MEET: GUEST DJ, KERRY KAY!
Back for the third time, Kerry Kay is returning to Tango Hop in November to DJ sweet music from 9pm ‘till 1am! Kerry is the kind of person that makes your entire life better after talking with her for one hour. You’re going to love getting to know her…
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Australia, in the state of Queensland on the Gold Coast.
HOW DID YOU ENCOUNTER TANGO?
I was recently divorced and I had been doing Tai Chi. I had been looking for a new teacher in the Princeton area when I was looking for a change and found tango. It was thrilling to find a new activity that was challenging, engrossing, and nearby home. I could walk to tango.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START DJING?
I have been dancing for 9 years but I had my first experiences with DJing in Princeton, maybe 5, 6 years ago. I was one of 3 people that came together to start a tango community group on Thursday nights in Princeton. It was through that effort that I got my first experiences DJing. That all happened, as I remember now,…there was a dancer named Herb Tuchman, he was an older gentlemen and he was very enthusiastic about tango. He had weekly private lessons with Omar Vega. Herb also studied with a lot of teachers in the area. He, very sadly, shockingly, died one Thanksgiving evening. He had said that when he died, he wanted to have a milonga in his honor. I volunteered to play the music the week after he passed and I played all the songs that he loved to dance to. Several months later, together with Herb’s family, we hosted a huge milonga in his honor. Yesim Sezer from New York DJed that event.
That’s the thing that is so unusual about the tango community; it brings together such a huge array of people with diverse lifestyles…we don’t know who we are and we don’t have to know each other very well but there are such strong bonds that develop. Tango is like a global family and people become universally loved. Herb was one of those people. He was always generous with his time, his money, just everything.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO TANGO?
Stick with it. Stay with it, stay with it, stay with it. It’s very easy to say “it’s too hard” — keep showing up. What a fantastic mindfulness practice!
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TANGO IN 3 WORDS?
Intoxicating, confounding, addictive.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT EXCHANGING ROLES?
We have an opportunity to see the complexity in the other role. When I lead, it’s very simple and it’s not very often, but …DAMN! You know what I mean! For me, to do that switch around in my head and be able to present myself as a different person. It’s wonderful.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT DJING AT SANGHA SPACE?
I cannot. I cannot limit myself to one favorite thing. You all there are so welcoming and have such warmth towards the DJ. I have been struck by the level of care that exists. “Are you sure this is ok?”, “We’re going to have dinner for you”, and “we’ll be bringing you a glass of wine — red or white?.” Deborah cooks such wonderful food and [the staff] always checks in about things, like “we’re right on schedule” or “we are 5 minutes behind schedule”
WE AGREE — BUT WE ARE VERY BIASED
If you’re biased, it’s for a bloody good reason!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TANGO SONG/ORQUESTRA RIGHT NOW?
You know how it is, you’re on the dance floor and you’re like “this is my favorite song!” And then you’re dancing a few tandas later and realize that “this song is even more my favorite!”
But right now, Lucio Demare…I am really enjoying a selection of songs from his discography.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LAST TANDA OF THE EVENING?
Would likely be something that is romantic, of course, with a bit of soar and emotion, of course. DiSarli, Demare, perhaps Fresedo…his music is very charming and sweet. I might play Varela — perhaps sometime in the last half hour of the milonga. Some people get a charge out of his music and that keeps them going.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SONG FOR BIRTHDAY DANCES?
A vals, a DeAngelis vals. Something that maybe has a bit of snap, that’s lively, perhaps celebratory – like a ssswwwwip! and raise up the energy.
WHAT’S THE MAGIC TO YOUR PLAYLIST?
One of my rules, generally, I will play music that I myself have danced to and enjoy dancing to. The music that I play, I have a relationship with. Music that is generally recognizable to dancers. I am playing from the tango “Canon” — the Golden era, the 30s to the 40s. The music that is more happy and uplifting rather than depressing. I like to vary the mood, vary the temp, and that helps the tandas be more interesting and pull people to the floor. I also like to play cortinas that are more upbeat, that have people bopping, and that brings the energy up. I like that.
THAT’S INTERESTING BECAUSE TANGO HAS THIS ASSOCIATION WITH SADNESS AND LONGING…
Oh yes! Like “Poema” by Canaro – the lyrics are so grim and the melody is so sweet. We’ve heard it a hundred times and it’s still a charming song and I play it from time to time.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES (BESIDES TANGO) DO YOU ENJOY?
Of course I love to socialize with friends and family, I love to read, and garden, and travel, and meditate, and I’ve just started back with yoga. I love helping out and do volunteer work. At the moment, I primarily volunteer with ICRL (International Consciousness Research Laboratory). They educate the community about matters relating to consciousness and publish books on consciousness and this all derives from close to 30 years of research at Princeton University’s PEAR Lab.
Oh, and I ride motorcycles!
IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE LOTTERY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
It sounds trite but I would travel more! I think I would do a lot of philanthropic work. After taking care of friends and families, I would work really hard to find smart ways to make that money work on behalf of other people.
WHAT’S SOMETHING SECRETLY AWESOME ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
[Kerry dramatically leaned in and got very quiet]
I once saw a live beating heart while it was still in the man’s chest. That’s when I worked as a hands on healer in a hospital.
[I kid you not. I swear we did not script this response.]