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Monday, 26 July 2010

Decorations - a contradiction in terms

Recently it dawned on me that decorations, adornos, embellishments (call them what you will) could well be considered a contradiction in terms - unless executed for a tango performance.

Under most circumstances in life, a decoration is an external embellishment. Yet an adorno in social tango comes from within and remains within the embrace. It's not primarily for the viewing public. It is a spontaneous expression of the emotion of the music. It does not disturb our partner. It isn't calculated or premeditated. However, sound technique and control underpin any elegant adornment.

What is a decoration in social tango? To me it begins with the way in which dancers (male or female) use their feet when taking a step.

For anyone interested in this topic, I recommend very highly the articles by Olga Besio and Milena Plebs (in Spanish & English).



  1. What I think about women decorations dancing is: The most beautiful, the best, is the one the man does not notice it !! Two or tree years ago I danced with my friend Elina Roldan, in Cagliary - Sardinia where she was one of the teachers, a milonga. The dance was perfect to me, smooth as ever, a joy to dance with such a partner. I did not notice anything strange.
    Later when I saw a video of my dance with Elina I was surpriced to see how many decorations she performed !!!!. Amazing .....

  2. Thanks again for your thoughts, Constantino. While watching Elina dance (on Youtube), it is clear that her technique and body control are so good that she looks light as a feather. Her decorations appear soft and are beautiful expressions of the music. Your experience (you lucky man!) certainly confirms that.


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