L’arrivée tant attendue d’un mot…

TangoForge Argentine Tango the tango roles

  « Le début de la liberté, c’est la définition des termes » Socrate « Les limites de mon langage signifient les limites de mon propre monde » Ludwig Wittgenstein “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow. Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve […]

The Myths we Dance by

Tango is full of myths. Knife fights. Brothels. “It’s always the leader’s fault.” Today I caught a live one. You are going to want to know about this. And I’m going to take you on the long route because as important as the truth on this point is showing you how I myth-bust, so I am […]

“the burning edge of sublime” … unpublished interview with Victoria Thomas

In early October a somewhat frantic Los Angeles journalist contacted me as an “expert” on “the burning edge of sublime”. I responded to all of her questions but she eventually cancelled the project because our videos were “handheld” and the photos were not high resolution. Here’s an assembly of the Q and A…

Milonga photographer Romain Baillon now has a book!

Romain Baillon Tango Photos

If you’ve explored TangoForge.com you have undoubtedly seen a number of photos by Romain Baillon. We met many years ago, and he has kindly given permission to use his photos. Now he has printed them in a book, L’embrasement. His photos are not portraits of dancers. They capture the moods and sensations of a milonga. […]

In Defense of Etiquette III: The Mirada

We might use the phrase ‘pre-cabeceo’ for the actions that lead up to and prepare for the cabeceo. Crafting your desire ought to be part of your tango training, and personal expression. The expression of desire is known as “the mirada”. It’s often understood to be the Revel (follower’s) part of the cabeceo. She lures […]

In Defense of etiquette 2023: Part I: Codigos

Many people these days reject the tango etiquette as old fashioned, “macho”, or irrelevant. They don’t consider that the tango etiquette protects us. Even (or especially) when we are friends or frequent dance partners.

In defense of etiquette: Part II: Cabeceo

The woman told me  “well maybe in Germany the men can’t say no, but here we say that men can say no”. I said “I’ve lived all over the world, and nowhere are men comfortable to be rude or humiliate a woman.” Her overt demand is coercive regardless of her fantasies about his “freedom” to say “no”.

The yoga in tango

All of our yogis could do the Tree pose beautifully, so we started reminding them to tree while dancing – especially after back steps and pivots. Everyone could do this, and it made them stronger, lighter, and smoother.


As part of our most recent Privates Intensive, I received an unusual opportunity to develop our pedagogy in a new direction. One student’s mission statement for his time with us was very straightforward. He realized that when dancing at a milonga, he fell back on a simple routine and could not remember new material from […]

MasterCourse Q/A: Profound Questions and Detailed Answers 2/6

MasterCourse Q/A: Profound Questions and Detailed Answers 1/6

MasterCourse Q/A Profound Questions and Detailed Answers 1/6 1. Lateral Projection vs. Revel’s Change of Foot This is one of the most challenging distinctions, for both Marks and Revels. What is a lateral projection? The Mark stands still and indicates intention for a lateral movement. The Revel extends her free leg in the indicated direction. What […]

Fitness for Life

Sports Physiologist Eric Cressey is focused on low back pain. In this interview he debunks standard diagnostic and physiotherapy techniques. Dr. Kelly Starrett is focused on functional fitness, being a “durable person” who can continue to “move the way you want as you age”. Here are the recommendations I found innovative and useful for dancers as lifetime athletes.

Neo logic

We were responsible for “the neo”. We didn’t know what that meant… Here are the latest collected tidbits on this confusing term, with no conclusions whatsoever.

Why I’m still not dancing

My dancing slowed down in 2019 because I felt I wasn’t getting much out of it. It ground to a halt in 2020 and 2021, along with most dancers. But in 2022 and 2023 it hasn’t renewed itself. When Roberto and I get together to make some art or teach, dancing is fabulous and full. […]

the Walking Dance

Parkour becomes an act of beauty. It avoids not only the routine of spatial organization and predetermined routes, but also reinterprets going somewhere as a creative and pleasure-seeking process.

What is keto all about?

The keto diet improves the health of our mitochondria, which enables our brains to function smoothly. What is it? While maintaining a high level of vegetables and a moderate amount of protein, it eliminates grains, beans, and tubers and replaces them with lots and lots of fat, of all kinds.


