The Blog comes to life: Roles

Saturday, 3. December.  Second experiment with bringing the blog to life. My classes are so technical, but most of the students are there because of the blog. So I decided it’s necessary to bring the blog into the classroom.

I don’t promise that my monthly MetaThema class will always be Socio-Emotional-Poetry. I also want a space to share with students my own most profound technical work, my cutting edge of physicality.

I decided to start with one of the biggest themes in the blog: gender/roles. I wanted to bring to life the way that I dance the roles, the Mark and the Revel, based on my most recent blogpost about the roles’ liberatory possibilities.

The Revel’s gift is her taut musculature and her capacity to witness contradiction, her comfort with the unknown.

Her readiness and companionship makes it possible for her Mark to reach for his unknown, to let forth profound, perhaps divine, creativity that he does not understand or control, and has not yet seen.

Understanding that any given Mark may not be ready for this, and that it could be months or years before any Revel has the honor to accompany the emergence of  her partner’s divine, we practice.

We did four exercises, by candlelight. And there is no need for a video of this course.

We did not change partners during this 45 minute class.

  1. In order for the Mark to be free to create, he needs to be unhindered by the distraction of controlling the Revel, specifically the distraction of holding her back. We want to make sure that he is always focused on the direction of intention. To free him, the Revel takes pride in staying on her base leg. The goal of this exercise is that the mark has zero extra tension.  He can give feedback to the revel until this is achieved.
  2. The Revel realizes her body as a gift. During every 1st and second projection, the Revel stretchs her base and free legs to ensure her muscle chains are active. She gives this gift of taut and alive muscles to the Mark. In this exercise he realizes this gift by not taking any actions that do not work through and with this gift.
  3. During this exercise each dancer repeats a mantra to themselves about once every 10-30 seconds. (Not constantly.)
    Mark’s mantra: I TRUST her.
    Revel’s mantra: I’m here for HIM.
  4. In the final exercise, the Revel continues with all of the work from 1-3 and the Mark feels for the unknown inside of himself and tasks risks!


Paulo Avida

My experience with my own exhortations…

I danced exercises 3 and 4 in both roles. Although I usually Revel based on this theory, as a Mark I’m a quite typical kontrolfreak. When I danced the “Trust” mantra as the Mark, I was surprised to find that I didn’t need (or want) my regular pathways. I was more able to allow new experiences to open and not to try to take responsibility for getting the Revel to do what I want. If she didn’t get my idea, I let her go to hers.

Later at a milonga I danced with a Revel who I had formerly perceived as not very skilled. This time I realized that the problem is less her skill than the fact she is dancing for herself, not for me. She breaks her own concentration and our connection to do movements that she feels like doing.



I want you to know that you are not alone…

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?




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Important Insights


Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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