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Argentine Tango School

Tag: philosophy

Unlocking the True Essence of Tango: Beyond the Dance Moves

Unlocking the True Essence of Tango: Beyond the Dance Moves

Marcelo Solis, an Argentine Tango Maestro, dances with Mimi in an elegant pose. Marcelo is dressed in a pinstriped suit while Mimi wears a red velvet dress, set against a two-tone green background.

Perhaps you were asking yourself: Why a Tango School?

When I receive a new student in my class, I only know that he or she wants to learn to dance. However, teaching to dance Tango involves not only showing the moves but also giving the student a sense of placement, making him or her aware that you cannot just make any move at any time.

I must give the new students a sense of Tango as a whole and make them understand that they are learning a culture.

I heard someone calling Tango a “sub-culture.” I do not agree. All the elements I have learned while studying Tango are substantial in general society and the broader world culture. I learned the importance of my body as the root of my existence. I learned a lot about my interaction with others and how my happiness or unhappiness affects everybody around me. In sum, I learned that everything I do affects everybody and everything in this world.

I have realized the importance of teaching the beauty of Tango.

In my classes, I teach almost all the elements you may have in your checklist that every Tango instructor claims to teach. Name your favorite element; there is a big chance I teach it.

However, the meaning that the move carries within is more important than the element itself.

A while ago, I attended an event related to Tango. I was chatting with a couple. They told me they took some tango classes. They asked me if I made my students change partners in my classes. I replied that yes, but that it was not obligatory, as I knew many couples liked to remain together during the class.

Then they said they were learning “colgadas” in one class and found it uncomfortable doing “colgadas” with other people.

I told them that learning “colgadas” did not make much sense because if they went to Buenos Aires milongas, they would find out that nobody was doing “colgadas” there.

They were surprised, and, I think, a little incredulous of my assertion. Since they never went to Buenos Aires, they could not tell for sure. But I do.

In my more than 20 years of teaching Tango in the Bay Area (and more than 30 years teaching Tango in Argentina and worldwide), I have discovered that the main obstacle to teaching a new student is to overcome all the previous ideas about Tango he or she brings to the class and change them into understanding what Tango really is.

Now, you are probably asking: What Tango is in reality?

My answer is that tango is what happens in the milonga. And when I say milonga, my image is that of the best of the most authentic milongas in Buenos Aires.

This guides my instruction, which is why, along with others who are after the same goal, we created the Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires.

Embracing the Cultural Roots of Tango

To truly appreciate and master Tango, one must embrace its cultural roots. Tango is a dance that reflects Argentina’s social, historical, and emotional landscapes projected to the world. The music, the lyrics, the movements—all these elements are deeply intertwined with a way of life. Understanding the origins of Tango provides my students with a richer context for their learning journey.

The Role of Music in Tango

Music is the heart and soul of Tango. Each note and rhythm tells a story. To dance Tango, one must connect with the music on a profound level. This means not just hearing the music but feeling it and interpreting it through movement. My students are encouraged to listen to classic Tango orchestras, understand the different styles, and learn to dance harmoniously with the music.

The Social Aspect of Tango

Tango is inherently social. The dance floor is a space where people come together, communicate nonverbally, and share a unique connection. This social aspect is crucial for understanding Tango. Although not obligatory, the practice of changing partners in class helps dancers adapt to different styles and builds a sense of community. It mirrors the social dynamics of a milonga, where dancers interact with multiple partners, enhancing their social skills and empathy.

Technique and Expression in Tango

While technique is essential, expression is what makes Tango captivating. Each movement in Tango should convey emotion and tell a story. This expressive quality sets Tango apart from other dances. I focus on the precision of steps and helping students express themselves through the dance. This balance between technique and expression makes Tango both challenging and rewarding.

