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Post England, Visa Berlin

Post-England and Visa in Berlin, can you tell what I have been up to? This is a long overdue post, I know. Much has happened!

I spent a few weeks in England, where I attended a festival with my colleague, Stefan (from Wuppertal). The highlights were the scenery; love the English countryside… can you say, green and lovely! I got to hear/see a fantastic tango orchestra from France, Orquesta Silbando, absolutely fantastic! And they were joined by Miguel Di Genova of Otros Aires!! Can you say SMOKING! It was GREAT! And I really enjoyed doing some classes with Stefan, since he and I had never done that before!
I stayed one night in a beautiful B&B in Ardingly (pronounced Ardingl-I). I can’t comment enough about English hospitality. I met so many many nice people while in England! I have a list of people who hosted me and treated me so well in the Bury, Diss, London, and Norwich Tango Communities. It was a genuine pleasure to be there. I look forward to visiting with them all again.

Another fantastic highlight in England was hanging out in London and going to see Bradley Cooper in The Elephant ManI was SO impressed; so much so, that I would see it again. I went with Amanda (Belinda’s daughter – some of you may know her!) – an excellent hostess during my quick stays in London.

I did manage to go dancing in London. (I knew you were all waiting for that!) I had a really nice time. I had all good tandas! I was happy to be recognized by the leaders I wanted to dance with. (I think a birdie might have helped me out a bit, as I remember being asked, “so who do you want to dance with?”) But hey! We could all use a few birdies some times!! My only question would be, why in the world are the milongas so dark???

Back in Germany the great news is: I received a visa to remain in Berlin for 13 months. It officially states in my passport that I can work as a Freelance artist / dance teacher! Fantastic!!! So now the next phase begins. I have to mention that I was on such a high today from this news and it was a bright, sunny, blue-sky day in Berlin, I sat along the Spree in the sun, like a Berliner!

I have found several favorites dancers here in Berlin and my favorite milongas. Now with the nice weather there will be lots of outdoor opportunities to dance as well. I now will put my focus on teaching, finding a place to live, and learning some conversational German!

Remember: I will be in Phoenix in October for workshops. AND I’ll be at the Albuquerque Tango Festival as well.
And finally, I have started to put some attention into my alignment website: My Alignment Practice and will be posting some more interesting blogs soon, as well as reposting some of my colleagues’ blogs.

Keep dancing!

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A Few More Weeks In Berlin

Here I am, a few more weeks now in Berlin. I was hoping to post something more exciting or to actually finish and post 1 of the 3 informational tango blogs I have sitting in the wings waiting to be finished but nope, this will just be another update from Berlin.

Berlin view 2The last time I wrote I shared with you the details of pulling together my material to present to the Visa office. At this time I have a German bank account, a German ID number to file taxes, and some form of acceptable health insurance, all needed to apply for a visa. I also have an appointment with the Visa office scheduled for June 11th. This is much later than I wanted as it puts me too close to my “90 day tourist visa is expired” status. But there was not a single appointment available in May. I have a choice to wait or go to the office and pick a number and wait. The downside to that is getting a German friend who can wait with me for as long as it takes to translate… not ideal! We’ll see how this pans out.

I have been going out dancing ALMOST every night and Sunday afternoons. This is a change for me! An exciting and interesting one for sure. And like most milongas anywhere in the world (that I have been so far), there are good nights, with a lot of dancing and some slow nights with not a lot of dancing. I seem to have found a handful of favorite dancers and I think I have made it onto their dance card as well. Again what impresses me most is the quantity of dancers. Every milonga I have been to costs around €5. (This past weekend there were guest tango dancers performing and the milonga cost was €9.) AND there are SO many dancers, basically all the time. And there’s no air conditioning!!! I have found if I wear something that reveals my shoulders I tend to stay cooler. So I will need to shop for more tube tops!! The level of dancing is quite varied. The cabaceo is a bit confused but often used, sometimes unfortunately with a nearby hovering, which obviously defeats the purpose of the cabaceo!!!  (As most of my readers know, the cabaceo is a nod of the head as an invitation to dance.)Asado Brandenberg

The weather continues to be very unpredictable, rain, sun, cold, gray, but the minute the sun shines people are outside in it!

I had the pleasure of hanging out with some dancers and friends at their home just outside of Berlin. They had an asado and people brought food and drink. It was so quiet, we were the noise! (And it was a cold early evening even if the sun shone earlier!)

I will be heading to England at the end of the month (ironically the same time as ANOTHER major tango festival will be rockin’ it here in Berlin!) I will be attending the England International Festival with my tango buddy from Wuppertal, Stefan. Maximiliano Cristiani will be there with his current partner, Juliana. I am looking forward to some classes with them and Stefan is looking forward to classes with Homer and Cristina!

From this Festival in Sussex I will be heading to teach some workshops and classes for Norwich Tango. Thanks to my friend Rachel who helped to organize them. I am really excited about being in England and will have some time to explore London again and Norwich.

Berlin OberbaumbrückeThose are the highlights so far my friends!

