Argentine Tango School

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires virtual classes.

Why technique is so important in Argentine Tango?

Why is technique so important in Argentine Tango?

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi at our beginner class.

Technique and body awareness

Restarting in-person classes and going to several milongas every week made me reflect on using my body efficiently, preventing getting exhausted and injured by doing what I love to do.

The technique has to be a way to use our body efficiently, energizing and healing us.

Efficiency is beautiful.

When a movement is technically correct, it is effortless and elegant.

Pain is a symptom that tells us that we are making an unnecessary effort.

A movement made technically correct is gratifying.

To incorporate a particular technique is necessary to repeat. However, repetitions need to be limited to avoid stressing ourselves, provoking damage and exhaustion.

The best is to cycle through a set of different exercises, doing a few repetitions of one exercise and move on to the next one, eventually returning to previous exercises, perhaps making cumulative additions.

Good technique is the result of patience training. Anxiety to achieve results does not help, neither to be too self-forgiving or compliant.

It would help if you could regularly work on your technique. A little every day works better than a lot in one day, with large vacuums in between training sessions.

What is the goal of a good technique in Tango?

To allow you to move comfortably and expressively while giving your partner a comfortable and expressive space and time next to you, in a social setup, with other dancers sharing the same dance floor.

Remember to work on the technique with joy and expressivity instead of mechanically going through the exercises.

Good technique should provide character to your dance.

It goes beyond measures, geometrics, and calculations. You can start with “where to place my foot,” “in which angle,” and “how straight or bent my leg needs to be” to develop later a manner of moving that tells a story and awakes emotions.

Learn the technique to forget the technique

A student told me a personal story that may be familiar to you, as it was very familiar to me: she got injured, and in the process of recovering, she needed to move. She would play music and move freely to the music, dancing. Then she realized that she was moving with good technique, without paying attention to the matter. All her work on technique was paying off, only after she stopped putting the technique at the forefront of her conscience.

Often we need to simplify things to learn and incorporate them into our knowledge and habits. However, remaining in the simplifications makes us miss all the richness of a mature dance.

The technique should open you to reveal the nuances of your persona to yourself, creating your dance as a work of art.

Good technique allows you to generate qualities for your movement.

One quality of great importance and often forgotten is sweetness.

The technique is personal

Too much information obtained from too many sources could be distracting from what you only can do because you are in the best position to know what you need to focus on and how best to approach the organization of the exercises that would allow your improvement.  Until you do not take full responsibility for what you need to improve, all your taken technique classes won’t be effective.

To avoid the subjectivity trap, share your exercises, thoughts, and observations with your teacher.

Working to improve your technique is only one of the necessary actions to give meaning to your dance.

The technique is effective if it overflows to all your life. Therefore, good technique is meant to improve aspects of your life that transcend your direct dancing activity.

Other things affect your dance also: sleep deprivation, lousy eating habits, unhealthy lifestyle, and negative emotions like fear and anger.

Pain sometimes stems from our lack of awareness. The inefficient use of our bodies is reinforced by habits of negating pain, giving our perceptions no importance, and forcing our bodies to obey unhealthy and self-destructing ideas in our minds.

One habit of being aware of is sleep deprivation.

Your dancing gets greatly affected by your sleep.

However, we believe it is necessary to deprive ourselves of the essential sleep hours, disregarding evidence that this habit is undeniably unhealthy and won’t balance the supposed gains made by using our much-needed sleep time.

Changing habits

Changing our habits is presented to ourselves by the accepted mindset as a too difficult endeavor, even knowing that the ultimate alternative is a failure. So, sadly, we condemn ourselves.

The same way as we are proceeding with our planet’s environment.

We do not dance when we fill up our time with tasks that prevent us from dancing, from getting to know our bodies, and by that, ourselves. At some point of this build-up, we become so entangled that it appears too costly or disruptive for our lives to dance, to get to know ourselves and others better.

The year 2020’s shut down of activities brought us to choose those activities that we value as essentials to our existence. Yet, as the whole world resumes, we are in danger of missing the opportunity to reset our lives to the way we realized that makes sense to live.

A good habit worth incorporating

I like to think that I could be a smoker, lighting up a cigarette every time I have nothing to do, having a sad thought to mourn, or a happy feeling to celebrate, but instead, since I do not smoke, I stretch.

After focusing on your technique, remember that you started the dance journey to enjoy dancing and care about your partner’s enjoyment. If you are not enjoying it, you are not letting anyone enjoy it either.

Also, dancing itself provides you with opportunities for improvement. Since we repeatedly cycle through the movements, you can approach your dancing as if you were kneading dough, getting it better at each round of kneading.

Every dance you dance should be better than the previous one. You can organize your dance strategy with such goal in mind, in the way you deliver your energy, in your choice of moves, partners, milongas, when to rest and when to dance.

Dancing is neither purely rational nor only intuitive. You dance, then, making “holistic calculations.”

Do you think a dancer’s technique is indifferent to their human qualities? Meaning, can someone be a good dancer without being generous, kind, and forgiving? I’d like to know what you think. 

Please share your thoughts with me clicking here…

Would you be interested in an in-person workshop on technique I am planning?

If so, put your name on the list:

Here are some exercises for you:

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Why private lessons are the most effective way to learn Argentine Tango?

Why private lessons are the most effective way to learn Argentine Tango?

