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Recently, as I am preparing a new tango show, I was searching for inspiration and looked up my tango role models. Obviously, because tango is so gender-specific, they are female.

There are quite a few dancers that I love but the two that leave me (and plenty of people) in awe are Alejandra Mantinan and Jimena Hoeffner.

  • As I spent some time thinking about what it is about them that I love (beyond their technical abilities: they are both amazing at their craft), I realized that they are both very powerful – in different ways:
    Jimena shows off her strength with the dynamism and physicality of her dancing.
  • Alejandra is famous for how much she dares. It goes beyond creativity: when she dances, it looks like she absolutely does not care about whether or not you like her (which is probably the case, even though she knows you do)

When you watch both of them dance, you truly feel that this is exactly how strong they are in real life.

And they look good, too. Feminine, glamorous, sexy… That’s tango’s magic touch – with the high heels, open dresses, and sensual moves

Wanna see? here they are, both of them, improvising on the same song, El Huracan (The Storm, which fits them pretty well), performed by 2 different orchestras:

Powerful, eh?

Mixing Power & Feminity

I came to realize that the reason why they fascinate me and so many people in the tango world, is because in addition to their incredible skills they show an image we are not used to seeing: the unique blend of power, strength, and feminity.

Yes, a lot has changed in the past 50 years. But we are still not used to seeing these qualities encompassed in one person. With regards to Power & Feminity, we still have two types of role model ‘brands’.

  • The powerful women of today – Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, Meg Whitman, Christine Lagarde – at the decision wheel are often criticised for their looks but not ‘positioned’ around their feminity.
  • And the women who use their feminine, glamorous image -Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Jourdan Dunn – often in the entertainment industry, are powerful in the sense that they can make a project a commercial success by their sole presence, but are rarely at the wheel of the creation process… Or are least do not position themselves that way.

And of course, the women in the two categories above all have both powerful and feminine qualities. They would also define themselves as more than ‘powerful’ or ‘pretty things’, such as their roles as educators, creators, money-makers etc… I am only referring to the most striking elements of their ‘brand’.

The few exceptions

The few exceptions – the ones that present a mix of power and feminity – in every industry, fascinate us: Alejandra and Jimena in the tango world, Misty Copeland who represents strength & resilience in the graceful world of ballet, Marie Forleo and her sexy business image, Beyonce who crafted her brand around the ‘most powerful woman in music’, Angela Ahrend who mixes management skills with a luxurious image to name a few…

It is no surprise that the producers of Wonder Wonder choose Former Miss-Israel as their main character and crafted her image as both Strong and Sexy.

Would the character exert the same fascination if she were older, dressed in plain clothes, with the same size cup as my lovely As?

Probably not.

So she gets to be both – That’s pretty cool, after all.

Walking up the stairs… hand in hand