Choosing a partner dance for social dancing-Swing, Salsa, Ballroom, Argentine Tango ... Each of the popular social partner dances offers a different experience. The music! • The social atmosphere • What people wear • The dance's own mood • The structure of the dance...
How to determine whether you are receiving quality instruction-There are lots of Argentine Tango instructors to choose from. There are lots of expensive workshops to attend. Everyone seems to rave about every teacher they’ve studied with and how fabulous the workshop was. Of course it’s fun to go to workshops just for the social part and the buzz. This post is about evaluating the instruction. We tend to blame ourselves when we can’t execute a sequence in a class. It’s true that we need to develop a lot [...more]
About shoes for tango-Wear whatever makes you feel sexy. I see no reason whatsoever to wear technical dance shoes, and several reasons not to. Like clothing, there are a few functional requirements, but many non-dance shoes meet these requirements, while looking and feeling much better than tango shoes.
Yoga Toes Stop Foot Pain-Yogatoes are widely used by ballerinas to manage foot pain. They exercise the tiny muscles of your toes so that your feet work better to support your body. Where to order:
About Practicing-Every tango teacher exhorts students to practice, and every student agrees that they need to practice. Most dancers don’t. For the same reasons we don’t do lots of other things: We do what’s most urgent or compelling, and lots of actions and good ideas and “shoulds” get pushed aside. But we really want to improve our dancing, so how can we find the time, energy, and commitment to do it? There are two really wonderful gifts at our disposal: Discipline [...more]
The power of desire-One of the most painful parts of tango for aRrevel is waiting, or sitting. It makes us feel passive and powerless when we wait for someone –anyone– to ask us for a dance. This is a mistaken perception of the situation and revels can develop a deeper understanding of what is going on.
What to wear?-One of the things I love about tango is that no one will ever say "you're too old to be wearing that." The main thing to pay attention to when shopping and dressing is how a piece of clothing makes you feel. Notice if you are smiling, notice if you are twirling or tapping your feet. If this piece of clothing gives you joy and makes you want to dance, then it's a keeper. If you're feeling doubtful or self-conscious, take it off!
San Francisco Bay Area26 January 2018-San Francisco is my birthplace, but I started dancing in Los Angeles, so I’m not part of the San Francisco community. A few quick points: Milongas end very early and are often empty 30 minutes before the stated closing time. Since this means they are quite short, people go on time at the start. If you want a candle, you’ll have to drive 2 hours to Tango on Broadway in Sacramento. The few young folks in the scene are self-importantly [...more]
Walking yoga25 January 2018-Yoga enables us to feel fulfilled in solitude. Tango enables us to make a silent connection with almost anyone. Both depend on intense physical rigour and body-experience and both offer us serenity, but yoga can be lonely, and tango can be needy. Combining these two silent practices enriches both.
The Perfect Tanguera10 August 2017-To create "The Perfect Tanguera" I wrote to my 10 favourite Milongueros of all time to ask for their advice. These aren't professionals, or my dance partners, or my friends. They are actually the 10 most delicious men I've danced with anywhere in the world over the last 10 years. Most of them are guys I was too shy to even have a conversation with.
Guidebook to the Studio Kiez and Berlin1 July 2017-If you stay in our dormitory or nearby to us in this sweet section of Mitte, you’ll have great food, and easy transportation to/from all arrival ports and to/from milongas. In fact, you can walk to milongas and museums. I love the delicious bits of travel and I hate the frustrating, heavy bits. I know that considering your trip to Berlin tickles you in both ways, so I’ve written this guide to try to reduce the frustrating bits and draw [...more]
Balance is not a character virtue23 May 2017-So many students say “I have bad balance” as if they are describing their shoe size or model of smartphone. Balance is not an innate character virtue or flaw. It’s a skill.
How to be a Good Man, as you become an Advanced Tanguero3 January 2017-Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are now mastering this dance! You can make girls feel really good and happy. Girls are starting to look for you, snuggle you, hang around you. This feels great! You’re a nice guy; you are not planning to use your newfound advantage to become a womanizer, but you are enjoying the attention. But you also feel that the women who hang around you are confused. You want to be friendly, you don’t want [...more]
Berlin Tango Histories22 October 2015-“Berlin is the first city of the world where you had tango community who danced Argentine Tango. In Japan in 40s and 50s you had many people who heard tango music, But dancers in a community, you had in Uruguay and BsAs, but not in Europe. The first point of the world to have this outside from South America was Berlin. Berlin is famous for the boheme life. People come here to go out, to meet people, to laugh and love with them. And tango is a part of this.
