“Find your passion. Find your love!” Veronica Toumanova

When I asked Veronica Toumanova what would be one phrase that she would like to write on a billboard she said to me:

“Find your passion. Find your love!” 

And then added a phrase of the great Eric Franklin:
“In dance the most important technique is the love of dance”

What I loved about my chat with Veronica Toumanova

You know between Toronto and Paris there is a time difference of 6 hours–they are ahead…! We got this chat set up for Sunday morning 8:30am… What you might not know is that I am not a morning person and that it was Greek Easter on Saturday so I got to bed rather early… in the morning…hahaha

If you are now thinking:
Boohoohoo! Poor Chrisa she didn’t get her beauty sleep..!

You are ABSOLUTELY right!
Because this lady gave me so much energy, so much inspiration, so much power and will and love that I am now empowered for months!

That is what I loved about our chat: her passion and her sharing personality, which I am sure all of you who have taken classes with her have already experienced.

So even though this is a bit longer than all the other Tango chats, I want to encourage you to listen to it, it will make time stop!

If you are looking for inspiration, for answers on why you are suffering in the milongas and classes, for how we learn and why you feel like you are progressing too slow and most importantly how you can keep going when the frustrating moments come..? Then I believe you won’t be disappointed.

So, click on the video above and enjoy!

Chat notes:

How you can reach Veronica Toumanova: www.verotango.com
or through Facebook: Veronica Toumanova
or through Tango Mon Amour: http://www.tangomonamour.com

Read her book “Why Tango”: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Tango-learning-dancing-argentino/dp/1517189470

El Corte milonga/ classes/ workshops: http://www.elcorte.com

Eric Franklin: https://franklinmethod.com

 

 

How to become more creative on the dance floor

{Fear} less in the dance floor * Escape the dance of boredom * Be bold be beautiful be YOU

“I want to feel creative, I want to share the moment with my partner… Isn’t that what Tango is really about anyway…?” H

One of my students Mr. H, was really frustrated when he joined Intelligent Tango. During our welcome call, he shared his passion for Tango but also his deep disappointment of how he felt stuck, nervous, and robotic while on the dance floor.

Knowing that Tango is an improvisational dance he was hoping to be “creative and expressive” on the dance floor and able to enjoy his dances with his partner.

This is one of the biggest Tango- pains… Longing for THAT moment of freedom, for when we will be able to just dance, and be ourselves, that never comes…

Why we are not creative on the dance floor?

Most people will say that it is lack of confidence. And that is partly true… I mean, of course the more you dance the more comfortable you will get with it and therefore you will be able to enjoy it more

BUT are you going to be creative, or are you just going to be preforming more moves with ease..?
They are two very different things!

So, lets take a step back and look at the big picture, here for a moment. What do we have..?

We mostly have classes and workshops that are based either on technique or on sequences.
Personally, after having spent a few years teaching sequence-based classes and then switching over to technique-based classes, I came to realize that both are deficient in one of many ways: they are strictly instructional!

Now why is that a problem, you may wonder… we need instruction after all, no?

Yes of course we do!
At the same time though, we need a bridge from instructional, to improvisational, to spontaneous, to creative.
If we as teachers do not provide our students with that bridge they will always feel stuck in the instructional phase.
Even if they know enough sequences that they can put them together and dance a full song, they will still not feel/ be creative.

A bridge between instruction and improvisation

The first step towards improvising, towards creating is noticing

It doesn’t matter if the class is technique or sequence based, as long you start paying attention to how a movement–as it is developing–is changing your body, what it feels like, whether your senses are picking up any feedback.

The second step would be mapping or tracking that experience

It could through a mechanical tracking device…haha… a video camera. Or through a physical tracking device, your own nervous system.
Part of what our nervous system does is to record patterns.
This way you can come back to those experiences, revisit them, and see if you want to build on them or if you want repeat them.

Ok! I am feeling I need to share an example here…
creative walk
by Anais Gomez: https://anaisgomez.deviantart.com/art/Walking-Cycle-thumbnails-556119469

This image above shows us the efficient way to walk, how our body was built to walk.
Notice on the top row  right in the middle, how the manikin’s body has a forward intention. The chest is open, the hips are back, the spine is long… Do these remind you of anything..? Tangoooo Class! haha

Notice#1: your body goes through these cues every moment of your day that you happen to take a step
Notice#2: as you are practicing your walks pay attention to all the other positions of transition
Notice#3: get a sense of how it is to walk in the way your body was build to walk
Notice#4: how does it make you feel? And how it affects your dance?

