Jan 032012
 

I just have to say, this is the best tango class I’ve ever taken. And this is the information I was waiting for.

From a student who didn’t study with us in person, only using our online materials: “Dear Vio…This last Saturday one of the best dancers in [my country] said I had improved a lot since last time we danced (2 months ago) which can only be to your credit.”

The TangoForge online courses have changed my dancing. Learning alone at home encouraged me to trust my body and find my own limits. This work has given me confidence that I can find my own reference points in the milonga. Instead of worrying what steps the mark will be leading next, I can focus all my attention on the quality of the connection.  I took classes with lots of different teachers before I studied with Vio. Only TangoForge has given me the information I need to understand the underlying principles of tango, and to realize that the embrace is a system of communication. Vio is skilled and passionate teacher, but she’s also a powerful and effective coach/mentor. She taught me to work out what I really wanted from tango, and take responsibility for seeking it out. She empowered me to use the mirada to assert myself, and to explore the possibilities for my own pleasure.

The TangoForge website totally changed how I perceive tango. My teacher was always talking about energy and feeling. TangoForge is about bones and muscles. Now I study kinesiology to understand how to move in tango.

…what you are creating there is the best (and healthiest) atmosphere I’ve seen in a loooong time! I always leave your studio super relaxed and believing that people are wonderful. And I think that is amazing and I’m very grateful for that. Not to mention that I learn more about tango there than in any other setting ever.

One of the best –maybe the best– tango teachers I’ve ever met….lessons are the most concise, complete, detailed way of describing tango I have ever seen. (a student who never knew about us before this workshop…)

I feel more beautiful since I study here. (After 3 weeks at StudioBerlin)

I’m a mechanic. I can’t learn by copying. You told me what to do and how to do it.

The best tango learning experience I’ve had.

So organized!

Vio has such a clear understanding of what she wants to convey. She was committed to taking us through this whole system, and she did. There was not one wasted moment.

Your presence (at the venue, in the community here, etc) is a bit of inspiration for me to break habits and play a bit more.

The workshop shows you how you can be creative. We explored in a comprehensive manner all the possibilities of a single movement, to consider all the creative opportunities. You don’t have to trundle around the dance floor with three steps and pretend you’re having a great time.

For months, I’ve been trying to emulate a certain dancer, and i couldn’t figure out how, but with what you taught today, I felt like him.

I got interesting insights into what’s been blocking me.

After 12 years of very technical study, from Vio I’ve learned the physiological basis of all that technique — what my body is doing and why.

‘Connect, feel the music’ — it’s not enough. It’s your body. She provides the anatomical specificity: this muscle does this thing. Then you can dance to the music.

I had not met Vio before this weekend. I feel I’ve stumbled into a gold mine.

Amazing resource in Vio: I got a deeper understanding of everything from my embrace to the cross, to voleos and ganchos that I’m not too experienced with.

A whole new level of being connected and responsiveness.

Vio’s Anatomy Tour is a very natural, clever and practical way to improve one’s tango skills or learn from scratch. Her original approach help one connect with one’s own body, direct the power and interact with one’s dancing partner in the most fluent way…one gets surprised how those beautiful moves which seemed so complicated can be performed easy and naturally. Regardless of the level of dancing, one could enrich the understanding of tango through the anatomical approach… Irina Nearonova

After following your workshop, other classes will seem boring because you reach a level of precision, accuracy and usability that is kind of rare in tango teaching. (And you are funny, sometimes.) Berlin student

After dancing Tango for 2 years I was starting to feel maybe I should start looking at a different dance form to learn, perhaps swing or salsa! Don’t get me wrong, I still loved Tango music and liked to dance, but somehow the initial passion had waned, I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just didn’t have that initial hope, passion, desire for Tango that originally bought me to my first lesson and gave me courage to go to a Milonga after two lessons!  I didn’t care if I couldn’t dance well. I just wanted to emerge myself into the tantalizing world of Tango.

Then I had a private lesson with Vio. First off we danced for 1 or maybe 2 songs. When we finished she looked at me and ever so graciously said “Yes…there was nothing wrong, you are very obedient, but where are you in this creative connection”?

OMG I had turned my original passion and desire into obedience…how did that happen? (well that’s another story).

Vio knows Tango; apart from being a stunning, dynamic dancer herself (leader and follower), Vio can minutely break down every movement to muscle groups. She intelligently researches and analyzes technique like scientist about to discover a cure for an incurable disease and she is able to generously articulate and demonstrate her knowledge to a novice like me (not an easy feat).