Creating an Authentic Learning Environment

For a Tango school to be truly effective, it must recreate the atmosphere of an authentic milonga. This involves more than just teaching steps—it includes fostering a sense of community, encouraging cultural immersion, and promoting the etiquette and customs of Tango. By creating an environment that mirrors the Buenos Aires milongas, my students experience the true essence of Tango.

The Lifelong Journey of Tango

Learning Tango is a lifelong journey. There is always more to learn, refine, and experience. The joy of Tango lies in its endless possibilities for growth and discovery. I instill in my students a love for this ongoing journey, encouraging them to explore, experiment, create, and continually deepen their understanding of the dance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the essence of Tango lies in its rich cultural heritage, music, social dynamics, and expressive potential. Our tango school aims to impart technical skills and artistic and emotional depth to the dance. By doing so, I offer students a truly transformative experience that goes beyond the dance floor and resonates in their everyday lives.

The creation of the Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires is a testament to this holistic approach, ensuring that the true spirit of Tango is preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

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“El sueño del pibe” by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto Chanel in vocals, 1945.

“El sueño del pibe” by Osvaldo Pugliese y su Orquesta Típica with Roberto Chanel in vocals, 1945.

Reinaldo Yiso, Argentine Tango lyricist.

Reinaldo Yiso

Lyricist (April 6, 1915 – December 15, 1978)

It was in 1945 when Reinaldo Yiso found wide acclaim with the tango “El sueño del pibe”, recorded that year by Osvaldo Pugliese with his friend and neighbor Roberto Chanel on vocals. 

The subject of soccer approached in this tango produced a widespread famous lyric. 

In “El sueño del pibe” the author reminisces his own times of happiness and illusion that he spent in his youth.

Read more about Reinaldo Yiso at www.todotango.com

Listen and buy:

We are happy to have a collaboration with the people from tangotunes.com from whom some of you may have heard, they do high-quality transfers from original tango shellacs.

It is the number 1 source for professional Tango DJs all over the world.

  • Now they started a new project that addresses the dancers and the website is https://en.mytango.online
    You will find two compilations at the beginning, one tango and one vals compilation in amazing quality.
    The price is 50€ each (for 32 songs each compilation) and now the good news!

If you enter the promo code 8343 when you register at this site you will get a 20% discount!

Thanks for supporting this project, you will find other useful information on the site, a great initiative.

Ver este artículo en español

More Argentine Tango music selected for you:

We have lots more music and history

How to dance to this music?

“Marioneta” by Alfredo De Angelis y su Orquesta Típica with Floreal Ruiz in vocals, 1943.

“Marioneta” by Alfredo De Angelis y su Orquesta Típica with Floreal Ruiz in vocals, 1943.

Floreal Ruiz, Argentine Tango singer.

Floreal Ruiz

Singer (March 29, 1916 – April 17, 1978)

He was undoubtedly a subtle, delicate singer with excellent diction, which allowed the understanding of the lyrics and their dramatics.

In 1943, he joined the orchestra led by Alfredo De Angelis, with whom he recorded eight numbers; the first was “Marioneta”.

Admired by the new generations, he is the model of a way of feeling and interpreting our Tango.

In his adolescence, around 1934, Floreal ventured into singing serenades.

Despite his father’s opposition, he appeared in singers selection contests using pseudonyms.

In 1936, he won the first prize on Radio Fénix.

Read more about Floreal Ruiz at www.todotango.com

Listen and buy:

We are happy to have a collaboration with the people from tangotunes.com from whom some of you may have heard, they do high-quality transfers from original tango shellacs.

It is the number 1 source for professional Tango DJs all over the world.

  • Now they started a new project that addresses the dancers and the website is https://en.mytango.online
    You will find two compilations at the beginning, one tango and one vals compilation in amazing quality.
    The price is 50€ each (for 32 songs each compilation) and now the good news!

If you enter the promo code 8343 when you register at this site you will get a 20% discount!

Thanks for supporting this project, you will find other useful information on the site, a great initiative.

Ver este artículo en español

We have lots more music and history

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

“Nada” by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Podestá in vocals, 1944.