Track#1: instead of trying to confirm the rules of Tango, and what you already know, trust and dive into this with an explorative mind, let every practice make a mark in your unconscious
Track#2: Write down or share your experience with a friend in great detail
Track#3: make videos, look at yourself going through the motion without being judgemental but trying to identify the patterns of movement

How do you know it is working?
If the next time you go in, to practice on your walk, and the first thought that comes to mind is: “Remember yesterday when you did X and your walk felt like Y..?”

When you can ask yourself: Remember yesterday…?
You are on the RIGHT path!
And when you start feeling you actually have the awareness to answer: “YES! Lets explore further”
You are actually progressing towards being creative

What does being creative really mean?

Many people when they hear creative the first word that comes to mind is: FREE!

And I am one of these people..hahaha
But what does being free means?

Free doesn’t mean absence of rules. Being free means you have such a deep knowledge and such a great understanding of the rules, that you can revisit them, you can break them, you can change them and you can create your own.

As the Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen has said in her book “Sensing, feeling and Action”: “Our creativity flows out of our unconscious–an unknown giving birth to knowing as our consciousness listens. Our conscious mind can then discover the form or pattern that emerges from the unfolding of the creative process. The insight into the pattern of the process can further open and expand the awareness of unconscious expression

As you may understand it is a beautiful dialog, between our conscious and unconscious mind. and though it seems abstract and like a long way there, it is TOTALLY worth it!

We can do it together if you want to… the only thing you need to do is to subscribe!

Hope to see you in the Bautanz Community,
Chrisa

P.S: More on getting more creative: The penultimate rules on being more creative– by James Altucher

 

 

Being musical–So much more than doing steps on the beat

Remember last week when we were talking about music?

About the magic, the power that music has… That great magical power to bring back memories, to fill us up with joy,  grief, nostalgia, hope, love.

Aaaah! Yes!

So what on earth happens when it comes to dancing to the music? Why, even though we want to be musical and expressive, do we throw all of that out the window?

Is it Tango music that is complicate or are you not paying attention?

We completely ignore of all that beauty, all that power mentioned above and either focus solely on the beat, trying to find that damn 1

Or even worse we ignore the music in TOTAL and we focus sequences that don’t even matter…

Now I am not saying that sequences are not important. But it is good to make a distinction here of what they really are… they are nice sentences that will get you to start a conversation BUT won’t ensure that your conversation doesn’t end up being boring..!

Oh shoot! I forgot…there is something even worse… Doing both of those at the same time..!

Being musical–SO much more than just steps on a beat vol. #2

Our focus in this video is to find a way to become more musical, more expressive with the music.
For this reason, we are using basic almost primitive–Tango wise– elements. This way we don’t have to worry about the technical aspect of the movement and we can explore freely the different moods in the music and take a step further towards embodying the music.

Here are a few tips to help you out:

  1. Don’t dive into it right away, listen to the music first.
    Listen actively,  for the changes in rhythm, for the changes in mood, for any melancholic melodic parts, or strong beats and of course listen for the pauses. To become more musical, you need to start from the music

  2. Then after you start feeling more secure with the song you choose–YES stick to 1 song–start making little choreographs in your head. Imagine yourself dancing to it, see in your mind your options

  3. Time for your SIMPLEST options to come to life.
    Keep it simple. Walks and shifts of weight, that is all I am doing, and I encourage you to do the same.
    Focus on learning the music through movement instead of trying to fit different sequences to it.

  4. Last but not least, ENJOY it.
    And how do you do that, give permission to yourself to suck! haha
    The first few times will feel strange and awkward and you will find yourself thinking that you don’t know what you are doing.
    That is absolutely normal and the FUN part of the whole process.
    Let yourself be moved by the music and you will find your way. Start simple, be patient and laugh at your fails!

Oh! I almost forgot… HAVE FUN!

