A Tango private that costed 400$. WHAT THE {TANGO} HELL?

A private class with this wonderful teacher, Pablo Veron costed 250$ last year!
250$ PLUS travel expenses  to and from the city he was in…
We are looking at 400$ and a 12 hour round trip, to take ONE Tango private class.
FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS

Common expected reactions:

“Why? Couldn’t you have taken a private with someone from your city?”
“Was it at least 4 times better than other private classes?”
“This is just RIDICULOUS!”
“Did you have a partner to split it, at least?” Or
“Are you…?(Add one of the following: crazy, insane, out-of-your-mind, stupid, a show-off etc.)

Well, we would have the same reaction to a hamburger costing $250…It DOES exist!
See for yourselves…THIS hamburger
Or to $1392.74 Manolo Blahnik shoes…THESE shoes
Or to a $6000 Tom Ford suit…THIS suit

Why would someone pay that much money for 1 hamburger, 1 pair of shoes, 1 suit, ONE hour private class?

I used to think that spending this amount of money is irrational to say the least…But I never stopped to ask myself…WHY are people spending all this money?

I admit I haven’t tried the hamburger BUT I did try on those Manolo’s…
When I looked in the mirror, it was like looking at someone else’s feet! haha
I am not joking the shoes fitted perfectly and they transformed my feet, they made them look like a million dollars.
And I am sure, gentlemen that if someone gave you James Bond’s suit for free, a suit that fits like a glove as if it sown for you, you would have put it on and suddenly you would have felt a few inches taller yourself.

BEFORE the thought: “THIS IS TOO EXPENSIVE! IT IS RIDICULOUS” hits you

Ask yourselves is it just a matter of mere luxury? People with no sense who just spend money here and there?
Or could it be that people who pay 100x more, on something they are passionate about, they get the experience, the taste, the style, the knowledge, the satisfaction of a level of ONE HUNDRED times higher than normal?

Am I saying you should RUN out and buy that pair of Manolo’s you have been eyeing of some time now? No!

I am only suggesting though that we take some time to understand what is going on here, before we label something as ridiculous.
And allow ourselves the question: “Is this something I truly love and, therefore worth, every penny?”

It wouldn’t matter how great this hamburger is, to someone who doesn’t really care about food?
A fancy suit and amazing shoes might mean NOTHING to someone who never wears suits or high heels, right? haha

Going back to the private class…that class gave me:
Material that I worked on, for at least 6 months during my practice.
Elements that I used right away while social dancing that made me feel amazing on the dancefloor on that very same night.
Technique tips that I used to better myself and teach my students.
All that and much more in ONE hour!

Do the math…

1 hour with a fabulous teacher= $400
6 months with an OK teacher= $2400

Despite all that though, hadn’t I been truly passionate about Tango, hadn’t I known this world- famous teacher, hadn’t I been ready to hear him out and ask the right questions, would I still have chosen to take the class?

And if I did, would it be worth it or mere luxury?

SO FOR TODAY: What has been for you the most expensive thing/experience you spent money on?

I am just curious — What was the most expensive thing you ever paid for?

Was it buying an amazing pair of shoes? Treating yourself to Tango holidays? Staying at a 5Star hotel?
Come on! Spit it out!
You can share anything at all, NO judgment here.
Let’s just talk about what it was that you spent your money on and how it made you feel?

And next time I will give you tips on how to spend your money and time in Tango, so you can experience high quality instruction, guilt free and with amazing effects on your progress!

-Chrisa

P.S: Coming UP: I will tell you how to choose your classes, your teachers and the content of your privates depending on your level.
What questions to ask… How to time your classes… When to shift your perspective and towards what… and much more! Stay tuned

You don’t need to be amazing to have a good time! OWN your next milonga, even if you are a beginner, showing up alone and with poor social skills.

I am sure you have had nights when you desperately want to go out dancing but after you typed on Facebook: “anyone going out for Tango this weekend?” you heard only crickets…
So what did you guys do?
Did you go out anyhow or did you chicken out and stayed at home?