“Nada” by Carlos Di Sarli y su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Podestá in vocals, 1944.

Horacio Sanguinetti, Argentine Tango lyricist

Horacio Sanguinetti

Lyricist (March 19, 1914 – December 19, 1957)

Many reasons coincide with considering him as one of the pens that helped to lend prestige to Tango literature, especially during the period deservedly famous, which has remained known in the genre’s history as The Forties.

Horacio Sanguinetti belonged to that qualified and unforgettable generation of musicians, composers, authors and interpreters.

By sensitivity, temper, and generational activity, he easily transcended through an abundant output -rich and notorious-even though with ups and downs; he is regarded and consecrated in a large number by titles that had easily overcome oblivion.

The fact that during that decade, it was impossible to find any outstanding orchestra that had not recorded some of his pieces is undeniable evidence of the level and importance of Tango’s creative labor.

Read more about Horacio Sanguinetti at www.todotango.com

Listen and buy:

We are happy to have a collaboration with the people from tangotunes.com from whom some of you may have heard, they do high-quality transfers from original tango shellacs.

It is the number 1 source for professional Tango DJs all over the world.

  • Now they started a new project that addresses the dancers and the website is https://en.mytango.online
    You will find two compilations at the beginning, one tango and one vals compilation in amazing quality.
    The price is 50€ each (for 32 songs each compilation) and now the good news!

If you enter the promo code 8343 when you register at this site you will get a 20% discount!

Thanks for supporting this project, you will find other useful information on the site, a great initiative.

More Argentine Tango music selected for you:

Ver este artículo en español

We have lots more music and history

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

Mastering the Art of Argentine Tango: A Roadmap to Dance Excellence

Mastering the Art of Argentine Tango: A Roadmap to Dance Excellence

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

Building Your Tango Foundation: The Power of Solo Practice and Musicality

Regular practice incorporating walking, weight changes, pauses, pivots, turns, “paradas” (stops), “calecitas” (merry-go-rounds), and embellishments serves as the cornerstone of your dancing freedom.

The best part? You can enhance these crucial elements without a partner by your side.

But that’s not all. Argentine Tango demands solo dedication in various aspects.

Musicality, for instance, plays a pivotal role in your tango journey.

To hone your musicality, immerse yourself in active listening to Tango music, delving into the intricacies of what you hear.

This newfound understanding will elevate your dancing to new heights.

The forthcoming tips are universally applicable, whether you’re engaged in solo practice or dancing alongside your partner:

1- Enhance Your Walking Skills:

Unlock the Potential in Your Walking Technique Initiate your practice sessions focusing on walking.

Explore four different walking speeds: regular, fast, slow, and very slow.

Begin by mastering the slow pace, allocating 4 counts for each step.

Next, dedicate time to practicing at a regular pace, aligning your steps with each downbeat of the music.

To work on fast-walking skills, engage in what’s commonly referred to as the “corrida.”

This involves walking to a rapid rhythm following a quick-quick-slow pattern or a down-up-down sequence.

Tango invites you to transform your walk – and, by extension, your entire life – into a masterpiece of artistry.

More walking exercises…

2- Change Of Weight:

A ‘change of weight’ is essentially a nuanced form of walking. It takes place in one spot without any physical displacement.

When you begin your dance, consider incorporating at least one change of weight to infuse elegance into your movements. However, avoid excessive changes, as moderation is key.

Here, you’ll discover a selection of exercises aimed at refining and enhancing your ability to execute seamless changes of weight:


Approach these changes with a composed demeanor. When dancing with your partner, your execution of this element should convey a soothing and serene presence to them.

More change of weight exercises…

3- Pauses:

Pauses rank among the paramount components of Tango.

While honing your techniques, actively seek instances where you can incorporate pauses.

For instance, consider incorporating a pause during a salida to the side, also known as a “salida in 2,” as a prime example.

