May Workshops Coming UP!

May Workshops Coming UP!

I am looking forward to the themes of the these remaining workshops! Think TURNS!wheel - turns
On Saturday May 11th we’ll continue working on follower’s clarity and balance in her turns and the leader’s clarity in embrace and balance for creating a beautiful figure with the lapiz.

May 11 – Intermediate/Advanced Turning with Lapiz
May 18 – Intermediate Musicality: Suspension in Pugliese

May 11 & 18 – Fundamentals Turning:  Giros

All workshops held at Rhythmic Expressions Studio at 617 S. McClintock Dr. Ste 3, Tempe, AZ (Just north of University on the East side of McClintock. Look for McClintock Center)

12:00pm – 1:30pm Intermediate Level: If you know how to execute topics listed in Fundamentals then the Intermediate level is designed for you.
1:30pm – 3:00pm Fundamental Topics:
All that you need for dancing socially designed for those new to tango.
$15/class or $50 for any 5 classes

PLEASE register in advance so I can balance the class and save you a spot! Just call 480-442-9550 or email me!

 

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Fun Weekend in Prescott, AZ

Tomorrow begins a wonderful weekend of tango in Prescott, AZ.

Friday April 26th 

7pm-8pm Playing with the Music. Is the music still a puzzle for you? Can you still not hear it? There are many ways for us to play Prescott, AZwith the music and to use our vocabulary within the structure of the music. This class will take the melodies and rhythms in different orchestras and give you ideas on how to dance them.

Saturday April 27th
Technique parts 1 and 2 are to enhance the dancer’s insight on how to make movements happen in their bodies. Technique is essential, you can always learn styles, but technique really won’t change.

1pm-2pm Embrace, Walking & Dancing Technique part 1: Exercises and tango drills to improve your understanding of walking and embracing.
2:30pm-3:30pm Technique for pivots part 2: From walking to pivoting and how to make it easier.

4pm-5pm Playful turning combination. Spending time with some of the older milongueros was such a thrill and to learn some patterns that they chose to share and the stories that went with them felt like stepping back in history. Borrowed from the older milongueros, we will entertain a turning combination or two which will stress the steps of the giro and molinete.

Sunday April 28th
1pm-2pm Dancing MilongaMilonga is different than tango not just in the musical sound and timing but in how I approach the dance, how I choose to take those steps. We will dance to the quicker pace of the milonga music with a better understanding of how to execute those steps quickly!

Limited availability for Private Lessons. Please contact daniela@accesstango.com or earl.duque@gmail.com

CONTACT EARL for directions to the SKYLINE SPACE!

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Exciting Reasons to Take Class this Weekend!

Saturday, April 20th at 12pm I am teaching an intermediate/ advanced level class with Tyler Litman on Giros with Enrosques. What is that? you might ask. Giros is a general word for turns. Girar is the verb to turn. Enroscar is the verb to twist. So the class will be on turns with twists. Cool! Very.
As with most of the classes that I teach at this level there are concepts inside the figures that I like to explain and then leave you with food for twistthought and something to keep practicing. This class will be challenging and fun for the leader and for the follower. For the follower there will be more in depth technical focus on the turn or molinete. For the leader we will explore how the torso and the legs work in tandem to help execute the figure.
So the reasons:
1) to improve your overall balance, technique, and posture
2) to learn something new in a turning situation
3) to raise the level of your dancing
4) to challenge you
5) to look cool on the dance floor!
I hope I have enticed you to join us this weekend. Please RSVP as usual so I can do my best to have a group balance. And as always let me know if you have any questions.

 

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Weekend in Prescott, AZ

I am very excited to be heading up to Prescott, AZ to share Argentine Tango with dancers in Northern Arizona at my friends, Earl and Delisa’s beautiful space.

The schedule will be like this:

Friday April 26th 
7pm-8pm Playing with the Music
8pm-whenever – Practica

Saturday April 27th
1pm-2pm Embrace, Walking & Dancing Technique part 1
2:30pm-3:30pm Technique for pivots part 2
4pm-5pm Playful turning combination

Sunday April 28th
1pm-2pm Dancing Milonga
2pm-5pm Milonga

Fee:
Weekend: $50 pp
Ala Carte Price: $15/lesson, $40 Saturday Only,
$20 Friday Only, $20 Sunday Only

Contact: Earl.Duque@gmail.com for more information, to register, and directions to their space.

I will be available for private lessons starting on Friday!

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Part 2 – Finals

I have reflected on the experience as a whole and have received a lot of mail and commentary over the week. It has been fantastic to have the opportunity to share and voice my experience with friends and tango family worldwide. Thank you for that! And the following reflection is many layered as is tango!

I have come to the conclusion that the finals of the US Tango competition reflect the status of Argentine tango dancers in the US: confused.

