Thursday, March 12, 2015

Choosing A Good Instructor

Choosing A Good Instructor

Many times people have asked for an opinion, and many times they have not. I have seen the results from both. As an instructor of over 30 plus years, let’s say more than I would like to admit to at this time in my life, I have come to many conclusions about this matter. The most important is to wait for someone to seek my advice before going with my heart and giving it.

Most importantly an instructor should be well trained, that doesn’t mean watching videos, or taking a few workshops. That means devoting their lives to the form of material they choose to become an expert at and anything related to the expression of said material and the dissection, history, influence and any other related information on their subject. They should also know and study how to express the sharing and processing of the information.

Another good indication would be someone that has studied under master instructors and or had a period as an apprentice. Partnering master instructors and aiding in classes is a good indicator. Years of accomplishments create the right mix of experimentation to know what works for each individual situation.

If a “teacher” has canned answers for questions, or says you will get it with practice, to most questions, chances are they haven’t developed the depth of experience to know the answers and are making up the answers instead of answering from learned knowledge.

Many make choices that are emotional. They are based on the looks, or abilities of their teachers on the surface, this is sometimes dangerous. Instead they should be based on the results of the students they have trained.

In the end, each person has different desires, and learning languages, that the instructors need to blend with. After finding out that you are going to a reputable, instructor, you still should have a good connection, and ability to understand and communicate together.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Why I Travel To Argentina To Dance Tango

Why I Travel To Argentina To Dance Tango

This seems logical if you are passionate about Argentine Tango. You would want to learn about the history, the music, the culture, you would want to consume everything and anything about the dance that has captured your soul. That is only the obvious, there are so many depths and layers to unfold that it has been 20 years of return visits full of new discoveries and wonders that keep bringing me back.

There is something about stepping into the vast array of Milongas , Practicas, Matinees and experiencing the ambiance and codes. From dancing with the experienced elderly Tangueros that have spent most of their lives dancing Tango, to the professional young dancers looking to break into the scene. Each bringing their special character and charm to share.

The classes taught to the locals are offered before most Milongas and can be found at many locations at almost any hour of the day. The classes are taught by instructors with genuine knowledge, especially if you know where to look. Rather than what is taught for export.

The value of the dollar is another matter to consider when you walk into the many locations to purchase your Tango shoes or clothing. Many feel the euphoria of the shopping spree that is hard to discover anywhere else in the world.

There have been so many different experiences and encounters I would have to write a book to describe, but they can only be found in the motherland of the dance and country I am drawn to.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What Is Tanda Etiquette?

What Is Tanda Etiquette?

Let us first understand what a Tanda is in terms of it’s significance at a Milonga. The Tanda is a group of musical pieces, normally three or four, played together, which are of similar timing, structure, and most often from the same orchestra.
The DJ plays the music in these sets to give the dancers clear choices of styles or preferences and to allow them time to dance together and create a connection. In between the Tandas the DJ will traditionally play a short, approximately, thirty-second clip of music that is completely irrelevant to signal the end of the Tanda. This gives the dancers a chance to change partners, or have conversations, etc.

What role then do we have that is proper in terms of etiquette? We do have definitive ways of engaging a partner to the dance, floor that I have covered in previous Blogs. In Tango we call this “La Cabeza”. 

Since a Tanda is three or four songs it is respectful to invite someone on the first song. This gives the couple a proper time to feel comfortable and enjoy the connection, which sometimes takes a song or two to bloom. Perhaps the second song is acceptable depending on circumstances. Asking on the third or last song may appear to be more of an obligation, and a quick way to get your dance with that partner out of the way.

During the Cortina the polite thing to do is walk off the floor with your partner and give others a chance to enjoy your dancing prowess, as well as allowing your partner freedom to make their decisions. There are always more Tandas together if they are meant to be. Most importantly enjoy each other, the music and celebrate the dance.