You can make a pause in position 3:

After change of direction:

4- Pivots:

To refine your pivot technique, you can commence with bar exercises.

In the absence of a bar, utilize a chair, preferably one with a high backrest, to assist in practicing forward and backward ochos. Place your hands on the back of the chair for support.

Afterward, push your limits by practicing ochos without relying on the bar or chair for support.

Work on forward and backward ochos with both displacements and without any displacement during your practice sessions.

5- Mastering the Art of Tango Turns: A Guide to Five Essential Techniques

One of the most effective methods for enhancing your turning abilities in Argentine Tango is through chair exercises. These exercises provide an excellent platform for refining your technique and balance, making them valuable to your practice routine. Incorporating chair exercises into your training regimen can significantly improve your turns and elevate your overall dance performance.

Chair exercises offer a controlled environment where you can focus on the precise mechanics of turning. They allow you to work on your posture, balance, and footwork, which is essential for executing smooth and graceful turns in Tango. The support provided by the chair also ensures that you can practice safely and confidently, gradually building your skills.

Find a sturdy chair with a high backrest to get started with chair exercises for turns. Position it in an open space with ample room to move around. Here are some essential exercises you can incorporate:

And exercises involving the 1-2-3 structure of the turns:

Ensure that you practice all exercises in both clockwise and counterclockwise turning directions.

Engage in chair exercises but without the use of an actual chair.

Another element frequently incorporated into turns is the “rulo.”

And “enrosques” movements:

6- Exploring the Technique of “Paradas” (stops):

Developing control over both your own inertia and your partner’s is a crucial skill in Argentine Tango.

A valuable practice method is to challenge yourself to halt your movement at any point within the first five elements previously mentioned.

A classic illustration of stops is the “sanguchito” or “mordida” move:

7- Unlocking the Elegance of the “Calecita” in Argentine Tango

In this element, the follower must align her axis over one of her feet, enabling the leader to maintain a continuous pivot in one direction.

See an example:

8- Elevating Your Tango with Exquisite Embellishments:

A solid foundation in your dance forms the basis for its beauty.

Think of embellishments as a natural expression of your well-honed technique rather than mere add-ons or flashy movements.

It’s crucial to understand that no matter how many embellishments you incorporate into your dance, if your foundational walk is lacking, it will detract from the overall appeal.

Embellishments should seamlessly emerge from the groundwork you’ve laid in your dance practice. They are not isolated tricks but rather an integral part of your dance vocabulary, enhancing the elegance and expression of your movements. So, focus on building a strong foundation first, and let embellishments naturally enrich your dance as an organic extension of your skills.

Here are a few instances of embellishments, starting with “Cepillo” (brush):

“Rulos” (circles):

“Cross and go”:

9- The Art of Musicality:

Elevating your musicality involves actively immersing yourself in the world of Argentine Tango music.

Listen to Tango music now!

Osvaldo Pugliese, Argentine Tango orchestra.

Important Considerations to Keep in Mind:

Embrace regular and mindful practice.

Ensure it fills you with joy. By prioritizing your own enjoyment during practice, you cultivate generosity in sharing this joy with your dance partners and fellow dancers on the milonga and class floors.

Furthermore:

Dancing shouldn’t be daunting – It’s a journey of joy, creativity, and self-discovery.

Dancing is your time for amusement, self-expression, and relaxation, a chance to socialize and unwind in a friendly environment. To dance with a sense of freedom and confidence, you’ll need to embrace a challenge greater than Tango itself – the journey of classes and practice sessions.

Moreover:

Prioritize self-care for peak performance in your dancing.

    1. Incorporate stretching and regular exercise into your routine.
    2. Cultivate healthy eating habits and ensure adequate sleep for enhanced dance performance.

To Summarize:

Dancing Argentine Tango offers a path to not only organize your life but also to empower yourself and discover meaningful life goals.

Ultimately, it’s a journey towards making life more beautiful.

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

Continue learning Argentine Tango:

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