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This Saturday, we'll be welcoming tango tornado, Alejandra Mantinan, to Tango Movement once again.

Here she is earlier this year with our very own David Benitez.

Stepping off the plane and into the arms of a leader she had barely danced with before, Alejandra always gives true meaning to the word improvisation!

Alejandra is perhaps the leading female tango dancer of her generation. Over several decades, she has inspired countless tangueras - and tangueros - with her inimitable dancing style and her mind-expanding teaching!

This Saturday 4th November, she will be giving two exciting Workshops in our studio in Soho.

We are headed for a sell-out this Saturday but are still looking for leaders to balance out the class. Simply send us a quick message to book your place and enjoy this exciting opportunity.

Is this how you feel when the teacher draws class to you in class?

Well, it’s good to know you are not alone!

As teachers, we're very used to students growing very tense whenever they think we are watching them!

And this in spite of the fact that we reassure them they don’t have get it right straight away and in fact we’re there to help them!

It doesn’t seem to matter how supportive, friendly and totally unintimidating teachers are, students seem to have an inescapable desire to show how much progress they have made … and somehow end up achieving just the opposite!

And it is particularly frustrating if things have in fact been going really well for a while, only for them to fall apart just as your teacher’s eyes are upon you!

So other than telling you that you are in good company, what else can we say to reassure you?

Your teacher sees more than you think. Not only will they be able to tell you’re feeling self-conscious and take that into consideration, but they will also be observing your progress throughout the class, even when you're not aware of it.

You may think they are closer to another couple in the room, but they may be actually watching you! Their assessment of your progress will not be solely based on those few moments of high pressure.

And is it such a terrible thing to get it wrong in front of your teacher? They’re there to correct you. And you’re there to be corrected. If the teacher sees your mistakes and gives you tips to counter them, it will give you more material to work on.

So bring on the mistakes! They'll ulitimately make us better dancers!

This blog entry is dedicated to our lovely student and friend, Kiran, who posted the cartoon on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Last week in each of our drop-in classes, we set a new challenge for our students.

Between now and Christmas, we'll be working on the the three "E"s - our three pillars of tango!

The three E's remain the three E's whether you're talking in English or Spanish: Equilibrio/Equilibrium. Elegancia/Elegance. Emocion/Emotion.

The final pillar: emotion, that's not something that can be taught, I can almost hear you say.

Well, we're here to guide you and inspire you to dance tango with emotion. And there are a fair few technical pointers along the way that will help you not only feel emotion but also convey emotion.

We're looking forward to seeing you in class this week to continue the good work!

David teaches the importance of equilibrium, elegance and emotion in tango

We're feeling inspired after our Full Immersion Day last Saturday!

You’ve given us the thumbs up for this new format, so you’ll probably see it appear on our workshop schedule again towards the end of this year and into 2018.

We looked at 3 distinct tango topics in one day: (1) Adornments (2) Small Out-of-Axis Movements and (3) Interpretation of Different Tango Orchestras.

Interestingly, there was a considerable degree of cross-over between the classes, despite covering such contrasting areas. Our work on our posture and balance from Workshop 1 was hugely useful in Workshop 2 when we explored going off balance. And in Workshop 3, we explored - amongst other things - how the adornments we learnt in Workshop 1 could bring out the different moods of the tango orchestras we studied.

Thank you to everyone who came and especially well done for those who managed to do all 3 topics! It was quite a marathon!

Coming home with every once of energy spent, and feet throbbing, it was lovely to receive this message from one of our students:

"Just a note to recognise & show appreciation for your beautiful traits of noticing, remembering, considering, offering & giving to me & no doubt, all your students. I hope you know how rare & wonderful such gifts are.”

I went to bed tired but happy!

Who are the best leaders on the dance floor and what is it that sets them apart from the rest?

You could argue that this is a subjective thing, but there is some consensus in the tango world on overall qualities to be aspired to.

If you are new to the tango scene, you might be forgiven for thinking that the best leaders are those with the widest repertoire of steps. Or perhaps those who can do the most complex moves.

You may even have watched them from the sidelines and resolved that you would learn to dance tango just like them.

And you may indeed have been watching fabulous tango dancers, but what they are doing - what is visible from the outside - is only part of the picture.

The question to ask is what does it actually *feel* like to dance with them?

Because this is what makes a good tango dancer.

Your dance partner cannot see the way you look from the sidelines. All she knows is how you feel to dance with. And in tango, your partner is always much more important than anyone watching.

So what use are flashy moves if they make your partner feel uncomfortable or take her off her balance?

And more to the point, what use are they if she cannot even understand them?

It is a fundamental philosophy of tango that the leader should be able to read the experience level of every follower he dances with and dance to that level. Even if his own level is significantly higher.

