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It was one of those rare but unforgettable London treats: a warm summer's evening combined with an exciting outdoor event.

Borough Market was buzzing last Saturday night. Pretty much the whole of London's tango community descended on this quirky little market on the South Bank, plus tonnes of passers-by craning their necks to see what on earth was going on.

The event was organised by the Argentine Embassy, who laid down a dance-floor, set up a music system and then waited for the crowds to descend.

As we jumped out of our car, in our performance cloths it was wonderful to hear the notes of our tango filling the London air. And as we rounded the corner, we saw an open-air milonga in full swing, dancers filling every spare inch of the make-shift dance-floor.

It was amazing to perform at such an exciting event with so many tango aficionados present. And we felt their passion for tango in the applause they gave us during our performance.

And after the show? A glass of wine with our students and some delicious empanadas around the corner at the Argentine food stall. Bliss.

We may have many more performances this year but we're sure this performance will stand out in our memory. Thank you everyone who came to see us and for your "buena onda"!

You might be surprised to learn how I came to dance tango.

It was down to Scent of A Woman. A 1992 Hollywood film with one short, sentimental tango scene.

It’s kind of funny now to think that I wouldn’t be dancing tango if it wasn’t for a Hollywood film. Me, who is always complaining about how Hollywood, and the mainstream media, misrepresent and parody tango.

I remember loving the film when it came out in the cinema. And I vividly remember the scene in which Al Pacino - a blind war veteran - dances tango with a beautiful stranger.

But in fact that wasn’t the actual moment I discovered tango. It should have been but it wasn’t. It simply didn’t occur to me that I could learn to dance tango and I carried on with my life as usual.

However, in another cinema, on another day, it inspired my future brother-in-law to try tango and it was through him I came to my first tango class. (Thank you Daniel!)

Returning to the film over 20 years later, I prepared myself to be under-whelmed by the tango scene which had indirectly changed my life forever.

And yes, it has to be said that the tango itself is only a sketchy representation of what the real dance should look like. My brother-in-law was determined to dance “like Al Pacino” but to my more experienced eyes, it appeared that Al Pacino had had nothing more than a few basic classes in Argentine tango before the film.

However, the sentiment of the film was as beautiful to me as it was back in the 1990’s. And if I look beyond the steps and style, what the scene says about tango still strikes a chord with me.

It tells me that tango is about stepping onto the dance floor with a complete stranger and dancing without any pre-planned steps. And it tells me that it is about sharing a few short but unforgettable moments with another human being. Whether I have anything in common with that other human or would otherwise have had any contact with them.

And these wonderful words from the film are still pearls of wisdom for any student of tango. And yes, I do occasionally quote them in my classes!

“No mistakes in the tango, darling, not like life. It’s simple. That’s what makes the tango so great. If you make a mistake, get all tangled up, just tango on.” - Al Pacino (as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade)

And the film has clearly made a long-lasting impact on popular culture. In our experience, "Por Una Cabeza" is by far the most popular song choice for the couples we coach for their wedding dance.

So yes, I am happy that it was this scene from Scent of A Woman that led me to the crazy course my life has taken. For me, it is in its own way, a beautiful representation of what tango is about.

On Thursday night, we celebrated the 79th birthday of our dear student and friend Sue.

Sue has been studying tango with us for nearly 10 years now and comes to our advanced class. No one who sees her dance can believe she is 79 years young!

Watch her traditional birthday tango Vals (waltz) in her celebration after class.

The Birthday Vals is one of my very favourite tango traditions. Each dancer in the room takes it in turn to dance with the birthday girl/boy. It is an exhilarating feeling to go from one dancer to the next, each with their own energy, personality and interpretation.

Sue is a more accomplished dancer than most dancers half her age! She dances several nights a week and is able to keep up with the most energetic of partners.

Sue, here’s to many many more years of dancing. Thank you making us believe that we will all be able to do it too!

We were very excited to visit the BBC on Wednesday to talk about tango!

