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Blog  6/1/2017   Is dancing still a mating ritual? 

It’s not a mating ritual for several large groups of people.
1.      Family dancing found in most Latin homes.
2.      Physical dancing that is done without a partner like Hip Hop and Ballet
3.      For some, dancing is much more about social contact. Most of my friends and students dance most of the time with people they have no desire to date.

Even with those large exceptions it is a mating ritual for many!  Even if you are totally not interested in any mating there is a subtle feeling of desire that we all enjoy when we dance.
No matter what your age or your motivations dancing makes us all feel a little sexy.  I love that our community brings out the gentleman in most guys and a feminine, flirty side in most ladies. 
I’m of an older generation, so for this blog I am going to just talk about partner dance between the traditional man and woman.  For the record I believe 100% in equal rights for everyone including the LBGTQ community.  In all my classes I welcome people to identify and dance the way they feel, but it makes this blog too long to include every possible couple, so I will talk in generals for this blog.  Next blog will be just about sexual identity and dance.
Back to sex.  Dance is not about sex!  It’s about people expressing a very deep sensual side in a safe place. Sometimes younger dancers in a salsa club dance more sexually than I would, but for them it’s all about being free on the dance floor.  Sometimes an older woman might do a little hip wiggle and feel she has really pushed the boundaries of society. Men can express their sexy side, but in a respectful way. They can dance sexy, but they can't try to make us dance any differently.  Most of the time, if done with rrespect for your partner you want to dance is a good place to express yourself.
I have a wonderful, married, 86 year old student who one time thanked his dance partner for letting him have a little crush. He said it’s wonderful that at his age he can still feel young and even sexy when he is dancing.
We have all seen dancers bloom. Someone starts classes one way and after a few months they are more relaxed, smiling and dressing up a bit. Are they consciously participating in a mating ritual? Probable not, but they might have the results of one.  Many people date and even marry people they meet dancing. 

So if you do something (learn to dance, go to a dance, wear sexy clothes, try to dance with your favorite partner and even flirt a little) and do it often (once a week, or even more) like a ritual and the result is mating (dating) could that something be called a “Mating Ritual?”  I rest my case.

Blog 5-4-17
I have writer’s block, so I thought I would write about it.  I think the problem is that I have too many topics for my next blog.  Here are some of the blog topics causing my block.
1.    The Paradox of dancing with the modern woman.
2.    Why and when did we stop partner dancing and is it really coming back?
3.    Is dancing still a mating ritual?
4.    Is partner dancing having a sexual identity crisis?
5.    If dance is not about sex, what is it about?

Blog  5/1/2017  My favorite Aspects of Dancing Tango.

tango definition A sensual ballroom dance that originated in South America in the early twentieth century.


Yes, dancing with a partner is partially about expressing sexuality, but this blog is about other aspects. It could also be about many more things like a spiritual connection, or a purely physical expression of beauty, or telling of a story. All 3 things are wonderful, but partner dancing is at its best with at least a hint of the possibility of seduction.
The spiritual aspect of dance is mostly found in dancing done in groups, not partners. It’s occurs in folkdances and religious dancing done in every part of the world. In partner dance we sometimes experience a spiritual connection when we dance as a community. I love to dance in my living room with my husband, but it does not have the amazing feeling of dancing with 50 other couples moving together with order and unison.
Dancing can be just a physical expression. I especially see it in all individual dancing like hip hop, modern and ballet. I just watched the Argentine Tango competition, and most of the dancers were gifted physically, but a sense of seduction was present in all the best couples. In ice dancing the US has a wonderful brother/sister team, and even though they technically bring it, they will never be able to capture the seductive quality of dancing. Dancing can be only physical, but the best tango dancers also have sensuality.
Most dance forms tell a story. Sometimes it’s overt like in many ballets, but when it’s a couple dancing it can be subtle. Most of my dances have a nice, non-sexual story of friendship. Even when I dance with a stranger there is some sort of story being played in our heads, but I like the story with my husband the best. The constant romantic tension between two people is a story we never get tired of and experiencing it is totally different than watching it. Partner dancing can be without any context or story or personality, but it’s so much better with one, and even better with one that has sexual tension.

Partner dancing has all 3 of these aspects. The best dances create a spiritual connection, and a physical challenge while creating our own story of who we are in that moment. That special, spiritual thing happens when I am dancing romantically with my husband in a room of 20 other couples all with their own stories unfolding to the most beautiful music.
  

Blog – 4/1/2017
Why I want to teach a class for teachers.
I want Seattle to have better teachers which will create better dancers which will create a better dance community. I know that is what every teacher wants, but I define better as not only more skillful dancers, but ones educated in good manners and kindness.

I have never worked in any field that did not educate instructors, including ballroom dancing. When I started teaching ballroom, I was first a teacher’s assistant, then I joined a class just for aspiring teachers that met M-F from 1-4 for 2+ months. Then I passed exams about teaching, not dancing. Years later I moved to another studio and became the teacher’s teacher there. I taught the other teacher every day from 4-5 and sometimes longer about how to structure a class, lesson plans, teaching techniques and answered question about teaching situations. I find it amazing that people think that being a good dancer is all it takes to be a good teacher, or that they don’t have to actually learn new skills to teach well.

A bad learning experience is the number one reason people stop coming to classes. Here are just the first 4 problems many teachers have that I will tackle in my class: 
1. With education teachers will be able to recognize and respect different learning styles. In a group class it’s possible to get all 3 learning styles into every communication you have with students, making the class appealing to all your students. 
2. With education teachers will be able to prioritize and keep each communication to one topic instead of overwhelming students with too much information.
3. With education teachers will be able to change every negative comment to a positive one. Students cannot improve if you only tell them what they are doing wrong. You as the teacher must be able at all times to say what is the correct technique or step. 
4. With education teachers will structure classes in a way that creates confidence in their students. Inconsistent classes make it difficult for students to relax and enjoy the process of learning. 

By understanding the learning process, teachers will understand and respect their students and allow them to relax and enjoy the classes. It’s important that teacher believe in their students’ abilities and that the students have confidence in their instructors.
Better teaching will not only keep students engaged longer in classes, but will also teach students how to respect the other students and see that with good instruction everyone has the ability to be a good dancer and fun to dance with. Those students will bring positive energy as they become part of our dance community.




