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The gods were smiling down on us on Sunday for our Tango Movement Garden Party last Sunday.

For the second year running, we were blessed with glorious sunshine and blue skies for a long, lazy afternoon with our tango students.

They say that tango is so much more than a dance, and Sunday was the perfect example of that!

The party continued into the night and as the sun went down, some of you started dancing some tangos in our living room and the fairy lights started to twinkle in the trees.

Thank you to everyone who came and helped make it such an idyllic afternoon!

We're back from our Summer Break and very excited to get back to tango and our Autumn programme.

DROP-IN CLASSES

All our drop-in tango classes are back on.  For our Weekly Schedule: Click Here.

SPECIAL WORKSHOPS

This weekend, we're kicking off our Saturday Workshop Programme with a 2-week series on GIROS (turns in tango).

We'll look at different variations of giros, working towards greater precision, elegance and fluidity.

And we'll see some gorgeous decorative footwork for followers too!

For more details: Click Here.

NIGHTS OUT

As the nights draw in, it is good to have something to look forward to. We'll be announcing our next Tango Movement Night Out very soon.

We look forward to seeing you on the dance floor soon!

Our Summer School is now coming to an end and we would like to give a huge thank you to our guest teachers Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia for taking superb care of our students!

We really couldn't have asked for a better tango couple to take care of our classes. Thank you for sharing your wealth of experience and tango wisdom with Tango Movement!

Emails, texts and messages from our students flowed in unsolicited, telling us how much they were enjoying the classes. Here is just one message that really seems to sum up the feeling:

"So the first thing is that these two are really, really nice people - despite the celebrity status the lesson was not about them, they were humble and 100 percent there for the students not themselves. I would say you and Kim could leave your students with them at anytime secure in the knowledge they will be very well taken care of.

Next thing is that they are excellent English speakers and very adept at handling a large number of students and keeping a nice momentum of lesson content among different level students. It is a skill to make sure every student gets some degree of individual attention during the class and they excelled at this.

Lastly, they strike a really good balance in the flow of partner rotations, introducing new steps and sequences, and detailed explanations - not too overwhelming but something new for everyone to work on. They really are consummate professionals as teachers and it would be great if you can arrange something like this again next year with them."

Wishing Junior and Guadalupe a fantastic trip back and looking forward to them returning with us as guest teachers again! Thank you again from Tango Movement!

David and I will be back from this Thursday teaching all our drop-in classes. Our Saturday courses will start from 2nd September.

Dreamy Tango 22-08-2017

Passionate, fiery, sexy? What words would you use to describe tango?

How about soft, dreamy, romantic?

Well, if you've never danced tango before, you might be forgiven if these words don't immediately spring to mind when you hear the word tango. Because they go against the stereotype of tango that is portrayed by the mainstream media.

But, from the very first time you take a tango class, you'll realise that there is a lot more to tango than first meets the eye.

Our students, Oleg and Oksana, started learning tango with us around two years ago. And when they told us that they wanted to prepare a tango for their wedding dance, we knew that we could help them something really special ...

We're always really excited when we have a new wedding dance couple. Not many people can say that in their line of work they help dreams come true. But this is just how we feel when we create a tango wedding dance for someone's big day.

Oleg and Oksana chose a beautiful classical piece for their dance - "Gabriel's Oboe" from the film The Mission - rather than a traditional tango.

The music was soft and romantic and set a perfect dreamy tone for their smooth, elegant movements. We're sure that there wasn't a dry eye in the house!

Oleg and Oksana we'd like to thank you for choosing us as your tango teachers and for being such rewarding students to teach. It's been a true pleasure.

Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

Tango Love 11-08-2017

It’s not every day that you have the privilege of attending the wedding of a couple who met through your classes.

And I can tell you, it is quite a unique feeling.

I always remember Irina saying that Tango Movement should change its name to “tangomatch.com.". Because so many students in our classes who were falling for each other that year.

And she should know. She was one of them!

Hendrik joined our classes back in 2009 and has been one of our regulars for years. Irina started coming quite a bit later - in 2012. For a while their paths didn’t cross since she was only attending our Beginners classes.

But tango eventually brought them together. Now they are both beautiful tango dancers and a beautiful couple. A tango match made in heaven!

People meet in many different ways of course, but a shared passion like tango can connect people beyond the three minutes that a tango lasts.

Yesterday was an amazing afternoon spent celebrating Hendrik and Irina’s marriage, surrounded by a huge group of Tango Movement students.

We wish this lovely couple many years of love, health, happiness …. and tango together.