He’s not surprised that it’s possible to sculpt your own body, but I am. While it’s a good idea to try to love your body as it is, it’s very empowering to realize you can also change the parts you don’t like. 

too much crazy

Some of them scramble to explain that they really really really do mean it as a compliment.

Life on Spec

“On spec” is an abbreviation of “on speculation”. It’s a business term referring to production in hope of success. Artists are afraid to demand too much, or settle for too little, so we silently collaborate in the “contract of hope”.

Trilogy of Rage

The “therapy” of art may serve others, but it must first be the antidote for the artist. It is the gesture made necessary by the shape and material of the artist’s own experience as crucible.

Back Sacadas in Lesson 10: What I’m learning from teaching tango in 30 days

Today is day 11 of a stunt, to teach tango to a stuntman in 30 days. Stunt-work requires precision. Each day’s lesson is exactly 15 minutes (with a timer).

From the gift of Cochabamba to the genius of El Pulpo

Argentine Tango Back Sacada

The dancers of the Cochabamba Group and El Pulpo are misunderstood as innovators, people who distorted and departed from tango. Genius is to find something new inside of what we think we already know.



This graphic has been on our home page for six years. For several of those years I have been aware that our students rarely, if ever, use the word ‘creativity’. They use the word ‘freedom’. The gap between those two words is a crucial failure to understand our own biographies and to articulate what it means to be artists.

A kilo of symphonies

“Señor Piazzolla” she replied, “won’t you play for me?”

Despair and Imagination

I was overwhelmed with despair, surely multi-valent. I was inconsolable, untouchable, reactive, helpless. I watched joy pass but could not reach to touch it.

Dancing as Development

Dancing as Development


But would I accept the right invitations if I felt cautious of everyone? Would I be able to relax my body, to trust and enjoy while also maintaining vigilance?


I always invite my students to share their confusion when teachers are telling them different things. Likewise I now feel a responsibility to explain why teachers are almost always covertly hostile to one another.

First world problems

I discover there are far more than two aesthetics for a voleo and they are all for me. I wonder what else about tango did I defer to others’ guardrails? Are there more joys and pleasure that I never claimed?

by the Sword

I am here to pick grapes. I continue to train every day, alone, but not to that music.  I dance alone to the teenagers’ band practice, a medley of American pop songs.

Showing off?

Showing off is an accusation leveled at people perceived to be doing either “stage” tango or “nuevo” tango in contexts where only “social” or “traditional” tango is authorized. The vilification rests on a concept entirely external to tango: that showing off is shameful.

To evolve or not?

In the era of Fundamentalism, modernism is in decline. Although we can ill-afford it, the modernists are now drawing battle-lines.

The New Normal is All Pleasure

It’s time to manifest my resolutions: to increase the parts of tango that make me happy and transform or abandon the parts that make me unhappy.

Thoughts on the Alfa bandoneon by Pez Pearson

“I selected the Alfa because of its distinctive Art-Deco sound openings and also because the first example I came across was keyed in the Peguri system. This would give me the opportunity to show a different keyboard layout than the 142s I had drawn so far.”

Fabián Salas, interviewed by Keith Elshaw 2001

So we went out and we started dancing, and looking for what we didn’t know … we were looking for: how many voleos were possible in Tango dancing; how many different ganchos there are; things like that. To come to a total knowledge of what’s available.

Gustavo Naveira, interviewed by Brian Dunn 2005-8

“Gustavo, what are we going to do with this!? This is such an amazing way of making art, we must do something really great with this, something HUGE!!!” –Chicho

Andrew Chiw interviews Vio 2020

We talk about intentions, the development of TangoForge pedagogy, online tango education, marketing for the tango industry, and possible uses of Blockchain.

Making Tango Your Own

–Auch auf DE– Mario and Andrea were competitive ballroom dancers for some years. Eventually they tired of the rigid priorities and circumstances of competition. They resolved to continue dancing in a way that was more sustainable and directed by their own values. Finding traditional milongas uptight and unsatisfying, they renovated part of their house to make a dancing room and built their own community.

The Good Girl

what tango gives women

As I’m sure you are, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about – well, everything.
My life, decisions I made, mostly the bad ones.
Wine, the difference between Barbera and Ruché.
Tango: was it all a dream?

