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 […]
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.
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 […]
At the moment, my favorite place to dance is Milonga Popular’s “Candle Floor”. The second room is overseen by DJ Gökhan Aksakalli, who plays almost entirely music that I want to dance to. It’s dark. The dancing here is languid and sensual. Pairs of all (and often mixed) levels explore Organizer Sven Elze’s first commandment: […]
This is a complicated point. Please read it very very carefully. I am interested in how we manage people and our own emotions. I call these our control systems. I am also interested in the the way that traditional tango etiquette protects our egos. (I do believe that all dancers’ egos need to be protected. […]
The Revel’s gift is her taut musculature and her capacity to witness contradiction, her comfort with the unknown.
I have to believe that my 11 years of tango are not in service only to sexist retrenchment but to something liberating. I think tango has shown me that there is indeed creative mystery to be revealed in our depths and that patient witness is what enables it to manifest. My belief is controversial that […]
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.
Tango induces the psychological state of Flow by demanding immediate mutual concentration and fusing action and awareness.
No matter how much you think you hate Nuevo Tango, you are the recipient of its gift to the world: the possibility to understand Argentine Tango by its most fundamental elements, Everything we love about traditional tango is better if you dance from the elements: better experience of connection with more intense concentration, more perfect embrace, richer musicality, and a safer ronda.
Instead of going to a milonga as a dancer, for the first time I just went out as a writer. In a weird affirmation, someone came to sit and talk to me about writing. I also danced. He was a a visitor, attractive, in town for one of the marathonic events, and was recommended by […]
The trail grows cold. Ecstasy is an endangered species. But the dogs’ eyes glitter with hunger. Their frantic trotting exhausts me. They become aggressive…The party endures, heavy-hearted, addicted to a thrill who may never breach again.
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.
I believe that the concept of “conversation” is being misapplied by dancers. A good conversation does not involve constantly interrupting, changing the subject, and re-interpreting your partner. Anyway, I don’t think this is a helpful metaphor. In conversations, we start and yield, we falter and wait, we stop to think, we watch for cues, and we are usually sitting safely in a chair. There’s a lot more at stake in tango. We risk our bodies, we have less time, and often our eyes are closed.
I have been waiting to write a general TangoForge update until I knew the story. I still don’t know it, and it’s more complicated than I anticipated. But I have a part of it ready for you. It’s summer in Europe and I decided to get out of Berlin and see what’s there. So I […]
Day Four of the tango festival. I’ve had it with being Diva Freak. I can only keep it up for so long without a single person telling me they’re grateful to see some freedom and creativity on the dance floor. I lock into close embrace, and I stop dancing with men. Because every man who marks me […]
I am well aware that a lot of what goes on in tango class is psychological development. I’m talking about biomechanics but the real challenge for the students is believing in themselves. Believing they can move their bodies fearlessly, believing they can balance, believing they can sense another person well, believing they’re sexy, believing they […]
Your tango avatar can make you strong. It can help you through the psychologically challenging experience of a milonga. You may find you can camouflage your tango avatar under your suit and bring some of your blasé confidence to that business meeting. You may wear your tango stilettos on a date, to remind yourself that you already have a lot of men.
You have surely noticed that I am obsessively annoyed by the incessant exhortation to “lead with the chest”. I think it’s inaccurate, unhelpful, and leads to unstable behaviour. I’m fascinated by and loose with words. I temper this with deep investigations with multilingual friends like ZM. What if this cliché is the detritus of a […]
It’s striking. Every time I talk with someone about having finally found the dance partner I’ve been looking for, and my plans to return to Berlin to try working with him, people respond with intense encouragement. “Go!” Many people have gone on from that point to offer assistance. I feel that I am surrounded by angels. I’m […]
This is the beginning of a theory, about life, about dancing, about asking the big questions. I think we are faced with some choices about where to aim. The culture tells us that consumption will satisfy us, and money is what we need to make it happen. It doesn’t. We know we were put here […]
Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 This milonga reminded me of the milonga at Plaza Dorrego in BsAs. Colored lights, tourists drinking wine, smiles and dancers of all ages and levels. This one was full of boys arrived for the weekend’s queer tango festival. WITH a beautiful backdrop of river and museum. Very crowded (it cleared […]
Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 Some of my friends said I must see tango at Insomnia and others spent 30 minutes trying to dissuade me. “It’s a sex club!”, they kept repeating. So? here’s my report: A spacious room with bar and large couches, dark, fabulous mix of music. About 20 dancers + 5 observers […]
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 […]
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.
A term sometimes used for the lead in BsAs is ‘marcar’, to mark. He is an artist, drawing in the dark. The role of the Revel is to bring his mark to life, to witness and celebrate his creativity, to give it back to him, a little more beautiful than he imagined.
A rebellion is a daring and dangerous effort to disrupt the current state of affairs in loyalty to a deeper truth. I’m not saying I’ve got the only bead on truth, or depth. What I do, how I teach, and what I write is an expression of my commitment to the best and richest tango […]
Part 1: 29 October, 2012 This is a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly. I think mostly my view has been that it’s not, but that it could be. Note that I have no training in dance as a fine art, and I don’t know the relevant concepts and terminology, so my criteria are drawn from […]
This post is an ode to Club Atlético Argentino de Quilmes. It features Diego Armando Maradona, Lionel Andrés Messi, Thomas and James Hogg, H. de Winton and J. C. Thring, and Royal Shrovetide Football too, but it is primarily an ode to the students of Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires that formed Argentino de Quilmes […]
It’s painful to sit as a revel waiting to be asked for a dance. Marks feel a lot of stress in having to make the approach. And many people feel that the codigos and the cabeceo reinforce old fashioned gender roles about male privilege and female passivity. I’ve felt the anxiety that accompanies both roles, […]
If the leader doesn’t risk openness and vulnerability, if the leader falls back or contracts power, the follower has to extend too far across the emotional and physical gap. It’s very difficult for leaders to send their hearts forward, and much easier to pull the follower to them. This stance countermands a comfortable retreat to the intellectual side and requires a dramatic embodiment of an extreme and seemingly archaic gender role — the protector.
…in the waves of globalization, one of which birthed tango. We tanguera/os are struggling to learn to share, gripping authority as it slips through the toes, parrying each fusion that comes, trading shifts on the guardwatch, fighting over the orthodox, whirling around to explain that tango has always been a fusion, has always been diverse, has always been changing, has always been shared.
A feminist tango is not anti-man in any way, but it is pro-woman. It means we give each other the same gracious generosity that we habitually and unhesitatingly offer to strange men. It means we give each other more, and what that more can be is open to the imagination of every woman who has suffered the unique and poignant pains of tango.
Homo Revolution is a national tour of Queer hip hop artists. It’s interesting to reflect on the acts and meanings of queer hip hop as we think about building queer tango.