Tag Archives: better teachers

Don’t think..!Just be yourself!

How many times have you heard this phrase:
“Don’t think! Just feel and be yourself!”

OMG!
I hate it!

And the worst thing is, I have said it myself to many people… Now I guess it is a good time to apologize…
I am sorry, truly sorry, for adding on to your frustration but believe me I didn’t do it on purpose.

Being a beginner at something again, now after many years, teaches me every time I get in class, that being yourself in something foreign is impossible!
If you know nothing about that new thing; how can you possibly know who you are in it?

Be yourself… because in this society you are not allowed to be lost!

When you start Tango or any other new thing for that matter … but lets stick to Tango for now… You are going to  feel confused, lacking in some way, frustrated or simply put lost!

You are doing something new, specifically dancing with a stranger in your face! If that person is not a strange you are still moving together in ways you usually don’t. And you have to find a way to lead and follow some step successfully while following the social codicos of a milonga and meeting people’s expectations.

All this inevitably will make you stand differently, move differently, BE differently. It will make you lose your identity…. But only in a good way!

Should you just accept it then..?

Passive acceptance, can be the first step, but it shouldn’t be the only step.

Instead of trying with all your strength to bring what you know of “yourself” in the dance, start seeing yourself and your body as maybe your old neighbourhood; a place you hadn’t been in for a long time.

Start with noticing things that look and feel familiar… and then notice the things that surprise you, the things you have never seen before, you didn’t know existed in your body, in your movement vocabulary, in yourself!

Tango and any other activity can be an opportunity to get lost and find yourself again and again. An opportunity to surprise yourself.
And yes! It is hard and it sucks in the beginning but keep at it for the day, when you will be able to say to yourself:

“Well! I didn’t know you had it in you!”

😉
Chrisa

P.S: Would you like more posts like this..?
https://bautanz.com/2018/10/11/tango-as-a-tool-toward-a-richer-life/

Tradition Vs Modernism — Tango Traditional Vs Tango Nuevo

“I think tradition is something living not something dead. It is the opposite of habit (…) It is not a habit; If a tradition is alive, it is a living thing and it helps.
That is one side. The other side is modernism;
Modernism is the result of an area of experiences. And one has to grow his way, so to say, in this field which is more or less unknown, un-proved and un-checked.
So I don’t see why the two things should be opposite; They both belong to life” Giorgos Seferis

Tango Traditional Vs Tango Nuevo

I remember back in 2008–when Tango Nuevo had taken over Europe–I was in a festival and the Dj during one of the milongas was playing the oldest recording of the oldest Tangos possible…

We were about to kill ourselves!

2018… Anything Traditional is the true Tango and we can’t even think of listening at another Gotan Project song…

hahaha
Well isn’t life funny..?

In milongas, practicas even classes around the Tango world there is this debate on what kind of music should be played–traditional Tango or Tango Nuevo?

With the underlying question being, which one is the authentic Tango; the REAL Tango?

For years, I had a role in this game…
In the beginning, I was defending the Nuevo music bands, like they were my own…haha
You see… I had learned Tango listening to those very bands; and though I became a great defender of traditional later I have to say, on THAT music… I learned Tango well, VERY well!

And so maybe that was why I was saying things like:
“The beat is a lot more clear than the traditional songs” or
“This is the kind of music younger people can connect to” or
“This is 2000 and 8!” (all this was me, but maybe it was you too)

Then, slowly I started reading about the music, the roots, the tradition, the history of Tango. I got to learn and later understand and love that very tradition which in the past, I had so easily pushed away.

But I hadn’t learnt my lesson…
Yet again, now on the opposite side, I defended traditional Tango against Tango Nuevo…haha…
Saying things like:
“You have to learn the tradition, you have to at least attempt to understand what created Tango” or worse
“This isn’t even real Tango, it is club music” (all this was me, but maybe you too)

Now, I am asking myself, why..? Why do we have to choose one versus the other? Is this even a logical and healthy debate? Why can I NOT like both?

Tradition & Modernism — “They both belong to life”

When I heard this very old interview of Giorgos Seferis two days ago, I saw more clearly the answer to the questions above.

He says: “I don’t see why the two things should be opposite; they both belong to life”

Why waste time debating between traditional and Nuevo music when we can spend that time to discover and enjoy good music
And why debate over which is the real Tango when we can instead learn the tradition and explore the endless creative options we have in a modern society.

