It’s hard to know what to train. And it’s even harder to get started. But it’s really important to keep in shape when we can’t go to classes and milongas. So we have two things that can help. One is our solo practice courses. Just hit “play” on the video and follow along. These have […]
Sebastian Hill has resolved both long-term chronic muscle problems and muscle injuries in very rapid treatments. He resolved years of debilitating pain in my hip in two sessions and, for a friend, weeks of severe shoulder pain in one session. The method he uses is Liebscher-Bracht Therapie. https://www.hill-therapiepraxis.de/ He is a physiotherapist, who can accept […]
I am a dancer and artist from Manchester in the UK. My designs are inspired by Tango, I love the intricate patterns found on old Bandoneons and the modern street art of Buenos Ayres. I started putting my art on to t-shirts to wear myself, but people at Tango events always asked where I had […]
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:
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.
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. Are you getting ready for your first Milonga? The first time can be a little intimidating. But don’t worry, everyone is very happy to see a […]
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?
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 […]
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 […]
Orange/Stabilization Chain Teres Minor & Infraspinatus: Shoulder stabilization by external rotation Triceps: Elbow stabilization Transverse Abdominus: (not in the image, near the spine) stabilizes the spine Piriformis: stabilize hip rotation. Quadriceps: stabilize hip flexion. Peroneals: Ankle Plantar Flexion Blue/Directional muscles used during Mark’s Intention for Projection Lateral Projection: Oblique muscles: Rotate the spine for projection […]
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.
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 […]
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.
Geeks tend to believe that they can’t dance. They’re dead wrong. The geeks I’ve trained have big advantages and learn tango much faster than other students.
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.
Men usually have the idea that they should be gentlemanly: polite, gracious, and charming. Women usually have the idea they should be obedient. Tango teachers usually have the idea that they are the star, and the student will never be as good.
Below the Milonga guide is a guide to my other passion, food… And below that a short guide to museums and shopping. Milongas Do be sure to bring your miniskirt if you have great legs as that’s the main criterion men use for deciding who to dance with. You might also want to read my […]
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. Importantly, tango balance is not the same as ballet balance, because in tango we build our balance with our partner, not alone, and […]
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The deepest desire of human beings is not to be alone. Whatever our individual pathways toward or around this issue, tango has given us a way to experience partnership. I believe that it is this aspect of tango which is most compelling. Despite the thrills of sensuality, tenderness, attention, celebrity, and musicality, it is the […]
When Argentine Tango is good –when the partners are able to maintain a sublime level of connection, moving as one– it is absolutely rapturous. It feels like [Hollywood] Movie Sex looks: smooth, passionate, consuming. This experience is so intense that it can trigger romantic emotions, the sensation of being in love – even though […]
I have always admired Eugenia Parrilla for the freedom, self-expression, and delight in her dance. She is revered as a revel, but she doesn’t have this passive/obedient demeanor. It was a great honor to learn from her in October, 2016. I realized that she was doing something with her head, which is different than other […]
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 […]
This guide reveals women’s preferences and if you follow it, you’ll be on your way to charming and delighting them as a confident and hot Tanguero.
A great tango embrace is made of just two actions: External rotation of the shoulders via the rotator cuff muscles. (Precisely: it’s external rotation of the humerus by teres minor and infraspinatus.) Stabilizing the shoulder in place allows the power the mark is producing with the abdominal muscles and legs to be transmitted cleanly through the embrace […]
The codigos exist to protect egos and relationships. They are really very handy, and I recommend you follow them. The codigos are like your best friend, who takes care of you when you are drunk.
To reveal more to herself and to her partner, the Revel must abandon the safe ground of knowledge, prediction, sequences, familiar movements, and righteousness. Crucially she must abandon her surety that the best thing she can do is to pivot. Pivoting is how we try to be good girls doing the hard work… But if we abandon a claim on certainty, avoid arbitrary endings and stay open to the previous movement continuing to unfold, then we offer ourselves to divine creativity.
As you know, I am constantly working to refine my pedagogy. An effective pedagogy will enable me to rapidly teach diverse students to dance with perfect connection and interesting improvisation. This post is an update about developments in 2015 and goals for 2016. Berlin in 2015 was richly productive of new approaches to improvisation for dancing to […]
The partners begin dancing autonomously, connecting their bodies to the music first, and then look for one another. They approach one another and begin to interact, still dancing autonomously. At some point, they connect. It might be useful to define the tango connection: It is a very particular power relation in which the Mark has creative power and the Revel has the power to manifest his spark.
We can dance the same songs every night for years because of the possibility to discover new relations between movement and music. We can do this because each dance is unique, because we create it anew each time. Argentine Tango improvisation must be authentic and spontaneous or tango becomes rote and dead. Either partner can kill it: The Mark through routine and the Revel through automatisms.