Chrisa

P.S: If you are wondering why it says vol. #2 it is because we had a
vol. #1 some time ago, here it is: https://bautanz.com/2017/09/13/musicality-means-embodying-music/

The power of Music..!

Music! I can’t think of anyone saying: “Bah… I don’t really like music..!” haha

Music makes our lives full!

When we are happy, we put the radio to full blast, sing at the top of our voice and dance in the rain
And when we are sad we cry to the music we love, we post sad songs on facebook and we dance out our despair.

Unforgettable moments are marked by music. Moments that make such a strong imprint in you that become part of you…
You don’t think of them, or even remember them but one spark is enough to bring them back to life..!

Experience
Life
Presence
Connection
Art

“I also think that creative work is essential to our survival(…) Otherwise, without a skilled means of communicating the depth of our feeling, we invite depression” Andrea–(Sensing, feeling and action. The experiential anatomy of Body Mind Centering)

The power of music!

This documentary I think made a strong imprint in me. Every time I am working with a group with dementia, or Alzheimer’s or even autism, I see THIS very documentary come to life.

I see the spark, the joy, the hope in people’s eyes!

That was one of the reasons I wanted to share this documentary with you today the other reason is a more dance-y reason…

Because it reveals that music is not just beat.
Music is memory, it is experience and when it connects with our inner rhythm it can give us an endless, effortless flow of movement. It can move us even when we thought there was really no hope..!

Sometimes Tango music seems foreign to us and difficult to understand. What is causing this feeling though?

The fact that we haven’t made it part of our lives.

We listen to Tango music only when we have our Tango-hat on, when we go to class, to a milonga or when we practice. Even if we listen to it while commuting we are still looking for something, steps, beats, pauses, clues… we don’t listen just for the fun of listening.

It is not therefore part of our lives, it isn’t part of us.

Try to make Tango music part of YOU.
Listen to it while living your life
Connect it to special moments and to absolutely regular moments.
Allow yourself to make it part of your daily experience

Enjoy and please if you loved this documentary, please share..!
I think I have never asked you to do this with anything, and I have no affiliation with the creators of the documentary or the producer but personally I find it is something worth sharing

Chrisa

P.S: I found this documentary with Spanish subtitles purely out of luck on youtube but this is the original team of creators: Alive Inside

P.P.S: You can bring this element in your practice too: https://bautanz.com/2017/09/13/musicality-means-embodying-music/

Posture–2 exercises to make it better

In the beginning I was looking for better posture just because the rules of Tango said so.
Then I was looking for better posture because I felt it to be my personal little dance before I connected to my partner.
It helped me get into the mood, https://bautanz.com/2017/05/08/intelligent-tango-posture/

And now, I see posture as a chance for me to capture the subtleties of Tango. My chance to be more creative in my body and offer something of greater value to my partner than simply following!

2 exercises for a juicer posture

I so like this title better..! haha

Yes! this is the purpose of this video: flow-y, juicy, effortless posture

A few extra info to accompany the video tips

Mr. Skeleton here is going to help us out a bit..!

First let’s revisit one of the most common cues that has messed up everyone–or almost everyone– in Tango

“Lift your sternum/ chest up”
I am sure you have heard one or more teachers say that, only to see them, come back a few minutes later to say: “Relax. Breathe!” haha

Well, one affects the other… Let’s see how..!

You can definitely lift the sternum up by pinching your shoulder blades together, but that will cause tension and shortness of breath and it won’t really help you expand the rib cage in any enjoyable way.

Look at the picture below…

The rib cage is a set bone structure that connects to the spine at the back and the sternum at the front. Now notice the shape of the rib cage. It is oval and with a downward orientation–aka anterroinferiorly.

So from this picture can you now imagine what happens when you LIFT the sternum?
If not… go ahead and give one last try… noticing how it makes you feel, noticing how the spine where the ribs meet is pressing forward…

Look at the picture again… it makes sense, no?
Since we have this oval, downward shape, when you lift the front up, you are going to have a compression from the back…

Instead of expanding we are actually compressing, with the heart and lungs being squished, causing shortness of breath and possible heart circulatory problems in the future…
So not only it is uncomfortable, it is also dangerous..!

