ASU Tango Experience 2012 – Are you ready for a different kind of festival?

ASU Tango Experience 2012 – Are you ready for a different kind of festival?

I am pleased to announce that Arizona State University Argentine Tango Club is hosting a new kind of festival experience in March 2012.

For all of those who crave learning and remembering that which you learn, this event is for you!

March 2, 3, 4, 2012

On the campus of ASU in Tempe, AZ

3 world class teachers:

Graciela Gonzalez

Tomas Howlin

Jaimes Friedgen and Christa Rodriguez

Each class is followed by a guided practica with 1 of the guest teachers and local teachers.

Registration Opens SOON! and there will be a Special Sale.




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Momentous Occasions!

Great News!

Paradise Valley Community College will have a Tango 2 class (Intermediate Argentine Tango class) for spring 2012. I know many of you have waited a LONG time for this momentous occasion so please SIGN UP!  If you have taken at least 1 semester of tango with me, this class is for you! Please register.  DAN125AE #38688. Begins 01/26/2012- 05/03/2012, Thursdays 7:45pm – 9:35pm

Other momentous items!

I love to hear from my students when they have an a-ha.  And many of you know already that I’m a firm believer that “tango comes when you’re ready”.

I think that because tango is so layered and my teaching reveals layers as we go along on the learning journey, that sometimes that top layer, maybe a boleo for example, just hasn’t been able to come out yet.  So that understanding of the function between the torso of the leader and its connection to the followers legs was blurred by the excitement of a follower “finally doing something cool” with their leg.  And then 1 day, a new layer seeps in and poof – a boleo pops out! I had a student come running to me recently “I got the boleo”!

I have had students tell me their a-ha’s for almost everything in tango. I remember the a-ha for Jim’s back ochos. And a beautiful a-ha from a student who discovered their embrace. This particular student finally came to me 1 day and said, “why is it that the women will love a dance with a leader who seems to be doing nothing?” And when that question finally surfaces, I know that this leader might be ready for the answer to tango. So besides hearing me speak, “it’s not about the moves”, a hundred times, I told this leader to embrace me and wait. I told him to breathe, so we stood there breathing together for a few moments.  And I told him not to step or even move until he really felt it was right. We took a few steps, in complete beautiful unison. He separated from me, looked at me, his face filled with emotion, and said, “I get it”.

So I encourage all of you who have been digging into this dance for a little bit of time or a long time to relish in your a-ha moments and trust that they will come and that there will be more!





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Tango Retreat November 11 – 13th

ASU Argentine Tango Club is hosting another Fall Retreat 2011

It is open to everyone who would like to attend a fun-filled tango weekend. 

Where: Sedona

When: November 11-13th

Who: Meng Weng and Daniela Borgialli

6:00-7:00pm  “Flirtatious moments” (Level Beginner to Intermediate) Applying dramatic tension in your dance without looking cheesy
8:30pm-11:00pm  Practica

2:00pm-3:00pm   “Changes of Directions” (Intermediate) Explore the tricky musicality of Vals and creative ways to change directions while dancing to it.
3:15pm-4:15pm  “Nuevo elements meets Milonguero Style” (Level Intermediate to Adv)  Applying Nuevo techniques in authentic Milonguero style sequences.
4:30pm-5:30pm “Advanced techniques in changes of direction” (Intermediate to Advance Level) Introduction to some of the Vals sequences made famous by Maestro Julio Balmaceda.
9:00pm-1:00am  Milonga at Relics Restaurant

12:00pm-1:00pm  “Make her laugh!” (Intermediate level) Humorous approaches dancing to Milonga.
1:15pm-2:15pm  “Epic endings for Amateurs” (Level Intermediate to Adv) Practical approaches on how to dance to the climax of the music.

Classes and Practica at Sedona Shadows in the Clubhouse area
6770 West State Rte 89A
Sedona, AZ

Milonga at Relics Restaurant  3235 West State Route 89A Sedona, AZ

The entire weekend is $90 per person which includes six classes, one milonga and one practica.
For payment: cash or check made out to “ASU Tango Club.”  Contact Acacia Crouch at to reserve your spot or if you have any questions regarding the retreat or for directions.

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negotiation |nəˌgō sh ēˈā sh ən|
discussion aimed at reaching an agreement

I am always repeating to my students that Tango is a negotiation. There is always a negotiation in dance both in the learning and doing of it. And in a couple’s dance like Argentine Tango, i think there’s a lot of it!

