Teaching Tango

Not just a New Look! New New New!

I tried my hand or my face at Video Blogging – how hard can it be? Or so I thought! I have added my 20th attempt on here just because you might enjoy it!

I just finished an intensive 4 day course called CareerHearted with Jeff Goodman. An impressive step by step look at one’s career and step by step tools on how to begin it, expand it, transition it or wherever your career is now. I highly recommend it. And of course how serendipity works, I take a course on how to get a fresh look at my career and I have a new template for my website so that I will have more versatility in sharing Argentine Tango with you.
ALSO, soon to come, there will be a new logo. I think it is time that those tango legs get put to rest. And finally, starting in October, I will be moving classes that were at Rhythmic Expressions to my new home studio. I will soon have all the classes and the location of the new ones on accesstango.com.
So until then, remember that this Saturday’s workshop is on BOLEOS! It starts at 12:00pm and is at Rhythmic Expressions at McClintock and University (617 S. McClintock Dr. Tempe, AZ). As always please RSVP to me if you will attending the workshop. You can send a message directly to me.
This Sunday will be the last Sunday practica at Rhythmic Expressions – class starts at 6:30pm.

Tuesday night practicas are still at SNAP and have not changed time or format yet.

See you soon!








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Adornos: those sweet embellishments

I am often asked by women and men about them. How to do them? When to do them? What to do as an adornment.
In a recent conversation with my partner, Rommel Oramas, he asked me to look it up in the dictionary. My lovely ipad dictionary came up with 2 definitions.
Adornment: noun – the action of decorating yourself with something colorful or interesting.adornos 1
This was the definition that Rommel particularly liked and what he liked about it was the decorating yourself part.

I think with many things in tango we often get caught up with what we see from the outside, watching from the milonga sidelines or watching youtube or a demo during a festival. This ominous triad: the music, the couple, and those who are peering at you whether you know it or not. And because we are viewing from the outside we might think that adornments are fundamental, necessary, obligatory when we dance. Because we are watching from the outside and they look cool or maybe not so cool but either way as we travel on our tango journey adornments are something we are anxious to add to our dance.

I tell my students that learning adornos is like a special purse: filled with things we like, don’t like, need, don’t need, may need, and most importantly things we may have borrowed from someone else or have been guided to buy. It is fun to hunt for adornos at festivals and youtube, to save them and then bring them out when no one is watching to try out solo, in your kitchen (or living room or bathroom!), hoping that you will have the opportunity to perform it perfectly at the next musical opportunity.

adornos 2So coming to my point – the adornos have to be true to you; an extension of yourself. They are additions to your collaboration with your partner. Sometimes the lead will give the follower space and will support and follow her adornos.  Sometimes the lead will initiate the adornos. Sometimes the follow or the lead will steal them! However they happen, I like the idea that I am decorating myself: I am adding colors to my conversation in the dance. The music dictates, the collaboration allows it, and I use the adornos as extensions of my tango center. Whether they come out as silky circles, or rhythmic skittley tappings, or caresses to myself, my partner, or the floor. I have borrowed them and continue to explore them in the dance. But I remember to do them for me and as part of my communication with my partner.


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Practica and Leading Ladies Coming Up!

Happy August Tangueros/as!
The whirlwind vacation is coming to a close and the fall line-up commences!
Sunday practica resumes August 4th at 6:30pm with an all level class. Tuesday practicas continue as usual (special thanks to Tyler Litman and Acacia Crouch for holding down the fort) and Saturday, August 10th will be another Leading Ladies workshop beginning at 12:00pm at Rhythmic Expressions. I am completely looking forward to that! We’ll start with a Restorative Stretch and dive right into some technique and figures both leading and following. Bring your questions and a towel to roll up. As I have stated previously, I think learning some very basic leading techniques improve our following skills. Come try it out! (Ladies only!)Being tourists

Some of you have been asking about the Saturday workshops and I have yet to post those dates and topics. I will have those soon. I know with all the festivals in the fall and Thanksgiving that there are limited Saturdays which makes scheduling challenging but I appreciate your enthusiasm!

Finally, to say, that dancing in NYC, Boston, and Baltimore has been an exciting adventure: a chance to visit with old tango friends and to make new ones. As I have watched the milonga dance floors I have seen people who have reminded me of tango characters from all my years of dancing. It has been a mirror’s reflection of my experiences: my successes and trials in tango. There are lots of someones for everyone out there in tango world, so enjoy dancing!
And I am reminded that learning to tango most definitely has its stages. But no matter where you are in your journey and no matter where you are the music enraptures, the embrace captivates and it feels good to be a part of something bigger.

See you soon!

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What Tango do you do? Bag the Labels and Make it Delicious!

The labels conversation is back again!
It appears that my tango class to modern music brought up some good questions from experienced dancers and newbies.
I want to start this blog by saying Frazzled femalethere is ONE tango that will be heavily influenced by your community(ies); those you dance with most; the teachers you study with; the music you enjoy (rhythmic vs melodic); and if you travel to other festivals or communities.
The labels you might hear or see are marketing labels for students. In Buenos Aires the labels are used to capture tourists. The older milongueros are not hung up on labels they merely do what they do, dance tango! And the way they share information is through demonstration not necessarily through explanation! You just dance!
Even the new Argentines learning in Buenos Aires become tourists.  If they grew up with the music, if they are just learning, they too become a tourist to find a teacher to teach them tango. As I have said before the labels don’t get you far. In reality in the US they don’t bring in new dancers and the ones who have been dancing merely seek those teachers and dancers who they most like or identify with, to dance with or take classes from.
I have to say from my years of teaching at the University and growing new tango babies every year, I do believe that there is a fundamental ground work that has to be laid for a tanguero/a to find their way, regardless of the style, label conversation. I believe, as Graciela Gonzalez says, that there is technique that is fundamental to all tango dancing.
I remember a famous Argentine tango dancer sharing a story that a student had asked her to dance in a milonga and he started by asking her what style she danced. Surprised, she responded that she danced Tango. I suppose what doesn’t quite come across in this recount is that she didn’t understand what else they could possibly be doing at a milonga. Style was not the question for her. It never is, really. We must remember that tango is about the connection you have with your partner; that partner in that moment to that music.
So before you worry about what style you may or may not be doing, go for the connection and BE present with your partner, you only have that moment, those 3 minutes, so make them delicious.

See previous blogs here Labels Labels Everywhere Part 1 and Part 2.

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Friendly Reminders

Hello Tangueras/os,
Just a friendly reminder that Sunday night practicas are on vacation for the month of July. They begin again on August 3rd.
The Tuesday night practica continues onward through the summer. Come take class and practice your connection!

I will be off to Boston and NYC and will be teaching in Boston on Saturday July 13th. I am looking forward to that so share with your tango friends back east! (Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/146295682223743/)

I am making plans for August – December and curious as to what workshops you would like to see. Send me some ideas and I’ll get those topics planned!

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