Internal Audit Technique

This cycle prevents us from ever reckoning with the costs of either. We can’t seem to finalize a cost-benefit analysis. The phone beeps, we are packing our shoes.

Friendly but not Friends

Dear Dancers, I write today with a sad confirmation of things I suspected. I hope to learn that it is somehow incomplete. As you know, TangoForge has been documenting our knowledge of tango in various online education tools. In these 7 years, I’ve made many different “offers”, and collected data on the various results. I […]

Berlin: The Directors’ Cut

From 2021 Berlin will no longer be our headquarters. Now is the time to revisit our Berlin productions. Accompanied by superlative collaborators, we used every opportunity to tell new stories and make tango bigger.
Thank you to: Mona Isabelle, Andreas Rochholl, CJ Yetman, Max Thomas, Fritz Schadow, Abisko Lights, Gökhan Aksakalli, Antoine Gallix, Alan Nguyen, Stefan Brenner, Yoko Onodera, Swan, Frauke Nees, Andi Hackenberg, Jaina Hirai, Eva Curtius, Ibon Goitia and Orquesta TRYST.

The Advent Pearls’ Oyster Farm

The TangoForge Advent offered the pearls of delight and wisdom I have collected between dances. If you want more of the Advent’s type of pearls, I welcome you to the oyster farm.

Endurance and Action

This year we have seen our fragility, we have lost control over our lives, we have surrendered freedoms and privileges. And we have also decided what to do, what we can do, how to protect, how to connect, how to live.

Cluster Tango in and beyond The Distance

Germany is, as always, a bit special. This post is intended to share with others the corona-cautious dancing system here. I am not interested in debating the mathematical and epidemiological theories. Instead I want to draw attention to  aspects of the cluster system that may be useful and desirable beyond the viruscrisis.

Productivity versus Pleasure

My relationship to work presumes that completion is the main pleasure in life. My overwork is often a drive to finish something. This finish fetish is utterly arbitrary. Usually there’s no urgency, and most things get better with more time (and sleep). I practiced: stopping when it’s not done yet.

The grammar of creation

I resonated, and I was intimidated. I slog away at the day and although I use a lot of creativity to get through problems and take pleasure in every word I choose, every bite of food I eat, and moving my body around, I would hardly call the experience or the result “a love poem”.


As I prepare to return to Europe, I want a new relationship to tango well before any milonga beckons. I suspect many of you also hope to return differently to tango – or hope that it will be different upon our return.

A new intimacy

We associate tango with large, crowded rooms, and anonymity – milongas. Yet we all know that peak tango can happen in a room with only three couples dancing. Let’s take that certainty and build tango around it. The courage and imagination that brought each of us to tango can be brought to bear on creating safe and fulfilling tango right now.


Besides flawless composition, Gorey’s art is the conjunction of an “aesthetic preference for the understated and the unstated” and an “attraction to the highly stylized”. He tended to “leave out most of the connections” so as to offer his witnesses “ambiguity” and “subtlety” which give space “for imaginative participation.”

Avigation and Transgression Redux: Performances at CTF 2016 and 2017

andreas lange    o

The agendas of our 2016 and 2017 shows, remastered in 2020: To show tango with contemporary culture: fashion, music, and gender concepts. To get tango off the stage, out of the milonga,  and into daily life (symbolized by the architectural space of the station). To celebrate tango’s place in the African diaspora and propose tango learning and socializing in a hip-hop cultural context. 

Neoliberal Tango

Most of us are familiar with deskilling in manufacturing. It means designing the production line so that each worker does only one small job over and over, and it’s easy to train anyone to do that one thing. This increases flexibility and power for the company while decreasing the meaning, opportunities for development, and power of workers. Deskilling also applies to retail, where workers are no longer experts on what they are selling, and do not provide personal service to their customers, but just stock shelves and ring cash registers. I observe that the deskilling of manufacturing and retail depend on the deskilling of the customer, who is no longer able to assess quality of products, nor repair them.

The Industry

A few days ago Maestra Dana Frígoli announced by youtube video that DNI, the school she founded with Pablo Villarraza in Buenos Aires, will not reopen.
A few days before that, Mona Isabelle announced definitively that Tangoloft will leave the luscious and beloved Gerichtstraße location.

