The Tangosynthesis Blog

with Graham and Nathalie

Tangocrisis - Global Edition

23 Mar 2020 - by Graham

At the start of the month I wrote an article about the Tangocrisis, that moment in everyone’s tango journey where they start to doubt everything they think they know and they wonder if anything will ever make sense again. I was writing in response to a friend’s moment of tango self-doubt, but little did I know that within a matter weeks from then the whole tango world would be thrust into a tangocrisis the like of which has never been seen before. I am of course referring to the global shutdown of tango - and all other dance events - as part of the attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Over a period of about seven days in mid March, every tango class, workshop, milonga, marathon, and festival around the world closed its doors for an as yet undetermined amount of time, leaving dancers and teachers alike [read more...]


Tangocrisis

03 Mar 2020 - by Graham

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...]


Happy Neo Year!

30 Dec 2019 - by Graham

It is a few days after Christmas and nobody has any idea what day of the week it is. We’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 ‘stuff’. There is an impossibly large pile of turkey leftovers in the fridge, and we are all wondering if there’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 you‘ve had flashbacks to when we used to do something called ‘tango’ once a week, but it’s all a bit of a blur and didn’t that have something to do with tea [read more...]


What do you dance at a milonga?

21 Oct 2019 - by Graham

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...]


Three Years of Teaching Dance

19 Sep 2019 - by Graham

It was three years ago today that I opened Jivebeat and taught my first ever dance class. This was not something I’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 I’ll let you read about that elsewhere. But I rarely talk about the ups and downs of running a dance class, and [read more...]


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