Posts Tagged: argentine tango

Upcoming Workshops for August 2011!

I have set up some interesting workshops for August.

In designing the workshops I had a few goals in mind:  continue to promote tango, encourage the continued study of the dance form, focus on technique and challenge  9141522copythose dancers who have been dancing or studying for awhile!

In order to continue to promote tango we are offering a fun casual evening Introduction to Argentine Tango course which I have named: Date Night an Introduction to Argentine Tango. This will be a course for those wanting to check out the dance form, like dipping your toe into the pool before diving in. Rommel and I will be teaching some fundamentals of the Argentine Tango as a social dance.  You can bring a date or a friend or come solo. There will be a Free Raffle so tell your friends.

Friday August 19th and Friday August 26 for Date Night!
7:00pm – 9:00pm $15 per person or $25 per couple includes a free raffle and snacks.

After attending Date Night consider coming back for the BEGINNER’S WORKSHOP on Saturday, August 27 – 12:00pm – 2:00pm. This workshop will be a continuation from the Intro and will add more tools to your tango toolbox to practice.
$20 per person or $35 per couple

And for those who are no stranger to the dance we have a short 2 hour Momo Danielas shoes 2 4 2011FOLLOWER’S TECHNIQUE class. I know the struggles of the follower role in this dance so let’s build some tools and some understanding of how the beautiful body is to function on the dance floor with any lead. Class includes a warm-up and exercises for creating pretty feet and balanced posture.  Wear comfortable clothes and bring soft shoes, practice shoes or even socks. 

Saturday, August 20 – 2:00pm – 4:00pm for FOLLOWER’S TECHNIQUE
$20 per person

On Sunday, August 21st and Sunday August 28th Rommel and I will be sharing some fun ADVANCED COMBINATIONS for the Social Dance Floor from 12:00pm – 2:00pm.
$20 per person or $35 per couple per class

Pre-Registration is always appreciated – call 602-743-8560 or email: daniela@accesstango.com

In Summary – Workshops in August hosted by accesstango taught by Daniela Borgialli and Rommel Oramas

Friday, August 19 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm DATE NIGHT an Introduction to Argentine Tango. Including FREE Raffle
Saturday, August 20 – 2:00pm – 4:00pm FOLLOWER’S TECHNIQUE: Improve your dancing and get answers to those questions about balance, posture and clarify any unclear feedback that you have received.
Sunday, August 21 – 12:00pm – 2:00pm ADVANCED COMBINATIONS for the TANGO SALON with Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli
Friday, August 26 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm DATE NIGHT an Introduction to Argentine Tango. Including FREE Raffle
Saturday, August 27 – 12:00pm – 2:00pm BEGINNER’S WORKSHOP
Sunday, August 28 – 12:00pm – 2:00pm ADVANCED COMBINATIONS for the TANGO SALON with Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli

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Teaching Tango at the University!

In addition to teaching in the community, I teach tango at ASU’s School of Dance in the Institute for Design and the Arts. Formally teaching two levels of social Argentine Tango at a University is a pretty unique situation. Students receive two credits towards their degree for each, even repeatable course they take. During a 16-week semester, we meet twice a week for a total of three hours a week.

When I was asked years ago to replace a retiring faculty member, a single tango course was in place. I immediately revamped the syllabus when I first came on board. Later the advanced level was added.

Over the course of a semester I take my students on a dynamic tango journey. They begin with walking and connection games. I conduct classes on milonga, vals, musicality and a presentation on the history and evolution of the dance form. We also watch videos of famous tango couples to help my students define their aesthetic. They are also required to attend milongas and practicas in the community and participate in the student-run Tango Club.

In the short time that I have been teaching, I have seen a difference in my students in their first tango class. When I first began teaching in 2005, almost none of the students in the class had ever heard of or seen tango prior to class. Now, thanks to reality TV shows, almost all students have seen or have been exposed to some form of social dancing, including tango. They are, of course, surprised to discover that Argentine Tango as a social dance is sometimes quite different from what they have seen on TV or YouTube.

Some students are occasionally disappointed but more often than not they are intrigued by the possibilities that Argentine Tango offers them through the partner relationship. This partnership demands skills in listening and improvisation, attention and patience in order to move through the space together. In this evolving dance form they learn to negotiate, lead and respect each other and their community, and the culture of the dance itself.

