In tango, a moment is a world!
I attended a workshop on meditation this weekend and was reminded once again how much the Argentine tango is a form of meditation as much as it is a dance. More than the steps, the tango enables us to use the movements and the music to practice mindfulness - the state of awareness in the moment, and allowing oneself to live inside that moment. It is challenging to dance tango if one is always thinking about what is going to happen next or regretting the last step that didn't work out. Every step and pivot has it's own life that must be experienced and savored. On Sunday, the facilitator spoke about the "elasticity of time", how our perceptions of time can vary according to our interpretation of experiences. How a bad experience can be perceived as lasting a long time. And a good experience flies by! But in tango, mindfulness of beautiful moments can extend the duration of these in our perception, providing for gloriously sensual dancing. We can stretch out moments if we listen carefully to the music and allow ourselves not to rush to the next step, thus deepening our experience of a single movement or pause.
In tango, a moment is a world!
Alexandra Baldaque and Fernando Jorge are on their way to South Africa!!
They are one of Europe's top tango couples, having won the European Tango Salon Championships in 2011, judged by tango greats such as Fabian Peralta.
Founding members of the Argentine Tango International Academy and pioneers of tango festivals in Portugal, they have also represented Portugal in six finals of the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires over the last ten years. They have also been invited to perform at prestigious milongas in Buenos Aires such as Salon Canning and Sunderland.
Please see the programme below. Places are limited. Please book early to avoid disappointment!
Please note that the class for "all levels" will build up in complexity, allowing students to benefit from practice at their level.
Tuesday 25th February: Tango Salon Essential Technique- 8- 9:30 pm- R140- all levels
Wednesday 26th February: Turns (giros) and Sacadas - Study of the system balance and of the organic dissociation, adapted to the different musical moments 28th - 8- 9:30 pm R140 (all levels)
Friday 28 February:Premilonga lesson: Vals Criollo, musicality and sequences to the dance floor - Different attitude in the Vals style and musical approach. Sequences to Vals 7:15- 8:30 pm R110 (Milonga Africana at iKhaya Lodge R50) (all levels) (Yippeeee!!!! I love vals!)
Saturday 1 March: Barridas (sweeps) sequences 2 - 3:30 pm - R140 (all levels)
Saturday 1 March: Complex Figures for Tango Salon 4- 5:30 pm- R140 (intermediate- advanced)
Sunday 2 March: Milonga Lisa and with Traspié - Different ways of dancing the Milonga. Study of the “lead” to a clear conduct. Adapted figures to each one of the styles - 3 - 4:30 pm pm R140 (all levels)
Sunday 2 March: Lápis and Blocks - how and when to start and to end a lápis. The sensuality of a block. Blocks to the right and to the left. 5 - 6:30 pm (R140).
Please arrange private lessons with Rachael.
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!!! Pay for 4 lessons besides the premilonga lesson before 14 February and get a 15% discount.
All workshops except premilonga lesson will be at the Observatory Community Centre.
082 255 7829
Cape Town Tangueros!!! Lets welcome Emiliano Fernandez to Cape Town for some exciting workshops in January!! Emiliano is an Argentine teacher based in Johannesburg who has taught in Italy for many years.
23 January 6:30 - 8:00 pm Advanced milonga (R100)
24 January 7:15 - 8:30 pm Premilonga lesson- Rythmic structures with small movements (R80) MILONGA AFRICANA FROM 8:30 PM R50
25 January - Short Giros- 11:00 am - 12:30 pm- R100
26 January - Walking with Di Sarli*- 11:00 am to 12:30 pm - R100
Workshops will be held at the Observatory Community Centre except premilonga lesson which will be at iKhaya Lodge.
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!! BOOK FOR ALL 3 WORKSHOPS EXCEPT PREMILONGA LESSON AND GET A 15% DISCOUNT!
* I am very excited about this workshop! Carlos Di Sarli was one of the major composers during the tango golden age. His music is perfect for the tango caminata (walking patterns). Nido Gaucho, with Alberto Podesta, is one of my favorite songs by Di Sarli. If the name doesn't ring a bell, here it is ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z17dDqNXpYE. Lets learn how to dance to this music the best we can!!
Walk in! Dance out!
