Milongas

Taxi Dancing

As we begin gearing up for another season of heavy festival hopping and you’re debating on whether you want to go or not –  try this on for size…Rommel Dancing

Some of you may have read my previous blog on taxi dancing and I recently heard Rommel Oramas discussing taxi dancing in another community and found this information really fascinating  – it means doing some math!

At a typical festival let’s say you buy a full pass (all classes and milonga) – but then you find that you are at the milongas and you don’t dance as much as you’d like and you feel badly about this. We know that tango is a lot about attitude: confidence and feeling good. So I know how at some milongas you might find yourself not dancing as much, maybe due to gender balance issues or who knows.

Here’s a possible solution –  consider getting just a milonga pass or a partial class and milonga pass (ie: 1 day of classes) and to invest the remainder of that fee or the difference on taxi dancing. Before you close the tab – hear me out!

Think about it – a full festival pass could run between $250 – $450. (plus your hotel and your travel there)
10 tandas during a festival with a taxi dancer runs between $100 – $150.

Think about it ladies!!!!

Benefits: with a good taxi dancer:
1) you enjoy a dance, 2) you learn some things  (I learn from dancing all the time), and 3) you’re being seen by other dancers, which gets you more dances over the course of the weekend.

Consider it when you’re planning your next festival.

And I know of an excellent taxi dancer, discreet, handsome, smells good, charming, polite and of course, an excellent dancer who dances for you and with you.

Rommel Oramas – Taxi Dancer – “at your dancing service” – follow him on Facebook!

Don’t spend another festival sitting, not even a little bit.

 

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Chicho y Juana Workshop at ASU

Chicho at ASUWho would have ever thought that ASU Argentine Tango club would have such world renown tango dancers come to visit with them?
I have been teaching Argentine Tango at ASU for 8 years and have watched the club grow and thrive. I have watched dreams come true through tango club. Maybe not gynormous dreams but dreams like, can we have a festival? can we have x teachers come here? I am always amazed and inspired by my students’ creativity and motivation. Yes, they are young and sometimes disorganized but I watch them learn so much through the process of creation. Maybe from the chaos rises the beauty! We are in a Phoenix burb after all.

Chicho y Juana offered a class to the Tango Club Practica on Thursday night and more than 40 students came. This class lasted for more than a generous hour and I think it blew some of the students’ minds. The Tango Club is open to ASU students who are not only in my class but to any ASU student currently enrolled at ASU.

Ironically, I took my first class with Chicho when I first started dancing tango and on his first and only trip to the Phoenix area prior to this visit with Juana. I have had the pleasure of taking classes with him throughout my tango journey. I am always impressed with his creativity. Possibly through my exposure to other kinds of artists I am not put off by his shy nature, which has often been referred to as unfriendly. He is a creative genius at work! It was really fun to watch him open up to the young students during this weekend: he listened to them. I know he and Juana had opportunity to share with tango club president, Ganesh. A time that I know will remain a lasting memory for Ganesh!

Juana at ASUThe way Chicho teaches reminds me of my modern dance days when I would take a class with a master teacher in a crowded room full of other eager to be seen dancers and they would throw choreography at us and then say, “now perform it backwards, invert it, retrograde it, mirror it, put it on the other side”. Chicho is not so extreme but he likes to offer ideas of creativity and possibilities in the movement form.

AND let us not forget – CONNECTION. He spoke of this wholeheartedly and importantly. Which of course makes me smile. The true magic between the partnership. And it’s not about the steps but about understanding the concept. Chicho said this repeatedly.
It goes back to “technique” – the technique of the dance is not that different along the spectrum of body types and labels, etc. One of my stellar students came to me last week and said, “what Chicho is saying is not that different from Graciela Gonzalez. Isn’t that interesting?” YES!

And this blog would not be complete without mentioning their spectacular 5 performances during the Saturday evening Grand Milonga in ASU’s Ballroom. Someone in the community commented to me that their performance energy was palpable and it filled the room. I experienced the same feelings, which I do when I see them perform. I think performing Argentine Tango as an improvised dance is an art form in addition to just learning to improvise. I think it’s a hard thing to do well. (and that’s a blog for another day!) Chicho and Juana won the hearts of many with their spectacular performances. They smiled and shared their dance generously with us. The highlight (if there’s a way to rank 1 song above another!) was Chicho’s dedication to Ganesh prior to their 3rd song performance to the slow challenging melody of Astor Piazzolla’s Milonga del Angel. A rare thing, Chicho told the audience, to dedicate a performance to anyone.