Starting to dance Vals and Milonga25 August 2015-So you feel ready (or you feel like you should be ready) to dance faster? Here’s a guide to getting started with vals and milonga. General points Faster is harder than slower. Always perfect your technique slowly before attempting to do any movement fast. Both vals and milonga can be danced slowly. Start by finding the slowest possible musicality for these dances. Then try speeding up occasionally during a song. There are no right and wrong or special moves for vals or [...more]
Organic yerba mate13 March 2015-My Mate World carries many varieties of organic yerba mate, and can send you a sample kit so you can try them! Why do I drink yerba mate?: Because it’s a smoother high than coffee, and it generates physical power AND excited ideas! From the My Yerba Mate website: Yerba mate contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and 11 polyphenols, a group of phytochemicals which act as powerful antioxidants. Polyphenols are considered to exhibit anticancer effects in mammals by strengthening [...more]
Dancing to the beat: JewelLab Musicality Session 211 January 2015-by Nick Young Previous sessions: Session 1: Slow In this musicality session, we look at choosing which beats of the music to step on. First we identify the beats we have to work with, and then we try some simple ideas for dancing them. These ideas are simple ways to make your dance more interesting and enjoyable! The previous session was about how to skip beats. This session is about which beats to skip and which beats to step. Throughout [...more]
Slow: JewelLab Musicality Session 114 December 2014-by Nick Young Next sessions: Session 2: Dancing to the beat In this musicality session, we look at 3 different techniques of dancing slowly by skipping beats that we might normally step on. Now, we only look at how to skip beats using these techniques. Later, we will look at when or which beats to skip. It is important for the mark to understand these ideas so that he can lead them. It is important for the revel to understand [...more]
Tango in Berlin30 August 2014-Berlin is purported to be the #2 city in the world for Argentine Tango. No one knows what this means – number of dancers, level… It doesn’t matter, it’s well worth the trip. This post began as a summary of my experiences in July and August, 2014, so it still has the flavor of a visitor’s view, although I’ve now updated it was a resident of 2+ years. The section on Milonga Popular was updated on 10 April 2015. Roter [...more]
Music in which the rhythm doesn’t make noise13 June 2014-Last month we had the pleasure of dancing tango to the live jazz saxophone of Junio Karokaro. For some of us, the lack of a beat was challenging. One leader said "I can't use sequences, I have to lead one element at a time." Others promptly felt comfortable with it. We all agreed that this dancing was riveting. It took a lot of concentration and felt very satisfying.
Iris Toren custom tango portraits28 May 2014-Iris Toren does custom and commissioned tango portraits and other work. Contact info below. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com +61 425 349 019 http://iristoren.com www.facebook.com/iristorenartist
Guide to Argentine Tango for Ballroom Dancers26 May 2014-Are you ready to try Argentine Tango? You’ll use all your ballroom dancing skills, but there are lots more improvisational possibilities and every step is improvised, so it will be an exciting new challenge. This guide will help you understand the key differences between Argentine Tango and Ballroom. Enter your email and I’ll send it to you right away.
Your First Milonga26 May 2014-Your First Milonga is an exciting occasion, but you may be very nervous right now. It’s always easier when you don’t feel mystified, so I’ve prepared an Orientation Guide. You may also be interested in the full Etiquette Guide, our guide to What to Wear, information about the Cabeceo and Codigos. Don’t get overwhelmed by all that. It will all become more useful after your first milonga…. Here are some beautiful photos of milongas by Romain Baillon..
Guide to tango for Ballet Dancers26 May 2014-Tango will use all your ballet skills for concentration and muscle control, but requires less strength and flexibility, so it's kinder to your body.
Happy Tango in Buenos Aires23 May 2014-I am so glad to find this book. An English woman who started dancing in her 40s has written a book of really good tips on how to make sure you have a happy time and blissful dancing when you go to Buenos Aires. (This is not always easy to do.) She has 11 smart tips for happiness + how to find the right places for you to dance with a detailed guide to the weekly milongas. She also has a [...more]
Fabián Pérez tango paintings17 May 2014- Who is that painter? His work is so famous, but as usual in tango, people forget to give credit. He is Fabián Pérez. He has his own website, and here’s a gallery that sells both originals and prints of his work!
Intermediate leaders23 February 2014-But sometimes you feel a bit bored. And you don't really want to be just another intermediate dancer. You want to be one of the ones the women look at in that way. Going to classes doesn't seem to help. Sometimes you can do the sequence, it depends who you're dancing with. Sometimes you can't get there. Either way, it's hard to remember, and hard to take useful notes, and even the girls who were in the class don't remember the move so on the occasions when you do remember it, you can't do it at the milonga.