August is looking a lot brighter with the arrival of our star guest teachers - Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia - who gave their first class at Tango Movement last night.

Junior and Guadalupe will be running our Tango Movement Summer School. We are thrilled to have them and we hope you will come to their lessons and make the most of their short stay!

Junior Cervila is a tango dancer of international acclaim.

He was born in Sao Paulo Brazil. In 1991, he travelled to Buenos Aires to study with legendary tango maestros Pepito Avellaneda, Antonio Todaro and Juan Carlos Copes. He immersed himself in tango, while also dancing in the milongas of Buenos Aires.

In the 1990’s, he started touring the world with tango companies. In 1997, he had a starring role in the film “Tango” by Carlos Saura.

He later performed on Broadway in the Tony Award nominated “Tango Argentino”. The show played a pivotal role in the resurgence of tango's popularity worldwide. Suddenly, everyone wanted to dance tango - the argentine way. It is widely acknowledged that "Tango Argentino" played a huge role in making Argentine tango the global phenomenon that it is today.

Junior later became a principal dancer in international shows such as "Tanguera", "Tango y Fuga" and "Tango Emotion".

In 2006 and 2011, Junior joined the cast of "Tango Argentino" for its last performance at the Obelisco in Buenos Aires to an audience of 15,000. In 2006, he performed with Mora Godoy in the Theatre Colon, Buenos Aires. In the New Year of 2007, he again performed at the Obelisco in a concert with Daniel Baremboin.

Junior and Guadalupe have recently been selected as the tango couple for the latest Broadway production of "Evita". They will join the cast this Autumn.

Junior and Guadalupe not only are exceptional dancers but also highly experienced teachers, not to mention friendly, down-to-earth people.

From 8th to 23rd August, Junior and Guadalupe will be covering all our drop-in classes - click here for the details.

They will also be giving two unique workshops with elements for tango salon on Saturdays 12th and 19th August - click here to find out more.

Don’t miss this limited opportunity to study with Tango Greats!

Summer Party 29-07-2017

Thank you to everyone who came to our Summer Party last Saturday and helped make it a really special night!

The Light is one of our favourite London tango venues. Tucked away in the back streets of Shoreditch, no one would expect to find this little enclave of tango, beautifully lit up with fairy lights and filled with beautiful tango music.

It's always fantastic to see students of all levels enjoying the night. Sometimes there is no better way to learn than to throw yourself in the deep-end and learn on the dance-floor!

Milongas are not just about dancing tango non-stop (although a lot of people do), they are about enjoying the music, the company and lapping up the atmosphere. Sitting on the side-lines with a drink and watching the world dance by is the ideal way to give your feet a little rest from all the dancing!

When we get back from our summer holiday, we will immediately start planning our Autumn Tango Night!

These days, it’s the word that’s on everyone’s lips. The core.

Whenever something goes well in your dance. Whenever something goes not so well. It’s all down to your core.

And there’s no doubt that using the core is key to good tango technique.

But is it your free ticket to tango heaven? Let’s have a look at some home truths about the core.

Home Truth #1

Whilst there is no doubt that using your core is of great importance, it is only one piece of the puzzle.

If you are over-thinking your core, you could lose focus on other important areas of your body. And consequently you may still lose your balance!

It is not the magic cure. I wish I could tell you there is a one-step solution to equilibrium, but I can’t!

Whilst it is important to “zoom in” on important areas of the body - it is also vital to “zoom out”!

It takes practice but when you dance it is a good idea to have a picture of your whole body in your mind - not just one detail.

In time, this will also help you feel more expressive, fluid and present.

Home Truth #2

Teachers will give you varying advice on how to use the core.

Who’d have thought there would be so many ways to talk about your abdominal muscles!

Pull them in, contract them, lift them, tighten them …

You may well have heard different imagery too. I certainly use a fair few in my classes, in search of that “light bulb” moment for my students.

My advice? Different concepts work for different people.

Try them all on and work out what makes best sense for you and for your body.

Home Truth #3

When you activate your core, some unwanted side effects may creep into your technique.

You may find that you create tension in your chest. Your shoulders may lift inadvertently.

And you may find yourself holding your breath. (No need for me to explain why that isn’t a good idea!)

I appreciate its not easy to juggle everything. But breathing, relaxing your shoulders and using your core are all so important.

Be patient. Be perseverant. And it will happen!

Home Truth #4

When you lift your core, it doesn’t necessarily stay lifted!

I know, it doesn’t seem fair.

You lift your core, you breathe, you relax, you just start enjoying the music, the movements, you lose yourself and ….