3/1/2017
The Perks and Perils of having a Dance Crush

Yes there really are perks to having a crush even if nothing ever comes of it, but there can also be some problems.

We all get dance crushes, especially when we are new to partner dancing.  It’s difficult to separate the wonderful feelings a dancer might give us on the dance floor from that dancer (who might not be so wonderful). Many of us feel a passion about dancing that we have not had in a long time and it’s hard not to attach it to the person that creates the best dance. As we dance better and with more partners we come to realize that dance euphoria can happen with many different partners and that sometimes even a partner that is not so good can become a wonderful partner.  After 30+ years of partner dancing I would rather invest in a nice partner with potential than an accomplished arrogant ass.

Partner dance can be described as just a physical activity like jogging, but it’s also one of our mating rituals. I will write a whole blog on that later, but it’s natural that we are attracted to the best dancers.

Perk #1 is the high we get from a great dance.  There is so much connection to the music, the partner and the atmosphere that it creates endorphins that can last for days.  Perk #2 is that having a crush makes you want to be a better dancer, so you take lessons and practice.  Perk #3 is that you get more excited and might even dress up more when you go out.  Other dancers will notice that glow and you’ll get even more wonderful dances. Perk #4 it gives us something special to look forward to or fantasize about.

Perils happen when you are not realistic about a crush.  It’s just a crush!  The person you like owes you nothing but respect.  It will most likely not lead to a relationship and you are not the only person to have a crush on that person. Many people have crushes on good dancers and even more on teachers.  As a teacher I am very clear with boundaries and try to help my students navigate their first crushes.  It’s helpful to talk about them.

Often a dance crush gone bad will make someone stop dancing, which makes me very sad. I know if they kept going that they would understand that everyone gets them and they are a natural part of becoming a dancer.

Someday people will have a dance crush on you and you will have to remember how that first dance crush feels. Be kind, create good boundaries, and remind them that “dance is just a 3 minute embrace”.  A dance crush plays a positive role when learning and can be wonderful if it’s embraced as just a crush.


2/1/2017
Yogi Berra on Tango (and life)

"Yogi" Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach who was also famous for his wonderful outlook on life.  Whether your passion is playing a sport, or being a spectator or dancing Argentine Tango his quotes will speak to you.  Here are some of our favorite ones relating to dance:
Starting to dance
“If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
For learning navigation
“When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”
 Advanced navigation
“Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.”
All partner dancing
“You don't have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it'll go.”
Feeling the music
 “How can you think and hit at the same time?”
Practice time
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
 Keeping it simple
“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.”
 Great attitude for your first Milonga.
“You can observe a lot by just watching.”
 YES, just substitute “Dance”
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
Again, just substitute “Dancing” for “Baseball”
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

As you can see by the picture he was also a pretty good dancer.  
Here are a few more about life, just for fun.

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
“If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

“If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

1/3/2017
Does tango mean never having to say you’re sorry?
It’s hard not to say “sorry” when you make a misstep in tango. It seems like the polite thing to do, an acknowledgment that you recognize your fumble. The problem is, it usually doesn’t help. Like the well-known (and well-ridiculed) line in the 1970 movie “Love Story,” maybe tango means never having to say you’re sorry, even if love doesn’t.

Not that there aren’t plenty of occasions for apologies in tango. We have all seen the unexpected collisions, even lacerations from high heels. If blood is drawn, certainly there should be an apology. But most routine faux pas and minor foibles are best resolved by instantaneous forgiving and forgetting. In sports psychology there’s an idea of having a short memory about mistakes. It’s not that you don’t learn from them, but dwelling on them undermines confidence.

Recently, in class, I have been encouraging my students to say “thank you” instead of “sorry.”  It says something positive about the other person and not the negative implication of “I’m sorry.”  I like saying “thank you for letting me work out this step, or thank you for your patience.” We all know that learning tango involves positive reinforcement and that saying “sorry” is negative.

At a dance it’s best to keep chatting to a minimum, but there is a time for “sorry” and a time to be quiet and a time for “thanks for helping me be a better dancer.”

In the movie “Scent of a Woman,” there’s an iconic tango scene where the blind retired Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino) takes the reluctant Donna (Gabrielle Anwar) onto the tango floor. Not knowing how to tango, she’s terrified. Slade encourages her by saying “No mistakes in the tango, darlin’, not like life. Simple. That’s what makes the tango so great. If you make a mistake and get all tangled up, just tango on.”



5/10/16
Why is Argentine Tango so hard? 
Look in the mirror (neurons).
The answer is found is asking more questions: 
Why is single time swing so much easier than country 2-step or foxtrot?
Why is bachata much easier than salsa?
Why is triple time swing easier than west coast swing?
All of these dances have the same rhythm count for their basic step, but all the easy ones are done in mirror image (follow steps side right when the leads step side left). The more difficult dances to learn are danced in natural opposite (follow moves the right leg back when the lead moves the left leg forward). They should be about the same difficulty to learn, but they are totally not. 

Guess what? We like mirror image. We actually have cells in our brain that can remember and mimic things we see.  Our brains have been learning through mirror image since we were born. We need to be taught how to remember movements in natural opposite.

The mind's mirror
A new type of neuron--called a mirror neuron--could help explain how we learn through mimicry and why we empathize with others.
A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primate species. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.
Ok, that gets to part of the problem, but Tango is harder to master than any of the other traditional partner dances. That’s because Argentine Tango has the added difficulty of cross system (lead moved the Rt. foot to the follows Rt. foot) instead of parallel system (lead moving Lf foot to follows Rt. foot). It is the only partner dance done in both systems.

But wait, it gets worse. Argentine Tango is the most complicated dance because it is done in both mirror image and natural opposite; parallel feet and cross feet; staying in place and traveling; feet staying on the floor and flying off the floor; and a ton of just random stuff. Much of the time the leads' feet do not relate to the follows' feet, but the bodies are always connected.  It’s 100% lead and follow, so the only way to master the dance is to master the skills.  

We all start with "fake it till we make it" in tango.  Mimicking our favorite dancers is the first phase, but it takes a long time (usually over 10 years of constant dancing) before you feel a deep confidence. I am amazed by how many people mistake being able to imitate a move as the same as mastering the move and being able to copy a good dancers make them qualified to teach this dance.


