Reflections on Tango

Mundial Day 2 and Results

Ok. I know I left you hanging after these 2 qualifying rounds. Results were announced last night at 7:30pm and posted to the festival website around 10am this morning. Andmundial day 2 Facebook is buzzing with the expected controversy.

Day 2 went much faster than day 1. We arrived at 3pm and were dancing by 4pm. It went by so fast. We were in the ronda 29.

Here are some statistics:
389 couples competed in 36 Rondas.
37 countries were represented including Egypt and Lebanon (places I did not know had tango!) Out of those 389 couples, 71 were chosen to continue to the semifinals on Friday. 29 more couples will join those on Friday; these are the champions from other countries.

The highest score given for these qualifying rounds was an 8.61. And 7o couples followed after!

We ended up 108th with a score of 7.47. The last qualifier had a 7.66. I think this is an improvement from the first time we competed! And of course, there are very, very nice dancers who are touring i competed imageprofessionals who did not make it to the semi-finals. And there were about 5 older couples who made it through, which I mention only to show that age is not a discriminating factor. Click here to see the published listing.

Interesting that one of the judges posted on her facebook page a comment about why coaches of dancers who are competing are not teaching them how to walk, to listen to the music, to respect their proper space and the space of others, and to embrace. She continues by asking rhetorically if executing an artillery of moves that don’t go to the music is enough for the competition. AND you can imagine the responses. She is a well known respected close embrace teacher in Buenos Aires and internationally recognized. Anther judge responded to her by asking her what happened then if she was there and she was 1/10th responsible for the passing of those dancers!!!! Another fantastic response was how all teachers are responsible for what is seen on the dance floors throughout the tango world. Look inside and be truthful. What are you teaching?  He posted. (My super rough translations!)

Again it boils down to the same things you hear me say every time! The rules and the measurements are not well defined….

And the tango world continues to turn. And dancers will be fueled to try better and those winners and those teachers of winners will be well employed throughout the year if they want to be.

Now to enjoy the rest of my time here with the 80 degree weather and my winter clothes!!!

Remember to tell your friends to sign up for the Beginner Tango Blast in September. And I will be doing a 4 week Saturdays Take your Dancing to the Next Level for dancers who have taken the Beginner Blast and who have a little experience with Tango.

See you soon

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Mundial 2014 Day 1

What a crazy trip this has been so far! Some of you have been following me on Mundial day 1Facebook and know that my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the following day. And it has been a whirlwind since!!! Classes, milongas, shoe buying, clothes fittings and fixings, non-stop!!!!

And today began the qualifying rounds of Tango de Pista at L’Usina del Arte en La Boca, Buenos Aires. (Incidentally, right across the street from a nice local restaurant called El Obrero where we went on one of the Cultural Immersion tours.)

Although the Usina is far from where we are staying it is quite a lovely venue and the dance floor is wood and wonderful!!!

Yesterday, we ventured to Usina by bus  which took us 40 minutes in light traffic and today by cab that took 20 or so minutes. This was a long weekend so the traffic was light.

The weather took a turn to 27 C. That’s 80 F !!!! It’s winter in Buenos Aires and I brought my boots and my sweaters!!!! They are expecting it to be warm all week. Strange since it was just 50F a few days ago!!!

Back to the Mundial! It appears there are about 380 couples registered for the Tango de Pista ( this is the Tango Salon competition’s new name since last year). For those who are new to my blog – this is different than the Stage Tango Category.

Out of all those couples we are #335 and we are dancing in Ronda #31. There are about 11 or 12 couples in each Ronda. We were told our 3 songs while we were back stage waiting to enter. Our songs were by Julio de Caro, Francisco Canaro, and Juan D’Arienzo. The goal is to express them differently and sometimes this is hard to do. You have to know your music! I leave this up to Rommel!!!

The space is an actual theater, an end theatre, with great seats for the audience in a sloped seating formation. There was formal lighting. It was nice.

It was pretty organized. We were given a call time of 3pm. I had time to do my makeup upon arrival. Then we had a chance to try the floor – a quick 1 song dry run!  Then the turn around time was rather quick. We performed and were done by 6pm. What a long day!!!! It started with getting my hair done at 1pm with a great hairdresser on the corner of our street. So grateful that Andrea Manoli’s a fabulous hairdresser and accommodating. She worked on the long weekend.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is day 2 of the qualifying rounds. After that we will know if we go on to the semi-finals. I was advised not to change dresses in previous competitions so the judges recognize you. However, there might be a change for me….

Reminder: if anyone you know wants to learn to tango socially I will be doing another Beginners  Blast in September. Send me a message if interested.

