Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The State of Embrace

Mata Amritanandamayi, known as Amma has hugged more people
than anyone in human history.  She knows something about
the embrace that even tango dancers need to learn.

The embracing saint from India says, "If you can touch people, you can touch the world."

Look carefully at your community.  What is the "embrace"?  Is there one?  Some say close embrace tango is disappearing in Germany, where I presently live.  If it does, then it will return.  The embrace closes naturally between kind people.

One of the problems of close embrace tango is that it has been billed as "social" tango, and that can feel like hypocrisy when antisocial people are teaching or practicing it.  When "social" means "strict

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tango's Endangered Eco-system

We are the only tribe on this enchanted, "wild" life refuge.
Is what we are doing sustainable?
I love tango.  Don't you?  Sometimes it feels as if there is a tango boom going on.

But not really.

Venues come and go.  People come and go.  The eco-system of tango--upon a closer look--is fragile, and our little tribe does not seem to know it.  I see a milonga like a wonderful wildlife refuge, and we are the inhabitants.  We are the only inhabitants, and although there is a need to bring new life into our refuge, we are not sure if we like new blood.  Our worst enemy is ourselves. We ourselves are the

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Rogue Dancer: Your Problem

Passive-Aggressive Behavior is not to confront
the rogue dancer assertively.

The tango community and the joy of dance belong to everyone.  But then comes along the rogue* dancer who runs into everyone, causing injuries and even causing people to leave the community to find another place to dance or just give up.  The rogue dancer is not the problem!

The problem is being passive-aggressive.  Rogue dancers come and go, but passive-aggressive behaviors stays.   The rogue dancer needs feedback.  The rogue navigator-guide is usually the problem, but safe dancing is the responsibility of everyone.  Also if you end up dancing with a rogue, you are now part of the "rogue team." A partner not only can but must influence the good-but-

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dance as if everyone were watching!

Watch very carefully for a child who briefly appears in the below video.

Did you see the child? 

It was the grey-haired kid who threw down two sticks.  He can teach you something.  He is dancing as if everyone were watching, but as a child--out of pure joy!

The very young, no matter their age, dance spontaneously.
Lots of Innate Stuff, but not innocence.

I danced as a kid. Also, I owned a little plastic guitar, and Gail, the girl next door, put her foot through it, angry at my song and dance.   I was way too happy for her, I guess. 

Later in school, I was shy and was afraid to talk in a group all through my school years. In sixth grade, I nearly destroyed the book I had in my hands as I gave a book report in front of the class. I couldn't sing in the choir because I didn't have the talent. The school music teacher told my mother not to waste money on private lessons. (My wise mother told me about the music teacher's bad prognosis only after I became successful studio and performance musician.) How did I ever make it to being a human being without just giving up altogether?  Before puberty:
  • I couldn't speak freely.
  • I couldn't dance freely.
  • I couldn't sing freely.
  • I couldn't play an instrument.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Joy of Tango Traffic

Warning:  This explanation of "The Joy of (Tango) Traffic" is NOT for beginners.

Because of floorcraft hand-outs that actually cause more floorcraft problems, I am submitting this floorcraft guide to my readers, hoping for comments to make it better.  Then I will present a printable handout--mostly for the shoebag of the rogue "expert" dancer at your milonga.  It will be a shorter, two-page version.

Let's use what we know about traffic.  Most everyone has some experience with driving or observing drivers.  Having said that... 
What is the most outstanding difference between auto and dancing? 

In four words:  "Tango traffic's a joy."

Los Códicos del Tráfico serve the very same purpose for autos on the road as for rules of floorcraft

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moment of Conception in Tango

"Stork theories" of how tango babies are made will not help tango survive.
Conception begins in human need.
When were you conceived as a tango dancer?  Can you remember?

My guess is that it was because of social contact. Primal human needs, such as touch, communication, movement, enjoyment, deeply seated courtship behaviors that (should) continue for a lifetime.  One that is very important for many is the desire to feel alive.  Some go to extremes to get this feeling (roller coasters, risk-taking, and also a long list of negative behaviors).  Dance is a socially acceptable way to get many human needs taken care of all at one "Mall of Human Needs."

I was conceived as a tango dancer in a bike shop.  In 2006 I was buying a super-dooper triathlon bike

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Archetypal Leader in Tango

A continued discussion on leading and following . . .

Archetypal leaders are unique.

In the Jungian sense, the archetypal leader is primal, a single leader whom others emulate. Plato would say the archetypal leader is the "substance of all leaders," and mortal leaders are mere shadows of that substance.

Who is the archetypal leader in tango?  La Música.  In dance classes we talk in very technical, prosaic terms about roles (leader/follower).  The language of art, feeling poetry perhaps must or should put aside in oder to better describe what each person is supposed to do.  We talk about duties of "leadership."   But in trying to be empirical and exact, I believe we have sacrificed the magic, the art and the poetry of tango.  Somehow "leader/follower" become the terms that best describe our magical roles.  I question the poetry of these terms, or even the exactitude of these terms.  If indeed the music is the archetypal one-of-a-kind leader in tango, now we must find

Saturday, July 12, 2014

La Música Dirige, Seis la Tocan

Siento nuestros pechos, que se llenan del aire
Como si fuera el aliento vivo, un dúo de Bandoneones.

La Música Dirije, Seis Tocan 

El bandoneonista toca con tanta pasión,
Me pregunto si movido por el éxtasis o el dolor.
 Él y el guitarrista,
     la violinista,
        el pianista
           y nosotros, dos bailarines,
Somos un sexteto en esta pequeña cantina
En nuestro trance hipnótico colectiva, de cuatro más dos,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Neutered Tango

Don't neuter my tango!
Warning:  This post is rated "VS" for "very sarcastic" and with elements of bizarre humor.  I suggest you read another blog.   Do an Internet search for, "Normal Tango Blogs."  Mine won't come up.  :-)  Or skip to the end, called "Seriously Now" where I return for a moment to my very serious self.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tango is NOT a conversation!

The leader speaks.  You listen.

"Just for a change, shut up and listen, okay?!"

"This is not a conversation.  It is a soliloquy.  I talk you listen, alright?"

Above, I am quoting the archetypal leader, La Música

She (La Música) is really tired of speaking and too many of the dancers not listening or thinking they are not allowed to listen because of their role.  La Música is really, really tired of it.  She'll calm down in a second.  She just having a Richard Wagner moment--a bit out of control.  At some

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wasted time: Musicality Classes for Followers?

A continuing dialogue on the concept of leading and following . . .

If you are a "follower" you may be wasting your money on musicality classes. However, if you are a dual-listener (listening to the leading of La Música's voice and your partner's body), then musicality classes make sense!

"I am following the music.
Listen to the music first, to me second."
I have had women say that it doesn't make sense to take musicality classes "because a woman has to listen to what the man hears in the music." Yes, I can understand why a "follower" would say that because that is what she hears in the word "leader" and what is specifically said by some teachers! However, if

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kind tango vs a kind of tango

Social tango is kind tango . . .

. . . not a kind of tango.

More than a few people I have known have left the tango community or commuted to a different place because of anti-social elements--sometimes real, sometimes perceived.   In the outward world, surely we will find kind people who are perceived as arrogant or antisocial, and social people who are truly dangerous, even psychopathic.   Not many people continue dancing over a decade.  So this makes me wonder if I will survive, and if I do, what will I look like?  Will my tango be social?  Will I be still kind and generous?  My steps, but embrace may look like social tango, but will the outward signs of