We see this in our milongas: confused dancers. And why are they? Because of all the mixed ideas that are heard from teachers, these might be classified as styles. Teachers who tell you to share your axis, or to be on your own axis, to pivot, to not pivot, to lead with the chest, no with the legs! It’s amazing that we can even dance together in cities all over the world. So when dancers dance at milongas with all the varied understandings they have, how can it be expected that this idea of dancing in a salon or a Tango Salon competition be clear. I don’t think anyone in the US has ever really defined it for us.

There are many beautiful dancers in the US. Dancers who are musical, understand connection, have a clear walk, and good technique. There are dancers in the US who go yearly to Buenos Aires to train with other Tango Salon champions and more importantly with their teachers. Yet the US representation at the Mundial (the World Cup of Tango Salon in August in Buenos Aires) is small relative to the size and population of dancers in our country and the participation in the US is just as small. Why don’t the really good dancers compete?

The idea of a competition and the misunderstanding of the label tango salon has been a hindrance for the US. And I admit, I was skeptical, as those who have read my blog over the years know. But the truth is that the idea of Tango Salon as something separate from dancing socially is just not true and definitely misconstrued. Salon dancers do train by dancing socially at milongas. The idea is to dance to the music, in a comfortable embrace, socially. It is not about dancing off axis as a leader or a follower. It is about dancing in close proximity on your axis, showing an elegant walk, expressing the music through turns and dynamic changes of directions. It is about dancing! And when you begin to really focus on your dancing you just get better.

Through the competition, there is a fantastic opportunity sanctioned by the Ministry of Culture of Buenos Aires, to be acknowledged within the tango community at large as knowing and understanding Argentine Tango. It is amazing to me to learn that Argentines still don’t think that Americans can dance tango, that we can’t possibly understand it, because we are not Argentine! This reminds me of my Argentine, former soccer player father talking about how the Argentines / Latins feel the game of soccer and the team harmony and that the Americans focus on individual skills. In Buenos Aires you will find droves of dancers from Italy, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Japan, China and Korea spending time, energy, and money training and dancing in Buenos Aires, participating every year in their own country competition as well as the Mundial in Buenos Aires demonstrating their understanding of the dance. Argentine Tango is being recognized not just as a dance for Argentines but a dance for many. Only 31 couples came to compete in SF this year. As I said, competition in the US is not widely accepted and it appears that there are few teachers making a case for it even if what they are teaching is just that, tango for salon.

The most unfortunate part of the US Argentine Tango Salon competition this year is that it resets a false understanding of what dancing in a salon is. If you have never judged a tango salon competition before or never participated in one, how can you judge objectively? The judges are a key factor for any progress, for the US to be seen as understanding the dance. The judges are responsible for giving a true representation of what kind of dancers are in the US. The goal should also be to have the chosen couple actually prepared for their participation in the Mundial (this is the prize for the first place Salon competitors from this competition, they are sent to Buenos Aires to compete in August). The level of dancing at the competition is so high not only from Argentines but from all those aforementioned countries. As an aside, the judging at the Mundial has been under fire for many years, so much so that many older milongueros told us that they choose not to be judges.

So what are those judges looking for? This is still a bit of a mystery to me but we are given the following rules: (the words in bold are not my own they were sent to us this way.)

  • Once formed, the couple must not separate while the music is playing. This means that they will not break the embrace, which is considered the basic dance position in tango.
  • 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. It is understood that in certain figures, this may be flexible, but not throughout the duration of the dance. All movements must be made within the space allowed by the couple’s embrace.
  • As is typical in a dancehall, couples must constantly move counterclockwise and may not stay in the same part of the choreographic space, as this would obstruct the circulation on the dance floor.
  • Neither member of the couple may lift his or her legs above the knees.
  • The jury will take into account the couple’s musicality and walking style as fundamental to the score.
  • Within these parameters, the couple may perform any commonly used 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 forbidden.

Seems like there is lots of leeway and room for interpretation. It doesn’t say you must perform commonly used figures, just that you may. But it seems that there is an understanding among those who seriously train for the Salon Competitions that there are certain figures danced as an expression of the music. And not to mention that how you execute them will be different for an early Di Sarli versus a late Pugliese Orquesta, for example.

So it seems that we are left with a disconnect, a fissure, of sorts. The confusion lies within the dancers’ bodies and their understanding of US Argentine Tango Salon Championships Finalistshow tango should be danced in the competition, the confusion lies with a lack of communication from the judges to the dancers as to what they are expecting to see, and finally, a lack of clarity from the organizers of the US Tango Salon competition, as to what their objective is in hosting this event? Is it to promote tango only? To improve the level of dancing in the US? Is it to Americanize tango salon?

On a final note, I saw beautiful dancing in the competition this weekend. It was a pleasure to share rondas with these dancers. Congratulations to the winners and we keep dancing!

 

 

 

 

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