Choosing a partner dance for social dancing20 February 2014-Swing, Salsa, Ballroom, Argentine Tango ... Each of the popular social partner dances offers a different experience. The music! • The social atmosphere • What people wear • The dance's own mood • The structure of the dance...
Emotions on the dance floor20 November 2013-Muscle control is just the entry ticket to the party. We still have choices to make about how to interact, what parts of ourselves to share, and how deeply we seek to connect.
Musicality14 October 2013-Musicality is the application of tango dancing to any music. Traditional tango music offers a lot of complexity and changes during one song. These characteristics can be found in other kinds of music, and we can also learn to dance to simpler music by dancing to the melody or using complex systems for relating to the rhythm. In order to express more musicality, dancers need to gain the control to dance quickly and slowly, and to transition smoothly between speeds. [...more]
Tango vignettes by Ramiro Gigglioti4 September 2013-I love to read his column in El Tangauta. His book Tango Venom is available in English and Spanish but hard to get. I found this German distributor, Abrazos Books, who also offer a number of other interesting tango books in English.
DJ Resources by Homer Ladas3 September 2013-Homer Ladas is a serious DJ of alternative tangos, and well-respected for it. He researches songs that can be pulled into the tango repertoire and these are often taken up by DJs around the world. This resource page provides tips on traditional DJing in addition to alternative DJing. Homer shares quite a few of his playlists here for educational purposes, with commentary on how he put the list together, what his goals were, and how it worked.
Pilates Buenos Aires23 August 2013-Mil grullas, Barrio Norte, beautiful studio in old building in tranquil neighborhood: Gascón 1454 at El Salvador T. 4867 2491. Equilibrio Vitalidad Armonia PIlates, Villa Crespo. untranquil street, cramped floorspace, but airy and natural lit studio, high in an apartment building (unmarked buzzer) 10th Floor Unit C. Eva is a vigilant instructor and appears to be training dancers, not housewives. 4954 3057, 15 6 483 1194
Bodywork Sydney23 August 2013-Simonne Smiles PilatesBrad Moffitt Remedial Massage Therapy 0416 308 764 Quro Health Studios: Unlimited yoga and pilates for $35/week with contract or $37/week without contract.
Tango Marathon Directory16 August 2013-Want to go dancing? The Global Tango Marathon Directory lists all the events where you can get together with tango dancers you don’t know yet, and dance all day and night (with breaks for great food). You can search by date and plan your travel around some amazing weekends. It includes festivals, but also the much more affordable wall-to-wall dance weekends. Some provide dormitory housing. Note that many of the events are limited in size and are role-balanced, so be [...more]
How to determine whether you are receiving quality instruction23 July 2013-There are lots of Argentine Tango instructors to choose from. There are lots of expensive workshops to attend. Everyone seems to rave about every teacher they’ve studied with and how fabulous the workshop was. Of course it’s fun to go to workshops just for the social part and the buzz. This post is about evaluating the instruction. We tend to blame ourselves when we can’t execute a sequence in a class. It’s true that we need to develop a lot [...more]
About shoes for tango19 June 2013-Wear whatever makes you feel sexy. I see no reason whatsoever to wear technical dance shoes, and several reasons not to. Like clothing, there are a few functional requirements, but many non-dance shoes meet these requirements, while looking and feeling much better than tango shoes.
Making tango your own16 June 2013-You are investing time, power, and heart into this dance. It may sound obvious, but it’s crucial to remind yourself that you’re doing all this for your own pleasure. Tango is a space of self-expression, elation, and emotional intensity that are very personal. It’s also an authoritarian, righteous, rules-centered, judgmental world. Perhaps too easily, we become accustomed to the rules and the associated socializing behavior. Some people seem to gain part of their pleasure from the enactment of the rules. [...more]
NuBra for backless dresses8 June 2013-If you’re going to wear a backless dress, you are going to need a Nubra. They work. I use them all the time. I prefer the “Seamless” model because the bra itself adds the least weight. Please note that their website is shockingly unhip, but it works as does the product. If you’re in Australia, use the local distro.
Spanx girlshorts8 June 2013-Spanx panties have no seams, just smooth lines and confident coverage. Get a set in black and nude to manage every outfit! I use the “Hide and Sleek” family of products, especially the smallest girlshorts and the mid-thigh, but the capri looks great for people who like coverage to the knee, and the high-waist if you want slimming!
