Trauma to Tango: Dancing Through the Shadows of Unforgiven Dreams

by Aydan Dunnigan

Compelled by a hunch that tango might revive a lost lust for life, the author jettisons his marriage, faith and career as a Lutheran pastor and heads off to the tango salons of Buenos Aires. 

As he immerses himself in this sensual dance, body memories of a troublesome but long forgotten past shake loose, threatening to pull him deeper into despair. Tensions between sexuality and abuse, innocence and shame, intensify. The realization overtakes him that his mid-life malaise is rooted in childhood trauma which has paraylyzed him emotionally and physically.

Synergisticly, tango emerges as a healing balm. Maneuvering through the intricate, intimate steps, the author internalizes the dance of forgiveness and self-acceptance and reclaims a lost sense of power and passion. 

Often comic, at times disturbing, the reader will laugh and cry through this captivating memoir. It will inspire you to pour soul and body into the challenging but gratifying journey of inner healing. You might even feel an irresistible urge to step up onto the dance floor.

“Aydan Dunnigan's journey from the dark, sinister closet of his childhood takes him first into grim religion and then eventually into the sensuous, healing arms of the tango. Dunnigan's deeply personal, bone-honest memoir is a gift of grace and hope for all of us who suffer or have suffered. Simply put, it teaches us to dance.”

Scott McKeen, Journalist, Media Consultant, Mental Health Advocate

“… completely captivating…. You write beautifully…. You earned this reader’s trust and engagement through both the rhetorical reach of your writing and also through its honesty and wit.… The narrative arc is extraordinary: From a socioeconomically privileged family, in which child sexual abuse occurred, … to born-again Christian, to married Lutheran minister, to joyful but conflicted, father, to New Age dabbler, to divorced broken and broke searcher, to reconstructed human, to remarried tango dancer.

Jannie Edwards, Award-winning author of Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems

“Trauma to Tango is a rare and authentic account of one man's struggle and the process he went through to be healed. … His raw honesty, internal conflicts between his faith, dreams and ideals are captivating as he struggles to be real to himself. The reader is able to accompany him in his journey as the dynamics of mental health, spirituality and psychotherapy play their role in catharsis.”

Gavin Lam, MSW, BSW, RSW, Social Worker in Acute Psychiatry