Reflections on Tango

Females Leading

I was at a tango festival recently watching several women leading. What struck me most was – can you guess? – Of course, their posture and the lack of clear attention to their intention and to being grounded.

The power in the lead comes from the legs and their connection to the ground, not from trying to thrust our chest into our partners’. (No side comments please!) This is all about physics, which I will leave to those who can speak that language. However, the strength in our stride comes from the connection of our legs to the ground, think about your hamstrings reaching all the way down the back of the leg to the heel. (Just for the record, they do not reach the floor but stop below the knee.) The understanding of how to use this power, from our natural centers and how it relates to your axis and that of your partners’ is the key. If you are thrusting your chest then you are falling forward into your partner and thus, forcing a counter activity from your partners’ axis. It is so frustrating for me to see such misuse of body mechanics.Leading Ladies

I have been enjoying very much my Leading Ladies workshops in Phoenix, watching ladies of all ages engage in taking the lead. Some come because they are interested in learning to lead but I would say they come out of curiosity and with that curiosity comes amazing insight. Again, understanding the technique of how to move the body with another person through the connection of the embrace is essential. And they soon discover that following doesn’t work either when these things aren’t!

I can hear some of the critics including my tango partner who says, “ladies need to learn to lead from a man who leads”. I hear that, I understand that argument, but I find that a lovely gaggle of ladies together is not only fun but helpful to each other. So many times in classes (almost all the time that I have experienced) the attention is given to the leader. In the classroom setting it is a challenge to try to address leaders and followers equally and for all parties to feel that they too have equal voice. (And this is another topic for another blog!) Gathering the ladies to introduce them to leading skills improves their following and, I am going to guess, that it could have farther reaches into improving the community overall.

I have found that the types of questions that are posed in my leading ladies workshops are similar to the line of inquiry that I get from my college students. It is SO exciting!

If you are interested in coming to the next Leading Ladies – it will be Saturday February 8th at 12:00pm – 1:30pm at the Solana Tango Room. RSVP please and I’ll pass on the address if you don’t already have it.

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This Weekend starts TONITE!

Reminders:Yepee!

I am teaching the class at Milonga Mijana tonight (1290 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ) Class begins @ 7:30pm – 8:30pm $10 and then Stay for the Milonga 8:30pm – 12:00am $5

ALSO

Friday night there will be a house milonga chez moi! At The Solana Tango Room!
Dancing starts @ 7:30pm – 12:00am. BYOB $5.

Come dancing this weekend!

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Leading Ladies Friday Night

Just a reminder that Leading Ladies Workshop tomorrow – Friday Night! At the Solana Tango RoomLeading Ladies
and if you arrive around 6:30pm you can have some chocolate or some wine and a warm up and then we will officially begin at 7pm. $15.

I look forward to seeing you to work on some leading skills and to polish up some of our followers technique too!

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If you haven’t RSVP please do so for Leading Ladies and see you then!

 

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Message to Leaders from Facebook

Please Tango GodsI think some Leading Ladies and I were just discussing this today. This came out on Facebook a couple of minutes ago (Saturday, January 11 in the evening) and I had to share.

From well-known tango dancer and author, Gustavo Benzacry Saba.
My translation below and the original follows.


Follower at the milonga,
If HE, the leader, smells badly, stop dancing.
If he hurts you, stop dancing.
If he crashes you into someone on the dance floor, stop dancing.
If he talks while dancing, stop dancing.
If he is trying to show off and do his show tango moves on the dance floor, stop dancing.
If he dances for himself and your presence is only an excuse, stop dancing.
You can always stop dancing with a smile and a simple “thank you”. Choose Well. Respect yourself. Help your community. Encourage the leader to study. Love the tango.

Bailarina de milonga
Si él no huele bien, no bailes.
Si él te hace doler el cuerpo, no bailes.
Si él te hace chocar en la pista, no bailes.
Si él te chamuya mientras bailan, no bailes.
Si él quiere hacer un show mientras bailan en la pista, no bailes.
Si él baila para él mismo y tu presencia es sólo una excusa, no bailes.
El baile siempre se puede detener con una sonrisa y un simple “gracias”.
Elige bien. Respétate. Ayuda a tu comunidad. Impulsa al bailarín a estudiar. Ama el tango.

Smile and have a great week!

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Festival under Emotions

After big festivals I am confronted once again with the peculiarities of human emotion and the beauty that makes us human.

In the US and in certain cities where dancing is not as frequent as every day, a festival is an opportunity to dance all weekend long. Or at least this is House Milongathe hope for both men and women. For those who have been dancing for many years it is a chance to reconnect with old tango “friends” and dance a few tandas with our favorite dancers who live somewhere else on the planet!

As a teacher, time and time again, students share with me their experiences, both great and not so great. It is amazing that this dance has the ability to make us feel both so happy and sometimes so sad or even angry.

I, myself, have been known to sing made up tango songs with lyrics such as, “oh tango, how you have betrayed me”, half jokingly, of course.

I reflect often on the milongas in Buenos Aires and how it would be if, like many milongas there, it would feel more like a night out for us, too. You tell your friends to meet and you sit at a table together, you converse, you order drinks, you laugh together, you share your Friday night together and dancing is just a part of it. Versus, tonight I am getting dressed up to go dance and if I do not dance I will be upset.

I wonder if sometimes, in our longing for connection, that we project our needs onto unknowing victims.
I have to remember my own advice, my axis is mine, my stuff is mine both energetically and physically. Why would I dump that onto someone who does not know me? Someone who has not earned my trust or my affections?

No matter how many lessons you have taken, how many years you have been dancing, no one owes you anything.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha

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