Bernard Caron

« I am proud of the tango that I managed to create because it corresponds to my personality. I am comfortable with it: I dance who I am, I no longer want to be someone else.»

“What a dancer” she whispers to me, blushing with pleasure, falling into a sofa after a crazy tanda. It was in 2013. More than a year later, this “dancer” is here in front of me. Bernard Caron and his story. I am listening to him, a very hot tea in my hand, on this particularly icy morning. We are comfortably seated in a very Parisian bistro, just the way I like them. The smell of roasted coffee, old hits on the radio, and a fascinating tango conversation: I really loved the moment.

I ask him to tell me about his tango today: “You could say that I am ‘pre-retired’ from the tango. I began learning the tango 15 years ago, and then organized events and taught for 12 years. I co-created a school in Montreal, with Caroline Demers, Tango Rico, which I no longer manage today in order to devote myself to my first profession, preserving the environment. I am a milonguero again, I have found balance in my life. I continue to give private lessons which allows me to go further than with group lessons to transmit some values that are dear to me.”

I want him to tell me more about these values: “I have always used the words harmony and elegance to best describe what I feel is present in the tango. For me, it is a mix of ethics and aesthetics. For example, Paris saw the birth of some important people. Take Coco Chanel. She did not limit herself to aesthetics. A beautiful jacket worn with class is for me an object that represents elegance”…. Just like the tango…. What a string of ideas, I love it!

“The last class I gave in Montreal was called ‘Elegance’. Each person gave his own interpretation during one hour. It was very instructive and interesting. And it always comes down to this: the move or the step is a pretext to teach the value it represents. People really appreciated it although they may have been surprised by such a method. This is what I have to give, and all the better if I move certain individuals.” I ask him about his contribution to the tango: “For me, there are three levels that can be nourished by the tango. First, the personal: knowing yourself. Then, the relational: the tango can be a catalyst to reveal your apparent rapport with the opposite sex: your level of patience, your openness, etc. For example, I try to help women understand the power they have in relation to how well a man dances but also their responsibility if they are being poorly guided. They should never just follow or submit, but assert themselves, guide the man in a subtle way. They have this power and competence to give the man the possibility to correct himself and improve. Then the third level, so often forgotten in teaching circles, is the relationship with the community: how do you manage the two first levels with others? The tango teaches us how to act in society, it’s just a representation of our way of functioning.

There are so many parallels between a milonga and life… When I arrived in Paris, it was so obvious: the metro, the sidewalk and the dance floor of the milonga…people circulate in the same way. It is crazy! Some old milongueros told me that before, the codes of civism were much more strict, and the dance floor was surprisingly more fluid.”

When did he really feel drawn into the tango? “There have been different important moments in my tango, with very powerful emotions, above all when I have been in contact with inspirational people. The Firpos who frequently taught in Montreal, Mariana Dragone who represents a new tendency, a new way of thinking, the desire of a new generation of Argentinians to break loose from the past generation to transmit very inspirational values, notably to women. Then there is Gustavo Naveirra, who has a very deep knowledge of the tango, its history and evolution. These people do not have dogmas but continue to question themselves. They place themselves in question, they are able to accept that the tango can evolve, that society moves, and that new tendencies can appear. The tango has to evolve and reflect who we are.”

“I am quite proud of having contributed to the development of the tango community in Montreal, co-creating the school, Tango Rico, with Caroline Demers, in a suburb where there was nothing for the tango. And also by creating a website to gather and promote the tango in Montreal, Tango Express. I think that in 15 year’s of tango, I managed to be respected by the community while remaining neutral. Respecting, listening, promoting. To be an actor in the world of the tango despite differences, adversity, to help the tango “grow up”. It’s not more heroic than that, but my way of contributing and seeing things.

About my ego (he laughs), I am proud of the tango that I managed to create because it corresponds to my personality. It is not better than another, but I am comfortable with it: I dance who I am. I no longer want to be someone else which is often what you’re forced to do when you have a school, you have to do demos, etc. This is not the tango I like but it had to be done. Now I feel more free to dance the tango I want, without having to please a particular audience.”

What is his hope for the tango, and what does he do to promote this? “I hope that through the tango, people gain more values for society life. Beginning to teach made an impression on me. It is the best way to learn because you have to communicate well what you are doing, and do well what you are communicating. It helps you to work on yourself a lot. Like all teaching, you need to be an example of whatever it is you say but also you need to inspire others. This is what I try to promote, in a modest way through my classes. I always try to focus on the “how-to-be”.

Our tea has been finished for a long time now, we are ready to face the cold again, richer thanks to this great conversation.

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Photo By: Jean-Pierre Bataille
1 Discussion on “Bernard Caron”
  • Le tango pour moi est avant tout une rencontre entre 2 corps , une communication non-verbale qui se danse , pour aller à la découverte de l’autre et de soi.
    Le + difficile , apprendre à gérer ses émotions et ne pas rester dans l’attente .
    Accepter la rencontre corporelle pour mieux se définir comme personne ,
    Tout un challenge .
    Malgré mon handicap , j’ai appris à gérer ma différence et à l’accepter .

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