Is going ALONE to a milonga, a NO-NO for you?
You can’t bare the thought of sitting at a table all alone, waiting for a dance..?
You are not having a good time because you are always dancing with the same people, but at the same time you don’t know where to start with meeting new people..?
Are you feeling like everyone hates you from the minute you walk in so you might as well turn around and run back to the subway and never show your face in a milonga ever again unless you are absolutely positively sure that someone you know is there..?

If this is you, then you are in luck!
Because here I will share a few crispy, practical tips on milonga social attitude that will get you out of the tough spot and you can use them right away at your next milonga.

If you have picked up the guide for Tango training you will see there is a section on social skills.
(If you haven’t it is still available here with your subscription: Ultimate guide on Tango training for leaders and followers)
Why? Because Tango is a social dance SO you need to be sociable.
But what if you can’t? What if it is not natural to you? Should you give it all up? NO!
Can you always depend on other people in order to go out and dance? NO!
And should you wait until you are an amazing dancer to go to a milonga? NO and why would you?

Instead try this:
  1. Tip #1: Dress to Impress!
    Do you think you go unnoticed in the milonga? And therefore it doesn’t matter what you wear…
    I am going to break the news to you…You are not going by unnoticed, you are just ignored! There is a big difference!
    Like any public place, the milonga too, has a social etiquette. Part of that etiquette is a dress code. Would you go to a wedding wearing gym clothes? Or to the gym wearing a gown and high heels or a three piece suit?
    I HOPE NOT!

    You need to look like you BELONG, that you are PART of the party, that you are not just a by-passer but that you are there to DANCE!
    People don’t choose by looks in the milonga? WRONG!
    Of course they do! But that is even half the story…
    Not accepting dress code, means that you are not doing the least of effort to be part of that community. So if you won’t attempt fitting in, why do you expect other people to make an effort to include you?
    So next time, choose the right outfit for the right milonga.
    For example: If we are talking about a festival, you need to up your game a bit.
    You don’t need to pull your tucks or your wedding gown out of the closet. A nice pair of pants with a smart shirt and jacket or a nice dress will do!
    If though we are talking about an afternoon milonga, you can go more casual, but casual – smart NOT in your PAJAMAS!
    Dress appropriately not to show off, but for people to notice that you are ONE OF THEM, ready to dance!

    1. Tip #2: You don’t need to be Mr&Mrs Chatty to get a dance
      What you do need to be, is civil, nice and genuinely looking like you are having a good time!
      People won’t dance with you because you practice a lot, or because you are the BEST...People will dance with you because they feel that you are ready to spend time with them!
      Which means, walk in with a SMILE.
      A kind smile, a nod of the head and a welcome wave of the hand, is most of the times enough to make other people feel good and at ease around you and possibly come over and chat with you, which can lead to a dance as well.
  2. Tip #3: Go where the fish are!
    So you are uncomfortable starting a conversation and you hate the cabeceo…what do you do? (If you have the guide you can find plenty of tips on the cabeceo too!) Interestingly enough you have a few options here:
    1: the bar
    2: spare single seats–no table section
    3: stroll
    People who go alone to a milonga either sit at the bar, or if there is a spot with spare chairs, they sit there. Go and hang out there!
    Approach with a smile and most likely the more conversational people will come and chat with you or at least the barman will chat with you…better than nobody! haha
    Being there, the odds of getting asked to dance are higher already. Plus, if you are a leader, asking the follower right next to you for a dance is a lot easier…all you need to do is turn around, smile, and offer your hand. A lot easier than trying to cabeceo someone on the other side of the room.
    Option 3 goes hand-in-hand with the other two…Instead, of running to the bar as if you have sneaked in the milonga without paying, youstroll! Keep your cool, look around relaxed, smile to people, wave your hellos, and gently take your seat over at the bar.
    Show confidence, connect with other people as you pass by and focus on understanding who is looking for a dance..!
  3. Tip #4: The embrace is now your comfort zone, and your partner is part of it
    Get some tips on the embrace here:
    http://bautanz.com/2016/11/07/12mins-in-the-arms-of-a-stranger/ 
    But what we care about is what happens when the song ends…
    REMEMBER: YOU ARE NOT A ROBOT
    You are human and therefore you must have something to casually chat about.
    Keep it simple! The cortina only lasts for a few seconds an a new song will start soon…
    If you haven’t danced with the person before, you can simply introduce yourself and ask for his/her name too.