However for me, the most important gift from Vio, has been her confidence in me, to see my own beauty, grace and creative spirit in my dance, how I can open to my partner enabling freedom where the magic of Tango can transpire. –Petrina Hennessy

 

Prior to my meeting Vio, I had been learning and dancing Tango for five years. Somehow I still felt that I was at intermediate level, in spite of taking every opportunity to learn from visiting international teachers at festivals. With Vio’s help over the last two years I’ve learned how to connect with the floor properly, to relax and listen more attentively, and be much more secure in finding my own axis, among other things. Now I am enjoying my tangos immensely… I had never considered learning to lead…I thought leading was too different and hard to comprehend. Vio’s style of encouraging dancers to swap both leads and partners…helped to demystify leading. I learned how to help other followers and became a better follower myself and eventually wanted to learn to lead for its own challenge and enjoyment.
[On the Anatomy Tour] I tell everyone that you give clear instructions on how to make movements happen the way we want and how to help our bodies achieve that movement. It really helps to understand why a certain muscle or position can make things easier. My dancing has gone up another notch and I love it! Susan Callan

 

I had been doing group Tango lessons for almost 18 months and was beginning to feel frustrated.  While I had made good progress, I felt I had plateaued, that my repertoire was limited and I felt I was boring to my followers, and so lacked the confidence in asking them for a dance, and so I was not enjoying going out and dancing… After 7 weeks of private sessions with Vio, I had a wide vocabulary & repertoire, I had developed into an interesting dancer, I developed my own unique style, I had confidence and I was sought out by followers who wanted (loved) to dance with me !  – I had started out as an average Joe, Vio may not have converted me into a star, but she did convert me into a very happy Tangouero !  … Also as I danced I noticed I gelled more with some followers than others…More often than not, these were followers who had had lessons with Vio.  They got it in terms of poise, body tension, dynamic power, reading cues and subtleties, creativity and confidence – as opposed to performing a passive disconnected mechanical routine. Sunit Prakash

We wanted to dance. It was that simple.
But we wanted something which resonated with us.

We always liked the idea of the passionate dances, Paso Doble, Flamenco and of course, Tango. But what next? We tried a lesson with a champion Tango dancer, and walked through a repeatable pattern of steps together. While it was fun, it was not really what we were looking for.

Then we had a random encounter and began getting emails from someone doing weekly classes in our area. After a while of getting emails and not doing anything about them (life got in the way at the time as it tends to), but something happened, we’re not sure exactly what, but the impetus struck us that we needed to act. So we went along to our first Thursday night beginners lesson with Vio Saraza. Awestruck. No going backwards after that one! It was so different. The emphasis was on the connection between two people. How to establish it, how to keep it, how to dance together. Really dancing with your partner, not walking through a prescribed pattern of moves, not just a leader improvising steps which the follower had to keep up with but really, dancing with your partner.

Wow.

It was awesome, learning about connection, intention, suspension, attention and of course the most beautiful, and sometimes very simple movements to accompany each other in a very personal expression of the most incredible music. It took a while and a whole lot of questions with an incredibly patient, understanding and knowledgeable teacher who would answer all questions and expand on them in relation to other principles, but it really started to sink in.

This was completely different to anything we had done before. And the welcome sense of belonging and sharing in something which went way beyond our dance class, was present from the start. Learning the protocols of the dances, the structures of milongas, practicas and many other elements of the Tango scene, both local to us, and in the broader global sense.

This was all accomplished with the guidance of someone who really got it. Not just the ideas and principles, or the moves, but by continually
experimenting and discovering opportunities to increase the connection, the fun and the expression of the music through two people dancing Tango together. Combined with an ability to vocalise this understanding and gift it in a way which was applicable to you at that time was powerful stuff from someone who loved to pass it on to others who wanted to learn.

Now some 6 months on and learning under new teachers (due to being in a different country to Vio) we still use the vocabulary she introduced to us to better understand and incorporate movements and to continuously do our own experimenting in order to find our dance, and our own Tango.

We have danced Tango in our car port, in the rain or sun, at the gym, in hallways, in our kitchen and lounge, at practicas, at milongas, to traditional and nuevo music, to hip hop (from across the street) or waltz, with others and each other, sneaking  moments or stealing a whole day to feel and dance together. And we love it.  And our ability to connect, dance and walk our paths together just seems to be getting better and better.
And we still want to dance, together. Dom & Jen

Vio introduced me to Tango, and my time learning it from her were most enjoyable. She works hard, especially to individualise her teaching, always seeking to use analogies or perspectives that each individual student can best relate to.  While she conveys the romance of tango, she also conveys a structure and mode for practicing tango which greatly assisted me in learning and appreciating the dance.I recommend Vio as a teacher who combines fun with power and effectiveness. Murray

Over the last 8 weeks I have done about 3 hours of group lessons and 9 hours of private lessons with Vio. In this time I have experienced Vio as a very passionate, thorough and encouraging teacher. She has an amazing ability to give directions in a way that is totally tailored to the student’s needs. I really feel she turned me from a beginner to an experienced tango dancer, from a clumsy starter to a smooth follower. And on top of that I love it how she through her positive way of teaching really makes me feel that I will have a long lasting pleasure in Tango. Conny Van

 

Experience TangoForge

photo by Vikas Narula, photo editing by TC

To show you how we teach, we invite you to try a typical week's classes.

We start with a Biomechanics class to build the technique skills we need for the week's Improvisation theme.

To join us for a class by video, just put your email here and we'll send it right away.

The whole Lexicon of Tango is available in our 25-session video masterclass,
Learn about TangoForge Online Education.
 3 January 2012