rather, MY “first lesson.” I was sure then and there that I needed to learn this dance.
Bärbel Rücker

The Tango Lesson (1997) by Sally Potter

On a trip to Paris Sally meets Pablo, a tango dancer. He starts teaching her to dance then she returns to London to work on some “projects”. She visits Buenos Aires and learns more from Pablo’s friends. Sally & Pablo meet again but this time their relationship changes, she realises they want different things from each other. On a trip to Buenos Aires they cement their friendship.
Written by David Morgans <in2023@wlv.ac.uk>


Some of my favourite scenes from the movie: “The Tango Lesson”:

In the kitchen

At La Confeteria Ideal, BsAs

Dancing in the rain

“The Tango Lesson”: soundtrack, VHS, DVD and more

Argentine Tango Teacher & DJ Bärbel Rücker | Tanzbar
2008 2009 20102011 2012 201320142015

2 Comments on “The Tango Lesson | 1997”


  1. josefina Argüello said:

    I looooove this movie!! My husband and I had an amazing time learning tango in Buenos Aires this year. Pete and I went many times to la viruta, a very nice and friendly place. We stayed at Hotels in San Telmo so everything was very related with tango. Some people recommend us also to go to the Buenos Aires Club. We will com back next year for more tango lessons.


  2. Kærlighed til argentinsk tango | Change is a possibility said:

    [...] 1997 ser jeg – Bärbel Rücker, filmen ”The Tango Lesson” af Sally Potter. Jeg er med det samme fascineret af den argentinske tango, [...]