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Beginner’s Playlist

Here is a sample of a possible Beginner’s Playlist.
Depending on what we are doing in class, I do tend to play a lot of Carlos Di Sarli and Francisco Canaro, these are the names of orchestra leaders and their orchestras were named after them!
Below you have a screenshot of my beginner’s playlist from my iTunes library. On the left you have the name of the song, in the middle you have the name of the orchestra and on the right, the album that it came from. Some of these you can find on Amazon and on iTunes and now on Spotify and Pandora Radio!
The Tango repertoire is so vast that I always encourage beginning students to find a flavor they like. What I mean by this is, do you like music that reminds you of ocean waves or more like pounding steady rain? (Just examples!) You might enjoy the sounds and rhythms of the Grateful Dead or you might prefer the Beatles. (I’m not trying to date myself but hopefully you get what I’m suggesting.) Not all tango music sounds alike and you will probably not like all tango music, at first, or maybe ever! But I guarantee that the more you listen to it, if you find a sound, an orchestra that you like, the more your tango taste will grow, your dance will expand, and you will enjoy it!
Who are your favorite tango orchestras?

beginners playlist screenshot

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Surrender vs. Submission

What do you think? As a follower in this dance of Argentine Tango do you think of yourself as submitting or as surrendering? Leaders, do you think of your follower as being submissive or surrendering?

These 2 words came up recently in a tango discussion in relation to the follower’s role in tango. And of course, I thought how much language gets in the way of our actual dance experience but nonetheless I wanted to tackle the ideas for a blog. So I went to Merriam (Webster) first and was not really pleased with what I found for both of these words and, not so surprisingly, they were similar.

Surrender
: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win
: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

Submission
: the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant
: an act of submitting to the authority or control of another
: the state of being obedient : the act of accepting the authority or control of someone else

Having been brought up as an independent woman, I cringe at the thought of these definitions in relation to my dancing (or to my life!). I don’t think of myself as being or doing either when I dance.

I began to look further, as the person I was conversing with was suggesting that he perceived many dancers as submissive and not as surrendering in the dance. This might be interpreted as the idea of “I am dancing  you” vs “I am dancing with you”. And so I searched further and found myself back in the realm of metaphysics and modern day mystics.

One person who immediately came to mind was author, David Deida, who I know some people find thoroughly amazing and life changing. I found this quote:

The word “surrender” is often interpreted as giving up, as weakness, as admitting defeat. Although this is one way to use the word, we will use it in a different way. Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are. It means to open with no boundaries, emotional or physical, so you ease wide beyond any limiting sense of self you might have.
David Deida

Of course when people think of or refer to Deida they are often talking about sex and funny how that is the case in tango too!

Hannah Marcotti on her website offers us another variation on the theme of surrender:

There is an ease when we learn how to embrace surrender. Feeling without fight. Fear and struggle are met with truth and grace. Releasing and allowing feel spectacular with the flow from stuck into surrender. Surrender is an entry point for joy. Surrender can guide you into stillness, moving, creating, acting and flowing.

And flowing is what we want in our dances. As I have said in another blog, even the English words that we use, Lead and Follow, don’t really do justice to the magnificence of what we do in our roles in this dance.

Think about it and consider your very important role next time you dance.

For more inspiring quotes including Deida’s:
http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/surrender-quotes.html

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Tangovilla Wuppertal

I think I have finally caught up on sleep. And in between have been enjoying the lush tangovilla flag green of my environs. I have been so well taken care of here at the Tangovilla by my hosts, Stefan and Ralph.

I met Stefan at a tango teacher training session a few years ago. We were paired together on the first day and even though he struggled with english I encouraged him to proceed confidently. That was the beginning of our friendship. When I told him that I wanted to come to Europe, he immediately invited me to his home, the Tangovilla.

I had the pleasure of teaching class to several of his students. He helped me now with the language and the classes were wonderful. I was so happy to hear that his students enjoyed them. I had been a little bit  worried about the cultural differences and cultural perceptions of Americans, or cultural expectations, but clearly this group trusted their teacher, Stefan and the students learned and had a good time. As you might have heard me say, “I have such good students” and even here, this applied!

I have been to a couple of milongas since I have been here and so far, I have to say, that they have similar problems to those we have at our milongas in the States. Can you guess? Lots of sitting women at the milongas! I do have to say that this area has a milonga every night and the numbers of dancers in attendance was great to see. I was told that many of the dancers were away for long weekends and yet, I saw the milongas as being well attended.

This weekend was a tango marathon and we stopped by to check it out. It reminded me of a hot and sweaty milonga in Buenos Aires in the middle of summer. It appears that even though the marathon brings in quite a few people, this isn’t enough to encourage the owners of the restaurant to use/fix/whatever, the air conditioning. WOW – that was 1 hot sweaty place. I did have the pleasure of dancing with the current, 2014 Champion of Tango Salon for Germany. He is Mexican, living in Hamburg!!!  We had a lovely tanda, thank you Alonso Alvarez! He will be off to the European Championship and then to Buenos Aires for the Mundial.

AND speaking of Mundials – this weekend begins the World Soccer Cup. There are flags hanging and bars advertising. Clearly Germany is getting ready! And so am I.

Keep dancing! You can find pictures on Facebook!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152508786684312&substory_index=1&id=619634311

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