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Rusty Tango 08-01-2016

It’s that time of year again. After the excesses of the festive period,there ’ll be many of you out there thinking of putting on your tango shoes again and seeing how your first few steps feel.

A little wobbly perhaps?

We have only given two classes so far this year and already two different students have come up to me and said just about the same thing: that they were nervous about coming to class that day. And that they they were sure they would have forgotten absolutely everything.

And maybe that is how they felt as they started the class. But watching them from the outside, they looked fine! Their footwork was polished as it had been before Christmas, and when I led them, their following felt light and responsive. Perhaps they felt they were out of practice, but it wasn’t something that their partners or a spectator would have necessarily picked up on.

And I’ve had students come back to class after a much longer period than just a few weeks and to their relief also find that they haven’t lost everything. Yes, they feel rusty to begin with. And perhaps a little apprehensive. But I always tell them that it is only a very thin layer of rust and that they’ll have shaken it off by the end of the class.

The body is a miraculous thing. It remembers so much more than we often give it credit for. I’ve come across students who come back after taking several years’ break and find they can still dance after a few refresher classes.

And I’ve even seen Beginners who danced another form of dance as a child (and never since), doing tango movements in a way particular to that other dance, their body somehow remembering something from the dim and distant past.

Of course, if you haven’t danced for a while, it may be that your muscle strength and suppleness have diminished. But it has a much less dramatic effect in a relatively gentle dance like salon tango than in something more physically demanding like ballet. And in my experience it is quicker to recuperate lost strength and suppleness than build it up for the first time. In other words, your past dedication was not in vain!

So don’t sit at home worrying about your bambi legs, head down to class, brush off the rust and let the dancing begin!

I just have to say this out loud: we have the most wonderful, passionate, warm-hearted students anyone could wish for. We're incredibly grateful for the year we shared with you and can't wait to get started with the next one!

All our classes re-start on Tuesday 5th January. We’ll have our regular programme of drop-in classes for Beginners through to Advanced, our popular Saturday Beginners Crash Course - PLUS an exciting new programme of Saturday Workshops!

We’re happy to be starting the year with our lovely new studio for private classes. It feels so nice to teach in our own space and we know it creates a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere for our students.

This year, we promise to create more inspiring, innovative and supportive classes for you so you can take your tango to the next level and continue to enjoy all the magic that this dance has to offer.

To welcome in a fresh year, we will be celebrating on Saturday 23rd January at the Light Milonga in Shoreditch - our first Student Night Out of 2016! Please join us! More information will be posted on our News page shortly.

Wishing a very Happy New Year to all Tango Movers!

Last Tuesday 10th November, David and I were performed alongside Royal Ballet Principal, Marianela Nuñez, at the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence in an evening of Ballet and Tango.

The evening was attended by Ambassadors from all over the world, VIPs and members of the Anglo-Argentine Community.

Marianela Nuñez, together with Alejandro Parente, principal dancer of the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, performed a contemporary ballet piece to Astor Piazzolla’s “A Buenos Aires”. David and I performed two traditional tango pieces. And the evening’s programme was closed with Marianela and Alejandro performing the “Dying Swan” from Swan Lake.

Marianela Nuñez was born in Buenos Aires and trained at the Teatro Colon Ballet School before joining The Royal Ballet School at the the age of 15. She became a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at the age of 20 and has performed leading roles in the classical, dramatic and contemporary repertoires.She is currently playing Juliet in the Royal Opera House’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

Tuesday’s performance was followed by a reception with Argentine gastronomy and wines. The Ambassador thanked the performers:

“One of the central aspects of our work in the United Kingdom is cultural diplomacy. Art, in all its expressions, improves relations, contributes to greater knowledge of our country, allows a greater understanding and promotes dialogue between the nations”

David and I were honoured to take part in this evening and represent tango in this important cultural setting.

Progress! Our brand new mirrors and ballet barres are up!

Studio Movement is really taking shape. And the barre has already been put to good use for tango technique practice and classes.

Next step: a studio website complete with a schedule to check day-to-day availability. Coming really soon!

The last month has been an exciting time for us because we have finally - and for the first time - opened our very own tango studio, “Studio Movement”.

The studio is the perfect size for for small groups. It has already proved popular with our students to practice in with their tango partners or a small group of friends. We want you to feel that it is your “tango home from home”!

We’ll be launching a new website very soon where you’ll be able to check availability at any time and book the studio.

NB All Tango Movement group classes will still take place in our regular West End locations (Soho and Bloomsbury) and the City (Moorgate). Click here for our group timetable.

Many thanks to everyone who came to Negracha Tango Club last Friday for our Student Night Out and Performance.

We were thrilled to perform again at Negracha after so such a long time and it was amazing to see so many of you there to support us.

Our Nights Out are such a great way to cement the friendships we make in class and enhance the sense of community we have at Tango Movement.

The next Night Out is our biggest one: our annual Winter Ball on Saturday 14th November. Tickets will be on sale very shortly.

We’ll leave you with some pictures of our three tango performances at Negracha taken by our wonderful student Natalia Lavrova. And a video of our tango Vals.







Hope to see you on the dance floor soon!

