The Blog

Farewell Practica and Milonga for Rommel Oramas

Many have heard had that my partner, Rommel Oramas is heading out of town. He is off to pursue some life adventures including spending a little time training in Buenos Aires. He has been a very active participant in the tango community since his move here from Sedona 5 years ago. He always makes people feel welcome and with his generosity and patience made a point to dance with everyone. And it’s not just about dancing with everyone but dancing and listening to them. If I quote Rommel, “Tango is always a 2 way street if you want it to be. I meet someone at their level and in return we get the opportunity to improve our dance.”
You will have 2 opportunities to send him off. Please feel free to bring food or drink.

Tuesday November 6th  PRACTICanDo at SNAP will be Rommel’s last practicando and then I will continue it.
7pm – 8:30pm Technique and Paso class
8:30pm – 11:00pm PRACTICA
$15 class+ practica
$10 class
$10 practica
SNAP 4425 N Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Saturday November 10th Special Farewell Milonga
8:00pm – 1:00am
$10
Bring some food or drink and a chair (there is limited seating at Rhythmic Expression)
Rhythmic Expressions 617 S. McClintock Dr. Ste 3, Tempe, AZ

(Just north of University on the East side of McClintock. Look for McClintock Center)

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Los Abrazos – The Hugs

As I am feverishly preparing for my upcoming TEDx talk on November 11th. Who would have thought it could be so stressful to talk about Daniela & Sedona Brucesomething I do every day and have been doing for more than 10 years? How do you explain the magic and the transformative nature of Argentine Tango to someone who has no clue what tango is or maybe not even understand what dance is?

I have been going through the recesses of my mind digging up my own personal tango history. Recalling stories that have been told to me about how other people’s lives have changed for tango or because of tango. So many corporate jobs have been left, apartments have been bought in Buenos Aires, books written, loves lost and won, all because of tango.

So as I keep writing I came across an article about how hugging women can help lower their blood pressure and therefore possibly reduce their risk of heart disease. Women showed a higher response to hugging than men. The body is known to release oxytocin, known as the bonding hormone, and with hugging, cortisol (stress hormone) levels were reduced as well. And you know where this is going…..

No wonder so many of us get blissed out from dancing tango. All that hugging! In the study the hugging lasted only 20 seconds. What ecstasy that in tango we hug at least for 3 minutes!

Tyler and DanielaI look forward to lots of hugging this weekend at the Beginner’s Milonga on Sunday night 6:30pm hugging and connecting class! and 7:30pm social dancing.
Rhythmic Expressions 617 S. McClintock Dr. Ste 3, Tempe, AZ

(Just north of University on the East side of McClintock)

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So much tango again this week!

Saturday I am conducting 2 workshops. These will be the last for this year. I would love to hear what you would like for the New Year.

12 – 1:30pm is an Intermediate workshop around Dancing to Rhythmic Orchestras. Then at 1:30pm I will be doing a concept class on La Cruzada. I will cater this class to all levels. We will clean up technique and look at variations. $15 per class or $20 for both.
These Saturday workshops are at SNAP Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place 4425 N Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

PLEASE RSVP so that I can balance these classes.

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Saturday night Rommel and I will be teaching the class prior to the Masquerade T Milonga in Tucson.
https://www.facebook.com/events/208701122595968/  5200 E. Speedway Blvd in Tucson . See you at 8pm.

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Sunday Beginner’s Milonga
6:30 – 7:30pm Basics Class
7:30 – 9:30pm Beginner’s Milonga
$12 class + milonga
$6 milonga
$10 class
Rhythmic Expressions 617 S. McClintock Dr. Ste 3, Tempe, AZ (Just north of University on the East side of McClintock)

*****

Tuesday PRACTICaNdO

Rommel and I will be teaching class on Tuesday at SNAP.
7pm – 8:30pm Technique and Paso class
8:30pm – 11:00pm PRACTICA
$15 class+ practica
$10 class
$10 practica
SNAP 4425 N Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

 

 

 

 

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So Inspired

It was chilly this last weekend in Flagstaff but refreshingly so. ASU Tango Club hosted their fall retreat with teachers Korey and Adeline Ireland. The crowd consisted mostly of tango students who had been dancing at least one semester +. There were a small group of tango newbies diving into the tango pond and they managed magnificently without too much splashing about and only sore feet! I was so happy with the presence in the classes on Saturday – I think I counted over 70 people in the room. WOW! There were community members from Flagstaff and Sedona. Some people from Phoenix came and Prescott.

