Jean Marc and Mari Elena

An Unlikely Story

Jean Marc was born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. When he was a small boy his parents would each take one of his hands in theirs and stroll down the Cours Mirabeau. He was told stories about artists, writers and philosophers who lived a long time ago that walked along this very boulevard or sat in Les Deux Garcon’s cafe having lengthy discussions about art, the human condition or existentialism by the like of Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola or Albert Camus.

The sound in the streets would make Jean Marc smile. He would tap his tiny feet to the music that wafted out of the cafes as the passed. He would become a very famous Apache dancer in France and when he traveled to Spain when he was on tour he met Mari Elena. The Tango became their signature dance.

Mari Elena was born in Andalusia, Spain, home as many believe to Flamenco dancing. Her mama was a dancer of Flamenco and Tango so when Mari got her first little girl patent leather dress shoes mama had taps affixed to the soles. Everyday she tried new combinations of tapping (one foot at a time, clicking, jumping, fast, slow.) She practiced and practiced again learning how to express herself through those feet of hers.

A few years later she was given a pair of traditional Castanets. At first it was really hard for her to get the control and coordination between the hands creating percussive sounds while the feet at same time are tapping to the rhythm. She grew more confident and found her own distinctive style similar to a persons fingerprint.

It was at a dance competition in Madrid where she met Jean Marc. They were paired up and had to dance many styles to stay in the rankings. For the finale the judges had saved the toughest style for last. The Argentine Tango! Two deep breaths, a smile between them & they were off and dancing across the floor. They did win the title that evening but they also knew it takes two to Tango & they have been together ever since.