On Sunday 6th September, we will be performing in Angels & Demons with acclaimed septet Tango Siempre and Soprano Ann Liebeck.

Discover the tango masterworks of legendary Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. In the 1950s, Piazzolla shook up the world of traditional tango with his new style termed 'nuevo tango', incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. Although controversial during his lifetime, he soon became an important musical figure and is now known as one of the world's foremost composers of tango music.

Angels and Demons features Piazzolla's rarely performed vocal tango ballads, plus instrumental works by classic tango masters of the Golden Age of Tango.

The concert also features a guest appearance by baritone Nuno Silva.

'Here is the tango: raw, intoxicating, speaking with its true voice' (Financial Times)

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Performers:

Ann Liebeck soprano
Nuno Silva baritone
Julian Rowlands bandoneon
Ros Stephen violin
Marianne Haynes violin
Felix Tanner viola
Laura Anstee cello
Jonathan Taylor piano
Rory Dempsey double bass
David Benitez tango dancer
Kim Benitez tango dancer

Programme:

Jonathan Taylor: Malandras
Eduardo Rovira: A Evaristo Carriego
Astor Piazzolla: Milonga de la Anunciación
Julian Plaza: Danzarín
Pedro Laurenz: Milonga de mis Amores
Juan de Dios Filiberto: Quejas de Bandoneón
Astor Piazzolla: Chiquilín de Bachín
Rosita Melo: Desde el Alma
Jonathan Taylor: El Gato negro
Astor Piazzolla: Vuelvo al Sur
Interval
Astor Piazzolla: Milonga del Angel
Astor Piazzolla: Zum
Osvaldo Pugliese: La Yumba
Astor Piazzolla: Milonga Carrieguera
Julian Plaza: Payadora
Astor Piazzolla: Balada para un Loco
Mario Demarco: Pata Ancha
Astor Piazzolla: Balada para mi muerte
Astor Piazzolla: Libertango

For tickets, click here.

student show 21-08-2015

We’re proud to present the official video of our Student Show, which took place at the UK Tango Championships in June this year.

Our Students opened the Semi-Finals with a choreography to the music Loca by Juan D’Arienzo.

The students came from our intermediate and advanced groups and the majority had started tango with us as Beginners.

They worked hard in the run-up to the performance to perfect not only their movements but their togetherness with the group - which if you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know is no easy feat!

Our aim had been to show the essence of tango with quality of movement, elegance and musicality. And guys, we’ve got to hand it to you - you had that in spades!

Although a little nervous before going out to perform in front of so many people, the students kept calm and held it together. It was amazing to see them all looking so composed and so glamorous out there!

We were very, very proud of them and can’t WAIT till our next Student Show at our Annual Winter Ball on Saturday 14th November.

Yesterday in our Milonga Workshop, I was working with a group of three followers on their technique.

We were working on a combination of milonga steps: back, change, forward, extend, change, boleo … repeat.

Once they were comfortable - first with the movements and then with the music - I told them they were still missing something: “onda”. Milonga is not milonga unless you give it a bit of “onda”.

Two of them had never heard the word. The third - a Spanish speaker - looked a little mystfied: “Wave?” She asked.

I thought for a second. “Onda” can mean many different things depending on the circumstances. In Argentina, it is not uncommon to hear that a place has “buena onda” - a good energy. If someone dresses well, he has “toda la onda". And if someone does you a good turn, you might say: “que buena onda!” - how nice of you!

When you dance and you give it “onda” it means something subtly different. I grasped for the word in English for a moment and came up with: sass! Ladies, you’ve got to give it some sass! Let the music inspire your movements!

But we know that it isn’t so easy. As a follower - and especially in milonga which is quite a bit faster than tango - your brain is almost completely occupied with just responding to the lead. (And Leaders, yes I know, it is not easy for you either!) Just remembering to do anything else other than simply follow can be quite a task. And of course you’ll also be trying to keep a good posture, extend your legs and all the other technique tips your teacher has given you.

But with time and especially with partners that you have a connection with, this will become less all-absorbing and you’ll feel you have more time to breathe! And - hopefully - you’ll start feeling that you can start allowing your personality to come out.

Remember always that whether we’re learning milonga, vals or tango, our first step is to become a follower and our second step is to become a dancer!

We’re still savouring the memories of our magical Summer Party last Sunday 26th July, celebrating Tango Movement’s 8th Anniversary in London.

The event was a sell-out and as the rain poured down on London town, hundreds of our students boarded our boat for the day, the HMS President.

The party may have been “summer” in name only, but nobody on the boat was paying much attention to the weather. Picture a heady afternoon of tango with twinkly fairy lights and an iconic London backdrop. Now add live music, tango performances, a delicious buffet lunch, a shoe boutique and a massive chocolate cake. And you’ll have a pretty good idea of our amazing afternoon.

We’d like to thank everyone who came and shared such a memorable afternoon with us and for all our students and friends who have made Tango Movement what it is today.

Have a look at our brand new photo gallery for stunning photos of the afternoon.

If you couldn’t be there to share it with us, well then you’ll just have to make sure you’re there for our next big one: our legendary Winter Ball on Saturday 14th November at the Old Finsbury Town Hall!

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