Yoga Toes Stop Foot Pain8 June 2013-Yogatoes are widely used by ballerinas to manage foot pain. They exercise the tiny muscles of your toes so that your feet work better to support your body. Where to order:
Leaders’ versus Followers’ musicality1 June 2013-This post is the beginning of an investigation which I hope to continue in further discussions and observation. I was never interested in DJing, but more and more it becomes part of my work, as I host practicas and milongas. I have collected a nice library of music. Some days I really can’t stand any of the traditional music, and other days putting together a playlist makes me excited to dance. People seem to like to complain about the music. [...more]
Where to dance in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City11 April 2013-I’m often asked to recommend milongas in the US. I haven’t been home in a few years, but I can tell you what I liked when I was last there. First of all, you’ll need the calendars for each city. San Francisco’s MangoTango Calendar is especially user-friendly with listings for the entire Bay Area, searchable by region and type of event. In Los Angeles, my friend Vladimir Estrin manages a complete calendar called Tango Afficionado. In New York City you’ll [...more]
Moody milonguera / Us and the Onda14 January 2013-In Castellano, the mood of the milonga is called ‘onda’, a term used to describe the combined effects of everything from architecture to astrology. “The Onda” is an ineffable mix of the shape of the space, the lighting, the attitude of the organizer, the music, the feeling of the floor, who is there, who is not there, how the traffic is flowing, the weather (which affects the floor), the moon. Variables fixed for a given milonga + the peculiarities of [...more]
Experience the “real” tango…9 December 2012-But Argentines say that the music itself brings emotions into you, and this is why they emphasize that to understand tango you must learn the language, even the old Lunfardo words and phrases. You must feel the pathos of the songs in order to fully experience the emotion of tango.
Tango as relationship therapy (The Atlantic)23 October 2012-I, You, and ‘the Embrace’: Tango as Relationship Therapy By Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky The Atlantic, Oct 23 2012 Taking a test on healthcare provider burnout, I met every criterion. It lists the familiar recommendations that no one has time for: “self-care,” “exercise,” “sleep,” “eat.” The same ones I make to my patients. At home, between my partner and me, we also needed a radical intervention. In most long-term couples, the physical union is the first to go. Helen Fisher, the neurobiology love guru, [...more]
Aleph Bravo Tango, a Novel9 August 2012-Interwoven vignettes, each revealing a facet of the experience of falling in love with tango.
Packing for Buenos Aires3 July 2012-You will need to feel great. Bring whatever makes you feel Sexy Sexy Sexy (daytime stuff too). Do not pack anything that you feel so-so in. You won't even want to go to the grocery store in it.
Chacarera!13 February 2012-It’s nice to have a break from tango and do the Chacarera. It’s often played at milongas. Don’t be intimidated, this dance is NOT about being perfect. It’s about being happy and flirty. How to participate The chacarera is about flirting. The most important part of the dance is your eyes. The purpose is to keep eye contact with your partner as much as possible. Don’t be distracted from this by worrying about the steps. The second most important part [...more]
Medical report: Tango alleviates symptoms of depression27 January 2012-In the last few years, health and medicine journalists have seized on the idea that dancing is good for you, not only physically, but emotionally. The Sydney Morning Herald published a short report on recent Australian research regarding tango and depression. Researchers compared tango with cross training and meditation, practices already thought to be good at alleviating both depression and its symptoms. They found tango to be effective. One of the most interesting projects in this regard is the Buenos [...more]
Websites to learn about and buy music16 January 2012-to learn Milonga.co.uk (also a store)Tango.djTanda of the WeekPoesia to buy DJ Iain’s favorite is still Tango Store (This is the website of the Buenos Aires store, Zivals.) The prices are fairly good and you can listen to most of the music. Movie Mars has great prices, but their search function is awful, so you have to know what you’re looking for. DyM has good reviews of new tango CDs and also sells online in FLAC (“lossless”) format. Got [...more]
About Practicing16 January 2012-Every tango teacher exhorts students to practice, and every student agrees that they need to practice. Most dancers don’t. For the same reasons we don’t do lots of other things: We do what’s most urgent or compelling, and lots of actions and good ideas and “shoulds” get pushed aside. But we really want to improve our dancing, so how can we find the time, energy, and commitment to do it? There are two really wonderful gifts at our disposal: Discipline [...more]
The power of desire11 January 2012-One of the most painful parts of tango for aRrevel is waiting, or sitting. It makes us feel passive and powerless when we wait for someone –anyone– to ask us for a dance. This is a mistaken perception of the situation and revels can develop a deeper understanding of what is going on.