David and I accompanied tango musician Julian Rowlands to talk about the relationship between tango and the music.

We met with Katie Derham, presenter of the BBC Proms and 2015 finalist of Strictly Come Dancing, who asked us many questions about tango, specifically focused on we interpret the music when we dance.

”Dance is music made visible” - said the great choreographer Balanchine. And tango in particular has a fascinating relationship with its music.

The programme will form part of a new series - “Sound Of Dance” - combining Katie’s love of dance and music on BBC Radio 3. Each week Katie will talk to different experts from the dance world, focusing on distinct genres such as ballet, classical Indian and of course Argentine tango!

In the first week, Katie will talk about Sir Frederick Ashton, the founder choreographer of the Royal Ballet. Argentine tango will make its appearance in Week 2 of the series.

“I am thrilled to be involved with this series which will introduce Radio 3 listeners to the wonder of dance through the magnificent music which accompanies it.” - Katie Derham

Sound Of Dance starts on BBC Radio 3 on 3rd June with episodes every Saturday from 3pm – 4pm.

We will announce on our News Page when the Tango programme that we were involved in is about to be broadcast!

I am so looking forward to my Tango Technique Workshop this Saturday … just for the ladies.

Ladies Technique is one of my all-time favourite topics. And although we often hold Technique Workshops for both men and women at Tango Movement, there is something quite special about occasionally working with just the girls.

Somehow over the years, I’ve turned into something of a tango technique geek, excited about even the smallest details in our movement and new ways to explain them in my classes.

I haven’t always been this way. In my 20’s, all I wanted to do was get on with the dance. I was prepared to work hard and practice, and I knew that technique was important, but I wasn’t always as patient as I should have been about the where and the how I should initiate the movement, the positioning of the body … and every other tiny piece of the jigsaw.

I despair of my younger self. I can now see how much more progress my students who take tango technique seriously than those who are just looking for their next dance partner and “tango fix”. Because it is the details that make up the whole.

I remember the feeling of dancing in a fog of confusion, not really sure what is happening from one moment to the next. Enjoying the feeling of things progressing, only to feel that progress slip away from me, without fully understanding why. Because, to quote the legendary Rudolf Nureyev:

"Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration."

I am a total convert to technique. Just a few minutes of technique each day can have more value than many hours of dancing in the milonga. Too many people adhere to the misguided belief that racking up their “tango miles” will improve their dance. If it does, it is over a much longer period of time. And in fact unfocused practice can serve only to reenforce bad habits.

A good technique workshop should help you to strengthen the precise muscles you use when you dance tango, acquire greater corporal awareness, increase your confidence and fuel your self-expression and creativity.

I hope this has inspired you to get started (or keep going) with your technique. And if you’re not sure exactly what you should be working on or are in need of some fresh ideas, look no further than my Ladies Technique Workshop this Saturday!

This is the second week we'll be working on Ladies Technique. My students last week requested a second workshop to reinforce the ideas from the first class. But don't worry if you weren't able to make the first one. I'll make sure everything is crystal clear.

The class will take place this Saturday 20th May at 3:30 - 5:30 pm at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall Street, Soho, W1F 7EL (close to Oxford Circus). Price: £20 per person. Please contact us if you would like to book a place.

We'll start the class without our shoes (bring a pair of socks). After that we'll move to our tango heels. I'd strongly recommend that you wear the shoes you would nomally wear to dance tango in - rather than simply practice shoes.

I can’t wait to help you find your light bulb moments!

We're immensely proud of our students who performed at the UK Tango Championship last Saturday 1st April.

Six Tango Movement couples performed a choreography during the evening in the spectacular Edward Lumley Hall in Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Some of them had performed in our Student Show at the Winter Ball in January but others were completely new to performing. They managed to learn the choreography in a just under two weeks and to perform it with technique and confidence. A real achievement!

I was told I looked like a worried mother putting on a brave face as I watched them file out onto the dance floor. But my butterflies soon subsided as I watched them dance.

