Posts Tagged: dance

Art, Architecture, Cinema, Oh My!

Still in Torino, I have had an amazing week filled with Art, Architecture, Cinema, Music, Dance! A Creatively Full Week!

I had the luxury of going to see the Matisse (and some of his contemporaries) exhibit here in Torino  “Matisse e il suo tempo”, at the Palazzo Chiablese.Laura and I at Matisse

I was so inspired afterwards. I am reminded how creativity is not static and how wonderful that as artists our art has the opportunity to change, expand and evolve with time, practice, experience, and who we hang around with, our models, our inspirations all influence us. And dance too reveals our autobiography.
From Matisse’s contemporaries, his move through Fauvism and Cubism, to his adventures in still lifes to his timeless cut outs, his magnificence as an artist is seen. This exhibit truly demonstrated his influence on art and culture and really how it transcends time.
I invite all of you to get to a museum!
As not just a dancer but seeing myself as an artist, my dance has changed and evolved over time too. How I dance now is a total of all my experiences up until this point, and “the why” I dance now is different than why I danced 10 years ago. I think the changes are important to notice. It’s inspiring to see how some of the dancers I admired in the late 1990’s have changed and grown. As performers, we dare to put ourselves “out there” to be seen, and to be accepted or not. I was so inspired to see the Matisse exhibition and to see his growth and change as an artist. It’s a good reminder!

Also this week I went to the spectacular Museo Nazionale del CinemaNational Museum of Cinema

Housed in the fabulous Mole Antonelliana tower, you must pace yourself on an exciting historical adventure of how cinema began, with interactive displays and so much to see! 3 hours later my mind was reeling but I was so impressed. Being an amateur photographer when I was younger and a HUGE film fan, seeing the intricacies and details of some pre-cinema and photography artifacts was fantastic. It served as a lens into our culture as well – Our desire not just to tell stories, but to share the world from the earliest days and to document everything from war to every day life, and then for photography and film to become a means of self-expression and exploration.
Another inspirational day!

Yes, I have danced tango but there’s so much to do here. Wandering the streets surrounded by the most amazing architecture means there is never a dull moment. I have been to my cousin’s Jazz Accapella rehearsal, taken a class in Piemontese Folklore dancing, started a tour into the world of chocolate, and THIS WEEK, I will go to the 2nd largest Egyptian Musem and to the Museum of Human Anatomy before heading off to Genoa!

Staircase at Palazzo Madama

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Look Good, Feel Good, Dance Better?

There was an article published in the New York Times Science section at the beginning of April entitled:

Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat

This article was interesting and has some relevance I’m sure as to why we often dress a certain way for tango. The article spoke about what you wear changing you psychological state. I know this makes sense to me. I loved dressing up as a child and dressing in someone else’s clothing was preferable! And what about now?

I like to look nice, to look elegant, but getting there is challenging sometimes! Some of you know that I do not actually enjoy going shopping. I am probably one of the few women I know who would rather hire someone to do this job for me! Or shop online. Just make me look good but don’t make me go through the hassle of taking off and putting on clothes in a dressing room in a bunch of different stores, trying to find clothing that fits, looks good, feels good. HELP! Maybe this is a skill that we have to acquire? “The shopping skill.”

In preparing for the tango championship a lot of resources were spent on finding just the right outfits for both myself and Rommel and making sure we “matched”. When you look good and feel that you look good, it can have a transforming affect on the psyche. We essentially had to dress like winners and winners for this competition have to look a certain way. We learned this from last year’s trial run when some of the feedback we received was specifically on our dress.Calle Florida 1940

I remember hearing my mother speak about a time in Buenos Aires on the Calle Florida (which is a major shopping area and tourist center now) when women and men would dress up to promenade on Calle Florida. My grandmother would never leave her house without dressing up and doing her hair. And there was a time when going to a milonga was a night out on the town where you dressed up, wore your best clothing, greased back your hair, and women never left the house without their stockings. (Incidentally nylon stockings were made in the US in 1940.)

I know this tradition hints at being alive at most milongas across the world. Dressing up in our best makes us feel sexy, appealing, attractive, etc. And we hope that of course, we will attract our perfect-in-the-moment tango mates.

Lab CoatIn the article, the subjects of the experiments, in a nutshell, were asked to wear a Dr.’s lab coat and then were tested on sustained attention. And of course those who wore the coats, felt the coats, and had attached the meaning of it as being a “Dr.’s lab coat” showed greatest improvement in attention. The article concludes that clothing can change your psychological processes.

Maybe that’s where ladies tango shoe fetishes come in. If I wear those cute shoes, I will look like a tango dancer and therefore feel like a tango dancer and dance better. Well, readers, you know my stance on that, not if they don’t fit and aren’t comfortable!

A young student came to me after I encouraged the class to “dress to impress” for an upcoming milonga, stressing his desire for comfort. “Why can’t I wear jeans? I don’t own anything else, and I feel good in my jeans”. I understand this as I am very comfortable in my jeans or slacks and t-shirt too. But the truth is, going to a milonga is an event. Sharing tango with a community is an occasion, a happening. The dressing up is part of the magic. Each one of us plays a part at the milonga. Each one of us adds to its enchantment, to its excitement. So if you feel good and feel better in what you are wearing, you are preparing yourself psychologically for dancing. Ladies, have you experienced that dressed man who enters the milonga and takes your breath away? The suit makes him look sharp and angular, he is clean shaven and smells good, a part of the female brain says, I want to be with him! And I’m sure there’s an equivalent for the man, as they are very visual beings!

Next time you get dressed for a milonga consider the outfit that makes you feel like dancing!




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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:

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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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 –

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:

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Happy New Year!

I am happy to announce my Tango Tours for 2011 and also happy to have Rommel Oramas join me once again; his assistance is invaluable in these tours.

We have 3 choices of tours this year: Mendoza – Vino y Tango, Buenos Aires 10 day Cultural Immersion; and NEW this year, Buenos Aires 8 day Tour de Lujo.

In chronological order:

MENDOZA – Vino y Tango  May 19 – May 24, 2011 $900

Buenos Aires 10-day Cultural Immersion Tango Tour May 25 – June 4, 2011 $1700

Buenos Aires 8 day Tour de Lujo June 6 – 14, 2011 $2350

Non-refundable deposit of $500 due March 15th to hold your place.  First come first serve. 
Tours do not include airfare, tips, and Reciprocity Tax to enter Argentina of $131 (paid at EZE airport)

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