Tag: dance

Argentine Tango dancing. Marcelo Solis at milonga. Levels' classes.

About virtual Argentine Tango classes and private lessons online

About virtual Argentine Tango classes and private lessons online

Argentine Tango dancing. Marcelo Solis at milonga.

Our virtual classes online work on the assumption that it is a temporary measure to keep us engaged and improving, having always in mind the ultimate goal of dancing embraced again sooner or later.

Marcelo Solis teaching Argentine Tango virtual classes online

I have to admit that I did not have much confidence in this channel for Tango instruction, but online classes turned out -unexpectedly- to be a wonderful way to observe in detail our students dancing, and a powerful tool to organize the presentation of our knowledge to them.

Of course it doesn’t appeal to everyone, since many seek physical contact in Tango, and/or are more incline to learn in a rather kinesthetic manner.

However, even though these physical/in-person/kinesthetic aspects are what Tango has of unique, offering them in subtle and poetic ways, attracting and seducing us to its adoption and incorporation into the core of our lives, we will always need the aid of visual presentation, clear explanation, meticulous observation and distanced objectiveness that are a fundamental part of the Tango instruction, but which are amplified in the case of the technology that we are obliged to use now. 

Marcelo Solis Argentine Tango with Sofia Pellicciaro

As your Tango teachers (and here I ask myself about the relation between teaching Tango and life coaching), we strongly advise you not to miss this opportunity.

Learning Tango is hard, frustrating some times and humbling often, and all this may become even worst learning in virtual classes… or maybe not, and perhaps you’ll find, like I did, that it is wonderful, that it is powerful, and that thanks to a certain sense of “estrangement” it helps you to understand things differently, making you pay attention to aspects often passed on at the in-person classes, and facilitating you to make your communications more clear and efficient. 

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All of these apply to either students and instructors.

Here we want to share with you what we consider important for you in the process of virtual Argentine Tango instruction online:

For students:

  • Be open minded.

    Definitely the online class will be light years away from in-person classes.

    However, if you come into the classes avoiding the expectation of similarity with, or make up for the in-person class, you will be much more prepared to take advantage of what only virtual classes can offer to you, and are only on-the-side aspects at the in-person classes.

    For instance, since your teacher cannot dance with you or physically move you, he or she will break down the movements into its most elemental constituents, helping you to fully understand what movements and how to execute them, in a way that, being more abstract, will provide you with the opportunity to practice the move in a “timeless” and “spaceless” fashion, a more thoughtful way, and eventually a more aware way.

  • Let the experience teach you.

    Since this is going to be a novel way to learn Argentine Tango, you will find on your path problems that will be only resolved with later corrections.

    For instance, your floor may not be the best for dancing Tango, or your furniture gets in your way, or your internet connection is too slow.

    All these are problems that get fixed much more easily than fixing your Tango. Go ahead and move your furniture, look at hardware stores online for plastic tiles that you can put over your carpet, call your internet provider (now they are offering discounts on upgrades).

    At each class you will get a better set up for your learning environment. And since we are a community, please share your questions regarding solutions to these challenges. I like to ask my students how they are fixing their particular problems, so I may be in the possession of an answer for you already.

  • Pay attention.

    Avoid distractions. If you are not alone at home, let your relatives and spouses know that you’ll be “away” for one hour.

    Even though you are physically at home, you are virtually at your Tango class, and let me tell you, this “virtuality” is very real. You need to be fully engaged in your class. You won’t be able to be in two places simultaneously.

    Even if it is your living room or garage, it is the classroom for the duration of the lesson.

  • Ask questions.

    Do not hesitate. Your instructors need constant feedback to know that the communication is effective.

    Let them know you did not understand something, or you could not see it, or whatever passes your mind that is related to what is worked on during the class.

    Your teacher has modified his/her teaching style to the online channel, so you need to change your usual learning actitudes. Even technical questions related to the technology used for the class are admissible questions. Remember that.

For teachers:

  • Plan your class.

    You will need to adapt your teaching style to the TV or computer screen’s two dimensional space.

    Keep in mind that your student needs to see you all the time. That is why turns are particularly challenging to teach in the virtual class set up.