“What happened to my core?!!”

It is a little bit like zipping up jeans that are too tight for you. Unless you hold the zip up, unfortunately it will keep sliding down.

I hate to be the one to break bad news, but in order to get your core to work for you, you have to keep holding it up.

No, it’s not exactly what I like to think about when I’m dancing either. But here’s the thing. It’s all about repetition. Repetition until lifting your core becomes so entrenched in your technique you don’t really have to think about it anymore.

And then you can go ahead and lose yourself in the moment to your heart’s content!

Home Truth #5

I just gave you some bad news, so here is some good news. You do no need 'abs of steel' to be able to use your core.

You can do 200 sit-ups a day. There are undoubtable health benefits (and you will look fantastic!) but it will do you absolutely no good if you don’t remember to activate your core when you dance!

Obviously I’m talking about tango salon here. In other more physically strenuous activities I have no doubt the stronger your core is, the easier certain movements will be.

In tango salon, however, using the core is about activating, and not necessarily about super-strength.

But please don’t let me be the one to hold you back from those 200 sit-ups a day!

And Finally …

It’s time to “zoom” out again.

It’s easy to get bogged down in thoughts about your core.

Don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, let’s try to remember why we actually dance tango. For PLEASURE.

But if you can find a balance and thread your core and other techniques into your dance, you will gradually open the door to even greater tango bliss!

CAVEAT: We usually save in-depth technique advice to the classroom! This is an overview and only a sketch of the details we cover face-to-face in our tango lessons.

I was asked by Top Santé magazine if I would like to tell the story of how I came to be a tango dancer.

The feature appears in this month's edition - with a full two pages chronicling my own personal tango journey.

Everyone has a tango story. How they came to discover tango. The reasons they started dancing. And yours might only just have begun ... or about to happen!

I always ask people how they came to dance tango. For many, it is so much more than a hobby. And if it started as a hobby - it soon turns into something more important to them.

The story in Top Santé tells how I inadvertently changed the course of my life when I walked into a tango class in the late 1990’s. When I saw how beautiful the dance and the music was, I had an epiphany.

It tells how I gave up my job in the City to immerse myself in tango for just a few months … and then didn’t come home for four years!

Luckily it all worked out well for me as not only did I find what I feel is my calling in life but I also met my partner - in tango and in life - David.

And the person most excited about being in the magazine - my five-year old daughter. She's telling all her friends that she is famous!

So that's my story. And now someone just needs to approach David for the story of how he became first a ballet, then a tango dancer. A story very different to my own, but, in my view, even more interesting!

Top Santé magazine is available for purchase nationwide in most larger newsagents.

Mugre. Something you often hear professional or experienced tango dancers talking about.

You may hear them comment “they have great technique but their tango lacks a bit of mugre”.

And if you look up the dictionary definition of “mugre” (pronounced /mu:grei/) - you might be surprised to find that literally it translates as: “dirt”!

Yes, that’s right. Dirt!

But perhaps a better way to translate mugre in this particular context, would be “grime” or “grit”.

We’re all striving towards perfection, but sometimes what we really want to see is something that falls short of perfection.

Yes, tango technique is important, musicality, creativity and expression too. But to cap it all it’s great to see a tango dancer with just a touch of mugre.

It’s difficult to explain what “mugre” looks like to someone who is not deeply involved with tango. But rest assured it is nothing to do with the way someone dresses or their personal hygiene!

On the contrary, it is part of the traditional culture of tango that one should go to the milonga washed and well-dressed. It is a mark of respect for the partners you intend to dance with that night. And I would go so far as saying that that should apply to classes too.

It is your dance that should have mugre.

Because who cares about perfect technique when you can see soul, expression, connection? When what you can see makes you feel something.

It is partly because tango is an improvised that mugre is something to aspire to. Because a slick, polished choreography can be wonderful to watch but it doesn’t have that beautiful live quality that an improvisation has - despite its flaws. It’s kind of nice to see dancers smile wryly when something doesn’t quite go to plan. The odd misstep seems to be part and parcel of an improvisation.

So is it time to put a halt to our technique exercises? And our continued learning path in tango?

Unfortunately, mugre without technique just doesn’t cut it. It’s no excuse for poor dancing. You have to be a damn good dancer, with a bucket load of experience, to look good with mugre.

Maybe this seems likes an impossible goal then but for me the morale is this: continue to explore, strive always to better than yesterday. But relax if it isn’t perfect. It’s mugre! And you’ll enjoy tango all the more.

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