Most experienced Argentine Tango dancers can instantly recognize when a couple is faking it.  When I see this, I don’t  mind, because I know it’s part of the journey. Hopefully someday they will have respect for the few dancers who have put the years and effort into mastering this beautiful, complex dance.

4/14/16
Put down your phone, get up and dance!
When did “staying connected” become recording experience rather than living it? When did emoji replace actual hugs? When did everyone stop dancing? What on earth happened to us?
I am traveling with my husband and going to so many fun events.  Too bad most of the people around us don’t seem to be having as much fun.  Cell phones are everywhere.

We go to an Andy Grammer concert. He was a finalist in Dancing with the Stars.  We hope to dance and are excited there is a large, wood dance floor in front of the stage.  His music is great, very uplifting, and fun for dancing, but we are denied. As soon as he starts everyone crowds onto the dancefloor and holds up their phones. The people who can’t record just sit around chatting or taking selfies.  What an odd way to enjoy a great concert.

We go to a fund raiser and there is a great live band. Everyone watches for a short time and then go back to talking or back to their phones. Finally children get on the dance floor and then all the phones come out again to video.  Much later a few adults jump around, while their friend records. We are the only partner dancers, but hopefully we will inspire others to try.

Last night we attended a Las Vegas show of impersonators.  We had front row seats! The ladies next to us never stopped chatting, at least 5 people in the front row were texting and a few were holding up phones to video. They tried to get people to come up on stage and dance or sing, but all anyone wanted was video or selfies. Finally after Frank, Dino and Sammy I asked the ladies chatting who they liked best. One said her husband was videoing the show on his phone. WTF?

Everywhere we go we see people on their phones.  My friends are too busy to have coffee or dinner, but they are happy so send me little happy face pictures.  We hear great music and we dance. So many people make nice comments like “I used to love dancing with my husband”  “We love the way you dance”, “I wish I could dance like that”. They see it and know they are missing something beautiful, but they don’t even know the best part.

NO PNONES, just the warm and real embrace of a real person connecting in real time.
We need to bring back partner dance!!!!  I like the convenience of having a cell phone, I like keeping in touch, but not at the expense of living.


People, put down your phones and start dancing, you will never regret it and someday you can get a video of you dancing with someone you care about.

3/13/2016
"How to Become a Good Dancer" by Arthur Murray 1938

The return of the one armed bandit and other bad behaviors on the dance floor.

Or why teaching when you should be just dancing is just rude.

What do West Coast Swing superstar Buddy Schwimmer and tango maestros Carlos Gavito and Juan Bruno have in common? They all rescued me from goons stroking their egos by trying to teach me on the dance floor.  Now, years later I am witnessing people trying to teach MY STUDENTS on the dance floor at a formal milonga.   They haven’t learned that lecturing, punishing, demonstrating or complaining are not allowed on the dance floor and especially right in front of the teacher. I am giving you all warning right now that I will not stand for it any longer!

 I have seen a man dancing with one arm with a student of mine.  YES, she sometimes pushes with her arm. That does not give you permission to humiliate her in front of everyone. And make her even less stable by taking away your frame.  If you really want to give her a nice dance you need to give all the tools to dance well, including a whole frame.  I would never do that to another dancer at a formal dance.

Two weeks ago someone lectured one of my students through a whole song and dragged her off to the corner to teach her how to do a proper ocho.  She did this right in front of me and my student pointed me out many times.  She ran off when I bolted toward the corner, but later approached my student again. I would never drag someone off to the shameful corner.  A truly gifted dancer would make her ochos work and make her feel positive about dancing.

Another person, not my student, wanted me to show their partner how to do something at a formal milonga.  NO teaching at milongas!  That’s what practicas are for. If you want a lesson you can always schedule one.

All these times I kept my cool, but they made me mad! They triggered negative memories I have of learning to dance and I am so grateful to the professionals who intervened on my behalf and showed me how to act now.

1.    Back in the early 1990’s I was so excited about West Coast Swing.  I went to every class and workshop. I was teaching Ballroom at Washington Dance Club, but I realized I had tons to learn to be able to compete in WCS. After a day of workshops I went to the fancy dance and was asked to dance by one of the better dancers. Yipee! But after the first song he dragged me over to Buddy Schwimmer, the visiting instructor and told him how bad my arm was and tried to get Buddy to fix me. It was really embarrassing, but Buddy knew just what to do. He took me out to the dance floor and gave me the best dance of my life. After the dance he said to the snotty guy “I don’t know what you were talking about, she’s great.” 

2.    One of my first workshops in Milongero style was in 1995 with Jaun Bruno.  That night there was a fancy dress up milonga. A visiting tango teacher from New York was there to take the classes, and asked me to dance. Yipee! Then he pushed on my arm, I pushed back, then he said he would have to teach me a lesson and took his arm away, so I have to dance one of my first dances in close embrace with only one arm. Jaun Bruno saw what was happening and came over right in the middle of the tanda and asked what the problem was. The other teacher explained how I deserved such treatment.  Jaun Bruno told him he didn’t deserve to dance with me and danced the rest of the tanda with me himself.

3.    In 1996 I was teaching Tango and so excited to bring the late great Carlos Gavito to Seattle. He was my favorite and I brought him many times. He always used me to teach during the classes. It was a great honor.  There was a visiting teacher from San Francisco who came for the classes and asked me to dance during the evening milonga. Yipee! Then he took frame as a follow and said quite loudly if I was a real teacher I could lead him. I tried to explain that he was 6 feet tall and that I had on very high heels and that I didn’t usually lead during milongas. Then he said louder to a group of dancers that I couldn’t lead.  Now I was mad, so I led him, but I was miserable. He refused to follow and I felt like crying.  Gavito saved me, again by coming right out on the floor. He made the other teacher apologize, and of course gave me a wonderful dance. Cool. 


These masters showed me how to behave, so, guess what?
No more Miss Nice Teacher. 
If you are rude to my students get ready to deal with me!

2/10/2016
When less is more in Tango
La Viruta, Buenos Aires

Learning partner dancing, especially tango, is often compared to learning a new language. The analogy holds up well: You learn a few words (steps), string them together into memorized phrases (patterns) and with some effort eventually you are able to hold a basic conversation.

Learning the rules of grammar enables clarity, just as the moves in partner dance require technique. But that’s still not enough. Becoming fluent in a new language is much more complicated than just expanding vocabulary. Without knowing the idioms, jargon, and cultural context of the language communication will always be limited. Visiting France helps to learn French; visiting Buenos Aires helps make tango authentic.

