Connection and “Where are you”?

Connection and “Where are you”?

Boston Commons 2013

Saying Cool Beantown Style

Hello Tango Friends from the humidity of the northeast!

“But it’s not the humidity, it’s the heat”. No wait, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that kills ya'”. Anyway, either way, not moving is producing puddles around me as I type. I am in air conditioning but it doesn’t seem to matter! But really, I am not complaining, I am enjoying my vacation in Boston, visiting old friends, favorite restaurants, discovering new ones, walking all over the place, listening to live music, it’s great! I even dropped in on a milonga.

It was a 3 tanda night for me (in a 1.5 hour window). It was nice to dance with new people. There was 1 particular tanda that made me want to write this blog. As I was describing my evening to another tango dancer (not in the same city) their first reaction was, “if the embrace isn’t clear, the connection can’t be and then neither one of you know where the other is. He can’t find you, you can’t find him”. Yep! it’s true! Now mind you, it wasn’t a bad tanda. The music was great, the AC was cranked, he was sweet, but it felt as if I was having a first date with a guy with a heavy brogue.

As I stood in front of him waiting for the music to start the scenario in my head went like this:
Ok he’s coming towards me to embrace me, no wait. Ok I put my right hand in his. O wait. Maybe he didn’t want that ‘cuz he just looked at it dramatically. Gee. I’m getting nervous. I’ll just put my left arm around his back. Oh, no,  yes, no. Ok. we are embracing. NO he moved his right arm from around my back to my shoulder blade. So we’re not ready. He starts to move at the same time but wait, I moved my left arm because he moved his right arm. Then he stops moving mid step. Are we readjusting? Why are we stopped. The music is still playing.
I think most of the tanda was like this. Every time he readjusted his arm I took that as a message that he wanted to do something that might require me to readjust myself in his arms.

I think by the 3rd song we started to be able to speak the same dialect! Mind you, it wasn’t unpleasant. It just reminded me that we do our best, to focus on the dance at hand, in the moment, being present, connecting with that person. Being responsible for my part in the outcome of that tanda….

So fun!

So go practice your connection and your embrace tonight at Practicando!
Rommel is teaching class from 7 – 8:30pm and then practice is until 10pmish. All happens at SNAP at 4425 N Granite Reef Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Raffle for wine at 9:30pm.

See you in a few weeks!!

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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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A Modern Tango class

In Saturday’s intermediate workshop I tackled the idea of dancing to modern tangos and I specifically was referring to a few bands that relate themselves to tango in some way ie: remixing, or through lyrics vs alternative music that you may decide to tango to.
The result of that class left students with a desire for 1) the playlist I used in class 2) the resources I mentioned in class and 3) a video (not of me!)

I begin with the playlist

Modern Class Playlist 0613I struggled with the image but hopefully you can make out a few songs and their artists. In a nutshell I used the artists, Otros Aires Dos, Otros Aires Tricota,  Otros Aires 4, Bajofondo Mar Dulce, and Gotan Project Revancha Del Tango.  I decided on these artist and these songs based on the resources that I used to plan the class. (onto 2)
When I think about alternative music for tango I immediately think of 2 main online resources: 1 is Sharna Fabiano’s neotango playlist and 2 is Homer Ladas’s generous contributions online at http://www.theorganictangoschool.org/DJ_Resource. Here Homer actually includes his playlists from several different milongas. His explanations for how he came up with dj’ing a mix of both golden age and alternative can be found at that link as well.
And lastly, for now!
I have added a video of Chicho y Juana performing to Bajofondo circa 2008. Chicho is remarkable with his musicality, his interpretation of the subtleties of the music and Juana shows us the music through her precision and grace. You will enjoy their live performances when they join us in October 2013. (Get Excited!)

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Those Heels! Footwear Education!

1 Inch Heel

Thanks to the Restorative Institute(TM) for supplying picture.

Thanks to my recent certification in Whole Body Alignment I can share this picture with you.

See the woman on the far left, she is standing perfectly aligned. All of her alignment markers in their proper places. She is standing perfectly vertical. Her human machine should function perfectly! (if she indeed were not a picture and a human!) The woman on the far right just put on a pair of heels – and not even a fancy pair of the high heels from CIF or Soy Porteña.

Do you see how she now veers from the vertical plumb line? Where do you see the adjustments that her body needs to make to wear those heels? In the knee? Or maybe in the lower back? Or maybe her mid-to upper back? What about her neck?

These are all the places that take the brunt of wearing those high heels. And not to mention the foot pain or the plantar fasciiatis, or neuromas, bunions, or metatarsalgia that she may acquire over time.

From a 1999 study from the Journal of Podiatric Medecine by Mandato and Nestor, the pressure on the forefoot increases 63% in a 2″ shoe. On a 2001 poster from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons entitled Women’s Shoes and Knee Osteoarthritis by D. Casey Kerrigan, Jennifer Lelas, and Mark Karvosky, the statistics are as follows: with a 1″ heel the pressure on the forefoot increases 22%, in 2″ 57%, and in 3″ there is 76% increase in pressure on the balls of the feet. NO WONDER OUR FEET HURT! and our backs, and our knees, and our necks, etc… Also, the higher the heel the shorter the tendons get and we experience heel pain. This altered position of walking in high heels places excess forces on the inside of the knee too. The knee joint pressure increases 26% when wearing heels.

For any men out there reading this, you too have heels in your dress shoes. This applies to you too!

Are you panicking? Does this mean that Daniela is promoting barefoot tango dancing from now on? Does this mean you have to sell all those high heels and trade-off sexy?
(pause for dramatic effect)

NO of course not!
Phew! right?
But what I will begin to encourage you to do is to decide what you are going to do for yourself post the tango dancing high. After the long weekend of a festival, or during the festival, or after dancing at your local milongas with your favorite dancers. What are you going to do to restore yourself?

You can refer to my blog with my Foot Care Toolkit. AND also check out Katy Bowman’s book Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet
Stay tuned for an upcoming list and explanation of exercises designed for tango dancers and their whole bodies.

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