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 […]
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this, and almost always from women who are delusional about their level. There is some truth to this, but it is mostly false. What those “good leaders” are good at is compensating for your mistakes so fluidly that you never knew you made them. The lesser marks […]
The most radically precise piece of my pedagogy is so finicky that I apologize when I teach it. It’s not abstract, but 9/10 experienced marks flat-out refuse to pay attention to it. They believe that what they are doing works well enough, and this point need not concern them. But the revels can feel the difference. And when […]
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, […]
by Nick Young 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 […]
by Nick Young 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 […]
Every move is re-learned several times with different levels of technical sophistication at different levels. These levels involve growing skills and sensitivity from both mark and revel. The first level is what we might call “getting in” to the move. Locating everything in the right place in the right order with the right technique to […]
A code of ethics has three parts, the preamble which gives it context, the fundamental moral principles, and standards of conduct.
This seems like a trick question. The embrace is everything, right? Well, no. The embrace is the last mile. Our connection depends on the whole body being stable and well-positioned. We use the lower body, especially hip flexion, to create an arch of connection from our base leg to our partner’s center. We extend the […]
This is a very simple and crucial question. And understanding it makes dancing so much more straightforward. Marks tend to yank or hurl on their limbs in order to create rotation, destabilizing themselves. Rotation around our own spine is controlled by the obliques, shaded light blue in the image at right. Muscles work most strongly […]
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 […]
Fundamentally tango and contact use a lot of the same skills, and can support one another in the mechanics of connection. But as a practice they are different and this difference is substantive and should inform dancers’ choices. Tango has a Mark and a Revel. The agreement is that the Revel will not interpret; she […]
Many teachers teach revels to automatically accelerate some steps of the giro. The revel is to take front and side step in single time and then double time the back and subsequent side step. Of course it’s annoying when different teachers tell you different things. Here’s why NOT to accelerate automatically: A revel who learns […]
Buy a monthly subway pass so can wander around without doing math and fingering robots all the time… €78. There’s a special ticket for tango dancers who promise never to go anywhere before 10am… €60/month. Stop worrying about how to get home. The night buses permeate. Just go to the nearest U/S station and read […]
Boring as the marathon was, I did notice that every single mark there maintained hip flexion at all times on the dance floor. I carefully and systematically observed this. Tonight at Bebop milonga in Berlin, which had a nice outside dance floor and cool lighting fixtures, I noticed that (excluding the members of my party) […]
I know what sort of guys dance tango. The ones who can’t be bothered with small talk. The ones who tend to go directly to the heart of matters. The ones who can look at things from many angles. Sometimes I feel you’re not letting loose. Long ago, when I was an economist, I had […]
Some teachers instruct students to create connection with a very subtle lean or hang (micro-sized volcada or colgada). This prevents the revel from stepping too soon. It’s based on the assumption that the Revel isn’t interested in or able to understand and control her own step. It’s time to get over this way of teaching […]
2004 BBC documentary, “Tango Maestro” about Astor Piazzola, now on you tube! Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
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 //iristoren.com www.facebook.com/iristorenartist
Are you ready to try Argentine Tango? You’ll use all your ballroom dancing skills, but 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.
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.
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 […]
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!
I met with Michael Chang, who has been a Dance Sport competitor and coach for more than 20 years. He was Australia representative to the World Professional Championships of 10-Dance in 2009. Apparently, there are only a handful of scientists in the world studying dance and, as far as Michael is aware, none are studying Argentine Tango. I had ten questions for Michael about biomechanics. I wanted to be sure I was using the correct anatomical terminology.
Tango’s elegance and clean lines are epitomized in the revel’s back cross. When you revel it, you feel sleek and sinewy. When you mark it, you feel your mastery. To maximize these sensations and get them consistently, make sure not to add any pivot to the cross. Although we often use it after a spiral […]
Some time in the not-too-distant future you will find yourself in a tango class in which the teachers are desperately and unsuccessfully trying to get the students to move only with melodic notes. Hope that you have not by then tuned your dance to an impervious metronome. Rhythm in fact is a trap which limits […]
Guide to Transcendent Technique: For sublime connection, sweet community, and smooth biomechanics.
One of my first tango teachers was Pablo Rojas. One day, when I’d been dancing a few months, he put one hand on each of my deltoids, looked me in the eyes, and said “Violeta, I know it’s going to be very hard for you, but you’re going to have to surrender.” You know by […]
What role does giro play in the dance? It’s the mark’s time to show off. And it’s the revel’s chance to give back, to support our mark in gratitude for the sweet walking, the sexy-dramatic voleos, and the whee-whirly things. She’s willing to provide strength, support, and power, but you need to let her do […]
Perhaps because it feels like flying, revels love the sensation of sending their free legs up and out through the air. This pleasure is so distracting that we sometimes forget that our free leg belong to the mark. Although we hope he enjoys it too… The somewhat boring truth is that the grace and beauty […]
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.
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…
I want to learn to lead, but I think I need to focus on following first. TangoForge encourages dancers to learn both leading and following. There are several reasons for this. It’s nice to have compassion for the challenges of the other role. If a teacher is working directly with you and wants to show […]
It feels so good to press our hearts together. Do you sometimes wonder why you ever do anything else? This simple and accessible act is profoundly moving, as it crosses age and cultural barriers to affirm our humanity and compassion. Fortunately, we don’t have to be touching chests to experience this sensation of connection. In […]
In 2011 one of my students confronted me about using animal metaphors. She said “Vio, I don’t know what it would be like to have a tail.” I stopped cold and realized I didn’t either. I decided that day to stop using metaphors and study anatomy so I could explain tango technique in objective terms. […]
Metaphors and indescribable sensations mystify tango technique. Anatomically-precise instruction enables students can develop the needed body awareness and control with the assistance of any exercise professional.