One of the first impressions of a milonga in BA will be that the dancers are not doing much.  No long fancy sequences, just simple walking and pausing. And it’s so good. Yes, they have technique, musicality and connection, but they also have an intimate, deep understanding of the language of dance.  The Milongaros of BA create so much with simple movements, just like you can have a deep conversation your friends with little or no words.

The “Joys of Yiddish dictionary” book has amusing examples where to place the emphasis determines the meaning, for instance whether to attend a concert given by a friend or relative:
1.       I should buy two tickets for her concert? (I’m not sure I should even buy one)
2.       I should buy two tickets for her concert? (You mean she isn’t giving away free passes?)
3.       I should buy two tickets for her concert? (Did she buy tickets for my show?)
4.       I should buy two tickets for her concert? (Oh so you call it a concert now)
5.       I should buy two tickets for her concert? (I wouldn’t go even if they were free!)
The same sentence conveys different meaning depending only on where the emphasis is placed, just as a great dancer can create a beautiful dance using the same moves with different timing and technique.

Devoted students of tango are eager to expand their repertoire of moves, soaking up every cool new step and adornment, but the best and most experienced dancers progressively pare down their vocabulary in social dance. They achieve better communication by choosing just the right steps, executed with nuance.


I am NOT saying to stop learning.  We all need to keep learning new moves, improving our technique, listening to the music, moving with better floor craft, and pushing ourselves to dance better. All these experienced, beautiful dancers at the milongas in BA did that to get where they are now. There is still a thrill in having performance vocabulary and lots of good show off moves, as long as you respect the dancers who now connect deeply with less.

1/10/2016
Juan Carlos Copes in the Middle Front.
I danced will all these great leaders in Chicago .

Taking a step back: History of the 8 count basic in Argentine Tango 

There are no set patterns in Argentine Tango.  Every step, movement and timing should be led.
All Tango dancers know that, so what’s with the 8 count basic?
The first person to introduce the 8 count basic was Juan Carlos Copes (born May 31, 1931) He is an Argentine tango dancer, choreographer, and performer. He and his partner Marie Nieves contributed to worldwide revival of tango as a dance form after 1970. I am honored to have studied and danced with him and he is still alive and dancing in Buenos Aires. The 8 count basic was a wonderful tool used for his choreography and teaching.
He was the first dancer to stage shows starting in the late 1960’s. Putting Tango on the stage is what brought it back to the world.  He used his 8 count because the stages were often small for several couples and 8 counts phrased nicely with 4/4 counts of most Tango music.
When the Social Tango took off Juan Carlos and many of his professional stage dancers were the big instructors.  The first time I met him was in Chicago at a large tango festival. Every class worked off the 8 count basic that we all knew and loved. Today many teachers still use it as their basic step, but I have decided to use a modified basic that does not include a back or box step.
Now days there are thousands of Argentine Tango teachers all over the world and they all agree that there are no basic steps, but that some sort of pattern is a good tool for students to start with. Each teacher uses moves they feel will help their students connect with the music, their partner and with the other dancers on the floor.  Juan Carlos started his basic with a back step with the leads right foot. This does not work for my students because it’s difficult to navigate and many of my students have a dance background giving them a different box step and starting step.
Good navigation is crucial to have a positive experience on the dance floor and moving backwards every 8 counts without looking is usually a hazard.  I like to do the 8 count basic starting back once in a while when the lead is facing against line of dance. I will save that step until I am sure the student won’t make a habit of doing it over and over going against line of dance.
Why do most partner dance start with the leads Left foot going side or forward?  Because it’s safer, and easier.  The left side is more open and has more room to step even if the follow delays, and the lead can see where he is taking the couple.  Starting with the lead going forward also creates a better forward connection necessary in Tango. Because most of my students have danced other dances that have a box step in it I don’t like to use Juan Copes 8 count. It includes ½ the box, but not the other half, often confusing students who are used to a whole box.  I want all my students to have the highest rate of success, so I keep the basic simple and useful with no tricky parts. Teaching new students something as  tricky as a back step against line of dance or ½ the box without the other half seams a bad idea.

No single person as contributed more to Argentine Tango that Juan Carlos Copes.  He never intended his 8 count basic to dominate the dance.  He likes the idea of each teacher using the tools that will create good dancers.  We all want to dance the most beautiful, authentic and still creative Argentine Tango. The dance is made for individual spirits not copycat dancers.  Basic steps are temporary and will be modified as soon as the dancers are ready.

6/15/16
Can You Dance Traditional and Still Be Progressive?
Of course you can, but it’s tricky.
I have been affected 3 ways by this very dilemma: social dancing, teaching and performing, but this blog is just about social dancing.
I enjoy going to traditional tango dances where I get to dress up, the men dress nice and I only dance with the dancers I choose through cabeceo. I also enjoy going to casual events where I wear jeans and often lead. I respect and love both places, but I don’t try to make one into the other.  I like Canlis and Dick’s, but I dress and act differently at each place. 
So far this all sounds like common sense, but I also want both places to respect my values.  I would not be comfortable going any place that did not respect the right of all people regardless of race, gender or disabilities to dance.
Recently, there was a disruption at a dance I like to attend. Two straight men decided to dance and one of the hosts asked them to stop. WOW, that’s not right. Then it got worse, he said he asked them to stop because it didn’t look right. WOW, I can’t support a place that does not support LGBTQ rights. So I asked if he’s against LGBTQ’s.  He looked confused, explaining “no, that had nothing to do with it. They were messing up the flow of the dance, and there were 10 ladies all waiting to dance. I don’t mind if a woman wants to lead or a man follow, but I want them to respect the other dancers, follow line of dance and notice all the ladies that are not dancing. It would be different if this was a practica”
Unfortunately some people made the wrong assumption and now have decided to boycott the dance. I would too if I had not asked more questions and was now sure that they do believe in the rights of LGTBQ dancers.  It’s much better to talk things through and with knowledge and understanding will come acceptance.  Everyone is welcome at the dance as long as they respect the traditional codes like following line of dance, no big or fast moves, dressing nicely, using cabeceo and above all respecting all the dancers there.
 I know with Love and Respect it’s possible to have both tradition and growth. Like Jimmy Fallon said the other night: “Keep loving each other, keep respecting each other, and keep on dancing.”





