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Posts from the ‘Musings’ Category

10
Sep

Rock step

The humble rock step is something probably most people have come across in their tango education very early on. It might have been taught, for example, as a way to change direction, or simply to mark time etc.

I recently saw someone marketing on Facebook his “wisdom” on the rock step. The photo shows a couple in embrace, their knees bent, and sinking down at the end of the rock step (by “end” I mean either the forward rock or backward rock). This immediately reminded me of the amusing experience I had during my first and only trip to Buenos Aires in 2009. In a single day, I was corrected on the rock step by no less than three different teachers during my private classes! On each occasion, I was reminded that, as a lead, I should be rising (and hence as a couple) instead of going downward. The three different people consisted of a globe-trotting well-known teacher, a well-respected milonguero and a young teacher for whom I have a lot of respect for. Through this, together with my subsequent experiences on the dance floor, I am convinced of the correctness of what I was taught on that day.

17
Jan

Recent news

It’s been a long while since I last updated here – just shy of one month to the year, as a matter of fact. I suppose as we get older priorities shift, and I simply didn’t have much to say about tango for some time. However, I am still dancing, although less as an organiser for the past year. Nowadays I am dancing a little less (more selective on which events to go to), DJing even less now that I am now longer organising the weekly milonga. I must admit, it’s somewhat liberating to not having Fridays blocked off for the foreseeable future, as has been the case for the past 5-plus years. 🙂

Here’s a gem I saw recently. It’s not super flashy and while I don’t usually follow Gaston closely I enjoyed the freedom, playfulness and the inter-play between partners here.

I have also just started on the following two books, focusing on the music portion.

Both books come with a DVD (music samples/demos) – which I think is an excellent idea for Tango books because Tango is a dance that needs visual as well as intellectual “explanation”. My only gripe with Amenabar’s book, apart from not shipping to Singapore directly and unavailable in Buenos Aires apparently, is that the exercise audio clips were not provided separately; this meant the book may need to be read alongside a DVD player AND TV! As a side note, I am looking forward to further books/DVDs from Melina and Detlef. While I

I haven’t gone far yet, my first impressions (concerning discussions on music, dancing to music) are that they are consistent with the what I had learnt from Hsu-tze Lee, which goes to show how lucky we were to have her visit our community almost 10 years ago!

17
Oct

Misbehaving at milongas

I have been hosting weekly milongas almost continuously for the last 3-4 years (and on-and-off since about 10 years ago).

Recently there have been some blog posts about how to handle inappropriate behaviours on the dance floor.

Much of the time, my approach has leaned towards one of minimal interference. Only in extreme (and rare) cases have I needed to talk to the offenders. I take the attitude that no one is intentionally out to injure or bump into other people and my experience has shown that people are generally receptive. The way I see it is that some misbehaviours can happen simply through ignorance, e.g. not tail-gating people, not over-zealous in changing lanes, etc., perhaps lack of physical control, i.e. taking inappropriately large steps every time someone launches into a sequence, unnecessarily large embellishments, etc., or even through disorientation when there is too much space.

From my experience, more often than not, a quiet word is enough to ensure cooperation. Other slightly more subtle means can include having some leaders being in the peripheral vision of the offender or simply manipulate the size of the dance floor – not too small to create unnecessary stress and not too big for someone to take a devil-may-care attitude and encourage reckless behaviours. Ultimately I do believe that when people turn up to milongas they are there to have a good time. As long as they are not put on the defensive, most reasonable people can see the sense once pointed out.

5
Oct

Anti-competition

Speaking from personal experience, as organisers, probably one of the most stressful aspect is to effectively reach out to your target audience.

All too often I see one or two long-time community stalwarts falling into the trap of putting down the competition. Perhaps this was seen as an easy short-cut or simply a sign of lack of confidence!? For crying out loud, why not for once advertise your imperfections so people can admire your honesty and genuine attempts to upgrade facilities, e.g. my sound system is archaic and will cut out from time to time, or that there are tiny holes on the dance floor – as in the traditions of some of the most well-known milongas in Buenos Aires!