You will learn some of the basic concepts, steps and culture of the Argentine tango. By the end of the course you will be dancing and experience the magic of the dance! This is an intensive course consisting of 9 hours of teaching in 6 lessons.
Dates: Wednesdays 22, 29 January, 5 February
8:00 - 9:30 pm
Saturdays: 25 January, 1 , 8 February
5:00 - 6:30 pm
Venue: Observatory Recreation Centre, corner Collingwood and Rawson Roads, free secure parking.
Cost: R550 per person
Contact Rachael: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an article for leaders and followers on making new initiates to the tango feel most welcome and comfortable in the milonga. We have our own tango culture in South Africa, based on very informal culture which is quite different from that in Argentina. In Buenos Aires, I feel very comfortable with the cabeceo, which is an invitation made with eye contact. But we do things slightly differently here because our milongas are more informal and intimate. In the tango world there is an ongoing debate on how much local communities should conform to "traditional tango culture" . It is endless so I won't go into it here. I am more interested in what makes people feel comfortable in the South African context. I'm going to be pretty prescriptive and try to give valid reasons for my suggestions. I am interested in generating conversation about tango norms in our community so please feel free to comment below. If you disagree, tell us why and lets get a conversation going....
(Note: I will refer to leaders as"he" but the same applies for women leaders)
I really admire and respect those leaders who have recently finished a beginners course and come to the milonga. I always tell my students that leaders need more time and cognitive processing to learn tango. They need our 100% support. I am also respectful of students who want to take their time in learning tango before hitting the milonga. There is no obligation to "milongear".
Hints for followers of new leaders
.1 Yes!!! He's dancing. Be grateful that we have a new leader on the scene. Put out positive vibes. Nurture him.
2. Don't assume that he is confident about his dancing just because he is doing lots of moves.
3. Be generous in your spirit. If you need to give feedback, rather be specific than vague. That will allow him to make the necessary adaptions.
4. Be tactful about inviting him to dance. Many new leaders want to come to a milonga to watch first. Make conversation with him and use your "sixth sense" to see if he is interested.
5. If you notice that he is with a partner, take care to gage if he is interested in dancing with anyone else before asking
In our community it is more common for men to ask women to dance than vice versa. All the followers are women. As result, certain gender issues come into play in the milonga. Women in the following role need to have choices in the dance.
Hints for leaders of new followers
1. Be open and warm but don't assume that a new follower who comes to the milonga wants to dance. Like new leaders, she may just want to check out the scene and watch. The best way to know is to engage her in conversation before asking her to get an idea if she is interested in dancing.
2. Refrain from giving her a lesson on the dance floor. The most caballero way to dance with a new person is to start absolutely simply. If you know she has only taken a few lessons, a walk, cross and ocho is enough. Like leaders, new followers don't like to feel that they have been "caught". It is not polite to verbally tell people how they should be following on the dance floor. Your lead should say it all!
3. Refrain from taking her hand and leading her onto the dance floor. You are giving her little choice about dancing with you if you do this.
4. Allow her to dance in the open embrace if she chooses to. While seasoned dancers may be used to the closed embrace, new followers may find it intimidating. It can take time for people to get accustomed to the closed embrace. Don't give her the impression that you think the open embrace is inferior.
5. Intend to dance with a new follower for an entire tanda (3-4 songs). However, if either of you feel uncomfortable, agree to dance more at a later stage.
6. Ask the new follower to dance at the beginning of a tanda. That way she knows she will be dancing tango, walz or milonga.
7. If the new follower is with a partner that looks like a "date", wait until you get to know them before asking the follower to dance. Some people only want to do tango as a couple and we need to respect that.