    Bottom line: You are NOT there just to dance. You can do that anywhere. You can invite a friend at home and dance.
    In a milonga, you are there to enjoy being in the same place with people who share the same passion with.
    So emerse yourself to the milonga and you never know you might meet very interesting people and make some new good friends!

Guys, we live in the super digital era. You can be in Canada and chat with people from Argentina, Greece, Japan, Belgium, Congo, anywhere in the world, but surprisingly enough we can’t chat to the person sitting next to us in a milonga.
Milongas will always be a challenge but they can become a lot more fun if you shift your mindset, and allow the rules of a different era to control your social behavior…Leave 2016 back for a few hours and travel to a more sophisticated era, where ladies and gentlemen still exist. BE ONE OF THEM!

If you have any specific questions on social etiquette in a milonga, just send me an email. I read every email!

-Chrisa

Embrace in Tango-12mins in the arms of a stranger..!

Tango embrace jail or heaven?

Have you gotten in an embrace which immediately made you cringe? Do you ever get off the dancefloor mumbling: “Oh my back!”
Or trying to understand what is wrong…thinking: “Maybe it is because she is too short!” Or “ maybe it is because he is too tall!”

By the way, do you remember the day you told your friends you are learning Tango? Did you notice their reaction?
Maybe it went somewhat like this…
You said: “I am learning Argentine Tango” and
They said: “Oh! The dance of PAsssssion!”

And you can see from the way they look at you, that they are thinking:

Tango embrace

Well…it definitely doesn’t feel this way now, DOES IT?

They were kind of right though…There is a sensuality in Tango, or maybe better said an intimacy. 
Think about it, everyone tells you: “Oh! This is what Tango is all about. Getting into a close Tango embrace, feeling each other’s body, feel your partner’s every inhale and exhale and every heart beat” (…are we still talking about the Tango embrace here? haha)

Uuuum! Awkward!
But maybe this is actually the problem…
How many times in your everyday life do you hug strangers and hold them tight in your arms for 12mins?
Or better said:
When do you hug ANYONE – friend or foe – and hold them tight in your arms for 12mins?
Yes! Exactly…NEVER!

To be honest I hadn’t thought about all this myself…until, recently, when while I was dancing with a visiting – instructor and something was off…Not technically necessarly but something was off!
I didn’t give it much but a few days later, I am dancing another tanda, with the same teacher.
When the tanda ended he said: “This time you allowed me to embrace you!
Think of his words: “ You ALLOWED me to embrace you!”

AHA! Now things were starting to make sense…
Sebastian Achaval’s words came to mind: “As a leader you need to create the space for the lady, as a follower you need to engage to that space”

But also, Paolo Coelho’s words from “Aleph”: “An embrace means: I don’t feel threatened by you; I’m not afraid to be this close; I can relax, feel at home, feel protected and in the presence of someone who understands me. (…)”

Counter-intuitive? Scary? Taboo? Or simply Tango?

So I got straight into working this one out!

I came up with a few simple, yet profoundly powerful tweaks I followed during my dances and practices, that bring great results, and you can start using them during your next milonga.

So here we go:

  • For leaders and followers
    Your dance is not starting when you start moving on the dancefloor. Your dance starts before you even embrace your partner.
    So, make the posture, the frame and the Tango embrace part of your dance experience. Before you get into the embrace, start a dance within you!
    As you are facing your partner, allow the music to seep into your body, and from within, from the heart, the lungs, the kidneys start creating your posture. Then reach to your partner!
  • For the leaders
    This one is on you leaders, because you are the ones to get the couple moving on the dancefloor.
    After you embrace, take a few seconds to just relax in the embrace of your partner, and feel your partner relaxing in your embrace as well!
    This way, you give yourself and your partner time to adjust and when you are ready, you can then start dancing!
    If in the beginning, you are feeling awkward…GREAT!
    Think about it, this is not something you do everyday. This is somewhat special and therefore, some level of awkwardness is expected, allowed and interesting too.
    So keep at it and you will get the comfort you have been missing, a feeling of true closeness, a smoothness in the embrace, plus the opportunity to find out what the embrace IS for YOU.
  • For the followers
    People think of Tango as a very macho type of dance, but I think it is the opposite, is more based around the followers…
    That means that followers, actually need to ALLOW the leader to embrace them!
    Therefore, if you are pushing away, if you are avoiding the closeness of the embrace then the leader has to back off. 

