Showing posts from July, 2011

Sydney gets a new tango band

Tangolo is the name of the Tango Quintet that debuted last night at the Concord RSL milonga hosted by TangoSynergy, Sydney's tango club. As well as being top calibre musicians most of this tango quintet also dances, which gives them an insider's understanding of how dancers feel their music. These musicians all have diverse backgrounds ranging from classical, folk, jazz and opera and I was told all came from Sydney's Conservatorium where it is possible they belonged to TangoOz, a tango orchestra established by Sydney bandoneonista, Maggie Ferguson.
The quintet consists of Emily-Rose Sarkova on accordion/voice, Susie Bishop on violin/voice, Owen Salome on guitar/flute/voice, with Amy Putt on  grand piano and David Groves on double bass.Tangolo describes itself as being "on a mission to create a fresh and danceable energy in performances of both popular and lesser known tangos from the golden era to more contemporary nuevo."
They opened with a stunner - I wish I…

The problem of Beginners in Tango

How do you keep beginners interested in tango? How do you encourage those who have done a beginners course (usually 6 to 8 weeks) to stay on in tango and move up to the next level - or at the very least to attend a few milongas? Does putting on a graduation give them the confidence to continue? I have just got off the phone to one of Sydney's leading tango teachers and this was the gist of our conversation.
The attrition rate in tango dancers in the first few months is high. I don't think this is peculiar to tango. I am a passionate yogi as well and I hear yoga teachers saying the same thing. I did belly dancing for a couple of terms then I dropped out - is this a clue? How do you keep students coming to class? You can of course charge them upfront for a course - this is pretty basic, most people do this. But this doesn't ensure they will stay.
Yoga and belly dancing are solitary pursuits, i.e. you don't need a partner. You don't need a partner in tango either, b…

Hosanna shines

I first saw Hosanna Heinrich dance at the Club de Tango milonga at Sydney's Glebe Town Hall, probably seven or eight years ago! She had just returned from her first visit to Buenos Aires and she shone in a quiet, elegant way. She was outstanding among Sydney dancers, and, in 2007, together with her partner Federico, she won the Australian Tango Championship.
Hosanna has come a long way since then, running her own tango school in Sydney, hosting workshops and teaching at international festivals. She has just returned from New Zealand where she taught and danced with Argentinian teacher Anibal Montenegro - and where I hear they did a brilliant job helping to fill in for the teachers from Argentina who couldn't make it because of the Chilean ash cloud.
This is a video from that Festival

Getting into the rhythm of Tango

I have just come back from a workshop with Joaquín Amenábar in which we tapped and sang and listened carefully to some of our favourites as he explained about the basic tango rhythm and melodies. I spend hours listening to tango music - and hours dancing to it - but there is always something more to learn. I also spent hours learning to play a musical instrument, studying music theory and supervising my childrens' music practices and I have done this workshop before - and it was still inspiring and exciting.
When you sing to the music as you dance it is very difficult to dance out of time - though if you concentrate too hard on obscure things as I did a couple of times it can be done.  Professor Amenábar uses popular and well-known orchestras such as Di Sarli, Canaro, Orquesta Tipica Victor - songs every one of us had danced to many times. At the moment he is travelling around Australia giving workshops and performing at some of the milongas.
You can read more about these workshop…

Tango and Sleep

After years of writing about health I have heard this before but it still helps to remind oneself of the importance of sleep. A recent study has found that up to 10 hours sleep is ideal (not the 7 to 8 that most of us aim for!). Researchers at Stanford University persuaded 11 basketball players to aim for 10 hours every night for 5 to 7 weeks  and though they only averaged an extra 90 minutes a night, the study found their performance improved markedly. And it wasn't just their basketball  - their memories improved too.
Babies, getting older, noise - and tango - all conspire against getting even the 7 to 8 that many of us crave - I certainly do! And it can be impossible to get this time with work, things that have to be done at home, social life and exercise routines... so what do the experts suggest. The good news is that too much sleep can be just as bad for overall health as too little - and we should just continue to aim for those precious 8 hours. And as we get older the afte…