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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Who's afraid of close embrace?

We all need it! We all love it! But are you afraid of a hug?

The close embrace is a defining feature of traditional tango. Within that comfortable, safe hug, we can relax, and allow our bodies to respond naturally to the music and communicate non-verbally.

Movement invites Movement
compares the "frame" of Ballroom Dancing with the tango embrace in one of their blogs. Take a look. I know which option I prefer.

I love how Osvaldo Centena and Ana Maria Schapira are totally connected within their wonderful embrace as they dance to this D'Arienzo classic.


Friday, 17 June 2011

Getting the music

Most milongueros would say that “getting” the music is the first priority when dancing tango. After all, tango is a feeling that is danced. So for most of us, who weren’t listening to tango while still in the womb, we have a little catching up to do!

It’s not only about the rhythm, the phrases are also very important. And of course, we can dance to the melody. For some of us, individual instruments may seize our attention ....... they may be playful or intense, etc. In the end, it’s all about how the music speaks to us at the time. And because the music has several layers, our response to it is likely to be different each time we dance. Isn’t that part of the fun?

Interestingly, I find myself “re-discovering” tangos which I’d previously neglected. Without a doubt, listening to the music a lot allows the brain and the body to respond better, to tune in more effectively to the nuances and opportunities which the music offers. So my advice is to listen to tango music frequently. For anyone wanting to start or improve their music collection, Stephen & Susan Brown’s recommendations are a great start. For lovingly restored recordings, Keith Elshaw is your man.

Teachers of tango have a major responsibility here, too. We all need to be nurturing our students with danceable tango music, and it should be appropriate to their skill level. There should be an obvious connection between the music and the skills being taught. No, it’s not “rocket science”. Yet, too often one hears of complex figures more suited to the stage being pursued relentlessly by teachers, even though their students may lack fundamental skills. What could be the point of this, when the pre-requisites for tango bliss are good connection with the music & one’s partner, and a nice embrace?


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