Argentine Tango feet at Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires _ Argentine Tango School

I had a nice conversation with a participant of an Argentine Tango event in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We talked about her sensations after taking many workshops and learning many movements and techniques.

She told me that only one time she felt something happening beyond the physical motion, although this sensation was rather sad, anguishing.

I asked her what was, in her opinion, the most important element in Tango and she answered “connection and musicality“.

I agreed with that, and I told her that we needed to make tangible these abstract concepts to find that “something missing” and asked her where, in her opinion, these abstract concepts become real…

She said that she could not find an answer.

I told her: in your body.

In a festival, taking classes with visitor teachers, doing the moves and techniques taught in classes with other participants with whom you never danced before and may never dance again, it is infrequent that you will get anything related to connection and musicality.

Connection and musicality are the most important elements of Argentine Tango.

In any class, with a mix of regulars and random people, it could be out of context to ask participants to connect because, in Argentine Tango, this means to hug each other.

One time, coming out from a concert in Market street in San Francisco, a friend of mine was with his wife walking together next to each other and hugging each other. While they were waiting for the stoplight to get green to cross the street, a lady from the street came up and said that watching them, she realized that she needed a hug and ask if my friend would allow her to hug him. My friend told me that he felt distrust. He let her hug him but cautiously kept his hands on his pockets, preventing the possibility of pickpocketing.

I tell you this to give you an approximation to the feelings possibly trigger by being required to hug and be hugged by strangers.

To work on the connection required to dance Argentine Tango, you need to work with a partner you care about and who cares about you, someone you can trust, looking at their eyes and embracing them warmly.

Also, it would help if you had a knowledgeable teacher that you can trust, with extensive experience dancing and teaching Argentine Tango.

Argentine Tango is profound.

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi at our beginner class.

In my private lessons, I make my students focus on the quality of their moves, musicality, and embrace, helping them bring out their own unique style as Argentine Tango dancers and as milongueros.

I start first working on footwork and techniques until students have incorporated them into their muscle memory.

Eventually, they won’t need to think about “what to do” and “how to do”.

The choreographic aspects of Argentine Tango become part of their natural flow, and when they embrace each other and start walking together on the dance floor at the pace of the music, it’s time for them to get inspired and express the poetry that is in them.

Such poetry is beautifully happy. It fills them up with joy which generously overflows to all. This poetry tells them a few secrets about themselves, about others, about life.

Among many things, what guides me in my private lessons is the understanding that the only one able to address the complexity of the human realm is the human.

Technological seeking of efficiency has developed the robot and artificial intelligence. Humans must act like robots and think like computers to make the association human/machine successful regarding productivity.

Question: is the human hug going to be replaced by an artificially made hug?

Dancing Tango we show off our capacity to hug, making with it a work of art.

Our hug is visible in as far as our footwork and beyond.

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi

This particular way of embracing is what distinguishes Argentine Tango from other partner dances.

It is precisely this characteristic what makes private lessons an essential part of your learning path.

Embracing your partner and dance Argentine Tango is to have a profound and creative conversation, full of joy and awakenings.

The process of learning to dance Argentine Tango requires training yourself in the art of such conversation.

There are not general formulas for your spontaneity, wit, and charm.

Connection and musicality, the most important elements of Argentine Tango, are the intrinsic fabric of this conversation.

Only in private lessons you will be guided accurately on the nuances and infinite shades that Argentine Tango can bring to your experience of dancing.

Start learning Argentine Tango with private lessons

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

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

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An introduction to the most important details

Find the answer

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Music to learn to dance

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"Becoming Argentina" blog image.

“Becoming Argentina” interviews Marcelo Solis

“Becoming Argentina” interviews Marcelo Solis

 Vance Woods (Independent Writer/Editor | Team Lead – Translations/Copy Editor – USA | Archivoz Magazine | Cataloger Valley Library Oregon State University)

I had the pleasure and honor to be interviewed by Vance Woods (Independent Writer/Editor | Team Lead – Translations/Copy Editor – USA | Archivoz Magazine | Cataloger Valley Library Oregon State University) for his blog “Becoming Argentina”.

We talked about how did I get to where I am today and how did the Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires come into being; about Tango as a multifaceted manifestation in dance, music, poetry, and more; he asked me what is my favorite tango lyric; about Tango, Argentina, and Buenos Aires; about the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on tango culture; about what it means to be a milonguero; on Tango as an industry as opposed to Tango as a cultural practice, and how these two aspects interact; and why do you I think that Tango has so strongly appeal.
I enjoyed so much this interview and I know you are going to enjoy it too.

Read the interview

Continue learning about Argentine Tango:

More articles about Argentine Tango

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

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

Tango is a culture

Learn more about Tango

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango at a milonga in Buenos Aires.

Stanford University Radio interviewing Marcelo Solís, 2014.

Stanford University Radio interviewing Marcelo Solís, 2014.

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango at a milonga in Buenos Aires.

Listen to KZSU 90.1 Stanford University Radio, Elizabeth Trajtenberg interviewing Marcelo.

Released: 2014.

In this interview, I talk about my lifelong connection to Tango, my approach to teaching, and the differences between teaching Tango in Argentina and abroad.

We also talked about the history of Tango and its relationship to Argentine’s history and the world.

Here is the second part of the interview:

Elizabeth Trajtenberg is a personal consultant family constellations facilitator, NLP Coach, and radio host, based in San Jose, California.

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