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September 6, 2003

Tango evolution

Conversations with friends after last night’s milonga prompted these thoughts.

For me, a natural progression in developing Tango awareness consists of the following sequential stages:

  1. Steps and memorisation;
  2. Acrobatic excursions;
  3. Understanding and appreciation of music;
  4. Free-form exploration and sky’s the limit!

While this may offend some purists who will insist ‘connection’, ‘musicality’, etc., should probably come in very early on, my emphasis here is that physical familiarity needs to be acquired first. Always. When that is achieved to some degree, the body will naturally relax and move in the ‘Tango way’. It is then that we can really talk about dancing.

The first two stages are the one which will set the foundations and bag of tricks for further development. After all, without being able to walk consistently to the beat, to be able to lead/follow giros without losing one’s balance, or frequently bumping into people by moving against the line-of-dance, there is no question of developing one’s own style as some people are so fond of doing, no? In my opinion, we can only invent and play when the basic tools have been ingrained into our body so that different moves can be executed fluently.

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