with Graham and Nathalie
When preparing for a tango class or an event, the music the DJ chooses to play throughout the evening is probably the most important thing there is to decide. It doesn't matter if you provide a bar, free food, a fabulously ornate building with a perfect dance floor, or even a view across the Serengeti for the dancers to enjoy between tracks, if the music isn't danceable then you might as well not have bothered. But therein lies a big problem, as whilst for some people the music is just there to provide a background for the dancing, others consider tango (the dance) and tango (the music) to be inextricably linked and intertwined. If it isn't the right music, it isn't tango. I grew up watching contemporary ballet and street dancers performing to everything from Rachmaninov to Run DMC, and so the concept of there being a 'right' [read more...]
As most people probably know by now, when I started teaching tango at Jivebeat it was almost entirely by accident. A random decision to give the regulars at Sevenoaks a tango taster class one evening (you can read about that here ) soon became a regular feature, and pretty soon more people were finding us because of the tango than were finding us for modern jive. This was not a problem for us as we love teaching both, but after a few months we started to realise that people were being confused by the name. Tango at Jivebeat...? Is it really tango? Is it "modern jive in a tango style"? How can modern jive and tango be even slightly compatible? We hadn't thought of this, as since we knew what we were doing we just assumed everyone else would as well. Jive and tango are two separate classes [read more...]
It has been a long while coming, but we have finally announced our first X-Tango Alternative Milonga, and it's going to be on the 23rd March 2018 in Sevenoaks, in place of our usual weekly class. But what do we mean by X-Tango ? What is the difference between that and regular Argentine Tango? And why are we calling the milonga alternative ? The Argentine Tango we dance and teach at Jivebeat is the same Argentine Tango that you will find anywhere else. Yes, if you come to our class you may find that we put the emphasis in different places to where you might expect, and just like everyone else who teaches tango we have developed our own teaching style. But the dance itself is the same dance you will learn in Buenos Aires, Brighton, Bromley, or Bangalore, no matter how traditional or nuevo (modern) your class [read more...]
Whenever you think about dance, you think of footwork. There are basic steps that define the character of every type of dance, from the simple â€œstep back, then inâ€ of LeRoc, to the â€œforward, side, togetherâ€ of waltz or the â€œone, two, three-and-fourâ€ of latin. The steps are the first stage in learning a new dance. You begin by learning the timing and how to position your feet in the correct places, then when youâ€™ve got the hang of that you start to concentrate on where to put your body to improve balance, posture, and styling and make the dance begin to flow. But Argentine Tango doesnâ€™t have any of that. It is that strangest of things, a dance without steps. When you first start to learn the tango the temptation is to follow the steps that the teacher is doing and try to copy the way his or [read more...]
Argentine Tango is a dance that is steeped in tradition. From the music played by the great tango orchestras of the 1930s-1950s to the style and conventions of the social dance evenings (or 'milongas'), the argentine tango dance scene remains deeply connected to its roots in south America, and for some dancers this environment is as much a part of the dance as are the embrace and the steps. For these dancers, tango and its music cannot be separated; to dance one is to love the other and tango without the tradition is not really tango at all. This environment is often the first introduction that people get to the unique and evocative dance of Argentine Tango, and the 'other worldly' atmosphere created by the music and traditional tango culture is what encourages them to stick around. "Golden Age" music is used in the classes, and teachers can trace their [read more...]
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