But most importantly instead of creating more and more separation in our communities why not work together to explore and learn from the past and take the tradition further by keeping it alive; by giving it new shape and breath; and most importantly by sharing it

(Photo by karurosuros on Trend hype / CC BY)

It is all connected– Tango, Yoga and beyond

My Tango chats are usually with other Tango professionals… like the recent one with Veronica Toumanova.
This time though I decided to do something different… or is it actually the same..?
Hmmm… We shall soon find out, I guess..!
But today I chatting Tango, Yoga, learning strategies, teaching approaches, social and life skills

Tango, Yoga and everything in between

Jill Newberry Evans of jillyoga.ca is a friend and great coworker.

For a very long time now we have been talking about how we teach movement, how our students express their needs and goals and how we can help them get closer to their goals by exposing the different paths they can follow to get there.

Every time we got started that kind of a chat we always found ourselves finishing each other’s sentences and sharing stories that had so much in common that “it is all connected” became like  our little slogan

And so we thought… since it is all connected and since we can learn from one another why not bring this chat to world of the web so other people who are involved in different and seemingly unrelated activities can start connecting the dots and finding this way other more efficient and fun ways to get to their goals.

It is all connected…

We believe that there is a connecting thread, not only between Tango and Yoga but between all activities.
As Jill told me during one of our chats: “I don’t teach Yoga… I teach movement and life skills!

There are times that narrowing down and focusing on your ONE favorite activity will help to boost your progress…
But there is also the time when you need to revisit the principles of that activity under a different light and approach it following a slightly different path to be able to experience it in its totality; to be able to grow in it

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments along with your struggles and stories so we can get back with more!

My Tango community is so unwelcoming… or it might be just me

“It might be just me, but I really feel that the Tango community here is not very forgiving. And it is actually a bit unwelcoming..!” Many many people

Classic NPS case!
New to the Playground Syndrome

What is NPS or New to the Playground Syndrome?

New in the Playground Syndrome, is a Tango disorder. The patient relives the scariest childhood experience—aka walking into the playground without mommy, daddy or a friend.

It is typically associated with awkwardly walking in the milongas, not talking/ dancing with anyone other than his/her group/ partner and wishing that somebody else will make the first move to come and greet them.

It is something almost ALL beginners will experience and plenty of other-level dancers when entering a new community.

I should send this in to Wikipedia and make it a thing! Hahaha

But first… lets explore the most common cures for NPS, why they usually don’t work and what you should do instead!

The most common cures to NPS and why they usually fail
  1. Don’t rush to hit the milongas. Wait until the time is right..!
  2. Stick to the practica/ milonga of your school
  3. Make a new practice/ milonga that is going to be better than all the others
  4. Try to persuade oneself that he/ she is NOT really interested in dancing but mostly learning— it can be true, but you probably know that before you even start taking classes…

Why these common cures do NOT usually work?
Well, simply because they try to avoid the problem than fix it.

Let’s start with #4: I don’t really like social dancing, I mostly enjoy the classes, learning the Tango

Most people, want to learn a/ another dance and that is how the end up in Tango. Maybe they saw it in a movie or in Dancing with the Stars and it looked interesting…

How did you start Tango?

If it was something similar to the reason above, and it wasn’t because you were on mission to discover the fundamental relationship underlying the development of perception—aka the dialogue between movement and touch… mmmm

I am pretty sure you are in it for the dance.

So stop wasting your time trying to persuade yourselves that you don’t care about social dancing, because that in itself will bring more bitterness and frustration.
As your knowledge and Tango vocabulary grows, the feeling of all of it being pointless will grow along with it. At some point, you will have no real incentive to keep learning.

Same goes with #2: Stay in your own playground…

We all know deep down why that is problematic. You are only dancing with same people, who know the same sequences as you, following a specific style of dancing and music.

After a while you are on autopilot. There is NO challenge which inevitably leads to 0 progress.

And I know what you are now saying to yourselves…
“Buuuut all these other places the music is not that good and the dancers are a bit snobbish, the space is not well- arranged, the host is obnoxious” …  And all that jazz!

How do I know? Hahah

Because I have said those EXACT same things myself!

No place was good enough for me… Until I realized that all these other places where perfectly fine but I was just too comfortable were I was and afraid to exit my comfort zone…
I mean they do call it comfort zone for a reason! Hahaha

But if you want to keep getting better, you need to step out of it!

So we are left with 2 more cures…

#1: Wait for the opportune time to go the milonga..!

And I ask you this; How can you tell?
And say, ok… your teacher will tell when it is the right time to go—if they are not involved in the crazy Tango politics that is…

But do we really want to make this grade 5 or a work environment were if you do your home work or if you work hard enough you get A+ or a promotion?

That is why I think this doesn’t really work… because it brings in the very ONE thing we are ALL looking to escape from when picking an artistic hobby— running after performance goals!

And
#3: Doing YOUR very own event that is going to be better than any other event in town…

EVERY beginner in the world has thought and/ or attempted to set up an event that would shake the WHOLE Tango scene to its foundation..!