Notes from the Accidental Exerciser

Willpower has limits, especially with regard to deep wounds, compelling habits, and self-destruction. Many people find  meditation or spiritual rituals more effective. I like to find rituals that don’t involve hallucination. I like to rearrange material things or relate to them in differently in ways that radiate, echo, and hopefully restructure my bad habits. Rather than doing an affirmation about overcoming fear, it seems useful to me to actually induce panic and get through it, every morning. To start every day discovering that I am stronger than I knew.

Your and Our Power is ready to be used

Black Power

So whatever sense of powerlessness was afflicting people was in fact inaccurate. For how long have we been mis-assessing our power? For how long have we had everything we need to repair the world? For how long have we been living in danger and deprivation that could have been defeated by courageous collective action?

Crisis Sunrise


The path I chose was at that time the least comfortable, the most unknown, the scariest. The next few hours, in which I implemented my decision, were drenched in fear. What had I done? But I knew that my fear was part of the fractal unfurling across our planet, identical in its most mundane and momentous iterations. The Distance has been an aperture to many changes. Some intentional, some incidental. Some little, some big.

Positive Addiction?


Addictions are harmful in various ways, but never 100% harmful. In other words, most addictions involve some dimension(s) that are normal, reasonable, and healthy – such as having a sense of belonging to a community, creating a sense of identity, and having profound and intense experiences. Behavioral addictions usually involve an experience of personal development, building skills and expertise.The fact that tango has healthful and meaningful aspects, including a rich social life, engagement with cultural heritage, skills-building, and artistic expression does not obviate dangerous addiction.

NeoTango Rage 2020

redlight legs crop larger

NeoTango is beautiful, but it only exists because we have been made to feel unwelcome in Tango. I do not accept being excluded and I certainly do not revel in it. Because we have been thrown out, a whole bunch of people like Ron Fenton, DJ Elio, Thanos Kasidis, Tanguerilla, Andreas Lange, Sonja Armisen and so many others have volunteered so much time, energy, and financial risk to create a whole separate scene of neotango so that we feel comfortable to dance. I do not accept exile.

Distance: What have you learned about tango by not dancing?

distance workbook cover

In this Distance from milongas, I dance alone with the ocean. What are you doing and how are you feeling about tango, with the perspective of some Distance? I created a workbook to help us think about this.

Tips for teaching your first tango class

Mind the gap

I believe that many dancers will return from the Distance with a renewed care for our community and a desire to rebuild it with great love. I believe many people will be inspired as never before to share the gift of tango, feeling now perhaps more than ever before the preciousness of gathering, and embracing. Indeed my student Josh is already preparing a class for his community, a clean and sober gym. We had a conversation about how to think about teaching, and this post contains my notes:

An unethical industry?


The purpose of the codigos is to protect egos from rejection. But what goes missing when that is the only system we have? What indeed is social, and what social dimensions of tango require care? Let us consider what we can do about that when we return.

How to work at home


I’ve worked at home for 20 years. For folks who are new to it and for those unable to work who are and are abruptly faced with the rather uncomfortable opportunity to move forward on your dream projects, here are 15 tools for Discipline, Self-Awareness, Improvisation, and effective Contemplation.



I need to tell you that I am feeling tremendous relief about having a break from tango.

Retreat is an aperture

Daina Pezzotti

Indeed interruption is part of the history of tango. During the dictatorship, tango became a family and home practice. It’s really not all about milongas. Let us welcome this pause as part of the dance, a needed disruption of rhythm, part of a more complex one.

Tango is not a place for aggression

bullying sx

The video proclaimed “if you dare to move your legs (or to enjoy the movement of your lady’s legs) you deserve to be restrained and to suffer.” And it had the intended effect which was to intimidate even the best dancers in the Wellington community from executing certain movements.

Why I will never call myself ‘nuevo’


My foes are absolutely certain that I am one of those nuevo dancers, toes grazing my shoulders, back turned to my partner, dancing to ambient music in strange shoes. Actually it’s beyond nuevo, it’s not even tango anymore. My fans, who yearn for self-expression and are often berated for that, cluster around hoping that I will protect and expand the territory of freedom.



These are the folks I want to be dancing with in 5 years. You too? If so, please help me to get this film out globally to these tribes.