I am excited to announce that Libertango will be hosting an tango teacher from Buenos Aires from 20 to 26 October. Cape Town tangueros will enjoy a range of workshops, milonga and performances. Fernando Gabriel Romero (Chucky) hails from Rosario (the home town of Che Guevara!) and has taught at the DNI school of Buenos Aires (http://dni-tango.com) . Since leaving DNI almost two years ago he has been developing his dancing and teaching independently. Currently based in Europe, Chucky has been teaching in Ireland and recently performed at the Tango en Punta Festival in Bregenz, Austria. This is a wonderful opportunity for Capetonian tangueros to take your dancing one step further- to deepen your technique, and appreciation of the dance and to improve your movement. Let's celebrate the beauty of the dance and dive into this expansive art form. Chucky has been invited to South Africa by Erik Peers in Johannesburg and will be assisted by Gail Walters in the workshops. Watch a recent video of Chucky dancing with Sayaka Higuchi. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_zT5hW3CBA&noredirect=1)
Libertango aims to expose Capetonian tangueros to as many good tango teachers as possible so that we can develop as dancers and enjoy the infinite richness of tango. I have taken lessons with Chucky in Buenos Aires and can vouch for his good teaching methods. Chucky will also offer private lessons at R450 per hour. Please book with me.
Please see the programme below.
** Programme for Chucky's visit
Sunday 20 October - 3:30 - 5:00 pm (all levels) Fundamental Technique for Dancing Tango - Body awareness, building the presence in the dance and connecting in one embrace - R130
Monday 21 October - Milonga 1- 7:00- 8:30 pm (All Levels) Why you don't need to leave the floor in milonga, tools to dance with confidence exploring the different directions in milonga - R130
Wednesday 23 October - 6:30 - 8:00 pm (post-beginners) Introduction to Giros - Different movement from a single step, how to develop the giro from the element of a step - R130
Wednesday 23 October - Milonga 2 - 8:15 - 9:45 pm (intermediate -advanced) How to transmit and receive clearly the little movements in milonga. Displacing circular and lineal movements - R130
Thursday 24 October - 7:00- 8:30 pm (intermediate - advanced) Unlocking the Giro and finding it's graceful centre; developing your fluid embrace to free you and your partner to move naturally - R130
Saturday 26th October: 7:00 - 8:30 pm Premilonga Workshop - Dancing with Musicality: Walk in the rhythm, starting to discover the melody and the possibility it provides to dancers. The voice as an instrument for dancing to the tango song - Workshop only R110
8:30 to midnight- Milonga - Tango Demos by Fernando Romero and Rachael Glaser; and Erik Peers and Gail Walters - Milonga Only R40 (Workshop and Millonga R150)
If you are unsure which workshops are suitable for you, please ask me.
082 255 7829
Friends have started to ask me what I thought of the newly released South African film, "Die Laaste Tango" (The Last Tango). So I went off to see it last night.
The film is adapted from crime writer Deon Meyer's novel and was directed by Meyer. I enjoyed the film for a few reasons. The lead, Louw Venter, was excellent. I identified with his personality and his challenges as he learned to dance. I loved the filmogephy of the Karoo, depicting a dry desert landscape with people leading simple unaffected lives.
I am not a movie critic so I will stop there and go on to talk about the tango. The tango danced in the movie is ballroom tango which is different to Argentine tango, the tango that I teach. Ballroom tango also has its roots in Argentina but was transported to Europe and North America in the early part of the last century and was incorporated into the ballroom suite of dances. Meanwhile, Argentine tango continued to developed in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. There were thus separately developing threads, both called "tango".
I have not studied ballroom tango, only Argentine tango so I am not able to comment on the authenticity of the ballroom tango danced in the movie. But I do have a little critique. Antoinette Louw, the protagonist who is dying from cancer and is teaching Venter to dance her last tango speaks about tango as a form of communication, a language, an emotion. I do not really think that these elements were conveyed in their acting or dancing which was obviously choreographed. The sentiment seemed forced, "pasted on", lacking depth In addition, the personal point of transformation from which Venter becomes a reluctant student to a willing participant in the tango was not revealed sufficiently in the script or the emotion of the dance. I do believe that partner dancing is transformative. It changes how we see ourselves and our power to connect with another. It takes a reckoning at a very deep level. This wasn't revealed in the movie.
Today, ballroom and Argentine tango are two totally separate dances that have different codes, steps and are danced to different music. Most people who have not travelled to South America associate tango with the ballroom version. Argentine tango is a relatively quiet, "internal" lead and follow social improvised dance that is danced to classical orchestras from the Golden Age of tango in the 1930s - 40s. For more information, take a look at these videos.
By the way, it is a great movie. It certainly satisfied the adrenaline junkie inside of me. I recommend it!