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November 6, 2007



Recently some followers questioned the value of taking classes on musicality. To me this was rather strange, which I can only put down to having experienced bad teaching in the past. In my opinion, musicality goes way beyond recognising the stereotypical generalisations for each of the major orchestras, e.g. Pugliese is only represented by his La Yumba beat, D’Arienzo means only the ric-tic-tic marching rhythm and Fresedo means always a certain romantic silkiness. Musicality in a technical sense is more to do with how we can recognise the phrasing in the music, the syncopations, the change from rhythmic to melodic, just to name a few. Ultimately, it allows us – leaders and followers – to transform a series of steps into a moving dance.

So, is there any point for a follower to learn and understand musicality?

To me – as a leader – it seems that a follower, broadly speaking, develops in three stages. The initial stage is one of having very poor following skills, aka techniques. Here a follower is typically at risk of being thrown around and constantly frustrated by not able to feel the leader’s intentions. Next comes the glimpses into the true meaning of “connection”. Eventually, a follower can synchronise with the leader at every point and follow very fine movements. However, even here follower is still playing a secondary role of “just following” and very passive. This brings us to the final stage. In order to have an equal partnership in the dance, a follower really needs to feel how a leader responds to music and play an active part. For this, she needs to understand the music, and how she may find the opportunities to insert her voice.

With good connection, one can have a good dance with your partner. If additionally, one has good musicality, then one can have a fantastic dance with your partner!

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  1. Nov 8 2007

    Absolutely agree! The difference between a good follower and a great follower lies on musicality. If a follower doesn’t know the music and how to express herself on the music, she will never be a great dancer.

  2. kimsoon
    Nov 9 2007

    Had a conversation with another tango mate and we were discussing that in the path of tango dancing, at which time should the concept of musicality be introduced/emphasised and worked on?

  3. June
    Nov 13 2007

    The topic of musicality is very close to my heart. I am a tanguera living in Sydney (but born in Singapore) and shall be in Singapore from Nov 14. I look forward to having a tango with you musical guys, perhaps on Friday 16 or 23?

  4. kimsoon
    Nov 14 2007

    June, if you can, do attend the workshop held over the weekend at ixidanza. check out for details.

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