Top 10 Argentine Tango Myths Exposed



Argentine Tango Myths Exposed

For the next several weeks I will be blogging about prevalent myths in Argentine tango. You may find some of these opinions provocative, but they are things that need to be said.

AT Myth #1.  Cross training is the best way to improve your tango dancing.  Taking ballet, jogging, yoga, push-ups and eating steak is what you need to do to bring your dancing to the next level.
WRONG - Dancing will make your dancing better. I think group classes and private lessons are the best way to improve because both will challenge you to do some things that are difficult for you, like using good technique, remembering navigation and steps, and dancing with different skilled dancers.  Going to milongas is the next step, but in the beginning the most important thing is to just show up every week for your group and/or private lessons. 

Physical fitness is also important and everyone who seriously wants to dance well should try to stay in good shape.  I offer an aerobics class twice a week designed to not only keep a dancer in top condition, but to practice without a partner.  

Good partner dancing is about connection!  You need to connect to the music, your partner, the other dancers in the room (navigation) and to the floor.  The connection to the floor and to your partner are both affected by your physical abilities. So I totally believe that some cross training is important, but it should not come before dance classes in the dance you are trying to master. 

Last month I ran into a student who informed me that she was now taking yoga to improve her Argentine Tango and that with yoga she would no longer need to take tango lessons.  I have heard this so many times, and it still amazes me.  Women especially seem to think ballet and yoga are a good substitute for actual lessons, men seem to go with weights and long distance bike riding or jogging.
There is no substitute for time spent dancing with a partner to the music.  Being fit will help you dance better, but when given a choice of yoga class or Argentine Tango class the Tango class will make you a better Tango dancer.  This seems obvious to me, but for some reason yoga, ballet, or eating steak is more accessible.  These are good things to know, but all they miss the mark if partner dance is your goal.



Salsa Swing and Ballroom Aerobics was designed to supplement your dance  classes not replace them



AT Myth #2.    I teach International ballroom tango; therefore I am qualified to teach Argentine Tango.  It's all the same dance.  I am also qualified to teach Argentine Tango if I know Kizombe, blues, any partner dance, or am from any Latin country and scene people dance Argentine Tango. 

WRONG You Must know what you are teaching and if you have never studied Argentine Tango you are not ready to teach it!  It’s not like any other dance.  Most partner dance teachers don't even understand the most basic principles of Argentine Tango like cross and parallel systems.  Argentine Tango is not like any of the other dances and it will mess people up if you try to teach AT like another dance. 
  International Tango is certainly a valid dance form, but Argentine tango by definition is the way tango is danced in Argentina. You will have a hard time finding the ballroom version of Argentine tango in Buenos Aires.
  Why is this important? Suppose a prospective AT student sees a flyer for lessons, given by an unqualified teacher. They might enjoy what they learn, and feel like they want to take it to the next level. They show up at a milonga thinking that they are ready, but don’t know the first things about how to get a dance, the navigation, the embrace, tandas, vals, milonga, you name it; it’s all different and the experience could result in frustration to disillusionment. Another potential Argentine Tango dancer ends up taking an early exit and missing out on what could have been an enriching lifelong experience.
  Every professional teacher in every dance has a similar problem.  Many Swing and Salsa teachers are upset by the way some ballroom teachers teach their dance.  Many ballroom dancers are upset by how a swing dancer teaches waltz or foxtrot (not even a heel lead).  Each dance has an amateur way to sort of get it done badly and a professional, fine, precise way to get it done right on the dance floor. It makes us all upset when someone claiming to be a professional does not understand what quality is in the dance form they are teaching. 
  If you want to teach take lessons from the best dancers and teachers in that dance!  Dance the dance you want to teach.  Go to gathering where all the best dancers are. Immerse yourself in the dance. Right now, I know of at least 6 people who claim that they teach Argentine Tango, but have never actually danced it.  That really makes me upset.  I love Argentine Tango.  I want others to discovery its joy and love it too.  Why can’t teachers teach what they know and leave the other dancers to the people who know and love them?
 



AT Myth#3. Argentine Tango is the same for the lead and follow.
WRONG - The experience is totally different and the technique needed is totally different.   I go over this the first day of class and revisit it often.  The other day I gave a private lesson to a man that used all the techniques needed to follow and none for the lead.  I asked if his teacher was a woman and he said of course.  His dancing improved a ton when he started moving like a lead and not a follow. There are many differences, but here are 3 big ones. Of course there are always exceptions, but this gives the idea.
1.    The lead must be grounded and follow needs to be moveable.

2.    The lead should move with his body first, the follow should move her leg first.

3.    When moving forward the lead should step using his heel, like a regular step, the follow can step toe or heel first. When moving backwards the lead can move many different ways but the follow should keep her foot close to the floor and extend from the hip.
When dancing, the lead is in charge of safety, navigation, steps and moves. The follow needs to pay attention to the lead and the music and keep her good technique. The dance is compromised when the follow tries to do the lead’s role or when the lead tries to be like a follow. I my opinion, a good lead is stable, clear, musical, creative, safe, and offers a nice variety of movement. The lead should not be super pretty and fancy. He should give nice opportunities for the follow to do pretty movements. There is some benefit however to understanding what the other person is going through.  Most teachers, including myself will do some exercises to help students empathize with the other role.  This is especially beneficial for the leads as they really need to understand what they are asking the follow to do.  Follows also benefit from understanding how some of their initial reactions in dance like leaning back or moving without being led make it impossible for the lead to lead well.  Understanding is different from trying to learn and dance both roles at the same time. Of course it’s important to know both roles if you plan to teach or if you want to dance both roles socially.  Otherwise I think a person’s time is much better spent concentrating on the role they prefer to dance.  I have danced with ladies who lead too much and they become grounded and start anticipating the steps which is not good following.  I have also danced with leads who have done a lot of following and they feel light and moveable and this is not good for a lead.  Both roles have strong techniques that get ingrained into every movement.  Especially in the first few years of dancing our bodies are looking for the best way to connect and it’s totally different for the lead and follow.  For these reasons, I recommend that you first master the role you wish to dance first and only learn the other role if you want to teach or dance that role.
 



AT Myth#4. Dancing with beginners is a waste of my time.  I need to dance only with people better that myself to get better.