    My solution to this problem is to segment the turns in its constituents, in order to keep training a fundamental element of Tango, avoiding making students having to look at the screen while they turn away.

  • Have the right tools.

    Supply yourself with a good camera and a good microphone. Since your communications will be exclusively visual and auditory, you need the best tools that you can provide yourself.

    I’ve been using a mini iPad for the camera and a wireless microphone. I like to show the moves having students behind me, so I am doing the with the camera at my back, so the microphone has been essential to make the sound clear even while I am talking looking away fro the camera.

    Although I have to say the iPad and Zoom (the video conference system that we use) are very sensitive in picking up the sound waves.

  • Have good lighting.

    I am using all the lights of my home studio pointed at me, and added an extra lamp with a styrofoam board to reflect light on my face when I get close to the camera.

  • Use screen sharing to play your music.

    This will make your students hear to the music you choose for your class with much better sound quality than if you make it stream from your microphone.

  • Keeping things in order.

    Use the waiting room feature and close the admission at ten minutes into the class to avoid interruptions.

    You can also have an assistant to work as admin. That is my case but it may not be yours.

Marcelo Solis and Miranda Lindelow performing at Union Square in San Francisco, July 2019.

This is what I have to say for now. Please let me know if you have any questions. I will be happy to answer.

The pandemic has demonstrated how much we need to act as a community, and I am very happy to see that everyone in the Tango community worldwide has that attitude.

¡Viva el Tango!

Long life to Tango!

Here are some examples of what we have being working lately in our virtual classes online:

Learn to dance Argentine Tango at our virtual classes

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Cafe de los maestros movie

Learn more about Argentine Tango and have fun watching this movie:

Learn more about Argentine Tango and have fun watching this movie:

Alberto Vaccarezza, Argentine Tango author and lyricists.

Cafe de los maestros (English Subtitled)

Interviews with the musicians and singers from Argentina’s golden days of Tango.

Fitting this ambitious project into his hectic schedule must’ve been a challenge for producer/writer Gustavo Santaolalla.

He’s better known as the Grammy-winning composer of Hollywood film scores.

This movie shows the gathering of the old maestros, the reminiscences, the archive footage of how things used to be, the rehearsal, and the final concert in the most prestigious venue in Buenos Aires, Teatro Colón – which is, naturally, a triumph.

There’s no doubting the sincere, affectionate nature of this project.

Watch trailer:

Rent or buy this movie:


More movies about Argentine Tango selected for you:

We have lots more music and history

How to dance to this music?

Marcelo Solis bailando con Lola

What is Tango?

What is Argentine Tango?

ine Tango in Buenos Aires with Marcelo solis at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires

“Tango is Life”

What does this sentence mean?

It suggests that those who do not tango don’t know what life is.

Can such a radical thought make sense?

Ask anyone who is involved in Tango, passionately, which is the only way to be involved in it, and that will be the answer.

This attitude in relation to Tango is rooted in the fact that Tango gives you fulfillment, opening you up to the possibility of making your life a work of Art.

In America (North America), people think of Tango as a dance, (always with the prejudice that dance means “performance”, conceived as something put on for a spectator,) perhaps also as a music genre, but the Spanish speaking population of the world knows that Tango is also words, lyrics, poetry, “chamuyo” (for Argentineans).

These are words essential to knowing Tango in all its relevant aspects. Enrique Santos Discépolo, author of many essential tangos, declared that “Tango is a sad thought that is danced”.

Every word in this phrase demands explanations that will never exhaust their meaning. What kind of “sad thought” then, is Tango?

It is looking at the past with the feelings of what went away, and the realization of how little we have left to leave us, too.

Start learning Argentine Tango

“Jamás retornarás”

“Cuando dijo adiós, quise llorar…
Luego sin su amor, quise gritar…
Todos los ensueños que albergó mi corazón
(toda mi ilusión),
cayeron a pedazos.
Pronto volveré, dijo al partir.
Loco la esperé… ¡Pobre de mí!
Y hoy, que tanto tiempo ha transcurrido sin volver,
siento que he perdido su querer.

Jamás retornarás…
lo dice el alma mía,
y en esta soledad
te nombro noche y día.
¿Por qué, por qué te fuiste de mi lado
y tan cruel has destrozado
mi corazón?
Jamás retornarás…
lo dice el alma mía
y, aunque muriendo está,
te espera sin cesar.

