Precision and Posture

I have been watching videos of professionals dancing with students – and in particular my own teachers. From those videos I take stills. And even in the stills it is staggeringly obvious who the professionals are.

To me that’s  intriguing – they don’t even have to be moving to show the world that they are a great tango dancer.

So what does this mean? I think it shows the importance of

  • Precision
  • Posture
  • Line
  • Expression

Lets take a simple side step. Surely I can manage one of those?

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-18-35-19When Joao makes this side step you know exactly what it is – and that this is the point of the moment, His torso sits firmly on the triangle of that expressive definite step – everything is strongly connected to the floor. The lines are precise and he is totally grounded. Even though he is of course in motion.

A definite expressive sense of the moment – it is thisit is a side step.


And the same with Kirsty – she is showing the world what a side step is.

Clean lines, definite, precise.

I find it amazing that great dancers – in motion – can be frozen in time and they still express exactly the nature of Tango. They show components as they move from axis to axis – always showing the world – and their partner – what Tango is.

  • Precision
  • Posture
  • Line
  • Expression

That’s the next year of practice sorted out then!

Starting to Hear Tango in 3D

I am feeling like a new world is opening.

For the very first time I am able to listen to different layers of Tango music – simultaneously. It is a very new experience – so much richer, deeper – and full of information. Like white light broken down into it’s components – each ready for me to react to.

The music comes to me as a whole –  pre-packed and launched by the lyricist, composer and all of the individuals in the orchestra to match a creative vision – handed down and perhaps embellished with new variations through the decades.

This entire song is there for me to listen to and react to – but now perhaps I start to have the tools to break it back down to its components – to react as a dancer  in my upper or lower body as best I can.

I have my torso and my legs – and her. They have the melody and the rhythm – and each other. They have the limitations of notes on a page, but a charismatic orchestra leader with a vision – I have my hearing, my understanding and my emotions. And  her.

Then I must move.

And most importantly – as I move of course I invite her to respond based on whatever she hears when she listens to the same music.

I  choose a melody and my torso responds – but perhaps she hears the underlying pattern of the beats – so stays in contact with me but her feet are with the floor and choose to dance to the rhythm.

Upper body, lower body – melody and rhythm. Her and me – us and them. Dissociations ripple around us. The light is broken down and analysed.

It doesn’t come easy – nothing in Tango does – I have to concentrate – but yes – for the first time it is possible. Perhaps. If I really care, if I focus – if I listen and then I actively choose. If I work hard. Maybe I can do this.

If I dance to one, and she takes the other – can we then together reassemble it? Can she clearly communicate with me? Can she lead me through these joint decisions?

Can we by moving together recreate the white light of Tango but illuminated now by dance?

Y así nació este tango – So where is your own road going?

“And so this Tango was born ..”

What a wonderful, complex, genuine piece of music. I love it so much.

So … where did your own Tango passion come from?

What pain led you to this place? What are you looking for?

La noche, el viento y el frío
mis penas me están matando
pero yo voy aguantando
con mi canto en el camino.

Así… se encontró el motivo
y así… nació este tango.

At night, the wind and cold
my sorrows are killing me
but I’m holding on
with my song on the road.

So … the reason was found
… and so this tango was born.

You are on a road, and you have chosen to be accompanied by Tango. It is so important to you, It softens the edges. It helps. It blurs your reality.

We chase them don’t we – these ephemeral moments. But do we really understand what we are doing – what we are walking away from as we dance towards some other dream?

Some things that to others define their lives can absolutely no longer satisfy us.

What is your reason for being on this road? Do you know where it ends for you?

When we dare to put a foot wrong

I am so very lucky – I get the occasional dance with a formula one dancer.

This is only because I pay for their time – they are teachers.

And not just ordinary teachers – but passionate, talented professionals with over 10 years of teaching experience, a truly  intimate knowledge of the tango world, a huge sensitivity to the music and thousands upon thousands of accumulated kilometres on the dance floor.

I am also so very, very fortunate because I get to practise and work with some people who – like me – just love to learn.

And for me the most exciting, memorable joyous things in that learning experience are about the interpretation of the music and taking risks together. I love it when she pauses unexpectedly – when she holds me back just by her presence and her immersion in the music.

I curse myself when I sense it too late – and I rush her. I thought of one response and she felt something else -and I was just too slow – I blew it and now she is going to play safe for a while. Damn it! I just wasn’t good enough. I held her back from the edge. I caged her.

Safe is boring. Correct is not good enough. For both of us.

My focus is on learning, learning, learning so that when she feels something I can react fast enough and run with her. Tango is of course based on walking, but dancing with a woman who expresses the music surely requires a different mental agility and physical speed – like some kind of futuristic martial art where energies and balance points spiral without friction between us.

Where she can hang over the edge and look down that precipice of failure and yet feel totally, totally safe.


I need to be  so fast and so seamless that she honestly feels I was always with her – even though I am in reality breathless – heart racing – feeling so happy to support her as she just flows wherever the music takes her.

Tango is an improvised dance – there are so few rules and whatever rules there are can be broken if you have the technique to stay within them.

It’s our choice – lean out over that edge and look down – or just shuffle about.


Tango Druggy Songs and who had the most violins anyway??

So .. I have been wondering for a while why many Tango songs sound like prescription drugs.

For me the latest one is ‘Danzarin’ – surely this should be available in blister packs of 12, 24, 48 and 96 pink, film coated tablets?

But no – it is in fact a great side that goes so well in a tight Tanda with Quejas de Bandoneon, Melancolico, Responso .. so many wonderful 1960’s Troilo’s

And when we dig around on this dubiously inspired quest we are in fact rewarded by a chance to watch Troilo in action.

I have read so many times that he could make you cry with a single note from his bandoneon  – at that passage from about 3:10 we can just see that skill in action and perhaps get a sense for what it must have been like to have actually been there on the night.

What a drug free pleasure.