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?

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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.

WARRIOR

WARRIOR v

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.

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.

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.

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 […]

Organizing a Milonga

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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.

What not to say on Swedish television

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I’ve had media training. I knew to write my talking points (on the train). Staying on your Talking Points Then, I broke the most important rule. Don’t say anything other than your talking points –even if it means ignoring the question and repeating yourself– because if you do, that’s what they’ll use. And that’s exactly […]

Community not Commodity

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This post is for people interested in the micro-process of our 2017 Business Development Strategy. On 17.January 2017 TangoForge abruptly opened a School in Berlin. I already knew how the school would work, because I had drafted it in my mind over the years: A mix of bodywork and improvisation classes. Consistent pedagogy in every […]

Why isn’t Argentine Tango more popular?

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I think it’s two main reasons: Terrible marketing: meaningless (or somewhat frightening) words like ‘passion’ and ‘intimacy’, cliché images, music most people think is awful. Terrible teaching, too focused on walking, which is a boring and demeaning experience for beginners who can’t do it or appreciate it yet. To make tango popular we can: Show […]

Embracing Nuevo?

drawing rect shoes blackonwhite

Most tango teachers don’t want this label, not only because it’s unpopular and bad for business, but because most of us did learn traditionally, and came to appreciate and love the music, the embrace, and the humor and charm of traditional tango…But those who unwittingly insult me with their compliments are also not wrong.

No Hungry Women

waiting sherry Ott

I can feel the hunger of the women. I know that hunger for tango ecstasy. I know it as an addiction, as a wound, as a sweet balm. I know that dancing with them won’t be enough. I can give them my best and they will still be hungry. If I have any responsibility for the event, this sensation drains me to the point that I desperately want to lay down on the floor and go to sleep.

A social milonga

nino bien wide

In Buenos Aires the worst thing that can happen to you at a milonga is not to find a table. At a table, you are never alone. Even if everyone else is dancing, you are obviously part of a group. Once you are sitting, you too are a host, watching out for arriving friends or handsome tourists who need a place. In Berlin, if you are lucky you get a chair, to wait in and to which you are not attached. Dancers in Berlin milongas are in perpetual solitary motion and circulation.

Code of Ethics for Tango Communities

fabianperez hatman

A code of ethics has three parts, the preamble which gives it context, the fundamental moral principles, and standards of conduct.

Keep the candles burning

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It wasn’t promising at first.  Three couples dancing insipidly.  Ten men sunk deep into boxlike chairs from which it looked difficult to get up.  It took a bit of convincing to get the unsmiling woman nearest to the moneybox to do her job. I chose a chair and checked out the dancers to be sure […]

Marathon psych

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Tangotourist in Europe, Summer 2014 Runners have to train for the psychological challenge of marathon chemistry. Your body goes into death mode and you want to quit. I think I might just stick it out. The food is good. Good conversations at breakfast. Everyone hated the music last night.  “I needed more power,” said the […]

Tango class

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 I am sitting in a Berlin tango class, sitting because there are no extra revels. When one came in I excused myself from the man I had been placed with. She accepted my invitation but he then whined that it “wasn’t fair ” for me to get to mark her. […]

Clärchens Ballhaus I and II

IMAG

The physical and institutional organization of tango in Berlin: * spaces: cool rooms may be used several times a week by different organizers for milongas with totally different characters. * teachers: may teach at several different schools. And probably do not run milongas (that’s the job of milonga organizers). * schools are physical spaces with […]

Happy tango.. so right I want to cry: Tango Loft

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 This milonga is so the way it should be that I’m in shock. Lots of girls dancing together, men skipping and giggling, all kinds of whimsical music, soltadas everywhere, a breadboard with shared bread, a kitchen, big bouquets of fresh flowers, couches, candles, cats. Nobody watching much. People dancing for […]

Professionalism and commercialism in tango

commercialism in Argentine Tango

Some observations… Tango is an international industry, with annual revenue of $400 million and growing. It’s a service industry with no certifications, no educational system, no required training, no industry standards. Functionally, the qualifications are conveying an aura of “authenticity” and having somehow acquired a reputation. In most of the world outside of Argentina, tango communities […]

Taste of Freedom at Walzerlinksgestrickt

thomas armin aurelie

Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 Tonight we went to Milonga Ballhaus Walzerlinksgestrickt. A formal room with gold columns and red velvet. At first it seemed a bit stiff and I felt my skirt was too short. But it turned out to be a very free atmosphere. The lights were low. The level was mixed, and […]

Milonga Tangocafe (Tango Tanzen Macht Schön)

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 As you know, my goal when dancing is to get lost.  A good milonga environment facilitates this, and the cabeceo. Milongas at Tango Tanzen Macht Schön have an unfortunate impediment to the environment: toes. The dance floor is wooden, extending to the walls. Around the edge are various kind of […]

Maestro’s reflections

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He shared one criterion he uses for observing a dance: “Would that dance make sense if they were alone in a room?” I loved his idea because I am well aware that my best tangos happen at the end of the night, when no one is watching and it’s more likely that my partner and I fuse and travel beyond space, time, and mind.

Argentine Tango out of the clichés

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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.

Factions

Argentine Tango Factions

Sydney, as we all know, there are tango factions. Mostly they are organized as schools. Teachers hold their students tight and argue that their methods of teaching are the best.  At weekend milongas, the tables demarcate school/faction territories. Some people, not belonging to any of them, don’t know where to sit. Others feel uncomforable […]

Moody milonguera / Us and the Onda

Fabian Perez tango painting

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 […]

How to raise the level of dancing in a community

IMAG

This is the question that faces me every morning as I hit the prime button on my espresso machine. I stare at my notebook until the first cappuccino is gone. I’m not allowed to open the computer, read, or deal with logistics. It’s creative time, problem solving time. And this is one of the problems […]