    So to create a closeness, firstly focus on is the sternum. Keep the sternum up and open. Allow your shoulders to relax back – DON’T pull them back – lift the sternum for the shoulders to RELAX, and consider this…We are not dancing chest – to chest we are dancing center to center!
  • For couples
    If you are lucky enough to have a dance partner, include this drill in your practice.
    So, before you start dancing, hug each other. Hug, like you would hug a dear friend you haven’t seen for ages, and stay in each others arms as long as you can.
    We are NOT talking about an EMBRACE BUT a HUG!
    Time yourselves to see how long you can last in that hug. Of course, the more you practice the more comfortable the hug will be.

Give it a try.
And send me your thoughts to let me know how it goes.

-Chrisa

P.S: Being introvert is creating trouble to your Tango? Here is an article that might help you get passed the embrace – block and who knows maybe reevaluate the situation, I know it helped me!  http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/am-i-introverted-or-just-rude.html?ref=opinion&_r=2&referer=

Photo credit: Un Milonguero Mejicano via Foter.com / CC BY

Dance Teachers…What do you want to teach..?

Fellow teachers,

Dance teachers, get to travel a lot and sometimes when you are stuck in the subway, you can be taught a lot…and have fun too!

Downtown, middle of the day, and the subway stops..!
TTC– “We apologize for the inconvenience..!”
And as I am about to turn into a very angry bird…

Teachers--what do you like to teach?
A very interesting conversation is starting right next to me..!

Three teenagers are talking about a book they had to read for school, in order to earn a good mark. One of them says he will only read the summary and that is when it all began as the other two accused him of cheating!!!

Nothing interesting so far I know…wait for it though..!

A lady, sitting right next to them, jumps to the opportunity, saying she can’t but interfere because she is doing a masters in education so the debate is just too interesting. And if they could please lay it out for her…

She started by saying that indeed it is not cheating, since there is going to be a test with questions. If one can answer the questions, just by reading the summary, then that simply means that the questions are too easy..! (Valid point indeed!)

Then that led into how they are the young blood of society and they need to demand more from the school system. Which led into, the difference between being clever and being intelligent…which led into how clever people use the system to use others like when her father–who is sexist–tried to stop her from going to university…Which led into how Donald Trump is clever and able to use the system, and he may lead US to idiocy…and so on and so forth…

Bottom line: The teenagers should try to become intelligent, should demand more from their schools and they should start by writing an article about all this, which they should send to the “Globe” not to “Toronto Star”, we are keeping things classy! haha
(I am not making this up..!)

What did the teanagers do..? Nothing!

They said, not one word and they probably even stopped listening after the first few minutes of this 15min monologue!

But it got me thinking..!
What is the teacher’s goal, when she is asking her students to read a book?
To get her students to answer the questions right or to get to them to love reading, to love learning?

I want to believe, based on my experience from good teachers during my school years, that teachers hope to teach their students how to love knowledge!

I believe that their wish is to have students, who will grow up enjoying a good book, enjoy learning new things, enjoy getting into new adventures, broadening their horizons, changing their views about life, becoming whole individuals..!

Now obviously the students believe that the purpose of this exercise is to just answer the questions correctly…expected misunderstanding…hah

Haven’t you ever been in a class, teaching a new routine, where your primary focus is getting everyone to experience movement, teach them how to create something beautiful with their partner, teach them to love to dance…BUT…everybody in the class is trying to get their right foot perfectly at a 42⁰ angle to their partner’s foot?!?!?!

As teachers–and as students actually–we have all been there and I know it took me a few years to find the right balance between transferring the essence of the dance and actually teaching the serious technical part of the dance. So I tried to put down a few pointers that helped me get where I am and I am hoping to hear back from you with more ideas!

