In this section we will be exploring musicality in Tango, milonga and Valse in many different, but always, fun ways.
Musicality is more than just steps on the beat!
We have a series of videos to help you build your musicality. All of them have one common characteristic, that they gone step further than teaching you where the beat is, how to mark it and how to follow it when dancing.
Not that this is not important… It is SUPER important!
But we want to go a little bit further and start to identify other things in the music such as the melody, the rhythm, the intention, the emotion etc.
I hope you will enjoy and keep checking this page as there is certainly more coming..! 😉
A Simple yet powerful musicality drill for walks and ochos
The great thing about this drill is that it brings together technique and musicality.
This way you have the opportunity to work on both like I am doing in the video or to focus on musicality more than technique and vice versa.
The most important part though is that it is a great tool for you to keep your practice real–aka connected to what you need for rich experiences on the dance floor.
1) Musicality drills on Milonga Vol.1
I received a wish from one of our readers, for some tips on milonga.
“I am hoping to learn how to dance a milonga and I’m working on it, any thoughts?” John
So I decided to make a video using basic musicality drills for the milonga, everyone should be working on if they want to learn or enhance their dancing, all in one song.
So with no further ado, here is the video, with the beautiful music of Edgardo Donato: “Ella es asi”
Milonga Musicality Drills #1
A few tips to help you during your practice
- Choose a song that is relatively slow and has a very clear rhythm
- Manage the distribution of your weight. You shouldn’t be over your toes, THAT is too much forward. It will challenge your balance, your speed and plus it will hurt your foot.
- As you can see I am alternating my leading leg, between my right and left foot.
During your practice, spend some time keeping the downbeat on the right before you switch over the left
- It doesn’t matter if you are a leader or a follower, you are equally responsible in keeping the rhythm. You must always keep the rhythm!
- Even if you have done this before use it as a strategy to internalize the rhythm, to feel that you are keeping the rhythm within your body and not only with your feet
- Also use it as an opportunity to detect any spots holding tension, such as shoulders, hips, back etc
- Move your body as one piece
- Keep your steps small and light
2)Musicality Drills for Milonga Vol.2
If you are having trouble with milonga and you just happened to land on this video:
Milonga Musicality Drills# 2
I suggest you watch the video shared above first!
Here we will be using double beat or traspie as we call it in Tango, and even though it is a lot of fun, it can be rather challenging if you are now starting with milonga.
So check the first video, try the exercises provided in that one and then you are set to go to Vol.2
Exploring the basic rhythmical patterns
Most of the times we start from the music; we try to identify the beat, the rhythm, the melody etc and then we match to it the sequences we know.
In this video we will do the opposite. We will explore the rhythm the steps themselves have. Every step has an optimal rhythm, a rhythm that allows for efficiency and smoothness during the execution of that specific step. Noticing that rhythm, will not only make the matching the music easier, but also our movement more free and effortless
Noticing what the music feels like
This video is an attempt to show the different qualities in the music produces from only a few of Tango’s Golden Era orchestras.
It is not trying to capture how the dancers feel when hearing or dancing to the music. But how the music feels… it might like a soft touch or punch, something epidermic or something visceral.
We are not looking for adjectives like: good, bad, sad, happy etc… Those are not really helpful in understanding the music. The words behind those adjectives reveal the qualities of the music.
So take a moment listening to the songs and then watch the videos. I tried as much as possible to keep the sequences the same for all four songs, so they can be comparable as much as possible. See if you can spot the differences and then give it a go for yourselves.
Music: 1. Mi Dolor, D’Arienzo 2. Malena, Troilo 3. Recuerdo, Pugliese 4. Quiero verte una vez mas, Biagi
A few tips to help you during your practice
- Choose a song that it is not too fast and that you actually like…
You will be listening to it again and again so it should something you enjoy. At the same time it shouldn’t be something too fast especially if you are still struggling with milonga.
The song I am using is rather slow for a milonga so it is actually perfect for our purpose
You can look for: Edgardo Donato: “Ella es asi”
- Build it up slowly. Don’t rush through the video. Instead spend enough time in each section, making sure that you’ve got the rhythm of milonga constantly in your mind, body and feet
- For those of you, who have done salsa, this might actually become a bit easier if you notice the similarities.
So in double time/ traspie we have: right-and-right, left-and-left which is your salsa rhythm…YAY!
Listen for it in the milonga!
- Keep your steps small and your shifts of weight tight.
Notice that you don’t really need much to shift the weight from one foot to the other
- Manage the changes in rhythm, from single to double beat, using a pyramid system:
Single beat–4 double beat steps–single beat–>
Single–3 double steps–single–>
Single–2 double beat steps–single–>
Single–1 double beat step–single
This way you won’t get overwhelmed. And of course you can start from more than 4 making this a longer pyramid.
- Be aware of your posture. Feel your whole body participating in this, instead of your body falling back or pushing forward.
Give yourself the chance to detect any spots of tension…
Can you find a way to use what we have learned about posture here?
- Lastly, don’t forget to treat yourself with a dance in the end