Classes and Workshops

Boston Classes for September

Boston Classes for September!
Currently in Boston, MA I’m happy to be offering 2 courses and privates lesson packages ready to change your dancing for the better.Boston Beginner September

Join me at Dance Union 16 Bow Street Union Square Somerville, MA

Starting September 11th I will teach a Complete Beginners 4 week series Mondays  7:45pm – 9:15pm

and

On Tuesdays starting September 12th, I will be teaching a 4-week series entitled “Wake up your Body for Tango: get it tango ready, you will discover what it means to be comfortable in order to express yourself fluidly and with elegance”. 7:45pm – 9:30pmTuesday Boston Classes
What we need now in tango is to wake up our bodies and get comfortable to express ourselves fluidly and elegantly. We will work both in flats and in heels throughout the 8 hour series. I will share with you information in the form of exercises from my legendary Maestra, Graciela Gonzalez. I KNOW your dancing will improve.

Please share these Boston classes with anyone and everyone who you know in the area.

Space is limited for improved learning. Registration is now open.

Please send me any questions and let’s get dancing!

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Engaging Tango Newbies Part 2 Interview

In part 1 of New Ways to Engage Tango Newbies I discussed how I thought Peer to Peer Learning really added an extra dimension to ASU Tango students’ learning. In this blog I interviewed colleague Mitra Martin, Co-Founder of Oxygen Tango, in Los Angeles for her ideas and explorations into peer to peer learning at Oxygen.Mitra Martin

What is peer to peer learning exactly?

Broadly speaking, peer-to-peer learning is when people learn from friends and peers instead of from formal teachers. It is a lot of fun and can lead to great friendships and a strong community, and create interesting new roles for those who are experts.

At Oxygen Tango, it started off  as a super simple buddy system where we paired up beginners with more experienced dancers while they were in the Tango Challenge (read about the Tango Challenge here). The buddies practiced with the beginners once a week, that was it.

 How do you see it working for a tango community?

I think learning from your peers has been part of tango forever! As I understand it, in the old times of tango, nobody went to “classes” and “workshops” — they learned tango informally, at home or at social clubs, from friends and family.
And today, everyone’s still kind of involved in “peer-to-peer learning” even though we don’t talk about it as such. Most of us have had the experience of learning a lot from someone who’s not “officially” a teacher. And, most teachers do all they can to ensure there are lots of more experienced dancers at classes and practicas to help out. What we’re trying to do is give those peer helpers just a tad bit more structure, so they know how best to help.

Tango’s a kinesthetic, interpersonal form and so the best way to learn it is directly from another body. That’s why beginners love learning directly from more experienced dancers – it’s so natural. And, intermediate dancers get a lot more confident and skillful when see that they can actually help others learn.

Your model really means changing students’ mind sets about how they are going to learn a dance. Most people looking for a dance class find a studio and expect a class with a teacher telling students what to do! Can you talk a little about this?

It’s definitely a paradigm shift! I’d say you have to see it to believe it, to really feel and experience it from the inside to understand the kind of value it creates.

I think lots of us have a love-hate relationship with group classes. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see and be close to an inspiring person, the expert teacher. There can be something fun about just being in their aura. On the other hand, practically speaking, they probably won’t be able to spend more than a minute or so working directly with you. Most of your learning is completely dependent on who you’re working with and how productive that is. I think by pairing people up intentionally, and giving them the right things to work on everyone wins.

What are the pluses and minuses as you see them?

Well, right now it’s still very new, very messy, very experimental. Students want to be confident that they’re learning the right things in the right way, and they might doubt what’s coming from a peer-helper vs a teacher. But what is gained in the form of stronger bonds between people who help one another and receive help, makes me inspired to keep forging ahead and working out the kinks.

What are the implications for those of use who are teachers or who teach tango as our professions?

