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Showing posts from May, 2009

New Zealand Tango Festival Day 1

Outside the air has a biting chill thanks to the polar front, but in the workshops at the New Zealand Tango Festival the air is buzzing with the warm bodies of dancers who are swapping accounts of the different workshops and practising their new skills. We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand's capital, yesterday and spent the day exploring the city, visiting the Botanic Gardens and riding on the public transport, but today we got down to business.
My first workshop was with Geraldin Rojas and Ezequiel Paludi and titled 'Fundamentals'. It is some time since I have done a tango workshop and I felt it was time to brush up on my technique and learn new skills. And I soon found a fundamental! Many years ago I had been told to keep my knees together - as if I was trying to hold a pill between my knees! I can't say I do this always but it has been behind much of my posture... time to forget this unnatural stance and learn to dance more fluidly. Time also to forget about one emb…

A Milonga can be like a primary school playground

So said someone the other day! and I thought they've got a point. I go to quite a few of the milongas about town - not all of them as I am a dedicated yogi and have just taken up bellydancing! - and that's just the keeping physically active bit. I have noticed that some milongas are more like a playground than others... what did this friend mean by playground? She/he meant that there are little groups that don't play (tango) with other groups either because they are part of a group (tango school) or feel a certain allegiance to a certain person who is top of the class or a good sports person (tango teacher). There are others who don't join in (dance with others) because they are shy or new. And there are those who keep to a small group because they have been bullied or been the victim of a nasty remark or action.
As with a playground where the teachers and those in charge can diffuse the situation, so in a milonga can the hosts diffuse or aggravate the situation.
Some …

Value for your tango money

Interesting to see that, although not many people are voting on the current poll about visiting teachers, a couple of people find that doing courses with visiting teachers is beyond their budget. There are probably more of us now than ever before. There are currently two sets of teachers touring Australia (Fabrizio Forte and Celi Arias; Mario Consiglieri and Anabella Diaz-Hojman) and attending just the milongas where these couples are performing is great value for money. Generally in Australia organisers don't put up the cost of their milongas (or if they do it is only by a very small amount) to cover the cost of having international dancers perform. For $20 one can go to the movies and buy an icecream - for $20 one can go to a milonga in Sydney tonight and watch two outstanding dancers from Argentina perform! and dance with friends. I know what I would prefer to do (though sadly I won't make it tonight because of family commitments).
The memberships of tango clubs are rising …

Tango 'judges'

Sometimes at a milonga there are some bad vibes - and I am not the only one to notice them I discovered recently. A friend remarked to me that she didn't usually come to a particular milonga because she felt it had bad vibes.
The other night I was at a milonga where the vibes were not good. Was it because one couple was clearly sitting on the edge of the dance floor and making remarks to each other about the dancers on the floor? or was it because two couples were doing it - one sitting further away? One is enough I think.
I dance tango because I love the music, I love the dance and enjoy the company of my tango friends. I don't pretend that my standard is anything other than average intermediate. I don't have time to devote to technique to raise myself to another level - and I know enough about to dance to know that I probably need to learn other forms of dance and do regular pilates in order to really know my body better. It makes me uncomfortable when I see this happenin…

Barbara Luna in Oz and more tango news

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I first heard Barbara Luna at WOMADelaide in 2001. This is an amazing music festival held by the river in Adelaide, in those days bi-annually, but now annually. Usually the days are incredibly dry and hot and the nights are freezing and just as dry, but the music pumps. With five stages to choose from you frequently find yourself torn between which acts to immerse yourself in and sometimes we will have blankets and chairs at more than one stage. I well remember this dynamic singer who as the press release says ‘captivated the audience’. Immersing yourself in the South American rhythmns of her music will have you smiling for days.
Touring Australia to promote her new album ‘Ruta Tres” Barbara Luna is, bringing to a wider audience her unique mix of tango and salsa, Argentinian and European culture. Beginning at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival on Friday 5 June, where she will play three gigs, she moves onto Melbourne and Brisbane for one gig each on 9th and 11th June respectively, finishing…