Category Archives: Tango

A beginner reviews ‘Our Tango World’

Our Tango World.jpg

Our Tango World, 1: Learning and Community is an oddly prosaic title for an extremely poetic and impassioned book. I couldn’t help but feel that it deserves something more akin to Twelve Minutes of Love.

But the fact that I’m writing this review a little over 24 hours after taking delivery of the book is testament to the fact that this was my sole disappointment …

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Private or group lessons? Yes.


I’m doing lots of reading about tango, and one thing I came across was someone quoting an Argentine tango teacher when he was asked should you do x or y? His answer was often: yes. There is value in both. Try them both. Use whichever feels right at the time.

That’s how I feel about private and group lessons …

Continue reading Private or group lessons? Yes.

Last group lesson of the year, and the journey so far


Tonight was my final group tango lesson of the year: the Tuesday Tango Space lesson, also on the medio giro. (I have one more private lesson this year, with Maeve).

When I first decided to do two Tango Space lessons each week, I thought they were the exact same lesson, so I’d be doing each twice. For anything I found difficult, that would give me a second shot at it; for anything that worked the first time, it would be an opportunity to work on improving my technique.

In fact, the theme is the same for each class in any one week, but the exact lesson varies. So both yesterday and today were the medio giro, but the two classes taught two different versions of it – both of which were different to the one Mariano showed me. There are, I’m quickly learning, endless variations of everything tango …

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A lesson in more than the medio giro


Monday evening was the first of two Tango Space lessons this week on the medio giro.

One thing that has really fallen into place with me now with pivots is realising that it’s not about the precise steps – it’s more about thinking about the direction and energy and feeling you want to impart. When Federico and Julia were demonstrating the medio giro, I noticed his exact foot placement varied, and as soon as I realised that, it became much easier to do it myself – because I was now focused on the objective and feel rather than whether the angle between my feet on the back cross should be 75 degrees or 90 degrees …

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Going with the flow


Last lesson with Mariano, we just briefly tried the medio giro at the end. Not enough to get a feel for it, but just a taster. So I was rather expecting to pick up this evening where we left off, but no, Mariano decided we could dive straight into the full giro.

Amazingly, he was right …

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Perhaps entering stage two of the learning process


It doesn’t take long learning tango before you become intimately acquainted with what appears to be a universal phenomenon among dancers of all levels: tango highs, and tango lows.

But according to a great diagram created by Steve Morrall of tango school Bramshaw, seen below, I should feel pretty happy to experience either. Both peaks and troughs represent stage two of the learning experience …

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Ochos: aiming to move beyond passable imitations


A new day and a new class: my first taste of the Tango Space Monday class. I’m not the only person to go to more than one lesson each week, so I was pleased to see a few familiar faces.

As with all Tango Space lessons, it starts with the walk. Federico had me lead him, and I again found that my walk comes together nicely when I really concentrate on all the elements – but doesn’t when I don’t. Oddly enough …

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A two-year journey, or deceptiveness in advertising


Saturday saw me first at the beginner’s class at Tango Garden, and later at a Tango Space workshop.

The Tango Garden class has a constant influx of first-time students, so often doesn’t progress beyond the walk in practice embrace. This was the case again today …

Continue reading A two-year journey, or deceptiveness in advertising

It’s pivot playtime


I’d made one claim, and Mariano had made another. Mine was that the multiple lessons spent struggling to do an ocho were actually learning the principle of leading pivots. His was that, once one pivot clicked, others would prove massively easier to learn.

The evidence so far is that both claims are justified …

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One perfect moment … and many imperfect ones


In my final lesson on Sunday, a 30-minute one with Mariano, I had one perfect moment.

My then-gf wasn’t happy with my lead. ‘More chest!’ So I stopped. Mentally ran through my checklist for the walk. Feet grounded. Knees soft. Upright posture. Shoulders relaxed. Head up. Push back against the floor. Lead with the chest. Arms doing nothing other than maintaining the embrace. Then I began walking.

Everything came together. ‘Yes!’ she said, emphatically. ‘Now you look like a milonguero,’ declared Mariano. Just for that moment, I felt like one too …

Continue reading One perfect moment … and many imperfect ones