Even the person writing this article, thought that her ideas were so unique. That she was of the very few artistic and courageous dancers to lead the change in her Tango community..! UNSUCCESSFULLY! Hahaha

Not because people sabotaged me but because I was an idiot!

So this one doesn’t usually work, for a number of reasons:

  1. What WE think is better, might not be better for everybody else.
  2. We have no idea on how to actually host an event and we don’t even ask anyone who has done it before.
  3. If we ask for people’s opinion, we usually ask people we know will agree with us OR fail to really listen to their feedback.
How to cure New to the Playground Syndrome

After extensive research, endless talks with leaders and followers and some s****y experiences of my own this is what I would do if I was a beginner again:

  1. I would ask my teacher what is the biggest mistake a beginner makes when starting to dance the Tango socially.
  2. Ask my teacher what are the fundamental elements of Tango
  3. Find out who are the best Tango professionals to look out for
  4. At the end of each class I would ask him/ her how what we did can be used on the dance floor.
  5. I would make notes of what we did, how they fit the fundamentals and how avoided or not the common mistake in class
  6. Watch A LOT of videos of high end Tangueros- as, OBSERVING. Not copying, or trying to learn sequences but observing their dance and noting anything that I find interesting
  7. Go to the milongas after maximum a month. BUT I wouldn’t participate, I would only OBSERVE. The etiquette, the rules, the mood, the atmosphere… Everything!
  8. I would try to spot or ask the person at the door or the organizer who are the best dancers in the room and focus on them
  9. If I had the opportunity I would chat with them in a very relaxed way about their experience so far—not for technique, or drills or anything like that… keep things general and cool
  10. Go to different milongas and repeat those same steps for a good period of time.
  11. Chat with my teacher and fellow dancers about all the things I have found interesting, from week to week.
  12. Ask good questions and give sincere and good quality feedback.
  13. After a while Video tap myself… REALITY CHECK! haha

If I came for a different dance community or another city/ country where we had some different layout for the milongas which I thought it would work. THIS is what I would do:

  1. I would first examine the constraints and obstacles closely. Being brutally honest with myself, see if by changing my attitude towards the obstacles can actually make your experience better.
  2. Talk to the organizers about hosting events. How do they do it, what troubles have they been facing, what they have tried in the past, what worked and what didn’t, how did they even end up doing what it is that they are doing… LISTEN very closely BUT take everything you hear with a grain of salt
  3. Chat with dancers—other than your friends—and tell them in full detail your idea. Look for their REACTION to it.
    If they say: “Yeah great idea…” Don’t do it… They won’t even show up.
    But if they say something: “OMG! Are you in my head, I have been thinking about something like this for days. So how to WE start, how can I help”
    THAT is true hope that your idea might actually be able to stand..!
  4. And maybe instead of doing something NEW, try to help something older get better..!

So, I don’t mean to discourage you, on the contrary I want  you to see your community with different eyes.

Aside from the constraints there is always room for more creativity, for more freedom and a lot more fun.

It is up to YOU though to see past the constraints, to create opportunities, to chat with people, to give and learn from your community before you earn from it—not necessarily in a monetary way of course.

Many of the obstacles, are things you have some control over as well.

Like the Cabeceo

Or building up your social skills in general: Networking your way through Festivals

Maybe building up your improvisational skills, to grow your vocabulary without learning new steps: Lets Improvise

Or becoming better in musicality, so you can enjoy your dances more AND give more to your partner even if you have only been dancing for 6 months: Musicality MORE than just steps on the beat

There are many things YOU can do TODAY that can transform your experience in the milongas

And as a subscriber of Bautanz you get even more tools for physical and mental transformation, the only thing you need to do is join us..!

Timing is Everything

I got an Apple MacBook Pro… for Christmas

timing apple 2
picture by: techkoalas.com

Perfect gift! Perfect timing..!
Just look at those clean, fine lines. That great attention to detail.
This box is saying: “I am here to put your life in order”

Well… We are still getting to know each other…haha

timing apple

Timing is everything

I am sure I wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate such a gift a year ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have been super happy to get it last year, but I wouldn’t really be able to acknowledge the value of it and the possibilities it creates.

Timing is everything. NOW, I was ready for it!

What does all this have to do with Tango?

Think of that pair of Tango shoes that are just too high.
How about that Tango show you saw last year, that you found so boring..?
Do you remember thinking: “They are only walking”
Or that class with this big Tango teacher, everyone was going crazy about, but you felt it was a complete waste of your time…

Timing is everything..!

The truth is, you like me, were probably not ready for those super high heels or for that high end professional couple that visited your city or for that Tango teacher who has spent years and years mastering his/ her craft but all you thought you got was “really beginner stuff”

Timing, timing, timing…

THE biggest question you should ask yourselves

Why am I doing all this?