Many revels ask me about the fluidity of my free leg. The first thing I tell them is that freedom of the free leg comes from the base leg. The way our bodies function is that if the body is out of balance, the psoas muscle of the free leg will not work as strongly So if […]
Tango offers diverse delights for various tastes and fascinating paradoxes for debate, but it is uncontroversial that the best and most essential of tango’s gifts is the experience of what we call “The Embrace”. Those who have experienced a real sublime Argentine Tango embrace are both blessed and cursed. They are blessed know that it […]
Lightness is really just what happens when you are perfectly balanced and perfectly connected. We are heavy when we aren’t supporting ourselves, and instead lean on the leader or when we are disconnected. It’s also possible to be too light and independent, because then we’re disconnected. We can be balanced but moving in the wrong direction […]
Normal steps have two projections, one at the beginning, and the second one at the end of the step. The base leg continues to work, pushing the floor until there is no weight on it. This continued work helps to stabilize the transition to the new base leg. It also means that in the instant […]
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.
You might be dancing too much. Yes, we need floor time, but be sure you are disciplined about using it to improve your dance. . Better to spend one hour a week practicing new moves or playing improvisation games, than spending 7 hours a week consolidating bad habits and repetitious sequences. If you really want […]
Obedience is a reasonable state for a follower to take on. Much about tango suggests that this is what leaders want. But, as you are no doubt discovering, tango is very complicated. The first reason to overcome obedience as a follower is that you will never be good enough. There will always be leaders who […]
Improvisation has many aspects. Here are some different aspects of improvisation to develop: Variations of movements, 48 sacadas, 32 ganchos… The shape we make on the floor: We can walk on a grid (front, back, and side) and in circles (double-giro, single-giro, and calesita). The method we use for projection, including barrida, gravity, change of […]
Most dancers’ attention is focused around the chest and shoulders. It’s nice that we are paying attention to our partner’s heart. Yoga teacher Matthew Cohen says “your legs are these powerful things for moving your heart around the world.” Those big brains and warm hearts don’t move themselves around, do they? I find that if students simply move […]
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 […]
What makes for a sublime and charming dance? Musicality might be the first word to leave followers’ lips. Playfulness, the capacity to improvise surprising movements or sequences, is another concept that more advanced followers yearn for. Variation in quality of motion (dynamic) imparts interest and sensation to movements, even with a small vocabulary. But perhaps […]
We’re scheming to get tango out of the clichés. To show that it’s athletic…that its romance will take you by surprise…that it’s drop-dead sexy in whatever shoes you are already wearing… and that you can dance tango to the music you already love.
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.
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 […]
Need some tango art? My favorite tango photographer: Romain Baillon
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 […]
Brendan Roach BodyLab “We Cure Pain”.
Simonne Smiles Pilates Brad Moffitt Remedial Massage Therapy 0416 308 764 Quro Health Studios: Unlimited yoga and pilates for $35/week with contract or $37/week without contract.
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 […]
There are lots of Argentine Tango instructors to choose from. There are lots of organizers who want your money. There are lots of expensive classes. Everyone seems to rave about every teacher they’ve studied with and how fabulous the workshop was. Here are some tips to make a serious assessment of what you are getting […]
Why is it that Marks rave about dancing with beginners, and sometimes feel less free with advanced Revels? Of course there’s the possibility of being intimidated by your partner, but there’s more than that going on. Advanced Revels don’t need to concentrate as hard as beginners. Beginners are delightfully rapt by the whole experience. An […]
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 follower should pivot at the beginning of a step. If you automatically pivot at the end of a step, you are presuming to know the next direction. Finish your step, stretch onto your new base leg, and look to perceive the next direction. (There may not be one yet! – Thank you Armin!) Note that the follower is […]
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.
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, […]
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 […]
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:
Because you are stopping her with force and tension that acts as an impulse, sending power through her free leg. If you want to stop quietly without issuing an impulse, you need to decelerate yourself. She will match.
Many students (and teachers) over-use Up for aspects of the lead where it is inappropriate. Using up as a trick to make something difficult happen must be un-learned as students advance. The Mark should only lift his hands away from the floor if he intends to lift the Revel’s free leg into the air. Up […]
This post was formerly called “Why doesn’t Vio ask me to dance and/or when she does why is it so hard to Revel with her?” If you have either of these questions, I’m very happy because it means you are attracted to something about my leading and you want to participate. The best next step […]
A new student started learning from me how to lead from the floor with his core. “This is amazing!” he exclaimed. “Our bodies are so connected. I can feel how it works!.” Then he went to the milonga. “Hold me like a man” said his partner. What does this mean? Our mythological histories of tango […]
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 […]