A leader who leads movements that his partner is not equipped to deal with, will not give his partner an enjoyable dance experience. In fact, one could argue that he cares more about what those on the sidelines are thinking or about his own self-development, than his partner’s needs.

I like to think that a good leader creates a tango tailor-made to every follower he dances with.

And that in tango, beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder .... but in the arms of the follower!

So next time you are at the milonga, why not try switching your gaze from him to … her. And if you happen to see a little smile playing on her lips, well you’ll know she is in good hands!

A mini-clip of our improvised tango at the end of our Intermediate Drop-in Class last Tuesday, illustrating our step of the week.

It always feels amazing when David leads this step so I was excited to share it with you.

When you watch this video you’ll see the series of steps taught, but what you won’t necessarily see are the tiny details that go into making this step look - and just as importantly feel - a million dollars! Those are secrets for those who come to our lessons!

No step looks or feels good without a solid bedrock of technique. And so the first part of the class was spent working with our students to understand how to initiate and execute the movements.

We hope you enjoy this clip. Any questions, just let us know in class!

Newcomers are always more than welcome. Check out our Weekly Class Schedule for the right level for you.

A video of our improvised demonstration at the end of our Intermediate Tango Class on Tuesday 5 September.

As always, the focus of the class was not to memorise the sequence but to understand how to lead each element of the sequence and play around with them creatively.

Tuesday’s class involved leading the follower lovely series of movements down the leader’s right hand side finishing with the lead of the front boleo. A step that feels as beautiful as it looks!

We worked with the followers to help them release their free leg to create more dynamic boleos and gave them a few ideas for decorations. Creativity in tango is not solely the territory of the leader!

This video clip features the step sequence several times (can you spot it?) but shows how it can be slotted into other tango movements too. As always the music is a top priority!

Any questions about this step or any other tango matter, just let us know in class!

We hope this video is a helpful reminder of your lesson and serves as some inspiration for your dance!

Giro Technique 11-09-2017

Another workshop series has come and gone.

For the last two Saturdays, Tango Movement students have been working on their giros (tango turns). Exploring the technique, working on their fluidity and getting that bit closer to precision!

When you watch a video of a performance filmed in a milonga in Buenos Aires, it is most often the moment in which a giro is executed that the audience erupts into applause.

Something that may surprise a British audience. In Strictly Come Dancing, the audience seems to clap for every single lift, spin and flick. You can almost visualise the man behind the camera holding up an autocue card for them: “APPLAUD”.

This is something of a role-reversal considering Argentine audiences are generally considered to be more expressive than British audiences, never shy to call out “Bravisimo!” or to jump to their feet in a standing ovation.

So why so much enthusiasm for giros? The giro typically is where the leader’s technique can shine. Often said to be the frame to the beautiful painting that is the follower in tango, this is the gentleman’s moment to step out into the spotlight, where he can really show what he is made of.

Enrosques, planeos, lápices, entradas, even ganchos - the variations for tango turns are endless. Whereas the follower usually maintains the same series of steps around the leader: forward, side, back, side …

But as I always tell my students, around every leader, walks a strong follower! The leader’s success is wholly dependant on the solid technique of the follower. Something that as our ladies discovered in class on Saturday is no mean feat!

This coming Saturday and next, we won’t be drifting too far away from the principles we learnt on Saturday. We will be running a two-week Pure Tango Technique Course, in which we will continue to explore - amongst other things - some of the foundation principles of giros.

For full info: click here.

See you there!

We were happy to welcome a new intake of Beginners on the first week of our Tango Crash Course last Saturday.

As always, it was a complete pleasure to unlock some of the secrets of Argentine tango to people who for the most part had never experienced the dance before.

We never get tired of seeing eyes light up with surprise when they discover that tango is not all that it seems and that there is much more to it than meets the eye.

And, as is often the case, it is not only the teachers who inspire the students, but the students who can inspire the teachers!

It always amazes me how a lot of the most interesting questions and the most astute observations arise in our Beginners classes. Perhaps it is because Beginners are fresh to tango, seeing it for the very first time.

Last Saturday, one of our brand new students made a brilliant comparison of tango to a game of tennis.

Yes, in tennis you have an opponent and in tango you have a partner. But despite this completely different dynamic, the connections between the two are strong.

Tango, like tennis, is a game of action and a response. In both disciplines, you don’t know what the other will do in any given moment. And indeed before that moment in time, your partner doesn’t know himself. Your decision as to how to respond to your partner’s action must therefore be made immediately and once the decision is made, it must be adhered to. In this way, fluidity between the two partners is maintained.

And in tango, add to the mix the ingredients of music, creativity and beauty, and you can imagine you have a pretty addictive combination!

Thank you to all our wonderful new students for your energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun. We can’t wait to reveal more about Argentine tango to you over the next month and beyond!

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!

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