WRONG - learning how to make a beginner comfortable and dance well is a fantastic and valuable skill that only the most experienced dancers have. I like that I can give almost anyone a really wonderful experience on the dance floor.  Dancing is not just about what you get from your partner, but what you can give.  We should all have the goal of being able to give and not just receive on the dance floor. 

I dance tons with beginners when I am teaching.  It’s why I am a clear, stable and confident partner.  I can usually get the best movement out of leads and follows because I have experience with new dancers.  I know how to wait and let them find their way.  I also know that if I am a kind and good teacher they will someday give me a wonderful dance.  It’s an investment I don’t mind making. 

Of course I believe if you are a good dancer you have earned the right and privilege to dance mostly with other good dancers. And I totally believe that ALL dancers of all levels have a right to choose who they dance with.  Most of the time if you work hard to become a good Tango dancer, and am friendly the others will ask you to dance regardless of age and beauty. Sometimes I hear beginner ladies complain that the hot dancers won’t dance with them because they are older. RUBBISH – they dance with me, and Julia and many other older dancers because we are good and fun to dance with.  Ladies if you want to dance more become a better dancer and try just chatting and smiling instead of asking for dances that you have not earned.

As a lead or follow there is still a lot to be gained from dancing with a beginner.  Leads will learn to be slower and clearer, follows will learn how to create a calm safe place for the lead.  All dancers will become more musical when they are doing easier vocabulary.  Most of my intermediate and advanced students take the beginning classes. I can see them really connecting to the music and using better technique and poster when they are not trying to do difficult moves. I love the way my more advanced dancers welcome and help the new dancers in class! Both beginners and advanced improve by working together. 

The really good dancers tithe to beginners to build the community.  They give at least one dance a night to a lesser dancer, sometimes a lot more.  Think about the best dancer in the world. Every dance, that person is giving to a lesser skilled person and I am sure that dancer has learned to take pleasure in it. I have and I hope my students will.



AT Myth#5.    I should prepare to go dancing the same way I might prepare to have coffee or diner with a friend.
WRONG - Dancing involves close physical contact and you need to be clean, healthy and properly groomed.  Here are 3 things that make me crazy:

1.    Chewing gum while dancing.  It’s almost OK if we are dancing swing or salsa in a dark club, but it’s never OK for close embrace tango.  I hate chomping in my ear. It’s also not OK if you are dancing in a show!



2.    Dancing when you are sick. Please stay home if you don’t feel well.  If you sneeze into your hands go wash them before dancing. Please don’t wipe your runny nose on your hand and then ask someone to dance. A very nice man did this last week to one of my students.  She danced, but did not enjoy it and almost quit. I assured her that if a man has snot all over his hand she does not have to touch it!  Also, if you are so congested that breathing is loud, and you need to constantly clear your throught, maybe you need to rest one night. We all hate to miss a night of dancing, but your body and everyone else’s will be healthier.


3.    Bad smells.  For me onion breath is the worst, but for others B. O. or too much cologne / perfume might make the dance experience unpleasant.  I like perfume for a date, but I try not to wear any when I am teaching. I always avoid stinky food before dancing, but breath mints do help if you need them.  In many dance situations, perspiration is unavoidable and not necessarily offensive but I really like it when a man brings fresh shirts and changes when one is too wet.  
Any of these offenses are a reason to turn down a dance. You don’t even have to tell them why you don’t wish to dance, but if you are a close friend it’s OK to let someone know.  We all want everyone to have a nice experience at the dance. Many times someone might not know that their perfume is too much or that gum smacking or dancing sick are not socially acceptable.  Dancing is not like other social events where you usually sit near others, not touching and moving.  
 
If you feel uncomfortable you can ask me if there is a person like this in class. I try to be kind and helpful; it’s my job. Usually I would just make a general comet to the whole class, like I have mints if anyone wants one, and let the person figure it out. Rarely have I had to actually talk to a student. Both times they were keeping other students from enjoying class. At a milonga, I won’t say anything unless the person is a good friend, or a student.  As the teacher I need to not only teach how to dance, but also how to give a wonderful dance experience to all their partners.  As a dancer you will learn that dancing is about a lot more than steps, it’s about giving and receiving 3 minutes of bliss. 




AT Myth #6: “I don't need to take lessons to dance well.”   “I grew up dancing,”  “I am a natural dancer,”  “I am good enough,” “I dance great with advanced dancers.” "I am an elephant" All are phrases  followed by: “So I don't need lessons.”




WRONG we all need lessons.  That’s how we challenge ourselves to try new things and improve.  I take lessons! Even very advanced dancers learn from each other. 

Ladies – Following badly is easy, following well is hard.  I hate to hear ladies say “if the lead is great I dance really well”.  Yes, a good lead will make you feel like you are dancing well, but that does not make you a good follow.  Wouldn’t it be nice to give a lead a wonderful experience? There is a difference between “taking” and “following”. The follows need to contribute in the dance while still following.  It’s one of the most complicated parts of dancing to get right and of course lessons will help. 


Men - Tango is complicated.  There are always new and fun ways to do it better and each new skill you learn enriches yours and your follows experience. All good leads have worked hard to become good.  Most leads say that it takes 2 years of “hell” before the dance starts to really feel right. I am so happy so many of you have stuck in there! If you start to feel down take a lesson or go to a class and talk to some of the experienced dancers. You are not alone. 


Some students say to me that they can’t remember what they learn in lessons, especially long weekends with many hours of class. Try to relax and trust the teacher to guide you. There are many ways your mind and body learn and remember.  Your dance is expanding and perfecting all the time, and the good technique and fun steps you are learning will start to appear. 


Tango is not intuitive. If it was I would not have a job.  Trying to learn on your own is difficult because you often need to do movements that are not the way we usually move. Learning off of video is extremely difficult and time consuming. 


PLEASE do not teach your significant other! Leads and Follows, men and women learn differently.  I teach private lessons for leads differently than I do for follows. They need different information and more time to process different parts of the dance. You will both enjoy the learning experience if you let your partners learn in their own way!


We all need better technique. I know several excellent dancers who went a long time without any lessons and I saw them fall into some pretty strange habits.  For advanced dancers one private lesson once in a while will help keep your style clean and clear. 


It has been said that it takes over 10,000 hours to master anything, and if you really want to master something you must practice the skills that are the most difficult for you.  Everyone needs coaching when it comes to this.  Every great musician, artist, athlete and dancer has people who coach, teach and inspire them. Learning is good for your mind and your dancing.  Both are worth the investment of lessons.
 