Korey and Adeline jointly guided us through techniques for walking and connection and then later on pivoting and boleos. Korey graciously played his bandoneon for us to dance to or listen to on Korey playing bandoSaturday night. (The bandoneon is the signature instrument of the sound of Argentine Tango.) The atmosphere was fun and light. I was so happy to see so many young people enjoying tango and each others company, making new friends and visiting with tango club members from previous years.

I am reminded that tango is about connection – connecting to another person, to yourself, to your community or a new community, and to music. Korey and Adeline spoke about really listening to each person to hear with our bodies what is needed in the connection. The result of all that listening is where all the fancy moves come from.

I wish you a week of happy connections! Where are you connecting in your life this week?

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To Push or Not to Push – The Floor

I have been catching up on my Tango reading. I have a pile of books that are about Argentine Tango journeys and stories and I am slowly paving my way through them.

Last night something caught my attention in a footnote, this author used the phrase pushing the floor.

I started to ponder this idea of what I say when I teach and to whom and why.

How many times have you heard a teacher say:
Push the floor
Caress the floor
Receive the floor
Use the floor

Could it be all of these things?
I reflect on my wide student body and think that all these are possibly true at different times in our tango lives. A concrete way to get a student to feel the floor or become more grounded is often to tell them to push the floor. In doing this they appear to become more aware of their relationship with it.

I remember when I was first learning, one of my teachers would say, caress the floor. And at that time it made me think of being very light and in retrospect I was either praised or criticized for that lightness. “Oh, you’re so light!” a dancer would say seemingly enthusiastically. I also remember a guest teacher pushing on my shoulders saying, “you’re too light, get heavy” as he continued to push down on my shoulders in a dramatic effort to make me heavier.  This obviously did not help me!

In an effort to make dancers out of most non-dancers in Argentine Tango, I think teachers try to find a fast route to groundedness. What the heck is that?

As a modern dancer, who also spent many hours taking ballet classes, I trained my body to use gravity in creative ways: to jump, to dart, to fall, to roll, to pound and all these actions made me very aware of my relationship to the floor. In order to fall to the floor or collapse into the floor without hurting myself several actions or reactions had to take place: my joints had to be mobile, my core active, and I had to have an awareness of the soft parts of my body. (In a nutshell!) As I would allow my body to “succumb to gravity” there would be an opposite reaction in another part of my body to support it.

The same thing happens in tango. It is as if the body is divided top and bottom half – the lower half is the legs working with gravity (and against it!) and the upper half is projecting upwards to support the lower half. Graciela (Gonzalez) has been using the phrase 50% up and 50% down, which makes sense to some and not to others. But if you can imagine that your body is naturally designed to support itself from its center you are 1/2 way there!

How ever you decide or have been taught to use the floor just ponder on what is supporting that action. If you are focusing on only 1 direction, down, your energy and intention will send that message to your partner. This could be a heavy ride for either party. If there is an equal and opposing reaction the body, both as a lead or a follow, is already a better conduit for information. And of course, don’t forget your embrace is part of that 50% up and towards your partner.Where's the support?

I leave you with this cartoon. If you can imagine realigning this poor fellow by stacking his mid section on top of his legs and then his head on top of that. It’s his TORSO or the middle of his body where his support would be coming from. I know we don’t look like this, maybe feel this way sometimes, but hoping that the image helps to support my point…His legs and his feet will bring all of his body through the lead.

Happy Reflections and Happy Dancing!

 

 

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