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 now that when we dance, both partners surrender.

If the revel does something unexpected, the mark accepts it and works with it. Often she doesn’t even know she went the opposite direction of the mark.

Since tango women tend to be intellectual and powerful, surrender is our biggest challenge, and tango’s greatest gift to us. The common exhortation “don’t think” is not, however, its most appealing presentation. In fact, it pisses us right off and we would appreciate it if gentletangomen would stop saying it!

In truth, it’s not whether or not we think, it’s what we think about that matters.

Tango is a chance to receive another’s creativity. In accompanying and expressing our partner’s inspiration, we become live grace. Grace not only as aesthetic gracefulness, but the grace of witness and presence, soulfulness.

To become grace, we need to put 100% attention into using our body. Not thinking about what the mark is up to – that’s his work. We need to think about our own core, our fingers, our toes, and how they are working together, how we give them to his motion so that we honor his genius with our motion.

As we advance, the thought processes can fire off fewer and fewer instructions, and we can instruct the whole body with one command, but newer dancers’ minds will be busy:

  • Is my rib cage over my foot? Which foot am I on? 
  • Project foot toward his intention. Is my free leg relaxed?
  • Extend all three joints into transfer – oops, forgot my ankle that time!
  • Don’t mirror his tense embrace! Open my heart and stretch toward him. Don’t mirror. Don’t mirror. Extend the arm joints.
  • Ack! I’m falling. Where’s my base supposed to be? I can get it! Ugh he’s blocking me from it. Radically relax shoulder so I can get there anyway.
  • Damn, he pushed me and I’ve started stepping too soon. Grab core muscles to decelerate so my foot won’t hit the floor too soon.
  • Woah that was some crazy fast stuff, now we’re back in close embrace. Open and raise my heart, draw him into the connection…

“Don’t think” means don’t think about what he’s thinking aboutDo think about that beautiful body of yours, how great it feels, when it feels best, using every little bit of it, and bringing your soul into this moment.

The mark’s intention is about direction and movement. The revel’s intention is about motion. Her mind is focused on the quality of that motion, a deep and thorough concentration in her body. And this willingness to give your amazing body to his creativity is a most beautiful gift.


Do you want to be a better dancer

but don’t feel you are getting what you need from your teachers?

Or do you get contradictory advice from different partners?

I got tired of hearing men tell me to be “natural”, “don’t do anything”, and “you’re floppy”, followed by “you’re stiff” …  So I studied biomechanics until I could teach perfect connection quickly.

We now have video solo practice courses that you can do at home to improve your knowledge, confidence, balance, and grace.

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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.

We didn’t start online education in March of 2020. We started in 2014. Learn more about our Digital School