So here we go:

  • Give them time to dance!
    Though this might sound obvious, before you start introducing a full sequence, allow them to dance. Allow them to have an experience of their own on the element of improvisation and then start building the sequence slowly along with making corrections on their technique
  • Notice how you structure the class. Often times in our attempt to be clear and as specific as possible, we keep the technique exercises separate from the dance/ sequencing part of the class. I am not saying that is always a bad idea, but maybe sometimes you might want to change things up and instead connect your technique exercises to your sequence-building.
  • This can give you an opportunity to make some of the more difficult elements of the dance, easier to explain.
    For example, say you want to work on the posture. Instead of describing the posture and very clearly take the students through different exercises focusing on the posture. Consider putting a sequennce and then asking them to go through it, shifting their focus to different parts of the body. For example, they can initiate the movement from their atlas. Or instead, focus to  the middle of the body–where the kidneys are. Depending on how they are responding to this all, you can ask them to focus internally. Make them move from their heart, their lungs, move from within.
    This way, as they are dancing, they get to revisit their posture multiple times, following slightly different paths each time. The posture then becomes part of the dance experience, instead of just another thing they have to do.
  • Consider changing the music playlist in class more often. Organizing the music pieces based on the sequences you are teaching. This will give you the opportunity to talk about musicality more often instead of waiting for a musicality workshop. Plus your students will view improvisation as a subject, not as challenging, after understanding the logic behind it.
  • Lastly don’t forget to remind them, why they are in your class..! As teachers often times we need to remind our students that they are here to learn how to dance. They are here to have fun, as they are working past the frustration in order to become better!
    In order to do that, as the time passes, we need to focus on getting better and better. This way we will be inspiring and inspired! We can motivate and we are staying motivated! To stay on top of our game, we need to  keep practicing and find time to spend with ourselves.
    So give yourself, the time you need to practice. But also go out, and spent some time within your Tango community! Relax, dance and have some fun!

Take care me fellow teachers and keep on inspiring more and more people to dance!

Looking forward to hearing your ideas..!
Chrisa Assis

Picture:
Photo credit:https://jp3g Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Leaders! Tango is a man’s world too!

Dear Leaders,

What are your biggest challenges are in Tango? What do you try to focus on the most when you are dancing?

Here are the most popular answers I got from friends and students:

Connecting with the follower
was at the very top of the focus-list for every single one of the leaders I talked to.

“Establish a good 1on1 dialogue”
or
“Not competing with my partner, but working together to create a dream(…)”
or
“A connection beyond the limits of words and vocabulary”

On the dancefloor:

Leaders(thinking): “This is AWESOME!!!”
Opening of the embrace….taaaam, taam, tam
Her: “Thanks…”
(Does any of this sound familiar..?)

Just, when you thought, you’ve got it..!
You thought, you created an amazing dance for HER, you expected her to feel swept off her feet and yet you open your embrace to half smilling follower with a look of pity on her face.

You are frustrated with yourself, with the followers, with milongas, with the dj, with the Tango Messias-who were supposed to change your Tango world…!

I know that you are now thinking ANOTHER female Tango teacher trying to tell me that she UNDERSTANDS…

You’re right!
I haven’t gone through awkward phases, like this:
2943599396_363fca8a85_z
Where you, leaders, feel awkward and basically feel like dorks, thinking that she probably hates your guts and wondering when this awful night is going to be finally over!

And I surely haven’t been in situations, with dudes saying:
“Alpha male don’t dance… they don’t need to!”
Nor did disgusting posts like this:
“I took a few ballet lessons when I was a kid before people calling me homo put me off it…” ever stopped me for dancing…

But I, like you, started leading from class #1, and I had no idea how to connect with the other person…
Just like you, I didn’t have the slightest idea, when to start, on this completely unknown music.
Plus I, too, hated traditional music, it didn’t speak to me. I felt like, my grandfather would be able to do a much better job than me!

I got the weird tips on “machismo” that all leaders get:

 “ If you want to lead, you have to lead like a MAN!”,
or
“The follower is like a Queen, you create the path for your Queen to pass..!” 

“WHAT DOES THAT EVEN SUPPOSED TO MEAN, MAN?!?!?!?”

