Ask every Jazz musician how they learned and they’ll tell you: from listening to records. It’s all there a lot of them will say. I feel a lot of that has happened in my tango journey. A lot of times you need to watch a lot to realize what’s happening, just like a jazz musician will only figure out why someone solo’ed using a certain scale or something in between after they themselves have toyed with that idea.
Make no mistake: All improvisational art stems from the shoulders of others. The most admired artists have themselves the utmost respect for their predecessors because in some ways they owe their brilliance to them.
This video brings me back to what I feel is my kind of tango. Deeply connected to the music, the moment and your partner. That embrace couldn’t give a damn about the proper posture and he couldn’t care less about anyone in that room during that moment. That’s what I love when I get in the zone. I just do what I need to do to pour the music out of my body, I don’t care about being judged by qualities or interpretation.
In five years I’ll still be learning from this video which probably can’t be said for a lot of other videos out there. Sorry for the outburst but I’ve just watched a lot of boring tango in the last days…
I think I’ve figured out why I rarely get anything out of musicality classes: They’re not usually taught by people that truly have learned, studied and practiced music.
Understanding music and contextualizing tango music is fundamental to teach about the music itself. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of young teachers out there that are fanatic to the point that they have not (yet?) danced anything else in their life and do not know much more music besides tango. This makes their teachings lack perspective and thus, failing to reach the entire class/audience.
Next time you go to a musicality class, make sure you’re not going to a “let me show you what move/steps I do when this type of stuff comes up in music“. The good news is that it’s very easy to realize when you are at either situation.
Musicality development is inherently personal and everyone needs to go through the individual process themselves. What a teacher should be able to give you are the tools for that. Not just share the end result, ie, a step/move, with you.
Para bailar tango tanto la mujer como el hombre deben sentir y pensar en quién los acompaña. Hoy hay mucho odio tapado, se reprime la relación, hay miedo. Las personas se acercan al tango por el abra- zo, vienen en busca de él, pero cuando llegan a la clase prefieren una posición más abierta, donde cada uno esté en su eje, sintiéndose independiente. Quieren bailar juntos, se mueren por estar abrazados, se necesi- tan, pero no lo demuestran ni lo aceptan. Finalmente se cansan y se largan a la pista, pero han pasado por un prólogo demasiado largo.
To dance tango men and women need to feel and think about the partner they dance with. Today there is a lot of hidden resentment, repressed relationships and there is fear. People are attracted by tango because of its embrace, they search for it, but once they come to class, they prefer a more open posi- tion where each dancer is in his own axis, maintaining his feeling of independence. They want to dance with each other, they are dying to be embraced, they need each other, but they neither show nor accept it. In the end they get tired of it and they throw themselves on the dance floor, but prior to that too much time has passed.
A while ago, after a one on one with a teacher, I realized that I was developing an unbalanced way of leading. This caused physical fatigue after a while. While I have my own theories about why I developed this I won’t bore you with them. The teacher lead me like I was leading him thus making it very obvious to me on how it felt. Not as great as I’d like to.
More recently I made the interesting find that some followers are very good – and vocal – to notice unbalances and others are not. While attending a practica before a milonga I asked a respected follower for her opinion on things to work on and develop. She did not say much besides the obvious. I don’t believe she was being shy. On the other end, another really good follower has been telling me for a while to relax a part of my body. She’s always said it to me in a very kind way. She’s a very kind and serene person.
While dancing with the latter follower I’ve always focused on doing that but I was never clever or dedicated enough to understand the root of the problem. I believe I have now furthered my understanding of the issue, figure out one of the root causes and also how to better cope and deal with it.
I’ve learned throughout this process that I need to explore much more the tips I receive. With a different approach that is. Now, every leader gets lots of tips. They tend to be freely shared by younger and less experienced followers. They also tend to be less useful since you’ve gone past that hill already. On the other hand, what is really important is to get ahold of the tips given by experienced but seldom vocal followers that you believe have a deeper understanding of the dance. I’ve learned not to see them as the root or issue but as more probably than not an effect of something each person needs to dig deeper and figure out within their dancing why that may be.
I’ve got lots of stuff to work on for a while now…