I know this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Chicho y Juana and ASU Tango Club.
Daniela with Chicho y JuanaJuana and Ganesh

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Tango Performance in NYC

Rommel and I had the opportunity to perform at the RoKo Milonga on Sunday night. Hosted by Robin Thomas and Ko Tanaka it is a large space and was a lovely milonga. We saw Robin at his other milonga the night before and he asked if we wanted to perform. What a great opportunity, so we said yes, of course!!!!
Youtube had issues with the 2nd video so this is the 2 songs combined. Enjoy! And an apology to those who received a very old and outdated email with this title on it. I hope that I have now resolved this technical issue.

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Connection and “Where are you”?

Boston Commons 2013

Saying Cool Beantown Style

Hello Tango Friends from the humidity of the northeast!

“But it’s not the humidity, it’s the heat”. No wait, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that kills ya'”. Anyway, either way, not moving is producing puddles around me as I type. I am in air conditioning but it doesn’t seem to matter! But really, I am not complaining, I am enjoying my vacation in Boston, visiting old friends, favorite restaurants, discovering new ones, walking all over the place, listening to live music, it’s great! I even dropped in on a milonga.

It was a 3 tanda night for me (in a 1.5 hour window). It was nice to dance with new people. There was 1 particular tanda that made me want to write this blog. As I was describing my evening to another tango dancer (not in the same city) their first reaction was, “if the embrace isn’t clear, the connection can’t be and then neither one of you know where the other is. He can’t find you, you can’t find him”. Yep! it’s true! Now mind you, it wasn’t a bad tanda. The music was great, the AC was cranked, he was sweet, but it felt as if I was having a first date with a guy with a heavy brogue.

As I stood in front of him waiting for the music to start the scenario in my head went like this:
Ok he’s coming towards me to embrace me, no wait. Ok I put my right hand in his. O wait. Maybe he didn’t want that ‘cuz he just looked at it dramatically. Gee. I’m getting nervous. I’ll just put my left arm around his back. Oh, no,  yes, no. Ok. we are embracing. NO he moved his right arm from around my back to my shoulder blade. So we’re not ready. He starts to move at the same time but wait, I moved my left arm because he moved his right arm. Then he stops moving mid step. Are we readjusting? Why are we stopped. The music is still playing.
I think most of the tanda was like this. Every time he readjusted his arm I took that as a message that he wanted to do something that might require me to readjust myself in his arms.

I think by the 3rd song we started to be able to speak the same dialect! Mind you, it wasn’t unpleasant. It just reminded me that we do our best, to focus on the dance at hand, in the moment, being present, connecting with that person. Being responsible for my part in the outcome of that tanda….

So fun!

So go practice your connection and your embrace tonight at Practicando!
Rommel is teaching class from 7 – 8:30pm and then practice is until 10pmish. All happens at SNAP at 4425 N Granite Reef Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Raffle for wine at 9:30pm.

See you in a few weeks!!

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The Most Exciting, Sexy, Hottest Moment in Argentine Tango!

About a year ago I found myself at a festival, being introduced to another dancer from somewhere down south (and to protect his identity we’ll keep it like that!). And this introduction had the implication that we would dance at some point that evening. The pressure was on then… This always makes me a little uneasy. He was introduced to me, he didn’t choose me and I didn’t choose him either! What if he really didn’t want to dance with me at all? I didn’t get to see him dance. Dancing with someone new is part of what tango is all about but an introduction can sometimes backfire as there is a feeling of pressure on both parts.

Little did I know that this person would set a precedence for tango dances to come.

So the time came for us to dance. I don’t remember whether in the end it was a cabeceo or we were just at the right place at the right time at the same time but however it went, we headed to the dance floor. I stood in front of this partner, and as we waited for the music to beginanother embrace there was little of the usual chit chat. The music began, he placed both of his hands gently and firmly on my ribs, and he waited, listening intently to the music or maybe to my heart that began racing in anticipation. His slow approach into the embrace transported me to memories of watching a black and white movie and scoffing at the idea that women actually swooned. I think I could have swooned in that moment from the anticipation and the excitement of this preclude. From his hands on my ribs his right arm continued its journey along my back and his left arm found my right arm hanging by my side as he gradually passed his hand along my forearm until he found my hand in his. Next thing I knew we were embracing and moving together in this passionate dance that was reignited for me in that moment.

Phew! just thinking about it makes me long for that focus-filled attentive embrace again.

How do you embrace? Are you anxious to jump into someone’s arms? Do you miss out on the WHOLE experience? And incidentally he is one of my most favorite dancers and a delicious embrace like that helps his rankings!

 

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