T-A-N, G-O!


The first thing you learn as students of the Latin dance Tango is to keep your knees bent.

Our instructor, Sophia, taught that essential lesson to our ballroom dancing class about two months ago. She followed up with these steps: a corte and a sit-down. The first step advances; the second retreats. We then learned to promenade with a neat swift turn that puts you back in the correct position to do the essential step and then advance or retreat again. It is beautiful, enjoyable to dance, and fun to watch!

Sophia and her husband, Richard Maryianowski, expert dancers who have made Abilene their home for the past thirty years, make their living teaching West Texans how to move around a ballroom gracefully. Many of their instructions transfer well at pop-up Eller Hall events in The Grace Museum Garage with live music, but most of their work shows best on a well-shined wood floor under a chandelier. The Maryianowski’s son, Alexander, a professional ballet dancer, briefly taught his art back at home in Abilene during the Covid shut down of the Paris Opera Ballet. He proved that he still possesses the ballroom dancing skills learned from his parents as he led his mother in various dances last fall during our Slipper Club gathering. We knew how to appreciate and comment on their “beautiful lines” as fans of the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” 

But the tango lessons have taken on special meaning as our daughter undergoes cancer treatment. We have learned that our knees always need to be slightly bent and ready to advance. We must also be prepared to sit down. Sometimes we get to promenade: take a walk in the park more or less. But we also know to be ready to swiftly turn and return to the routine of moving forward, advancing or sitting down, even taking ourselves out of the ballroom to kneel when necessary. It is the way of the Christian life.

We thank God for this helpful metaphor for living, for the support of friends, and for the faith that sustains us. Let’s dance!

Psalm 150:1-6

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Marianne Wood works as an editorial assistant and researcher for Bill Wright


  • I’m so sorry that your daughter and your family is experiencing the challenge of cancer. Your comparison of emotions and dancing moves is very effective–one step after another!


  • Thanks for sharing this word-picture that so aptly describes your current position. I especially like your reference to kneeling (to pray), saying it’s the way of the Christian life. Grateful you shared this life lesson.


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