And then came my favourite part of the proceedings: the post-show drinks to celebrate!

Thank you to our students for their dedication, hard work, focus and passion. We're so happy to have you as part of our tango teaml!

We're still waiting for the official video, which we hope to post here shortly!

We're excited to present the video of David performing with Alejandra Mantiñan at our Winter Ball in January.

This is a wonderful example of what tango is all about: Alejandra arrived in London and the next day performed this tango, without any rehearsal or warm-up at all. Just two bodies reading each other and the music ... oh, and in front of 300 people!. The atmosphere was electric.

For me it was an enormous pleasure to watch David perform with this wonderfully creative dancer.

It was a pleasure to WATCH him perform full stop! I've always loved watching him dance but I don't get this luxury when I'm in his arms. Ironically, the name of the tango they danced that night was "En Tus Brazos" (In Your Arms).

Enjoy!

When students talk about what they most like about our school, our demonstrations at the end of our classes almost always get a mention.

Guiding every student to dance creatively and with their own personality is an integral part of our teaching and we believe these improvised demonstrations help to inspire this.

In these demos, not only do we show the steps that we have been working on in the class but we also show how they can be developed, combined and varied. Tango is not about choreography. Even when we teach a sequence of steps we always show ways this can be dismantled and put together differently, and how it can be played with to express the music.

I never know what tango David will play at the end of the class. But I was really happy when last Wednesday he put on one of my favourites: Marion by Miguel Calo. (See my earlier blog entry on the beautiful lyrics of Marion!)

We always use a lot of decorations into our demos. Partly (and a very big part) because we love decorations and we find it almost impossible to dance without them! But also again to give ideas and inspiration to our students.

Next Saturday 1st and 8th April we will have two workshops entirely dedicated to the wonderful world of decorations!

Now that is something to look forward to!

We're very excited to be exploring Tango Vals for the first time in 2017 this Saturday.

So here is a little piece of tango history - and inspiration - for you: the legendary Osvaldo Pugliese at the age of 80 playing one of the most beautiful tango vales of all time: Desde El Alma in none other than the Theatre Colon, Buenos Aires.

We promise that Desde El Alma will be one of the many gorgeous valses we play this Saturday and next!

Sit back and enjoy!

When you dance Vals you feel like you leave your life at the door and step into a world of old school charm and romance. Our Workshop aims to breathe new inspiration into your Vals so your feet and movements can bring the music to life!

And here is some of David's improvised Vals with the legendary Alejandra Mantinñan in January:

You could hear a pin drop.

The moment world-famous dancer, Royal Ballet Superstar, Marianela Nuñez walked into our tango ball, her iconic white tutu brushing the legs of the waiting tangueros.

Her achingly beautiful Pas de Deux with partner Alejandra Parente to haunting music from Swan Lake was something that will remain imprinted in the minds of everyone present. When dance and music combine on that level you can almost feel your heart leaving your body.

David and Marianela met in Argentina when they were both training to be ballet dancers. They both attended the same ballet school in Buenos Aires. Marianela was shortly after accepted into the Royal Ballet. David continued his ballet career in Buenos Aires before fully dedicating himself to tango. Fate has brought both of them to live in London.

Because of David and Marianela's friendship, Marianela has now on two occasions performed at the Tango Movement Winter Ball, in order to help us raise as much funds possible to the Argentine charities the Ball supports.

At our last Ball, Marianela and Alejandro gave a surprise performance dancing a modern ballet piece to nuevo tango music by Astor Piazzolla, "A Buenos Aires". This year, it was all about the classic, with a rendition of the Act II Pas De Deux from Swan Lake.

We are extremely grateful tor Marianela and Alejandro for their enormous generosity in performing for us, taking time out from their extremely demanding dance schedules. And we are immensely proud of to have had such prestigious performers at our Tango Movement Winter Ball, making sure that it was certainly a 10th Anniversary Ball to remember!

We hope you enjoy the show!

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