Another Improvisation: Interview with pianist Dietmar Schlabertz

bfdadceaeecbddf piano art the piano

“At first when I started to do it like this. I only wanted to have time between to open the new piece. With time the improvisation grows, having its own character. It’s no longer an opening only. Now the improvisational part is only a little shorter than the piece after it.”

Retrospective: The First Post

dyvphoto only

Selecting a few posts to reprint in Until Forever, I re-read my first blog post ever. It was a bit startling to realize that most of the things that concern me about tango today are things I realized from the very beginning. It’s a little embarrassing to realize that I continued despite knowing what I […]

What is Neotango?

IMAG copy

Many different words are used to describe post-Golden Age tango: nuevo, electro, neo, alternative, contemporary, con-tango, fusion … Some people even use the term ‘non-tango’. The term ‘neotango’ is becoming more common in Europe, and its meaning is becoming more interesting. As I’ve learned more, I feel that it would help us to have some clarity and consensus where possible about these terms,

What is Fusion? Interview with Bo Wang of Angel City Fusion


For many people the music played at the various social dance schools is a bit strange. When they find Fusion, they are dancing to contemporary pop music and they say “Oh, this is the thing. This is the kind of music I want to dance to.”

DIY Orquesta Típica: Interview with Korey Ireland about the Community Tango Orquesta movement

BerlinerCTO Rixdorf

In the music of the 30s and 40s, the advantage of an Orquesta Típica is that relatively simple things sound full and exciting. The idea of the Community Tango Orquesta is to create music in a way that fits the expectation of dancers in a milonga, and create it without the need to make money on it.



Some readers have responded to recent posts with alarm. They perceive a darkness. That’s because I decided to take a serious look at tango. While I was calibrating my dusty social science equipment, people kept dropping by to to me about their pain. I am the one who is alarmed. I found a lot of […]

No means no


Like women who would like to be able to say “no” or “not now” with just a gesture –twisting the torso away– and have that well-perceived by amorous dates, Marks would like to be able to say “no” with their eyes and body language, and not have to deal with a verbal or otherwise unavoidable request.

Pleasures of the Cabeceo


The cabeceo is promoted as a way to avoid embarrassment and non-consenual dances. But it’s not only a prophylactic, it also has pleasures of its own.

Pain games

anime lonely pain ii

Is it my ochos? Is it my smile? My friends are skinnier and younger and more charming than me. Is it my dancing or my personality?

Out the Other Side

woman with needle

Heroin is a beautiful experience too. So is red wine.
That doesn’t make them not addictive. That doesn’t make the addiction not destructive.

The hardest job in Tango

Tangoloft Berlin

Argentines did not get Tango out of Argentina and build a global community
so that we can go dancing every night all over the world.
Local organizers did that.
They are the the heros to admire.

Meeting your Dream

MG    e

We met on 1.August 2014. There was no middle-ground halfway between our lives in Sydney and Berlin. There was no time to hesitate. We both knew how hard it was to develop without a partner. And we had a taste of what our connection could be.



Berlin’s venerable dance-hall, Clärchens Ballhaus, is endangered. The building is protected, but the activities which fix it in the fading constellation of Berlin Bohemianism, are not.

FIskabäck Österlen Sverige July 5-7, 2019


The second TangoForge Seminar Compañeros for 2019 and the fifth gathering of TangoForge Sverige took place at the beautiful Fiskabäck retreat center in the Swedish Österlen from 5-7 July, 2019. The focus of the workshop was improvisation with tango customs and patterns, specifically the three giros, molinete lineal, and adornos. Vio y Jessica performed on […]

The Merry-go-round


I watch the milonga. What are we waiting for? An angel to fall from the ceiling into my lap. Because none of these mortals here please me, nor I them. Some ancient thing, some vestige, someone else’s dream – anything that will embrace me, lift me from this chair, and make the merry-go-round spin once […]



We had done this ritual for longer than we had danced, with our mothers and grandmothers and every lover we’d ever touched. A ritual as deeply connecting as any embrace, and any dance we would do.

Hope Whisperers (and Italy food guide)


It seems that tango may survive. We were delighted and astonished to find students wanting to concentrate on learning sophisticated technique, changing roles, preferring diverse music, and even a few hotshots daring to be creative (again)….