With more than 80 students each semester, it really never is the same class twice. Class has been called a stress reliever and a fun distraction to the everyday, heavy course load of many honors students. Although basic templates and syllabi are in place, my students inspire and surprise me all the time and oftentimes send me spontaneously into new, exciting directions. Every semester these young students remind me how magical and powerful dance can be.

They find friendships and sometimes even love – two of my students recently married. Students tell me that they learned to be better persons through tango or found their voice through the dance. Several of them have been dancing with me their entire college careers. Life has fed their dancing, and the dance has fed their life.

It is a wonderful experience to watch them form bonds of friendship and trust. I think one of the most exciting aspects of watching my students’ process of learning this dance is that they come with honesty and openness. They are willing to have a positive experience as they challenge themselves. They laugh together and help each other. It is a reciprocal openness that I share and enjoy so much.

I love my job!
I love dancing!
I love tango!

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Reminders about finding housing in Buenos Aires

What you see on the internet is rarely what you get. The pictures always look nice and big too! I have also found that it doesn’t matter how many questions you ask unless it is in print somewhere, like a contract, it won’t exist like you think it does. Even sometimes the contract doesn’t matter because if you are renting a place, it has probably been lived in many times over by the time you get to it.

I have had several experiences of renting places and sometimes due to urgency and sometimes in good faith I have rented sub-par situations.

My most recent situation has left me very angry, disappointed and disillusioned as I guess a situation of this kind would to anyone.

And instead of totally complaining I wanted to advise and well, there might be a little complaining.

Firstly and I think probably the most important thing you can do when trying to find a place to stay in Buenos Aires is to try to connect with as many people as possible in the tango community and ask them about the places you are thinking about renting. Try to find someone who has stayed there or someone who might even go check it out for you.

Try to know as much as possible about what you are looking for.

How often is their housecleaning? What does it include? Does this include a change of sheets and towels?

Is there construction going on in the building or on the street?

Are there pots and pans, silverware, glasses, mugs, etc?

Often times there are things that maybe even the owner doesn’t know about. Take the time to take a careful look around to see if the place meets your needs. Know that once you pay, and usually it is in cash, that you will not get that cash back. You may get a portion back if you decide early on that it is not going to work. And portenos are very good at trying their best to rectify the situation in order for you to stay.

Now a note to those who are renting to Tangueros.

Most foreigners who are traveling and are staying for more than 1 week are expecting a certain level of comfort. Of course, I don’t speak for all those who are visiting but some of us.

If I wanted to stay in a very inexpensive place or even in a hostel living situation than I would choose this and I would expect a certain standard. I must also mention that I have stayed in very nice hostels over the years and have been very pleased. However, if I am paying $40+ / night I would expect to have a clean place to stay and proper plumbing. I would expect the toilets to flush, the shower to function more than a dribble, and the house to be clean. Clean meaning that there is not a layer of dust all over the place. If there are futon beds and the actual frame is broken so that when you lie on it you have a piece of wood in your back then it needs to be dealt with. If a bed is going to be on the floor it would be best for this to be stated.

I know that every house has its peculiarities. I refer to things such as how the lights may work or how far to turn the hot water or only turn on the hot water. Whatever they are these should be outlined in a booklet or told to each new person coming to the house. Kind of like a list of house “rules”. These should include how to use the heat or the air conditioning.

It is amazing to me how much the tourists are being taken advantage of in Buenos Aires. I have family who live there and who have lived there their entire lives who claim this as well.

With all this being said, I just ask that as a tourist you become informed and as an owner or vendor who is offering a service that is needed that all aspects be taken into consideration.

You don’t need to be taken advantage of as a tourist, a visitor, remember to be as clear as possible as to what you want and do some asking around. 

 

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1st USA Tango Competition in San Francisco, CA

I never thought I would be here talking about my experience at a Tango Competition.  I have poo-pooed the thought of competing in Argentine Tango for all of my tango career – until now.  I have been a strong advocate in promoting the dance form as a social dance, as a folk dance, not as a competitive sport!  or so I thought that was what it meant.

So Rommel Oramas asked me to join him as his partner in this Tango Competition.  At first I was furious and continued kicking and screaming for the most part for many  months until I did obviously, eventually, give in.  It was just something I didn’t think I wanted to do and didn’t want all those people who knew me as a social dancer to think I had crossed over to some other side! 

April 21 – 24, 2011 was the first officially sanctioned Tango Competition in the USA, Sanctioned by the Office of Festivals and Central Events of the MRamada, Rommel and Brianinistry of Culture of the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. 