And I got my share of:

“This is too tight…” “This is too loose…”
“No no no this too close” but now “This is too open…”
or
Her: “Oh! I just danced with X and he is just amazing at this! You should do this and this and this and blah blah blah”
Me: nodding (thinking: “ If you followed, things would have been so much better!!!”)
Her: “blah, blah, blah…I am only trying to help…”
Me: nodding (thinking: “NEVER dancing with you again…!”)

here it comes….the EYE-ROLL:
931444664_6b74eb0d11_zHOW DO WE GET OUT OF THIS TANGO HELL!?!

A few amazing tips for you leaders, that will get wonderful followers lining up to dance with you– before you even change into a Tango God!

4 things before we start:

  • Confidence Vs Arrogance: Women, absolutely, positively HATE the latter! I know you are not arrogant and you are only trying to boost your confidence, BUT don’t over do it..! Also no bio presentation between dances.
  • Women, also, hate passive-aggressive, secretly bitter old maids, as much as you do! No bitching between dances, unless it’s for jokes…hah
  • Get to know your music. Then you can be the one all followers are talking about, when saying: “He is a beautiful leader! He doesn’t do intricate sequences, but he is very musical.”
  • Women like surprises, ONLY if they are good ones! Watch it with those new moves you picked up.

So here go:

MUSICALITY– Its NOT all about the beat!

  • Choose 4-5 rhythmical songs, the more you have the better. Give yourself enjoyable options, keeping in mind that the faster the song the more difficult this is going to be.
    A few examples:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqFLtzlmZio
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yrD3AOWwPo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnxnXSMZpXc
  • Start by actively listening. Do NOT dance. Do NOT think of any moves. ONLY listen to the songs, trying to identify the parts with a solid, strong beat( chang, chang, chang) and the melodic parts.
  • Choose one song that you like more, and each time the rhythmical part comes up, you just march–a pure, gym- like march. When the melody comes up you STOP completely, waiting for the beat to start again. Absolutely, NO TANGO yet!
  • After you repeat the previous step so many times, you could actually sing the song to us, change the march to Tango-y shift of weight on the rhythmical parts and pause on the melodic parts.
  • When you feel ready, do forward steps on the rhythmical parts and side steps on the melodic parts.
    *NOTE#1*: how different the forward steps feel compared to the side steps?
    *NOTE#2*: What do you need to do to change pace and direction?
  • When you start feeling super- duper comfortable with this, change things around. Do side steps on the rhythm and forward on the melody. And then start playing, more and more with it, splitting the rhythmical part between forward steps and shifts of weight and similarly work on the melody.

The idea here is to start from the music and not from the steps..!
Get into it with a child’s mind!
Children won’t stop to think: “Oh! Where is the “1” so I can start dancing”
NOOOO! They just start dancing, moving around, having fun with it.

SEQUENCE IMPROVISATION

Here, leaders, things will get a bit more difficult but also FUN…

  • Choose a sequence, you feel super comfortable with. A sequence you have done so many times, you can’t even bare to hear the name of it, any more.
    Back ochos and sandwich, Box step… whatever, it doesn’t matter. It has to be something you can do even with your eyes closed.
  • Change the way you get into it.
    For example: Back ochos and sandwich.
    Usually you get into back ochos from a side step, try to replace that with maybe a forward or back step.
    Or: You can actually replace the back ochos with something else like, forward ochos.
    Get creative. Have fun, try different ideas, different options. There is no follower with you at this phase, so you shouldn’t limit yourself in any way.
  • Every sequence, you come up with, is a “new” sequence. After exploring the different entrances, do each one of them following the dance- line. See what works on the dance- floor.
    Dance as if you have a partner. Every move you create, should be created with the maximum precision and accuracy.
  • After you repeat this exercise a gazillion times– you are almost hating yourself by now– go back to the initial sequence and change the way of exit.
    For example: Back ochos and sandwich.
    Usually the follower passes over and we close with forward ochos.
    You can instead, exit with back ochos, or with forward steps for her–back steps for you–or with an ocho- cortado…
  • Put it on it the dance floor
  • Match the different entrances with the different exits. How many options do you have?
    A lot, REALLY a lot! 
    The more you work on it the more options you will be coming up with. And all great surprises for the followers!
SEQUENCE IMPROVISATION ON THE MUSIC

Leaders, it is time to put the two together..!

