Hats off to the DJ

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This post is not directed at well-seasoned DJs or those rare dancers who study tango music.  This post is to educate dancers on what you ‘should’ expect at an organized milonga.

Call me crazy but when I go to a milonga I expect thoughtfully constructed tandas and  cortinas that are not danced.  I expect the night to flow in this way:  easy-to-dance-to tandas to warm up the crowd and then slowly building up to more complex music as the evening progresses.  I expect that when the first song of the tanda is a milonga, the rest of the tanda will be milonga (or vals, or tango from the same orchestra within a similar feel).

This news is not new and has been widely written about for years.  An example of such can be found here on Steven Brown’s website or here on Keith Elshaw’s site.

A good DJ is nothing without the dancers and good dancers are great dancers with a thoughtful DJ.

Some folks think that all you need to do is pop on a cd or press shuffle on your iPod and voila you are a bona fide DJ.  To me a DJ is that unseen entity at the milonga that, unless really bad, you don’t necessarily notice.  A good DJ adds to the connection and allows dancers to go to that ‘tango high’ by providing a clear and concise night of music.  A good DJ is incredibly intuitive and works with the ever-changing energy of the crowd.  A good DJ doesn’t show off their incredible knowledge with some rare B-side tanda that leaves dancers feeling lost in space nor does he or she ignorantly mix up the rhythms.

Being a DJ is not easy.  It takes practice, knowledge, and respect for the music.  It takes time.  I love it when people are excited about the music, when they notice the music.  Hey, I am not saying I am a great DJ, I have a lot more to learn.  I am just asking  that you pay attention to the music and tip your hat to the guy or gal who has done a great job all night being DJ, probably without pay .  And then I ask that you not indulge the bad DJ by supporting their events or better yet suggest a really great DJ for their next event, they may even be relieved.

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Tango. What’s your adjective?

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I am collecting nice, well-behaved adjectives today.  With my thesaurus in hand I have come up with these positive adjectives to describe Argentine Tango:

Dynamic, sensual, social, fascinating, playful, romantic, improvisational, elegant, fun, challenging, transcendent, accessible, clear, vivacious, luscious, graceful, refined, superlative, awesome, sublime, frisky, lively, captivating, alluring, intriguing, delightful, pleasurable, and mysterious.

What are some other positive adjectives that you use to describe your tango? Or better yet, how do you describe tango to someone who has no idea what Argentine Tango is? What words do you use?

It’s a family thing

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My mum introduced me to tango.  She led the way for me and many others.  She introduced it to her small community in a generous and welcoming way.  I try to follow her example in my own town.

I hear from many other dancers that I am so lucky to be able to share tango with my mum.  We even dance milonga together, laughing our butts off as we change lead and follow.  I don’t get to hang out with her much since we live a few hours away from each other but I am lucky to share tango with her, even from afar.

Tango is a richer experience when the roots of its culture are regarded and respected. It is a beautiful life journey and when you are on its path, the mystery of it unfolds …like life… keep moving through each moment… with grace….if possible.

Yup, that’s my mum.  Now you know where I get it from.  It’s a family thing.

Falling in love with tango

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Falling in love.

What does falling in love have anything to do with tango?  Well, it has been described that learning tango is like falling in love and that to really learn tango you must first fall in love with it.

When someone begins he can be dazzled by things that are external; the things of tango are internal… A dancer arrives at the roots of tango when he falls in love…  ~Eduardo Arquimba

For some people tango is love at first sight, head-over-heels, married-in-Vegas kind of love .  For others it is a slow burn.  Maybe they are already dating another dance but wake up thinking of tango and need to be near it.

El tango te espera (tango waits for you).  ~Anibal Troilo

Tango is the kind of gal you take home to meet your mother.   It is a serious commitment not a passing fancy.

Tango is a culture, not a dance. Neither is tango a summer or weekend fashion. ~Jorge Dispari

Learning how to live life and be madly in love can be a challenge, especially to the real people in your life.  A balance must be found and everything needs to be put in perspective.  You have to be able to think for yourself and make good, solid choices rather than blindly following your new found love down any old road named ‘tango’.  It is not a competition about who is the most in love, nor is it a race.

I also think, in certain circles, that tango needs to be grouped into Things-you-don’t-discuss-with-relatives like sex, religion, and politics.  It can get rather heated if Tango-L is any indication.

Falling in love is blissful.

No matter at which stage of love you are with tango, I wish you a long and wonderous relationship.  I welcome you to share you love stories.

Tango Buzz

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I feel  like airing out the cobwebs (and my Drafts folderso bear with me,  for as we all know tango is not all rainbows and lollipops….

There is a buzz in the air lately, a tango buzz.  It feels as though people are just catching on that there is something about tango.  They can’t quite pin it down and depending on who they ask and where they go to learn it, they will get many different and varied responses and experiences.

I am perplexed.  How do I, or anyone else, describe tango to someone who has only seen it on TV?  Or someone who looked it up on You Tube only to get every stage version imaginable?  How do you describe the feeling of the music, the energy of the dance floor, the connection with your partner?  Or even the differences between styles?  Well you can’t describe it and that is my dilemna.

I say, “Tango is like life.” or   “It is a community, a family.” or  “It is about connection.”   “It is something you have to feel.”  Sometimes people get it right away.  They sense that there is something remarkable happening  and sometimes it takes years for that spark to catch.

I see announcements for visiting teachers stating that so-and-so is teaching his or her ‘tango moves’.   Tango moves?  Well, I guess you have to start somewhere but this sets up a vicious cycle with many dancers as they ‘chase the steps’.

Tango is a mirror, not a mask.  Tango is a community, not an individual activity.  I feel you need to ask yourself why you are learning this dance, the Argentine Tango.  Be brutally honest.  How does it make you feel?  What are you really here for?

I’ll go first… I am here because tango has filled my life full of sparkles.  It makes everything better.  Rather than a regular sunny day, which is nice, tango makes my days (and nights) sparkly bright, which is fantastic.  I feel energized, engaged, and truly alive when I dance or even if I just hear the music.  I have no assumptions or personal agendas attached to my dancing. I am in the moment.  I dance for my partner.  I feel the music.

How I feel is how I want others to feel when they dance.  Teaching ‘tango  moves’ or choreography is just a way to cash in on the tango buzz and get people thinking that they are dancing tango but in reality they are just dancing around it.