Special Milonga Invitation to You!

A special fundraising MILONGA we are affectionately calling: “el Camino al Campeonato”
Rommel and Daniela 2nd Place
Friday, May 11, 2012
8:00pm – 12:30am

Come dance with us at Marsha Bruner’s home
1725 E. Orchid Lane, Phoenix 85020 (off Hwy. #51 and Northern)

Live music featuring Tho X. and DJ Acacia Crouch

Performance by Rommel and Daniela
Silent Auction

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided

All Donations are tax deductible*

My partner, Rommel and I will be competing in the Campeonato Mundial de Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 2 week competition in August. All profits go directly to sponsor us in this endeavor. This is an investment into bringing high quality instruction and dancing to Arizona as we train and prepare for this exciting event.

*Donations can be made payable to USA DANCE #4040. If you are unable to attend but are interested in supporting us please send checks to 
USA DANCE #4040 c/o Nancy Williams PO Box 7 Flagstaff, AZ 86002 with Daniela & Rommel as the memo.

Call Rommel to RSVP: 928-301-5215

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Look Good, Feel Good, Dance Better?

There was an article published in the New York Times Science section at the beginning of April entitled:

Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat

This article was interesting and has some relevance I’m sure as to why we often dress a certain way for tango. The article spoke about what you wear changing you psychological state. I know this makes sense to me. I loved dressing up as a child and dressing in someone else’s clothing was preferable! And what about now?

I like to look nice, to look elegant, but getting there is challenging sometimes! Some of you know that I do not actually enjoy going shopping. I am probably one of the few women I know who would rather hire someone to do this job for me! Or shop online. Just make me look good but don’t make me go through the hassle of taking off and putting on clothes in a dressing room in a bunch of different stores, trying to find clothing that fits, looks good, feels good. HELP! Maybe this is a skill that we have to acquire? “The shopping skill.”

In preparing for the tango championship a lot of resources were spent on finding just the right outfits for both myself and Rommel and making sure we “matched”. When you look good and feel that you look good, it can have a transforming affect on the psyche. We essentially had to dress like winners and winners for this competition have to look a certain way. We learned this from last year’s trial run when some of the feedback we received was specifically on our dress.Calle Florida 1940

I remember hearing my mother speak about a time in Buenos Aires on the Calle Florida (which is a major shopping area and tourist center now) when women and men would dress up to promenade on Calle Florida. My grandmother would never leave her house without dressing up and doing her hair. And there was a time when going to a milonga was a night out on the town where you dressed up, wore your best clothing, greased back your hair, and women never left the house without their stockings. (Incidentally nylon stockings were made in the US in 1940.)

I know this tradition hints at being alive at most milongas across the world. Dressing up in our best makes us feel sexy, appealing, attractive, etc. And we hope that of course, we will attract our perfect-in-the-moment tango mates.

Lab CoatIn the article, the subjects of the experiments, in a nutshell, were asked to wear a Dr.’s lab coat and then were tested on sustained attention. And of course those who wore the coats, felt the coats, and had attached the meaning of it as being a “Dr.’s lab coat” showed greatest improvement in attention. The article concludes that clothing can change your psychological processes.

Maybe that’s where ladies tango shoe fetishes come in. If I wear those cute shoes, I will look like a tango dancer and therefore feel like a tango dancer and dance better. Well, readers, you know my stance on that, not if they don’t fit and aren’t comfortable!

A young student came to me after I encouraged the class to “dress to impress” for an upcoming milonga, stressing his desire for comfort. “Why can’t I wear jeans? I don’t own anything else, and I feel good in my jeans”. I understand this as I am very comfortable in my jeans or slacks and t-shirt too. But the truth is, going to a milonga is an event. Sharing tango with a community is an occasion, a happening. The dressing up is part of the magic. Each one of us plays a part at the milonga. Each one of us adds to its enchantment, to its excitement. So if you feel good and feel better in what you are wearing, you are preparing yourself psychologically for dancing. Ladies, have you experienced that dressed man who enters the milonga and takes your breath away? The suit makes him look sharp and angular, he is clean shaven and smells good, a part of the female brain says, I want to be with him! And I’m sure there’s an equivalent for the man, as they are very visual beings!

Next time you get dressed for a milonga consider the outfit that makes you feel like dancing!




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Action Packed Tango Week

Gentle Reminder of the week’s activities. See you there!

TuesdayGraciela Gonzalez will be teaching at Practicando.

ThursdayGraciela Gonzalez will be teaching the tango class prior to Mijana Milonga.

ASU TANGO 101: AN IMMERSION FOR THE BEGINNER with Momo Smitt from Portland, OR.
Classes begin promptly at 6:15pm on the Main Campus of ASU in Tempe in the Physical Education Building East.


Friday – 9:00pm-2:00am at Tempe Woman’s Club
Saturday – 8:00pm-12:00am at ASU Art Museum 51 East 10th Street  Tempe, AZ 85281
12:00am-6:00am at ASU Gammage Promenade
12:00pm-3:30pm ALTERNATIVE MILONGA at Memorial Union (Student Union)
8:00pm-12:00am at Memorial Union (Student Union)

There is a lovely Pasta Dinner on Sunday night catered by the Memorial Union which includes your choice of pasta and sauce, sides, salad, cake, and beverage. This will keep you close to the dancing and must be purchased in advance.

ParkingParking Sign

I know that this is often a complaint coming to campus. And we do understand the frustration that is sometimes involved. ASU Tango Club Board and myself are doing what we can to communicate clearly about this.

