The Blog

The Tangasm

What is a Tangasm you ask? It is the magic of the Argentine Tango connection. The wonderful buzz one gets from a very magically connected dance. That thing that draws you back obsessively to the dance: to hours of dancing, to traveling from festival to festival, then from continent to continent, just to get more of it! Everyone gets them!

One of my students recently recounted her first tangasm with a particular dancer. (It appears that this particular dancer has worked his magic on many a lovely lady!) She says she was dancing with him and she describes losing herself, that time didn’t matter, it was just the two of them and the music, and she had the experience of moving circularly, and she said very matter-of-factly, “I felt like a princess”.

Another dancer told me that she always thought of herself as Bella, another princess, when she danced. So maybe the reverse is true too, that you can imagine yourself a princess and then the tangasm comes!

Does your tangasm make you feel like a princess?

Jesica Arfenoni, the 2013 World Argentine Tango Salon Champion will be in town starting Monday March 3rd, I’ll be sure to ask her if she feels like a princess! And maybe she’ll do a special class for us ladies – I’ll keep you posted!

 

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Un-EmBodied: Do you feel like you’re not of your body?

One of my students mentioned this concept to me recently. She was having a hard time making connections in her body in relation to what she wanted it to do. Maybe call it uncoordinated but I think it’s different than that as I see it in students learning new movement.

The brain is trying to rewire and make sense of movement ideas. It is trying to walk and create a lead, for example or maybe another challenge would be to remember where the right foot goes in relation to the partner’s right foot. Whatever the challenge, learning is opening yourself up to a new piece of information and acquiring it presumably for future use. In Argentine Tango the lead and follow roles each have their tasks set out for them. Neither one is easier than the other (although this could be argued!) but I think it’s about 1) figuring out your learning style 2) drill the new idea – this is a good one – repeat it many times by putting it into practice. Some tasks can be dealt with by yourself and some concepts need the lead and follow together. I think the more we understand our own bodies the more we make room for that new information, that new figure, that new connection, or whatever you’re piecing together.

In the case of my student, she wanted to try to lead a few tango figures/steps. She is definitely a kinesthetic learner so having me help to manipulate her body (if you will) assisted her in her new neuro-physical programming. It was not only about manipulating her body but she found that she had to do some mental work. For her she was remembering the relationship of the 2 bodies and their movements in the overall spatial configuration as well.

I find visualization helps too. If you see what you want your body to do, or to look like, the brain helps create that. One of my favorite Neuroscientists – author, Dr. Joe Dispenza speaks about this in his article The Brain:  A Record of the Past or the Map to the Future?

“…with the advent of the latest technologies in functional imagery it is apparent that it is very possible to make the brain work differently. In fact, the research out of the University of Wisconsin has proven something as simple as attention or focused concentration is a skill just like golf or tennis. In other words, the more you practice being  conscious or mindful the better you get at it.”  He goes on to say, “if you would mentally rehearse daily what it would be like to experience any event…, there would be internal changes taking place as if you were already beginning to experience your dream.”

So when you are having those moments that feel like your body isn’t doing what you want or that you feel unembodied get a little clarity of the function or the goal you want to accomplish and then see yourself and feel yourself doing it. Let me know how it goes!

 

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Tuesday night Workshops before the Practica

Here is the list of upcoming Tuesday night class titles. I am calling them workshops because it will be less progressive each week and more like a workshop. I look forward to sharing with you.
Each class is $15 but if you want to purchase 5 consecutive classes they will be $10 each – in other words purchase 5 consecutive classes for $50. (This includes the practica). What a deal! Reminder classes start @ 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

(Classes titles are subject to change.)

February 18 Milonga timing 1
February 25 Milonga timing 2
March 4 Vals combinations 1
March 11 Vals combinations 2
March 18 Something Cool from Maxi/Jesica
March 25 Playful Rock Steps
April 1 Changes of Direction 1
April 8 Changes of Direction 2
April 15 Structure behind Turning
April 22 Turning Variations 1
April 29 Turning Variations 2
May 6 Sacadas 1
May 13 Sacadas 2
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Taxi Dancing

As we begin gearing up for another season of heavy festival hopping and you’re debating on whether you want to go or not –  try this on for size…Rommel Dancing

Some of you may have read my previous blog on taxi dancing and I recently heard Rommel Oramas discussing taxi dancing in another community and found this information really fascinating  – it means doing some math!

At a typical festival let’s say you buy a full pass (all classes and milonga) – but then you find that you are at the milongas and you don’t dance as much as you’d like and you feel badly about this. We know that tango is a lot about attitude: confidence and feeling good. So I know how at some milongas you might find yourself not dancing as much, maybe due to gender balance issues or who knows.

Here’s a possible solution –  consider getting just a milonga pass or a partial class and milonga pass (ie: 1 day of classes) and to invest the remainder of that fee or the difference on taxi dancing. Before you close the tab – hear me out!

Think about it – a full festival pass could run between $250 – $450. (plus your hotel and your travel there)
10 tandas during a festival with a taxi dancer runs between $100 – $150.

Think about it ladies!!!!

Benefits: with a good taxi dancer:
1) you enjoy a dance, 2) you learn some things  (I learn from dancing all the time), and 3) you’re being seen by other dancers, which gets you more dances over the course of the weekend.

Consider it when you’re planning your next festival.

And I know of an excellent taxi dancer, discreet, handsome, smells good, charming, polite and of course, an excellent dancer who dances for you and with you.

Rommel Oramas – Taxi Dancer – “at your dancing service” – follow him on Facebook!

Don’t spend another festival sitting, not even a little bit.

 

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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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