I’m back and ready to speak my mind again. Here are some ideas I’d like to throw out into the interwebs:
Before you can dance Tango, you have to learn how to dance. Already know some tango and want to get better? Maybe you’re feeling stuck or like you haven’t progressed? Don’t work on your tango steps, work on your dancing.
Musicality, control, poise, posture, grace, elegance, energy, connection, spirit, and fluidity are all words universally applicable to dance, not just tango. (duh) The catch is, many of those words are essential in Tango. If you don’t do them, you’re just doing steps. Your dance is soulless and cold.
When I was trained as a dance teacher the idea was, you don’t teach a dance, you teach people to dance. In the beginning, my preference is to teach fundamental skills at a basic level, like walking, side steps, rock steps, stepping on beat, frame, control, and floor craft. And you can do that much easier if you leave Tango out of it until later.
Sacrilege! Why would I do this? Because especially in the beginning, Tango steps are really frickin’ hard. Because before you have an abrazo, you have to learn how to hold your arms up, maybe have a frame, and walk forward/side/back and watch where you’re going, and step to the music, and change directions, not step on her feet, stay calm, stand up straight… oh yeah, and breathe.
More experienced dancers of tango, try this – learn another dance. Both the 2012 World Championship leaders can salsa. I’ve been in the salsa clubs with Facundo de la Cruz. And I’ve seen first hand the badass rock dancing of Cristhian Sosa. All of my instructors in Buenos Aires could also dance salsa, rock, ballet, and/or kumbia; some of them are damn good. Because they’re dancers.
PS I like to put my money where my mouth is. I learned West Coast Swing and did a performance last week for the brand new Studio 1924 in Oakland, here’s the video…enjoy!