Cuánto le imploré: vuelve, mi amor…
Cuánto la besé, ¡con qué fervor!
Algo me decía que jamás iba a volver,
que el anochecer
en mi alma se anidaba.
Pronto volveré, dijo al partir.
Mucho la esperé… ¡Pobre de mí!
Y hoy, que al fin comprendo
la penosa y cruel verdad,
siento que la vida se me va.”



“You will never return”

When she said goodbye, I wanted to cry…
Then without her love, I wanted to scream…
All the daydreams dwelling in my heart
(all I dreamt of),
fell to pieces.
I’ll be back soon, she said as she left.
A fool, I waited for her… Poor me!
And today, that so much time has passed without her coming back,
I can feel that I have lost her love.

You will never return…
my soul says so,
and in this solitude
I call your name night and day.
Why, why did you leave my side
and so cruel, have you destroyed
my heart?
You will never return…
my soul says,
and, although it is dying,
it is waiting for you incessantly.

How much I begged her: come back, my love…
How much I kissed her, how fervently!
Something told me that she would never return,
as the nightfall
was nesting in my soul.
I’ll be back soon, she said as she left.
I waited for her so much… Poor me!
And today, that at last I understand
the painful and cruel truth,
I feel that life is leaving me.

Osmar Maderna portrait. Argentine Tango musician, composer and conductor.

The lyrics are about love, about a broken heart, an unfulfilled promise and unsatisfied hopes. It is also a view of life from the perspective of realizing that life, and everything in it, goes away: “Y hoy, que al fin comprendo / la penosa y cruel verdad, / siento que la vida se me va.” (And today, that at last I understand / the painful and cruel truth, / I feel that life is leaving me.)

Did Osmar Maderna, one of the authors, know that he was destined to die, suddenly, at age 32, in an accident?

His short life was feverishly productive: a piano virtuoso, a gifted composer, a in-demand arranger, a successful conductor, a great friend, a beloved husband, a passionate amateur aviator… When he left his home, in Pehuajó, a city located 230 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, to start his independent life as a musician in the capital, he asked his brother to tell everyone that he went to buy a bandoneon

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

Marcelo Solis Argentine Tango with Sofia Pellicciaro

How can one not be passionate about Tango?

Tango gives you purpose:

to make the world beautiful, starting with yourself, since you are the most accessible, affordable and appropriate canvas to be the experimental field for you to probe into your understanding of beauty, before being accepted by others and daring yourself to go beyond yourself and do whatever you want with it in a world into which you exist, a world populated with meanings that tend to be shaped by prejudices and misinterpretations, by accumulation and overlapping of meanings, gifted, inherited, imposed by others, or simply developed by you to justify some of your beliefs, hide your hypocrisies and/or calm your anxieties.

You will need to probe your creation, your dance, your style, to be refreshing and more meaningful than what is already out there.

That is exactly what it is to be a “milonguera” (a woman who regularly dances tango) or “milonguero” (same for a man).

We, milongueros, decided to accept to live in a world that reproduces the kind of existence described above, where our life is possible not only by our participation in the economy of our societies, by having a job like everyone else, but beyond this primary satisfaction of our elementary needs, we EXIST in accordance with what is beautiful, with “compás y elegancia” (musicality and aesthetic energy efficiency), shaping every manifestation of our being-in-the-world-with-others according to proportions that are the same, that seem, from our human perception, to underlie the universe.

Pythagoras, music, proportions and cosmos.

Pythagoras (495 BC), after researching what notes sounded pleasant together, worked out the frequency ratios (or string length ratios with equal tension,) and found that they had a particular mathematical relationship. The octave was found to be a 1:2 ratio, and what we call today a fifth to be a 2:3 ratio.

All the notes of a musical scale are produced by ratios.

Musical notes and ratios

Same as rhythm can be defined by ratios:

Rhythm defined by ratios

Including the rests -pauses-, essential to dancing Tango:

Pauses, rests, essential to dancing Tango

And the proportions of our bodies:

Vitruvian man Leonardo

Proportions are everywhere:

  • Proportions in clouds

  • Proportions in snails

The artist uses this awareness of proportions as a guide to creation.

