with Graham and Nathalie
We have all been there. We have all hit that moment where we start to think that tango is impossible and that no amount of practice or tuition will ever make us any better. We become convinced that instead of moving forwards in our tango progress we are taking giant leaps backwards, and that as it is only a matter of days before we are no longer able to do something as basic as an ocho we should probably give up now before its too late. Anyone who compliments our dancing is obviously wrong or just being nice, and our teacher must be pulling his or her hair out in frustration whenever we are not looking. The tangocrisis seems to be a natural part of learning the dance, but why is that the case? And is it something unique to learning tango? For most of us, learning tango [read more...]
It is a few days after Christmas and nobody has any idea what day of the week it is. Weâ€™ve unwrapped all the presents, eaten too much food, and drunk all of the mulled wine, and yet the kitchen still seems unusually full of â€˜stuffâ€™. There is an impossibly large pile of turkey leftovers in the fridge, and we are all wondering if thereâ€™s anything more creative we can do with them than make a curry. Your body is yelling at you to step away from the mince pies, switch off the Harry Potter marathon, and go do something physical instead, but you have no idea what as everything is closed. In rare moments of lucidity youâ€˜ve had flashbacks to when we used to do something called â€˜tangoâ€™ once a week, but itâ€™s all a bit of a blur and didnâ€™t that have something to do with tea [read more...]
I keep being surprised when people ask me this question, but it is something that crops up from time to time and so I should probably address it a bit more often. People know about 'milonga' as the faster form of tango which uses quick regular steps and lots of repetition, and they know that people travel a long way to go to 'milongas'. A connection between these two things is made, and the next thing I know is that I am being asked "Can you teach us the dance that people dance at milongas?" or "I see that there are a lot of milongas around, but where can I go to dance tango?" So let me clear this up once and for all: you go to milongas to dance tango. Okay? Is that settled? Tango is danced at milongas. But I can already start to hear the [read more...]
It was three years ago today that I opened Jivebeat and taught my first ever dance class. This was not something Iâ€™d ever imagined that I would be doing, particularly since I started dancing so much later in life than most of those who end up making a career out of it (I was 42 when I went to my first class), but I knew from the moment I clipped a radio mic to my head and started going through the fundamentals that it was something I was going to enjoy. The story of how I got into dance teaching almost by accident, and how at some point this switched from being all about modern jive to focusing on tango has been told many times before, so Iâ€™ll let you read about that elsewhere. But I rarely talk about the ups and downs of running a dance class, and [read more...]
For those of you not familiar with the traditional tango way of doing things, tandas are groups of tracks played together that share a common rhythmic structure, orchestra, or style. It is usual for people to dance together for the duration of a tanda, then swap partners at the end of the tanda which is signified by a 'cortina' (curtain) of so-called "undanceable" music. This is the way that most traditional milongas are organised and the only way that a lot of tango dancers have ever experienced tango. At milongas that follow the rules of tango to the letter, you are supposed to only dance with someone for one tanda per event or else you may be considered to be a fixed couple, and breaking a tanda in the middle to dance with someone else is out of the question. But there is another way of [read more...]
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