Taking your focus to what really matters… effortless movement

Tap into our breath, and expand the rib cage to the left and right, front and back, instead of up and down.
During the inhale things are rather obvious… As you inhale the thoracic diaphragm flattens, as you exhale it comes back to THIS original shape, you see it below:


Notice the dome shape of the diaphragm, imagine the floating energy it has during every exhale.

It works like a ball that you press under the water…
Remember when you did that as kids or for your kids?
What happened when you released the ball?
2things… The ball went up and some water left and right..!

Do the same with air coming in and floating out!
Inhale and feel your diaphragm grow and then exhale feel the diaphragm going back to normal and the rest of the energy giving your ribs an expansion to left and the right.

Find movement from within–Getting stuck is the REAL problem

Our spine can move in many many MANY different ways, all beautiful and healthy.
Limiting your options and getting our body STUCK even if it covers all the criteria of “good” posture is actually BAD posture.

Don’t look for good posture, look for a healthy spine, for full movement, that can give you a structure that breathes

Enjoy,
Chrisa

P.S: More on posture?
https://bautanz.com/2017/04/04/posture-argentine-tango-feel-unnatural/
https://bautanz.com/2017/04/19/posture-tango-feels-unnatural-2-reasons/
https://bautanz.com/2017/05/21/intelligent-tango-posture-element-embrace/
https://bautanz.com/argentine-tango-technique/tension/

 

 

 

 

Don’t buy into your own Tango-BS…!

Pardon my french but it is a throwback Wednesday, and the more I think about how I behaved in the past and what it cost me there is no other way to describe all that negative talk I gave to myself but Tango-BS.

Saturday night in a big milonga a few years ago…

Myself and a group of friends head over for our weekly dance.
We get there in a Greek person manner–aka around 11pm..!haha
And of course the place is packed, there are only a few free chairs by the wall arranged in doctor’s-office manner
You know, patients sitting side by side, half- turning and whispering to each other:: “What a great scientist”… haha..

We weren’t patients but we certainly looked like ones.
Pasted smiles on our faces, looking blankly ahead, with an aura of I-don’t-want-to-be-here and OF COURSE… whispering to each other….haha…its the chairs I tell you..!
But we were saying something like: “Argh! The energy in this place…” “There is no one to dance with…” “It just feels so unwelcoming…”

A few unsatisfying dances later, and we were on our way to home feeling more grim than when we entered.

After that night I didn’t go back there for months.

I chose places a lot smaller, occupied by groups of people with a specific view over Tango. And I had created the strongest excuse for myself: “I just can’t bear to go back to that place. The energy is just soooooo…”  (so..? I don’t know)

via GIPHY

And the icing on the cake..? I had surrounded myself with people who would jump to the opportunity to make that view even stronger. That created a comforting feeling, the illusion of being right, the illusion of being happy.

When we were not dancing we would either be talking about Tango as an idea, a concept, a healing modality, a true Art or complaining about everything and everyone.

BREAKING NEWS

We were the TANGO MESSIAHS  and you have missed the opportunity to get your spot in the Tango heavens! Hahaha…NOT!

In reality we were a bunch of Tangueros/as wanna-be-s, living in a bubble, who had bought into their own BS!

What Tango-BS are you buying in?
  1. My community is too unwelcoming?
  2. People they don’t want to get any better,  just don’t want to practice?
  3. Argh! The energy is too tough?
  4. There is literally nobody to dance with?
  5. Men prefer the young and good-looking ones…. Etc etc

I am sorry but THIS is pure, true TANGO-BS!
Personally it was tough to admit that I was in a bad place psychologically, and being a bit shy I couldn’t reach out to anyone.
So I preferred to throw the blame on other people… I bet at some level you are doing the same. SO get down to what really is the problem!

As Jerzy Gregorek says in Tribe of Mentors  “take 100 responsibility for {your} part” (Ferriss, Timothy. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World –pg. 115)

Start to look at how YOU can change first before you demand from others to change then you will start to that there is a lot room for YOU to grow, to enjoy your milongas more and to make new friends.

Better your dance level, better your outfit, better your attitude, better your psychology, better your mindset. YOU can do all that.

It all starts with YOU!
But if you are still not sure how, subscribe to Bautanz, and we can do it together..! 😉

Chrisa

Constructing Dance

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