Why Learn All of Tango

vicious circle

Most Revels tell me they are terribly bored on the dance floor because each Mark seems to repeat a small number of sequences. Although the set of sequences varies among the Marks, “he has a nice embrace and good technique, but after two songs I know exactly what he’s going to do.” Our rapture with […]

The strength of a Tanguera


This is a cycle we are all accustomed to. We tango dancers pride ourselves on managing our jealousy with strength, with retribution, with ritual games, with “codes” of etiquette.
We believe this strength and savvy calculus buys us something valuable and precious.

Are you doing the right dance? (Tango vs. Zouk)


Argentine Tango vs. Zouk: What part of your body do you want to move? What do you want to show off? What shoes do you want to wear? And do you really want to surrender?

The Hard Sell

Word Art

Unfortunately tango’s backward gender politics did not turn out to be its only anti-social gesture. As a student and then a professional, I learned that tango is a profoundly anti-ethical industry.

New Year’s 2019: Fuel for your Fire


I never know what to do on New Years Eve. I’m skeptical about the value proposition of expensive parties. I skirt the silent sharp dagger of another year’s lack of a midnight kiss. When I do go out, I worry that I didn’t choose the right party, that I haven’t placed myself in the most […]

Let’s Make Tango Popular

mpopography promo

Milonga Popular is an extraordinary tango project. Founded by Sven Elze and Pedram Shahyar in 2013, Milonga Popular has proven to be a sustainable and successful model for building new tango communities. This year, Sven and I have spent many hours working together to analyze and articulate exactly what are the questions and lessons which […]

Buscamos – The Search


She imputes joy to my movement which is in fact the urgent beating of wings to fly aimlessly in a storm that never ends.

The Lexicon and the art of Distillation


Through years of study and practice I have developed the TangoForge technique. Like many teachers, I offer students “systems” for learning. Since many teachers have developed some kind of personal system for teaching tango, students are rightfully confused. It is possible to create many different systems for describing the same thing. Each of these systems […]

Searching for the Italian in Argentine Tango: second entry

hughs sketchbookblog

The “something”, I believe, is the fire of urgency. And this is what is missing in Europe, and it is what makes Americans relatively good tangueros. It is the desperation which drives you to invade a stranger with your personality and with the utter confidence that you are SEXY.

Vogue Demaciado


As a tango dancer, I have not been graced with the right body or the right beauty. Of course, I want to be the tango princess, with the skinny legs and the delicate shoes (except that I don’t want that boring hair!). But I’m driven to create images that express my ethics, costumes which say something. This comes at the cost of traditional beauty.

Altertango and Orquesta TRYST


The history of Altertango began at the beginning, my beginning anyway. My first dance partner, Fritz, liked to dance to street musicians. I had special plastic-soled shoes that could pivot on anything, even straight asphalt. We found a saxophone player practicing in an alley and danced amongst the garbage cans. We danced over the stars […]

2018 Seminar Encuentro Compañeros

dsc   o

III Seminar Encuentro Compañeros TangoForge, August 2018, Berlin. 27 students from 12 countries, 10 musicians, 3 beautiful rooms, 6 workshops, and pure Argentine Tango dancing with contemporary gender perspectives on diverse music.

Bad Surfaces, Real Music, Action Heros


Committed now to Altertango (getting our tangos out of milongas and into popular culture), I developed three short workshops designed to make our tango more worldly.

Be an angel, not a fairy


Most women are paranoid of being “heavy” as dancers. They try to be “light”.  The result is actually that they disconnect, they break the arch of connection. To stay in the experience of sublime connection we have to adjust everything all the time. When the mark produces more force to create a certain movement or […]

The Old World


I went to Italy to eat tortelli, not to dance. I am immediately disoriented. Everything looks, and smells, like Buenos Aires. The hallway of the apartment, a delicate mustiness. The smell of marble. I arrive in the dark in a foreign land, Modena. There is a milonga nearby. I feel an old, now-unfamiliar, excitement. I […]

Organizing a Milonga


It’s necessary to give up some of the space on the dance floor in order to provide a seating area that is *inside the party* where people can feel part of it when they’re not dancing, where they can watch the dancing, and from where they can cabeceo.The seating areas must have pretty lighting so that people feel attractive and dignified there.