 


AT Myth # 7 So you think you can’t dance Argentine tango?
Wrong – anyone can dance tango.  All you need to do is find a good teacher and show up!  Keep showing up for class and soon you will be dancing.  If you want to learn faster add some private lessons and go out to dances.
I have NEVER met a person who could not dance. My friend Vivian is teaching a man in a wheel chair to dance tango.  He is doing really well and we are all enjoying the experience of partnering with him. I have taught students with MS, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s and other major physical disabilities to dance, so please don’t tell me you have 2 left feet and therefore can’t dance.  I don’t’ believe you!
Unfortunately if you believe you can’t learn you are setting yourself up to not succeed.  I realize that people who say they can’t dance really think they can’t.  It’s hard to change our beliefs, and it’s hard to try something that seems impossible.  My students, friends and I are always working to get people to just try one class.
This crazy belief that dancing is too hard is another reason a good teacher is so important. The very first class needs to give the person hope that they really can dance. It’s hard and does take work, but everyone really can dance. Of course it’s cool for us dancers that so many people think it’s some super power we are born with.
We all learn differently, and sometimes if you learn slower than your partner you feel like you can’t dance.  I am a visual learner, so I can copy movement, but as soon as I am on my own I mess it up and then the real work begins.  People assume I am a fast learner, because I usually do something well right away. I did not learn it, I was only able to mimic the move. It will take me a long time to actually master a new movement. Other people are auditory learners and need a lot of explanation and time to think about a movement before trying it.  They appear to be slower learners, but when they finally do a move right they have already done much of the work and already own it.  I find in the long run we all take about the same amount of hours.
I have one super-fast student who wants to learn a whole bunch of things every lesson, but needs to re-learn them again the following week.  I have another student who wants to concentrate on just one thing before moving on. At the end of several months they will have both learned about the same.  We all need to approach the learning experience in our own way and know that if we just keep showing up for lessons we will learn to dance!
Dancers all know that anyone can dance and that dancing is fun.  We know that if fulfills a need that no other activity can.  We know it takes many hours to be a great dancer, but that we all can, and that learning is part of the fun.
Many people actually believe they could dance, but are afraid of looking silly. That’s another true belief that will go away at the first group class when they see that everyone looks a lot less silly that they think.  Adults look silly trying to do a summersault or cartwheel, not walking.  Dancing is fancy walking with a partner. If you can move you can dance!



AT Myth #8  An instructor was rude to refuse my invitation to dance.
My wonderful students come first. 
WRONG – I or any other person do not owe anyone a dance.  We can all refuse any invite for any reason. 
In myth # 5 I laid out 3 obvious reasons based on hygiene, but there are many more starting with “I just didn’t feel like it.”  In order to give a nice experience I need to feel the music, the floor, the room; my mind and my body need to be ready and sometime I just don’t feel ready. The beauty of the cabaceo system is that no one need take offense at being turned down.
People have high expectations, especially for the better dancers,. If I have just taught 7 hours and my feet are killing me and I haven’t had anything to eat or drink that evening, or even had a chance to catch up with my boyfriend I am not ready to start dancing, much less dancing well. I want to feel and look good on the floor. 
For me I only have so much time each evening to social dance, so I have clear priorities:
1. My significant other, always! Dancing is hard on relationships; if you are in one, honor your partner with first and last dances. At the very least talk about expectations at a milonga.
2. My dance partners. In order to maintain a top notch connection in performances, we need the social dance experience. Performing is a vital part of my life and my partners need this time.
3. Students who take private or group lessons, past or present. I enjoy dancing with all my students, they have priority over any newer dancers who have not taken classes from me.
4. Visiting professionals, and dancers from out of town,
5. Anyone who has performed or been on the Tech. side in any of my 28 shows,
6. People who come to my milongas, cabarets, or events.
If you have never taken a class from me, never been to one of my milongas or shows, are not from out of town, there might be other people ahead of you I wish to dance with.
I have actually had men say these things to me: 
“I have never met you, and never danced close embrace, would you like to dance with me?  You can show me how to dance close.”
“I’m taking lessons from _______ and need a good follow to practice with, will you dance with me?”
“I waited until your boyfriend went to the bathroom because you were cuddled up in the corner like on a date. Want to dance?”
NO, I don’t want to teach on the dance floor, practice with someone who is not my student, or dance with a stalker. All 3 men were very surprised when I politely declined to dance.
All dancers have a right to dance with whoever they want, especially teachers.





AT Tango Myth #9 SWANGO is a hybrid dance that is cooler than just Argentine Tango and of course if I can dance swango, salango, or fusango I am dancing a “high-bred” or higher form of Argentine Tango.

Wrong – Swango (a mix of swing and tango) Salango (a mix of salsa and tango) and Fusango (a mix of all dances and Tango) are not Argentine tango! They may be fun, creative, and feel modern, but Argentine Tango is pretty darn perfect just the way it is. I am not convinced that fusing it makes it better.  I prefer to dance each dance the way it connects best with the music and my partner. I know very few people who dance Argentine Tango and another dance form well enough to create a good dance truly mixing them. 

Last year while at a West Coast Swing dance I had 2 crazy experiences that illustrate my point: The first guy asked me to dance WCS and then in the middle of the dance pulled me in super close, did a little hip/pelvic grind and said “blues me baby”.  NO, I did not agree to dance blues with you. Later a different guy led a bad tango sacada and almost knocked me over. He said “I thought you knew Tango!” My response was “Do that again and I will walk off the floor.” It was extremely dangerous especially just a few months after my ACL repair. 

If I am going to cook fusion cuisine well I need to have a solid understanding of the flavors I am using and to use the best ingredients possible. If you want to fuse dances well you need to truly understand the technique and style that make each dance unique. Just as cooking great fusion food requires quality ingredients, to make a great fusion dance you need to be a master of both dance forms. 

People assume that I must love all these new hybrid dances because I know the roots. What happens though is that I will be dancing swing and the lead – who has never danced AT – leads ochos in the most horrible way and they expect me to be happy. I am NOT happy to dance AT badly. If you ask me to dance swing I expect swing; If you want to try some ochos then you need to learn AT or lead them in a swing way. Dancers trying to mix AT with every dance often do not know the first thing about technique, style and connection in traditional Argentine Tango. 