The lyrics7 January 2012-Many people say “you have no idea what’s going on if you don’t know what these songs are about!” I believe there are many ways to experience and relate to tango, but in case you’d like to learn, here are some resources. If you know of another resource please send me a message in the box at the right. Manuel Garber’s book Tango Words is a tight, literal translation of 20 tangos to help you learn Castellano, as well as [...more]
About Tango Music7 January 2012-Argentine Tango is a rich genre of music, which has already been interpreted around the world by musicians for decades. It is a fascinating and worthy subject of study and I’ve listed below some wonderful resources for learning. If you know of more, I’d be so happy to include them, just send the info using the message box at the right. Tango music usually offers more than one rhythm, one or two melodic lines, and allows instruments to change their [...more]
Tango radio7 January 2012-Here’s a list of Tango Radio stations that you can listen to on the internet. Thanks to Manuel Garber for the list. If you know another one, please send me a message using the contact for at the right. AM-TANGO (Buenos Aires) Tango Rosario Radio General Belgrano La 2×4 (Buenos Aires) AccuRadio Tango Radio Shoutcast Tango Viedma Tango Radio Zvezdelin Tango Radio Criolla Webradio 1917Tango Argentine Tango NJ
Podcast about the tango orchestras7 January 2012-As you learn about tango music, you’ll find that each song has been recorded many times, and you’ll notice that it sounds different depending which orchestra is playing it. Manuel Garber’s podcast discusses the orchestras, the singers, the composers, and more!
Joaquin Amenabar’s pedagogy for musicality7 January 2012-Joaquin Amenabar is a spectacular bandoneonist. He has a method for teaching dancers with no musical training about how tango music works and how to dance to it. If you don’t have a chance to learn from him in person, you can buy his book which explains the technique.
Videos of the Maestros31 December 2011-Videos of the Maestros Your brain is wired up to master movements from watching other people. These are your mirror neurons. Watch videos of the maestros. When you find someone you like, watch them over and over. Absorb how they move and then imagine their dance in your mind when you are dancing. I’ve done moves that I had no intention to do and had never tried or practiced, just because I had absorbed the gesture through watching. There are [...more]
What to wear?28 December 2011-One of the things I love about tango is that no one will ever say "you're too old to be wearing that." The main thing to pay attention to when shopping and dressing is how a piece of clothing makes you feel. Notice if you are smiling, notice if you are twirling or tapping your feet. If this piece of clothing gives you joy and makes you want to dance, then it's a keeper. If you're feeling doubtful or self-conscious, take it off!
Guide to Buenos Aires7 November 2011-Neighborhoods and great apartments, transportation, my favorite food, pilates, milongas, teachers, shopping. Plus updates on the queer and ex-nuevo scenes.
Getting started28 August 2011-Don't waste a minute! Soon you'll have a rich social life, and a place to wear fancy-dress whenever you feel like it. Dig through your closet and find some shoes that don't grip the floor, because that's all you need. You do not need a partner to start learning tango.
Getting custom shoes made in Buenos Aires28 August 2011-EVERY shoe store (except 2×4) will tell you that they do “custom” shoes: “Anything you want!”. We learned that what this means is that they will change the colors and materials of the models they make. It has NOTHING to do with the fit. If you have a VERY unusual foot, what you actually need to do is invest in having your own custom last (in Spanish “molda”) made (US $500-$1000). That is the wooden foot that they actually build [...more]
Couples and tango partners2 June 2010-Somehow, in tango we are especially vulnerable to criticism. Perhaps it is because dancing tango means working at about 125% of not only our physical capacities, but our intellectual, emotional, and even spiritual ones as well. In what other moment of our life is so much of ourselves on the line?
Tango Music Educational Radio Show25 February 2008-Tango Tales radio show is not about playing music only – it is about educating the listeners about Argentine tango – music & dance. The show is broadcasted on Saturdays 9:00-10:00am on Portsmouth Community Radio ( listen on line www.wscafm.org), but you can DOWNLOAD the most of the episodes from the show’s site:www.tangotales.com. HERE ARE THE MOST POPULAR SHOW EPISODES: Brief history of tango music. Told by the semi-professional pianist Max Valentinuzzi, who played during Golden Age Jorge Luis [...more]
How long do you dance with one person? (the tanda)10 February 2008-We dance three or four songs with one person – this is called a “tanda”, sometimes separated with 15-30 seconds of contrasting music, called a cortina (curtain). If there is no cortina, you can just count four songs.
It's rude to leave your partner before the end of the tanda.
Troubles in practice?10 February 2008-While practicing, it is likely that you will have some frustration with your partner. When something is not working, it is VERY hard to tell what's wrong and who is at fault, tempting though that is. Here are some tips:
Etiquette Guide to the Codigos and Beyond25 January 2008-The codigos guide social interaction when tango is being danced. They respect the sanctity of the dance and take care of dancers' feelings and egos.