I was in Flagstaff last weekend teaching and had a wonderful time. A discussion on negotiating came up again. One thing is for me to say it and then another for students to want to talk about it or need an explanation of how it works.

Negotiations begin in a social setting from the moment we arrive at a milonga – who to sit with? Where to sit? Maybe this is only really about choice or also about negotiating with others or with oneself – the psyche? Or the ego?

When you’re asked to dance – are you already defensive? Then why did you say yes? You have to negotiate this? Can you decide that this will be a new dance? A fun time? An actual dance and not a “roll of the eyes” moment that will be complained about for hours?

When you’re in the dance – I often get asked – what do I do when or if my partner does x or y? My question back is – what do you want? Do you want to fight? Or do you want to enjoy it? can you negotiate in that moment to not struggle?

I think all dance is about negotiations. As a modern dancer there were negotiations with myself, my body, my mind, with my choreographers, my dancers, my colleagues, my teachers. It is the same in tango and I believe in most modern and social dance forms.

A specific example came up:
Leader: What do I do when I feel the follower “vibrating” beneath me? I am not sure if she is decorating or what but her whole body seems to move and jiggle in my arms.

And this leader clearly had an opinion about this jiggling by his tone. So I proposed to him 2 scenarios.

Daniela: well you could try to stop her because clearly you don’t like it. Or what if you actually guided her movement, almost like joining in on it? so it might feel less like she’s vibrating and more like she’s being accompanied in her movement and maybe that’s the support she needs. 

Every scenario is different and sometimes we will choose not to negotiate – a non-negotiable moment!  Just like life!  And other times, I encourage considering a negotiation. And most of all, remember, dancing is supposed to put a smile on our faces!

(Funny how I was searching for a picture to post with this blog and most of the pictures I found were either people shaking hands, 1 person throwing a punch, or there was money involved!)

No throwing punches, no money, and lots of smiling!

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Tango Fun In ABQ

I just returned from a weekend in Albuquerque where I attended workshops with Eric Jorissen. One of my favorite tango teachers on the planet! His knowledge of the dance form, his pedagogical approach, his wit, charm – he has got it all!

I met Eric many years ago now, I think in New York City. After that in Denver, and then I attended the El Corte Teacher Training Program in its 2nd year in 2006. El Corte is Eric’s Tango School in Nijmegen. To my knowledge 1 of the only of its kind. I view Eric as a forward thinker and doer. Creating models for tango that the US is just now implementing.

It was wonderful to connect with him this weekend and to dance with him at the milonga at Las Puertas on Saturday night.

He reminded me of several things when considering community development that I had simply forgotten. One, for example, that due to the distance of the United States it is much harder to continue to encourage the integration of communities without creating saturation. In Europe the distances to travel are much less in a short train ride or car ride with friends you can be dancing in another community. Europeans are used to traveling. I know many of us travel for tango but it is not always a reciprocated venture – I may have gone to ABQ but when will they come here? maybe for a festival? or for a workshop, but the bottom line is our distances to travel are more.

Another reminder about human nature from Eric was that when you arrive at a milonga or at a festival, the first people you are inevitably going to dance with are people you know. The longer the hours of a milonga eventually you begin to add new faces to your dancing.  This is true when you have a lot of people attending milongas.

But are these still just excuses? As I continue to look for answers to help grow the Phoenix tango community. “just start something new” is also what Eric said.

Along with conversations about community and trends I enhanced my leading vocabulary with some really delightful “salon” movements. The whole weekend was meant for social dancing, taking movements within your embrace, keeping it social, friendly and fun.

I am often reminded that I look like a “girl leading”, regardless of the compliments from followers on being a good leader! This weekend I was able to work on my leading and received some great pointers.

We are often confusedly told to “lead with our chests”. Which causes chaos in our bodies – shoulders by our ears, left arm too high and tense, and not enough “groundedness” in our legs.  I think these could be the case for any leader regardless of gender. I was encouraged this weekend to remind myself of the connection of my legs to the floor and more importantly the relationship of my pelvis to leading. YES, my pelvis as a driving force behind my torso! Sometimes we move our torso and pelvis as a unit and sometimes the torso and the pelvis do not join that action. But the torso is still attached to those legs through the pelvis.

I look forward to returning to Albuquerque for their Tango Festival in November.
And am very inspired by the efforts of their communities of Santa Fe and Abq, to the Tango Club and to Radi’s Tango Academy.

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