Category Archives: Thoughts

The practicality and poetry of the cabeceo: Where the dance begins

There’s a magic to the cabeceo. To make eye contact across a room, with a woman I’ve never met before, whose name I do not know, whose language I may not speak, and be able to invite her to dance – and have my invitation accepted – without a single word being exchanged.

Cabeceo is, for me, one of the most beautiful things about tango. I love it for its practicality, but also for its poetry. For me, it’s the first step in the dance …

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The only leader is the music: A joyful Feast

Felipe Martinez recently talked about the difference between danceable music and music which moves you, literally and figuratively. I think that’s a good way of describing what is, to me, the difference between rhythmic and lyrical tango.

I’d expected the work I was doing on double-time to increase my enjoyment of rhythmic music. It has, but to my surprise, that wasn’t the biggest benefit …

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A pause in my privates, and thinking about where I go from here

This is a question I first asked myself so long ago that I can’t even find the blog post to link to: How far do I want to go in my tango journey?

Dancing a lot less than I was, I was finding that my weekly privates (alternating between Emma and Diego) were too much: I simply wasn’t doing enough dancing to put the work into practice in milongas …

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Not just another grumble about the F word

I debated whether to write this post. Floorcraft is a perennial topic, and the view from friends who’ve been in London tango far longer than I have is that nothing is going to change, so there’s not a lot of point in yet another discussion about it.

But at the same time, it is without question one of the biggest differences between tango in Buenos Aires, and that of London – and during my recent month-long stay in Argentina, I came to see the topic in a whole new light …

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Bringing a little Buenos Aires back to London with me

Last time when I returned home from BsAs, I found myself wishing that London tango were more like, well, Argentine tango. I mean, I looked forward to dancing with friends and favourite partners, of course. But I felt the contrast keenly in a number of ways.

This time too. The difference was deciding that, while there are factors I can’t control, there are others that I can – whether directly or indirectly …

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Saying farewell to Buenos Aires with one last milonga – and one last protest

I said at the beginning of the trip that I’d be adopting a more relaxed approach this time around, after last time visiting 25 milongas in 12 days.

One reason for staying here a month is to take things easy – an absolute maximum of one milonga per day. Yes, really. Honestly. You’ll see.

This claim was met with a certain amount of scepticism (‘100%’ is a certain amount, right?) …

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This person, this music, this moment: Reconnecting with the essence of tango

I remember returning from Buenos Aires in 2019 with a whole new understanding of what tango is about – at least, to me. Back here now, I realised that I’d lost some of that understanding along the way.

Well, perhaps not lost, nor really forgotten, but allowed it to become somewhat buried by other things – by the other world which is London tango. Here, now, I’ve reconnected with it …

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Transforming London milongas, part 3: Creating more leaders

In part one of this series of thoughts on how we make London milongas a friendlier and more welcoming place, I invited leaders to make a habit of dancing one tanda with a stranger.

The reason I made this suggestion to leaders specifically is, of course, due to the imbalance between leaders and followers. So part three comprises my thoughts on how we might change this …

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Transforming London milongas, part 2: Dealing with perceptions of cliqueness

Some London milongas are perceived to be ‘cliquey.’ That may be one of those irregular verbs, depending on one’s relationship to the milonga in question, from first-time visitor to fixture: I have good friends; you’re a bit snobby about dance partners; they are a clique.

What I’m going to do here is look at what might lead people to feel that way, and some steps we can take to address it. There are a couple of things I think we can all do, and three steps I think milonga organisers can take …

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Transforming London milongas, part 1: The magic of the unknown dance partner

There’s a blog post I’ve been struggling to write for some weeks now, communicating some thoughts about issues on the London tango scene, and how we might address them.

The reason for the struggle is two-fold. First, and more trivially, it might be felt presumptuous for a three-year dancer to think he understands the problems, let alone has any idea how to solve them …

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