Mona Lisa Leonardo

And now, combine all these proportions with another human, who, being of the same species, is also different from you.

  • One of these differences is that we are sexed.
    Being sexed is related to our mortality. We need this duality to preserve our species. And when the raw sensations of our sexuality fade away, only the human embrace -more than anything- still satisfies our need for consolation in the face of the abyss of the infinite void of death, always ahead.

  • How fulfilling to learn about our bodies, about our existence in the world, discipline and train ourselves to extract beauty out of the depths of our lives! How exciting to engage in such adventures in the company of that mysterious being that is so familiar and yet such a stranger! A being that calls us like the mermaids would, with a voice that draws out from our perception all other indicia; which will harmonize with that music, which, in its brave approach, recalls the tragic inevitability of a storm that will take away all our superficial possessions, and leave us only with ourselves, longing for an embrace.

  • In Plato’s “The Symposium”, Aristophanes tells a legend, that the human being was, in its origins, a double being, composed of two entities, of what is today a human body. These creatures offended the gods, so they decided to cut them in half. The beings’ first reaction was to embrace each other.

Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires - Marcelo Solis (Enrosque)

We like to say in Argentina: “el Tango te espera”

(Tango is waiting for you)

This patient waiting is another manifestation of its call, not a call that awakens our curiosity, like the sounds of our cellphones, always buzzing WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and text messages.

It is the call of a challenge, that is not easy to respond to, that is not user friendly, that makes you think, that scares you and pushes you away in the same measure of (if we could quantify it somehow) seduction and attractiveness with which it appears to you.

Do not worry. It’s great to have that feeling! That means you are alive!

Enrique Santos Discépolo
Urban dictionary
Osmar Maderna
Miguél Caló
Martin Heidegger
Roy Hornsby, “What Heidegger Means by Being-in-the-World”
Sigmund Freud
Gilles Deleuze
Michel Foucault
Michel Onfray
Jean Baudrillard
Friedrich Nietzsche
Plato’s “The Symposium”

This article continues…

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

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Come and know it better

Let’s go!

Marcelo Solis answers what is Argentine Tango. He is an expert.

How to dance Argentine Tango

An introduction to the most important details

Find the answer

Milongas in the Bay Area: Lafayette, San Francisco, San Jose.

Where to dance Tango?

Milongas in the Bay Area

Let’s dance!

Anibal Troilo and his orchestra | Argentine Tango music to learn to dance

Argentine Tango music

Music to learn to dance

Listen and dance!

History of Argentine Tango: El Cachafaz and Carmencita Calderon at Tango (Movie 1933)

History of Argentine Tango

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Argentine Tango intermediate class with Miranda: crosses 1

Argentine Tango intermediate class: crosses 1

Argentine Tango intermediate class: crosses 1

  • Argentine Tango intermediate class with Miranda: crosses 1.

Do you have questions about Argentine Tango dance?

More video lessons

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to learn to dance Tango, you can:

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango private lesson with Marcelo Solis

Private lessons

Are the way to learn Argentine Tango

  • At our private lessons we work intensely on foundations, rhythm, musicality and connection with partner. We design a program according to your own goals and requirements.

  • While group classes are necessary to work on the social aspects of this beautiful art form, during private lessons we focus on the specific details of your dance which are important in achieving your goal of being a great dancer, a true milonguera or milonguero.

Book your private lesson

Luis César Amadori. Music to learn to dance at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires with Marcelo Solis

“Vendrás alguna vez” by Enrique Rodríguez y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto “El Chato” Flores in vocals, 1938.

Luis César Amadori

Lyricist, author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and journalist (28 May 1902 – 5 June 1977)

Luis Cesar Amadori. Music to learn to dance at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.

Writing for theater unavoidably drove him to write as well the lyrics of numerous songs, mainly tangos.

With Alfredo Malerba he wrote “Vendrás alguna vez”

Like many other Italian families that came to our country to search for their fortune, he arrived in our country when he was five from Pescara, his hometown. Continue reading at www.todotango.com…

Listen and buy:
Download Argentine Tango music from iTunes Listen on Spotify
We have lots more music and history…

There is a Spanish translation of this post…

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