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...]


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...]


Dancing Without Tandas

05 Jul 2019 - by Graham

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...]


Tango with Bounce

19 Jun 2019 - by Graham

Tango can be bouncy and fun! Yes, there, I've said it. Tango, the dance style that so many people seem to think of as old fashioned or slow, can be just as full of energy and bounce as salsa or modern jive. And no, I've not gone crazy, I'm talking about milonga rhythm, the often-missed brother to tango that follows most of the same rules as its better known sibling, but with simpler faster steps, movement on every beat, and syncopation which adds to the musicality. Okay, so full disclosure... until very recently I was no fan of milonga. I felt it was all a bit too frantic and lacked the opportunity for connection and expression that you get from a slower tango. But then I was unexpectedly thrust into a 3 1/2 hour milonga workshop with Sebastian and Roxana at the England International Tango Festival in Tonbridge ("Quick... [read more...]


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