Want to be able to dance confidently and feel comfortable in traditional milongas of Buenos Aires?
Our bootcamp-style social tango classes develop your musicality, connection, technique & improvisation, as well as your confidence with milonga etiquette.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Women's choice

Do you leave the milonga feeling dissatisfied?
Would you like to dance more? Or with other partners?
When it comes to choosing partners, do you feel powerless?
Do you feel that the milonga is a man's world?

Well, I'll let you into a little secret:
Women can be very influential in this situation, if they play their cards right. Here are a few handy tips:

If you want to dance ...

... look like you want to dance when the new tanda starts

... look at prospective partners, so they know you are interested in dancing with them (cabeceo). You could smile, too

... make an extra effort and invite a friend to the milonga to improve the gender-balance (rather than relying solely on men who came alone or with their own partners)

... approach potential partners directly (rather than looking). They may not want to dance with you or to that music. And did you realise that many ladies become annoyed with this behaviour, and see it as a form of queue-jumping or partner-poaching?

... spend precious time checking messages, etc. on your phone

... remain engrossed in a conversation when the music starts, and later complain that you didn't dance much!

Follow these tips consistently, be patient, and things will improve!  You may not get to dance with everyone you'd like to (most men don't, either), but your milonga satisfaction will certainly grow.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Éste es tu tango

My wonderful porteña teacher of Spanish, who grew up listening to tango, once challenged me to name a tango which wasn't melancholic, sad or downright tragic. Considering the common tango themes of loss, nostalgia, betrayal, and heartbreak, Gabriela had a point.

Yet, one of my current favourite tangos is an exception.  Have you listened to the intensely romantic and danceable Éste es tu tango? It's so full of hope.

Imagine this scene in a milonga: a nervous young man smitten with a special young woman.  Her eyes show her interest. But he's too shy to look her way.  All this is observed by the singer, who urges him to take this precious opportunity for happiness.

Listen to this gem of a tango, while reading the lyrics, kindly translated by El tango te espera


And how would you dance to this?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Ten years of Comme il faut!

Heartfelt thanks to the Adelaide tango community for your support of Comme il faut over the past ten years.  Yes, this lovely milonga has been running for that long!  Of course, that would not have been possible without your active participation, and the warmth & generosity of spirit which you all bring.

Congratulations to award-winners: Gerda, Raphael and Roger, who scored the highest attendances over the decade.  Hope you enjoy your liquid prizes  😄

To the bearers of flowers, gifts and well-wishers (including those unable to attend), thank you for your very kind words and support.

Here are some photos of this special celebratory milonga held 8 October.  And if you weren't able to attend, we'd be delighted to welcome you to La Esquina (Sunday 29 October) and the next Comme il faut  (Sunday 19 November).

Sunday, 25 June 2017

First principles

Definition: "The basic and most important reasons for doing or believing something" Cambridge dictionary

The social tango I know and love has many facets.  The numerous posts on this blog alone attest to that.  Some posts dealing with topics such as milonga etiquette may attract controversy.  Yet, when you distil the various issues, I believe they can be traced back to three fundamental truths.

Music is the leader
The music's rhythms, melodies and emotions guide the couple's movements.  Music is the reason and basis for their dance.  Golden Age dance music provides an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Primacy of the embrace
A comfortable, trusting embrace enables a couple to share their intimate, emotional response to the music, allowing them to move as one.

Respect for others
As a social activity, all behaviour, including on the dance-floor, is moderated by its effects on others.  It follows that our behaviours shouldn't impact detrimentally on others, in fact our behaviours should enhance their experience. Hence the milonga codes, which evolved over decades, help us to negotiate the sensitivities of others.

Now, this may sound a little stern, but I believe that as social tango dancers, teachers and milonga organisers, our activities should stem from and be consistent with ALL three principles.  In social tango none can be ignored or neglected.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Peeling the tango onion

Tango means different things to different people: music, a dance, performance art, social club, business, culture, fun. And this may determine how each person approaches it.

When it comes to social tango, there appears to be a series of layers that dancers may or may not progress through - depending on their personal pursuit. Something like peeling an onion (tears and all!). Here's one way of looking at it:
  • The outer layer - the thin veneer that coats the onion. It's the initial discovery of tango - often through being dazzled by seeing others dance and thinking "I want to do that"

  • Then comes the time to take the plunge - wanting to emulate what was observed.  Numerous layers involve learning skills - posture, walk, a range of simple movement combinations useful in the milonga.  It can take years to achieve true competence.
    Can dancers be content to remain here?

  • Along with this comes further cultivation of the embrace, clear body communication, navigation, subtle leads and unhurried responses, as well as milonga etiquette.
    This begs the question: How established does the previous foundation need to be in order to progress more deeply into these layers?

  • Beneath this we have an even sweeter layer: Musicality, which means using the body memory, not the head, responding intuitively to the nuances of the music; navigation that flows and is immediately responsive to any change encountered.  The earlier layers are essential for success here, because this heralds the growth of improvisation, varied dynamics and pauses. What was once familiar now starts appearing in different forms.
    Is this the layer that many dancers see as their final goal?

  • Perhaps the core has yet to be reached.  We get closer to it when we start dancing the feeling.  Moving from the external to the internal seems a good description of where this layer takes us: where we rely on the emotions evoked by the music.
    How much better is this if we also understand the lyrics?

  • I'd suggest that there's perhaps one last layer - or the core - which involves embodying the culture of tango whenever we step into a milonga.
    Is it possible to achieve this without immersing oneself in the traditional milongas of Buenos Aires?


It's not difficult to imagine the unpacking of matryoshka (Russian dolls) as another metaphor for tango's challenging journey of discovery.


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