There were 25 couples who registered for the Tango Salon part of the competition – this included Rommel and myself. 

Tango Salon has a few key rules:

1) The Couple, once formed, may not be separated while the music plays. This means that they may not be break the embrace, considered as the tango dance position.

2) For the position to be considered correct, the body of one of the members of the couple must be contained all the time by the arm of the other member. It is understood that, in certain figures, this may be flexible; but not throughout the duration of the dance.

3) All movements must be made within the space allowed by the embrace between the members of the couple.

4) The Jury will take into account the couple’s musicality and walking style as fundamental to the score.

5) Within these parameters, the couple may carry out all the popular figures, including barridas (sweeps), sacadas al piso (drawn to the floor), enrosques (twists), etc. All other figures typical of stage tango such as ganchos (hooks), saltos (jumps) and trepadas (climbs) are completely excluded.

6) Couples, as in a dance hall, must constantly move counterclockwise, and may not stay in the same point of the choreographic space as this would obstruct the movement of the other dancers in the dance floor.

7) None of the members of the couple may lift his/her legs beyond the line of the knees.

And we were off and running!
Upon our arrival we were given a number that became our number for the duration of the event – #3. We were placed in a group – Number 1 – and on the first night danced with 5 other couples to 3 songs chosen ahead of time and told to us while we were on the dance floor. 

Each night started off with the Stage Tango Dancers doing their performances and then when they were done they continued with the Tango Salon category.  Each night Rommel and I were couple #3 and danced in the first group!  Each night we kept passing! 

Saturday night was a grueling night when after all the groups went they asked set up another group for a tie-breaker without telling any of use who the tie was for.  Rommel and I and another beautiful couple were in this tie-breaking round.  We had to dance to 2 songs. 

We passed!

There were 12 couples in the final round on Sunday.  12 of us past to this last round.  And this was an exciting time – 2 groups of 6.  Again in Group 1.  It was a “tanda” of 3 songs that were great for dancing, we knew the orquestas and we liked them. 

We didn’t get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd but it was an extraordinary experience.  Most of the couples were from California, there was 1 couple from Boston and 1 from New York. 

We found out from the judges that we came in 5th.  And I was complimented on my feet! 

Overall, I am glad to say I did it.  I feel well-equipped to talk about competition from new stand point. 

I did try to do some research on Tango Competitions because I remember when I started to dance tango – they didn’t exist, not that I had heard of.  And I did find out that 2010 was only the 8th time doing it in Buenos Aires – and this is the “world cup” or the World Championships – http://www.tangobuenosaires.gov.ar/campeonato10/web/en/tango/festival_mundial.html

I know the organizers of this festival and championships are looking forward to doing it again and having it grow and I am sure there will be more sanctioned championships throughout the world. 

The experience has added to my Tango experiences.  I can see myself training future competitors.  And I think the competition adds a dimension to the dance form that was completely unexpected – which is – to show others musicality, grace, endurance, beauty, connection, understanding of the dance form in the tradition of line of dance, respect for the floor and the other dancers – and all this can be done without having to be a show tango dancer. 

See 2 of our 3 dances in the 1st round of the final day of competition:

http://youtu.be/hRsCC4JwlXE
 

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GREAT FEST – and now more Practica!

THANK YOU!
To all who came to the ASU TANGO FESTIVAL and to the TANGO 101 classes. Everyone had a wonderful time even through some glitches. As ASU Tango Club’s first festivalTAngo FEstival they learned so much and are excited to host again next year.
I have posted a link to the VIDEO of Rommel and Daniela’s in-class Demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFM0ujIJkqY
I hope that the reminder will keep your enthusiasm for learning this dance.

PRACTICA del Desierto

I want to continue to recommend practicing your tango. And tonite is a great opportunity to do just that! Rommel Oramas and I are hosting our monthly Practica in Old Town Scottsdale at ART of Dance Studio. In a casual and fun atmosphere you can practice your dancing, meet nice people and ask questions about your dancing to Rommel or to me. We like to feature an orchestra to help in hearing and understanding the music of the Goldn Age of tango and tonight’s orchestra will be Enrique Rodriguez.

Tonite at 8pm starts a class and at 9pm starts the practica until 12:00ish!

Art of Dance is located at 7077 E. Main Street in Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Keep dancing!
 

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