  • Pick the simplest of your sequences, and adjust it to the rhythmical and the melodic part of the music. It will take a few reps and you would have to follow different paths to see what fits best.
    There is not really right and wrong here! So…
    Make each part of the sequence fit the melody and the rhythm, NOTHING MORE.
  • Put it again on the dancefloor. After you practice, with the music and going around, with your ghost- lady– no complaints from this one…haha– make your space smaller. Every time, you feel ready, you make the space even smaller. See how it affects your sequence.
    *NOTE*: Get really creative with this… Maybe get chairs in your space pretending there are other couples in your way, making the space smaller and more crowded!
  • Do the same for all the sequences you came up with!
    First, you try to figure out how they fit to the rhythmical and the melodic parts of the music.
    And afterwards, you work on the different dancefloors.

After, you’ve gone through this, with a couple of sequences, you will start noticing, that some things work better on the beat and others work better on the melody. You will find yourself, remembering how the song goes. You will KNOW, that right after this melodic part, we have another melodic part followed by the rhythmic part. What does that mean?
You will be able to hit that first strong beat of that rhythmic part right to the bone! No hesitation, no second thoughts, you will just go for it!

There many other ways you can explore the music and combine it with improvisation. Try this one and leave me a message with your thoughts.

Stay tuned, as much much more material is coming. Don’t skip any steps of this process.
Aaaaand don’t forget to have fun!

Enjoy,
-Chrisa

Pictures:
1)Photo credit: vee ! via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
2)Photo credit: massdistraction via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Followers in Tango! Heaven or Hell?

Dear Followers,
Have you ever been out in a milonga and felt like this:
Followers in trouble
Or maybe…even like this:
Followers in trouble
Are you thinking:
“I don’t know, I feel bored” or
“You know, it is the energy in the milonga” or
“After dancing with some of these people I feel that my level is dropping” or
“Where did all the good dancers go?”

Have you ever thought you might be Tango depressed? (The more I think about it, the more I believe this might actually be a medical term…haha)
You are not the only one and plus it is not just you being sad or unmotivated or uninspired, there are some valid reasons why you are feeling like that..!

So, followers, let’s assume for the sake of this article that all of the above and twice as more are true..!
That would mean that you have spent all this time doing something that bores you, in places that are not to your liking, with people you don’t necessarily like and although you are dancing, despite all odds, you are getting worse!

Then why are you still dancing Tango?
And this the moment of crisis! Tango Crisis!
Why am I still doing this dance? Should I more take classes? Is it worth practicing? Why even sacrifice my night for a milonga?

And yet here you are!
Which, means you don’t need me to tell you why you need to take classes, or to prove to you that it is worth going to milongas, or to talk about the importance of practice..?
You know all that already, what you don’t know is how to get out of this Tango- crisis cycle!

So let’s take a step back from all this and see the bigger picture here. It must feel disappointing, frustrating, tiring, maybe even embarrassing sometimes to put yourself out there and not get what you need or even what you deserve, so would it really help now if I told you that the more you practice, the better you will become and therefore your experience in the milonga will be better..?

NO! It wouldn’t help!
WHY?
Because firstly, you know that already!
Secondly, you see no point in practicing, because you feel you have already invested too much time and this is not enjoyable, so what’s the point?

So before we get to what to do,  let’s identify some mental icebergs we–followers–have entering the milonga.

1)”If I get better I will get more dances”.
NOT true! Haha
For various reasons… the basic ones, firstly everyone perceives “better” in a different way. Secondly, the better you get, the more you expect and thirdly the milonga is not a competition is a social gathering so whether people will decide to spend 12mins with you, right in their face has to do with many other things aside from your level.
Bottom line, get better for yourself not in order to get more dances!

2) “I am in a milonga, I HAVE to dance”
The milonga is a party, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything. Dance when you want to and if that is not happening, chat with people, enjoy your drink, listen to the music. Go in with an open heart and an open mind, engage in conversation, smile, get to know people, if that leads to a dance that is great if not it is ok, make the best out if it, a milonga is a club with Tango music basicly!