I want to be clear that I do enjoy dancing Argentine tango to non-tango music. I love to dance good tango with a good dancer to non-tango music, but we are clearly dancing Argentine tango. Sometimes it’s fun to put a little tango flair into my salsa or swing, but I am clearly following that dance, connection, music and technique, not doing both dances at once.  I think it would drive a swing dancer nuts if I wanted to connect with only compression and make him lead every movement like Tango. 

I love Salsa, WC Swing, Blues and many other forms of partner dancing.  I love how they feel when they are danced right!  And if you want to dance fusion, dance fusion! But if you want it to be half tango, don’t make it half-assed tango. If you ask me to dance, dance that dance the best you can in its purist form.  I will be happy! 

AT Myth # 10:  Argentine Tango dancers are snobs.
FALSE.  People who dance Argentine tango are kind, friendly and fun. 
Like many myths there is a little truth, but it’s important to see the difference between how people actually behave and etiquette used at the dances.
It’s not always a happy dance like swing or salsa, and it’s not easy to be good at it, but the people dancing it are not snobs.  In my classes the students are always kind and helpful to everyone.  At the milongas I meet so many interesting people.  Everyone says “Hi” and most greet with a kiss on the cheek (the Argentine way.) The “snobby” problem comes from having unrealistic expectations about what a AT dance is supposed to be.
If I go to a swing dance I might dance almost every song.  Most all the people are on the dance floor and very few are sitting and chatting.  In Argentina that is not the way.  At any time there might be about half the dancers on the floor and the others are chatting.  Some people may only dance one or two sets, others might dance more. The dance is a place to meet, drink, chat and socialize, not just a place to dance.
In Argentina they have practicas for newer dancers who want to mostly dance and the Milongas (formal dances) are for more experienced dancers who socialize and dance.
Another reason the AT is often thought of as snobby is that anyone can refuse a dance for any reason.  In Argentina they get around that by using the Cabeceo (way of inviting a dance with eye contact) and having a Codigo (code of conduct) for Milongas.
It’s easy to see that a swing dancer used to everyone dancing and accepting every invitation could have an experience that seems snobby, but the people are not snobs.  Tango dancers love their dance and want to respect the whole dance including the social customs.  The etiquette is designed to create less stress and give more freedom.
AT attracts a wide range of unique and complex people, because the dance is unique and complex.  There are many ways to engage at a Milonga and by having a “code” we can all enjoy it our own way.  Some are there just for the music, others for the dancing and some just to socialize.  Most like a balance of all three.
So, if you come to a Milonga have a glass of wine, sit and relax, make new friends. You will find AT dancers easy and interesting to talk with.  Then dance a little.  We love to share our dance, but we need to do it our way.
  Michelle Badion Bio
I hate to brag about my qualifications teaching partner dancing, but sometimes it’s necessary.  Lately I keep running into people learning Argentine tango, salsa, or west coast swing from other partner dance teachers, which is OK, but they seem to think that I don’t teach.  Sometimes I let them know that their teacher is excellent, because I was their first teacher.  I am happy that so many good teachers started their dancing with me!  I am starting a blog and thought this might be a good time to tell you a little bit about myself.

1.       I am one of Seattle’s most experienced teachers.  I was Seattle’s first Salsa teacher and third Argentine Tango Teacher. I was also part of Seattle’s second wave of good WC Swing teachers.
2.      I have been teaching full time for over 20 years.
3.      I have continued to social dance every week for all 20 years. This is how you keep up on local trends and keep your dancing skills sharp.
4.      I have taught at and participated in many Argentine Tango Festivals, Salsa Congresses and WC Swing conventions.  I still go to several of each dance every year. These are where you keep up on worldwide trends in the dances.
5.      I continue to take private lessons from the great masters of partner dance.
6.      I have analyzed the different technique needed in different dances and can dance each dance with my own style, but not with an accent.  No one at a Tango festival would ever say I dance like a salsa or swing dancer, or vice-versa, unless I tell them and do so on purpose.
7.      I perform as much as possible.  This keeps me creating new ways to engage people in dance.
8.      I love to dance and totally believe that social dancing will enhance every person’s life.
9.      I currently teach beginners, intermediate, and advanced classes for both teachers and advanced performers and social dancers. For group classes listing visit www.exco.org  or my website.
10.  I consistently dance will all my students during classes, as both a lead and a follow.  This helps me to be aware and connected to the needs of my students.

 
I have been honored to perform with many of the best Argentine Tango Dancers.  Sometimes we were on stage, but many were demos at milongas.  I continue to get asked to partner out of town maestros. Carlos Gavito, Fabian Salas, Omar Vega, Eduardo Saucedo, Patricio Touceda, Daniel Lapadula , Manuel Ortis,  Pedro 'Tete' Rusconi, Norberto "El Pulpo" Esbrés, “El Indio” Pedro Benavente, Metin Yazir, Cacho Dante, Jaun Bruno, Pampa Cortes, Marcos Questas, Ruban Terbalca, and Jorge Nel are some of the wonderful dancers I have performed with. Most of these I also taught with and I have social danced with all of them. Watch for videos of these on my website in the coming months.

I have also had incredible social dances with these dancers: Pepito Avellaneda, , Osvaldo Zotto, Miguel Angel Zotto, Gustavo Naveira, Esteban Moreno, Chicho Frumboli, Pablo Verón, Pablo Puglise, Daniel Trenner, Deigo Di Falco, Armondo Orzuza, Guillermo Merlo, Oscar Mandagaran, Nito Garcia, Mario Consiglieri. Migel Zotto, Carlos Barioneuvo, Leonardo Barrionuevo, Sandor, Jorge Torres, Fabritzio Forti, Guillermo Salvat, Gustavo Benzecry Sabe, “El Flaco” Dani Garcia, Jaun Carlos Copes, Julia Balmaceda, Oscar Casas, Oliver Kolker, Robert Duvall, Ney Melo, Carlos Arias, Alex Krebs,  and many others.

I have been enchanted by Argentine Tango since the first time that Forever Tango came to Seattle in the early 1990’s. I was hooked, but it took a long time to learn because there were no experienced teachers locally. Now there are several good teachers, for both Argentine tango and other partner dances, but a flood of inexperienced ones. This blog will help students of partner dance get off to a good start and guide them along their journey.