I am serious and I am not trying to play artistic here…
Seriously, answer this question

If your answer is: I don’t want to be a Pro I just want to enjoy my dances more!

Then WHY are you rushing?
Why are you not enjoying it every step of the way?
You are learning something new, have fun with it. Don’t rush.
When the timing is right, EVERYTHING will click, and believe me it will feel magical.
More magical than those fleeting moments of bliss you are now getting once in a while during your dances.
Simply, because they won’t be fleeting anymore, they will be here to stay!

If your answer is: To become a Pro..!

Then always remember, THAT is a never ending journey.
The moment you say to yourself: “I did it… I am great… I don’t need to improve anymore…” You have lost.

So again work hard, actually no… work harder… BUT still enjoy the journey!

Chrisa,

P.S: And because I know you too well… And I know, part of you is fully agreeing with me, but another part is saying: “Does it have to take this long..?” haha

No it doesn’t have to take this long… Join Bautanz and we can practice together. I make it my mission to send you weekly fun, fresh, and focused practices that can propel you forward!
A few ideas: https://bautanz.com/argentine-tango-technique/musicality/

Ready to CRUSH 2018, on the dance floors?

via GIPHY

!HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Have you set up your dance resolutions yet for 2018?
If not, why don’t we all boldly state: we are going to CRUSH 2018?!?!

You think I am joking?
Let me tell you, I am dead serious!

I know I am not dancing as much as I used and as much as I would like to dance… And unfortunately, we all know there are many people like me around

It might be because of the winter— I hate the cold, it makes me miserable.
Or the economy, it is true, things are getting tighter as time goes by….
And some people feel they don’t really have any incentive to go out dancing— unwelcome communities, repetitive playlists, unsurprising dance invites etc etc

Think for a moment our grandparents… They lived through tougher winters, economic crisis and plenty unavoidable annoying neighbours… They were dancing way more, they were getting together a lot more… hahaha… Right?

So what happened..?

Are we a generation that doesn’t like to dance that much…?

Some people blame the big cities, some people social media but could it be that we are a generation of no- dancers..?

Let’s take a moment to look at Scientific American and their article about why people dance:

Scientists aren’t sure why we like movement so much, but there’s certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest we get a pretty big kick out of it. Maybe synchronizing music, which many studies have shown is pleasing to both the ear and brain, and movement—in essence, dance—may constitute a pleasure double play”

Interestingly enough even when you are watching someone else dance your brain’s movement areas are activated…

“(…) if you’re watching someone dance, your brain’s movement areas activate; unconsciously, you are planning and predicting how a dancer would move based on what you would do

And we can’t ignore the psychological benefits of dance.

As Psychology Today notes in this article that dance is a necessary and unavoidable human action. Humans dance because they CAN and because they NEED to.

“(…) sensory awareness that changes us. We are now the person who made that move. When such an impulse courses through us, it relates us to ourselves and our worlds in a new way. It aligns, it touches, it frees. It is dance(…)”
“(…) We humans are movement. We are the movement that is making us able to think and feel and act at all (…)”
“(…) understanding of dance as human, also provides us with ways of evaluating whether and how a given technique or tradition is helping people learn to move in life-enabling ways. (…)”
“(…)If dance and movement in general, is a vital part of what we describe as human nature, are we then doing something wrong..?(…)”

Are we missing something here..?

I think we are really missing something here…

We all love Tango, we all know and have felt the benefits of dance. And yet we don’t seek out to dance more…
Most of us won’t experience the milonga as a response to a natural calling… BUT

WHAT, the REAL Tango dancers do..! Or…
As an opportunity to practice, to get our dances in
Or possibly as a way to escape our reality

Don’t get me wrong, practicing, learning the Argentinian culture and being able to let free on the dance floor, ALL are vital elements for your progress as dancers.

On the dance floor though you DANCE, you don’t torture yourself trying to go by the rules.
You make the culture part of your life, instead of wearing like a tall-hat once a week.
Lastly, why make a milonga just a place to escape reality… When like any artistic moment it is one of the greatest opportunities for us to SHAPE reality.

This is how we CRUSH 2018!

Teachers, performers and organizers aim to create opportunities for dance to be shared with as many people as possible.

Dancers make every milonga a social hub, a true community.
One that shares and offers, that changes and evolves, that listens and observes. A community that is TRUTHFUL and OPEN and HONEST and INSPIRING!

Share your thoughts on all this even if you think it sucks..! Right here… with the  Bautanz community

Happy New Year! Lets CRUSH 2018!

Chrisa

P.S: “Be a Columbus to whole new continents within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought” Henry David Thoreau— Walden