3) “Nobody is asking me to dance, therefore I suck!” or “Good dancers never dance with me, so I suck!”
As followers we often times wait a whole night to get a dance. It is terrible to feel left out, to watch people enjoying their dances, while you are sitting there waiting. It doesn’t mean though that you suck! Instead of letting these thoughts take over your mind, take the lead, go where the fish are, for example the bar..! Talk to people. Most of the times people won’t ask you to dance because they don’t know you. Leaders do not always choose followers based on level!

4) “Nobody is asking me to dance, they are so unwelcoming!”
It is terrifying going to a milonga. And especially, followers going to a milonga alone. It is normal and understandable to feel a bit taken aback. Believe me though,  most people in the milongas are very nice people, you only need to give them the time to get to know you and you to know them. Make yourself feel at ease and then people will respond to that!

So what we really have is a combination of dance and social skills and both need time and practice of course to blossom.

We are looking at followers who are getting better because they love Tango, who dance only because they love to, who feel confident enough to improvise while dancing and who bring in a beautiful personality! Who doesn’t want to dance with THEM? Who doesn’t want to be with THEM?

So what do we do to become THEM?

  1. DO NOT even think about practicing to start! You don’t have the motivation yet. You need to feel good to start practicing.
  2. Choose pieces of music that you like. You might feel that Tango music doesn’t speak to you,  but you need time to get to know it, as it is very diverse. Plus it is, what is playing in the  milongas…To start though, just find songs with a steady beat, trying to include 1 or 3 traditional Tango songs.
  3. Set aside some free time for Tango in your day. Be realistic here, NOT more than 30mins!
  4. Before that time comes bring out your best of shoes!
    If your Tango- time is after work, for example, bring the shoes out before you leave in the morning or the night before, so when you get home you can’t escape it!
  5. DANCE! Wear those beautiful shoes and just DANCE. By the wall, the kitchen table, a counter, a windowsill.  Play with it. Don’t practice, just experience your body moving to the music. No embellishments, no choreography, no intricate steps,  only pure movement. DANCE
  6. Get into this with a child’s mind. Children don’t look at a video before they get on the swings, they just goo for it. You have come this far, I am sure, you have enough to dance, so do NOT watch videos. You are not trying to see how it should look on the outside but how it should feel on the inside! Believe me, it is instant satisfaction, once you get passsed this fearful stage of the first dance.
  7. Reward yourselves at the end..! Find something that you like to do and tell yourself you are going to get that at the end of your dance session.
    A nice bubble bath? A glass of wine? An improvisation video like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaQ3tCo7X1Q
  8. Try to be consistent, make it your thing, without making it a routine. Find yourself in Tango! And if you saw the video above say to yourself: IF SHE CAN DO IT SO CAN I!
  9. After a few times–how long, depends on you–you can start adding a few minutes of practice. Maybe 10-15mins of working on some basic elements of Tango, such as your balance, your projections, your walks, your ochos etc…
  10. Most importantly do what most people forget about, while trying to get better…HAVE FUN!
How do I know this works..?

Well I do it every day! And yes, some days I feel great from the very first moment and other days I am on the verge of going for coffee but then I dance and it just all goes away, the satisfaction is instant and you just want to dance more and more!
After that,  you really  want to practice. You practice for those three minutes of instant satisfaction, those three minutes of freedom, those Queenie moments of Tango bliss. You practice for YOU!

Plus, if you are wondering if leaders will notice any of this, this is a quote I read in a blog: “Followers must learn to improvise or else it is like dancing with dead weight..!” Strong, not my style, but to the point and most importantly it means that good leaders will be able to notice the difference.

Enjoy,
-Chrisa

Pictures:
1)
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
2)Photo credit: LHG Creative Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Constructing Dance

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software

You want to practice BUT you're not sure how to get started?Lets practice TOGETHER!

Here is an exclusive follow along practice video to get you started

  • Avoid the mistake that 90% of social dancers make which turns them into robots
  • No more practicing in the dark. Get your hands on new winning material and transform your dance experience
  • Become the dancer you know you can be!

No spam, no overused rules repeated, no time wasted, no partner needed AND no more NO's but more Yes's

JOIN
x Logo: Shield
This Site Is Protected By
Shield