I think we’re slowly going to see tango experts shift their focus from being rockstar teachers, to creating the rockstar curriculum that powers their community forward. I think they’ll also spend more time, bandwidth and creativity on training for peer-mentors. Training those up and coming dancers who really contribute a lot to building and growing the dancers in their community. I think it would be very rewarding for everyone and have amazing effects on a community if tango master teachers and experts shifted more focus to training these gems more regularly, in slightly more systematic and structured ways.

And, I think we’ll see more experts going deeper into crafting motivating milestones where community members can show and share their newfound skills and accomplishments and celebrate each other’s growth. Maybe there will be new kinds of talent shows, improv game competitions, creativity showcases, demo/feedback opportunities, fringe festivals, grad balls. I call these “Rigorous Scenarios” – a chance for a learner to and see/feel/experience how far they have come, with loving and supporting feedback/input from friends and experts. That would cultivate a whole new generation of energized and well-informed practica and learning lab hosts with a great foundation.

You can read more about Mitra’s Peer to Peer learning project and how to become involved at
http://www.mitramartin.com/peer-to-peer-learning-project/

Let us know your thoughts!

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Au Revoir Montreal Hello Private Lessons in Phoenix

Au Revoir Montreal! Hello Phoenix!
It is snowing on my last full day in Montreal. It appears that snow opened and closed my trip here. I met some wonderfully Longueil Class Canadawarm and enthusiastic people during my stay. It was such a pleasure to be here and to reconnect with some “old” bodies (!) and new ones!
During my travels, it is always fun to experience running into some of my mentors and teachers who have impacted my life in some way. Here in Montreal I ran into Tomas Howlin and Graciela Gonzalez.  I had an insightful conversation with Tomas and seeing Graciela always brings me great joy.
I so appreciate Tomas’ clarity of the bigger picture and how articulate he is in this expression. In discussing tango and realizing that there are fewer dancers now who were ever in touch with the old milonguer(os) (as); the idea that going to Buenos Aires and being able to get a glimpse of those “greats” dancing is basically gone. A lineage of people to be able to look up to or to emulate or to say, “aha, that’s where that came from”. And now, we ask, what is truth in tango? Is there really permanence at all? You can find all things on the internet, all truths, all ideas, opinions. Youtube shows us how it can all be done without really understanding or knowing or grasping a context for it all. How great on one hand that if you look up how to walk in tango or how to execute a certain move, you can probably find it, done and explained a variety of ways. No real experts, just a sea of voices, bodies. And what gets left behind? Well, probably the next person who outranks you in Google views and “thumbs”!Anca and Jean Sebastien
And Graciela continues to inspire me with her body intelligence in conveying tango in a most natural way, free of tension – THIS IS THE WAY TO BE! just sayin’!!!

I am off to Phoenix, Arizona, arriving on Thursday. Happy to be teaching in familiar places with some familiar faces! I have a week of activity and technique and dancing to share with you! Hope to see you first off at Mijana for the open class at Nostalgias Milonga.

I have set aside some time on Monday, December 12th for private lessons. If you are interested please contact me directly.
I have three 1 hour slots from 4pm – 7pm available. There is some other times available as well just send me a message. If it is to go over material from the weekend or to work on body alignment topics, I am here for you!!! As we all know one on one time can really make a difference in your dancing!

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Phoenix Schedule of Classes

My Phoenix Schedule of classes is now out! It’s less than a month away. I will be off to my much anticipated trip to Montreal Daniela with Ricardo UTnext week before I see you all in Phoenix.

Planning one’s life “trip by trip” definitely takes away a bit of the inspiration for writing a creative blog! As some of you know, I have been in Austin doing a bit of teaching, a lot of organizing, cleaning my traveling closets, catching up on sleep, siting in Austin traffic, and visiting with my parents.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing everyone who is in the Phoenix area in December. Remember to message me directly if you want to schedule a session of private lessons or to RSVP for Leading Ladies.

My Phoenix schedule is listed at these sites as well as : TangoMango.org and TangoArizona.com and Accesstango.com!!!!
Phoenix Workshops 2016 flyer here!