Some unfortunate news came my way, that ASU has decided not to have Tango in the fall due to budget cuts. This is hard hitting… I have encouraged the ASU Tango Club to keep things alive. I hope they will.

I have reserved space at SNAP for OCTOBER 10 & 11th for workshops in Scottsdale. I hope you will be able to attend. More information about that will be forthcoming. And of course, ideas, feedback or notice of any conflicts is greatly appreciated.


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One Week in Berlin

This post is for those who would like news of my adventures.

I have been in Berlin for one week already. I have gone to milongas almost every night. I have met a few people and have danced a bit. I got my cell phone hooked up with a German phone number (so if anyone has the app What’s App you can find me now at: +49 – 15753564080.

I managed to register myself as a resident of Berlin. This is necessary for me to obtain other things and to apply for a freelance visa if I choose to stay in Berlin. This was an interesting process. There are several locations throughout the city that you can register. Technically you have to make an appointment online and show up at your time slot. This is after obtaining some kind of written note saying that you live at a certain address signed by the person you are staying with (ideally!) As I was stressing about this a german tango friend made a phone call to this office and found out that they actually don’t have any more online appointments until July! She was explaining to me how humane she found these office workers to be as the woman on the line explained to her that it was their fault and that I could drop in to an office and that would be fine. With all this handy information a couple of other german (non-tango) friends prepared a short document stating that I am living with them (which I am) and we went all together to one of these offices – called Bürgeramt. Arriving 1/2 hour prior to their opening there was a short line of people already waiting. From this office we were given a number and told to go to the 4th floor! We were there at 9:30am, office opened at 10am, we were given numbers about 10:20am for appointments at 10:50am and 11:00am. We were all out of there by 11:30am with our housing document! This paper is needed for me to get health insurance and a bank account and anything else (I’m told!). Apparently you have to change your address with this office anytime you move and when I leave Germany permanently I must unregister with them 14 days prior to my departure. So there you have it. My first major task done!

I have to say that I was told by one of my favorite dancers here in Berlin, that he was happy to see me in this desert. Imagine – there are 2 – 3 milongas every night here! But I’m slowly discovering, like with everything, not every milonga is the right fit!

I had a really nice first weekend. On Saturday one of my new German friends took me to Teufelsberg. (click to go to wikipedia). What an ominous place. This is the former US listening station. We did not get there early enough to take the tour or to explore inside. Which means I will have to return. But it rises up into the sky in the middle of this forest. This hill that it sits upon is comprised of all the rubble from the war. It was a beautiful day so there were plenty of people out and about, walking, biking, picnicking. There was a wind blowing too and I almost took some video just to see if the sound would have come through as the wind blows through the main tower. As with most things in Berlin, there is graffiti all around. And so when I go back I’m sure there will be pictures of that! It truly looked like a scene out of a movie.

On Sunday I went to Mauerpark. There is a gynormous flea market here. It’s like the Feria in Recoleta meets the Swap Meet in Phoenix, meets the above average food street fair! Not to mention the biggest outdoor karaoke scene I have ever seen!!! And being one of the first beautiful days, EVERYONE was out! It was a nice weekend. Now with one major endeavor under my belt we will see what happens next.

Abrazos to all of you and thanks for reading the blogs!

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Reflections on Confidence

Hello everyone from rainy, wet, windy Wuppertal!
I’m here to report that my stay in Austin has come to an end and I am now in Germany.
I am so grateful for the time I had in Austin. I met some wonderful people, visited with others who have been a part of my tango life, taught some great people and was able to spend much cherished time with my parents. I encourage students to keep on keeping on! You hear lots of seemingly mixed or contradictory ideas but the goal really is to continue to enjoy tango for yourself and find a teacher who you like and invest in that relationship.
I was reminded over the last few months how important confidence is for a student’s self-perception in the dance. I am lucky that my profession provides me the opportunity to educate students about their bodies, their personal biomechanics and then linking that to their tango. From this phello from wuppertallace they can make wise choices about how dancing works for them. I am beginning to think the body and a student’s understanding of it, helps with confidence. Practice does too!!!
All of this jogged a memory of a class I had with Dr. Pam Matt (who I have mentioned before) where the idea was presented about how from a young age, we naturally have a curiosity about our bodies but this curiosity is soon suppressed and from then on we have misconceptions of our bodies: Where things are located, what they are called, how they work, etc. and then comes cultural and environmental impositions of shame or whatnot. And we aren’t really taught much about our bodies thereafter. As we get older usually pain becomes the trigger to learn more about our bodies, which then might reduce our confidence to move in certain ways. Our ability to do it, whatever it is, is curbed by the pain, which of course, naturally, decreases the confidence. Pain can be a natural teacher, making us more aware and guiding us to seek knowledge for prevention and healing.
I think if we have some information about how our bodies function we can use them more efficiently and of course in something like dance, this helps. So back to having confidence. The more we know the more we can move with confidence. It’s about the journey. And that’s where I am now, on a journey… I will learn new things about myself, my body, my strengths etc. This will all influence my dancing and my teaching as well. 

What steps do you take or have you taken on your tango journey to educate yourself about your bodies and its functions?


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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!

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