The link to the festival map is to be updated soon but in short:
Parking for campus and for classes is covered on the link to the map. Remember to read the signs or to avoid meters.
Friday’s milonga there will be additional parking at the Church on Mill at 1300 S. Mill Ave.
Saturday and Sunday there will be a lot of activity on campus and at Gammage. We will have further recommendations in the upcoming days so check the ASU FESTIVAL WEBSITE.

Enjoy the weekends events and remember, ASU Tango Club can produce this event only with your support.

Oh, and one other thing, remember you milonga etiquette and try out your cabaceo!



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A Few Announcements!


Saturday February 4th 11am – 1pm I am hosting a Lunchtime Practica at Plaza de Anaya Fusion Studio at 524 W. Broadway in Tempe. This is an opportunity to involve my new 8 week fundamentals class to the idea of Practicing and to other dancers. I am looking forward to integrating them into a positive experience of social Argentine Tango.

I have 40 brand new students in that class and they are enthusiastic and very focused. I look forward to introducing them to everyone who joins us. SO come on out and get some practice in!


I want to continue to encourage people to register for the ASU Experience. And if you have never danced before TANGO 101 will be just for you. I can’t stress enough the quality of instruction, the new format that will be explored, and the good time we will have. Here is a list of highlights:

The TEACHERSGraciela Gonzalez

*Graciela Gonzalez will be in town for the festival and for a week. She is available for private lessons. She is the teacher most responsible for changing my dancing. I am honored to have her with us again. Don’t miss out.

Tomas Howlin and Shorey Myers*I had the pleasure of taking a Tango Teachers course with Tomas Howlin last year and respect him highly as a teacher. He has lots of great stories and incredible information to share.

*Jaimes and Christa run the 8th Style School in Seattle. They too come with a breadth of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the dance form. I am happy that they will be joining us!Jaimes and Christa


* There are only 6 classes during the festival. Each class slot is designed with a different concept in mind. For example: the first class on Friday is conceptually about “Walking, The Embrace and Connection”. The teachers who will be teaching at that time have been asked to design a class around that concept. AFTER each class there is a 30 minute PRACTICE slot for you to spend time refining what you learned, dancing, playing, meeting new people OR asking the instructors on hand for more assistance on that particular class.

* Take advantage of this new design. We know you’ll love it!

The MILONGAS and the DJ’s

* 5 milongas – plenty of dancing time over the weekend. These include Friday night at the historic Tempe Woman’s Club, Saturday night at the beautiful ASU Art Museum and the all-nighter on the Gammage Promenade, Sunday will be in the Memorial Union with the option of a pasta dinner. There is also an alternative milonga planned for Saturday afternoon.

* Our DJ’s have been chosen by the Tango Club as some of their favorite DJ’s. Mike from Portland milonga scene, Michelle from Albuquerque, Shorey from San Francisco, and our very own Acacia. We love these DJ’s and know how important it is for them to keep us dancing. I know they will.


* This is one of the most economical festivals. ASU Tango Club created the festival for a love of the dance and not for a business. A full pass is just $185.

* Registration is through google checkout. There have been some glitches with it but don’t despair. Just send a check or let me assist.


Those people we enjoy dancing with. We have lovely dancers joining us from Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN; MA; CA; DC; and all over AZ!

Keep dancing!



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Cabaceo – People are talking, I mean nodding, winking, etc….

I promised I would bring back some of my experience from the Women’s Retreat where I commented a week back about the class I was going to teach that centered on the pelvis and its function in alignment in tango.

Well, the Women’s Retreat was a wonderful way for me to connect with other women in tango. There were varied levels of experience in tango amongst us. There were some great conversations and insights into our shared interest of leading and following. I was delighted that a few older women commented on their excitement about the younger generation interest in tango. “Who is going to carry on when we’re gone?” I remember hearing this from some older students of mine as well.

I was inspired by sharing conversations with one lovely Hannah from the Portland area – an articulate brilliant young woman exploring and finding her way in tango. I was impressed by so many things she had to share but particularly by her interest in keeping the “cabaceo” alive and kicking. In her community – she says that people know already that she uses the cabaceo and she encourages her students to use it.

What is the “cabaceo”? There are many writings on this art of asking someone to dance but in a nutshell it is a word that comes from  Spanish or specifically castellano (Argentine Spanish) cabeza which means head. The cabaceo is the invitation to dance: a lock of the eyes, a simple subtle nod of the head, and typically from a distance. It is an invitation that no one else needs to know about. It is an invitation that can also be rejected without embarrassment, ideally. This means, for example, if someone catches my eye from across the dance floor and I choose not to dance with him then I do not lock eyes with them or nod my head in agreement. That leader may then move on looking for his next follower without “losing face”, so to speak.

Some of us use it strongly in our communities others not as much. But it seemed that there was a general consensus that the cabaceo works and is good for tango. The leader or a follower can ask for a dance through the use of the cabaceo and also be rejected from a dance by not acknowledging it. It was also remarked that the rejection needs to not necessarily be taken so personally. Someone mentioned that if you are “cabaceoing” someone all night and they have not caught your eye – then maybe they are trying to tell you something. This is sometimes hard to accept especially in smaller communities where everyone tends to know each other. I think the cabaceo works well in all circumstances actually.  We also spoke about cabaceoing another follower to dance with. This dynamic doesn’t seem to have been worked out completely yet… but I think in communities where followers know that other followers are leading the cabaceo works the same.

Upon my return from the retreat and back to the classroom for the final days of classes at ASU I was struck by 1 of my more enthusiastic beginners’ interest in discussing the cabaceo and how he had spent time researching it online. He too has decided that the cabaceo is worth keeping and using and was encouraging the rest of the class to try it out.

SO I think the cabaceo is still alive and well even in Tempe, AZ. I know many members of the community enjoy using it and you’ll be seeing more of my students trying it out!

How’s your cabaceo?


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