Thursdays, December 8 & 15  – class prior to milonga at Mijana’s  7:30 – 8:30


Friday, December 9 – LEADING LADIES is back! If you want to lead or learn more about leading come join us! 7:30 – 9:30pm – RSVP and I’ll send you the home studio address.


Saturday, December 10 –  Two workshops on dancing to the rhythmic orchestras @ SNAP. 1:00pm – 2:30pm Rhythmic Steps for Social Dancing 2:30 – 4:00pm Milonga Traspie vs Lisa


Sunday, December 11 – It’s Ok to Pause: Sexy Moves for Busy Dance Floors 2:00 – 3:00pm thanks to the Milonga Cooperativa at the Bethany Lutheran Church


Tuesday, December 13 – I’ll be hosting class and practica @SNAP. Class starts at 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Daniela with Smiley Onel DressAND as always, I’m available for private lessons, a great way to improve your dancing with a 1 on 1 coaching session. Special for those who purchase more than 1 lesson or if you are interested in classes designed as Tango for the Championship or on improving your Alignment for Dancing.

Monday and Wednesday (December 12 and 14) I have several hours booked for Private Lessons contact me directly before those times are gone.

 

*thanks Kyon for the photos taken at UT Austin Tango Club milonga

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Successful Women’s Weekend Berlin

It was a successful Women’s Weekend in Berlin filled with leading, Daniela FW Saturdayfollowing, dancing, laughter and great enthusiasm.

When Daniela (Feilcke -Wolff) and I spoke about doing A Women’s Weekend there was no hesitation for either one of us. She has been doing Tangueras workshops as I had done the leading ladies evenings in Phoenix. The bigger questions were about how to make it different or special. One thing we did was to add our Women’s Only milonga to it. I’m not completely sure, but it does seem like it was the first one in Berlin (hard to believe, so the fact finding on that is still open).

Daniela and I have similar and yet, very different Tango background stories and therefore our pedagogical approaches are also differently flavored. Our goals were to give these varied insights into learning how to lead as women. With mixed experience levels the women in attendance took 12 hours of tango class which included laying a foundational structure that included in general walking, turning, embrace, and ideas for being creative and musical in your social dancing.

On the heels of a wonderful women’s weekend of Tangueras – leading, following, dancing – Sharna Fabiano and Mitra Martin of Oxygen Tango both posted great blogs around the theme of women only events in Tango. How timely and how supportive! In Sharna’s Blog she addresses one of the biggest questions that I get from men (and some women), WHY? She mentions 3 reasons as to WHY: the Happiness Quotient, Practical Skills, and Stress Busting. Which I totally agree with. And probably falling under all 3 of these categories, came a message from a young man who shared that young women are sometimes bothered by men who come to events and milongas to meet women or to take them home. An all woman’s event takes this pressure and worry off of the women; busting the stress factors!

Women are natural nurturers and empathic givers. It is vital for them to receive and be nourished as continual giving out ends in depletion, an increasingly common health problem. Women instinctually know how to nourish each other, and just being with each other is restorative.
– Tanja Taljaard and Azriel Re’Shel in Why Women Need a Tribe

Weiber Milonga

The All Women’s milonga had 35 women in attendance. We were so happy to have this many women at the first one of these events. We had a lovely young up and coming DJ Deborah Maus, who did a fantastic job of keeping us dancing tanda after tanda the whole night! And the feedback was immensely positive: “Can’t wait for the next one”, “Fantastic!”, “Nice relaxed atmosphere”.

All the ladies danced and of course chatted as when you get women in a room, we must chatter! I was overwhelmed by ALL the smiling faces!!!! Honestly, there was so much presence and joy in the room!

The women came from all different groups of the Berlin Tango scene and really, everyone danced with practically everyone!!!!

What are your thoughts on Women’s Events and Milongas? Would love to hear your feedback.
When’s the next one you ask? Stay tuned!!!!

(In respecting the privacy of the dancers in attendance, I posted pictures with the permission of the dancers.)

 

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