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SPOTLIGHT:
INVITATION TO THE DANCE
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Maria Bastone
Invitation to the Dance - Reflections
Argentine Tangos
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ARGENTINE TANGO IS…………

by Maria Bastone
July 14, 2002


ARGENTINE TANGO IS…………


Maria Bastone

July 14, 2002


ARGENTINE TANGO IS…………

We've often been asked, "What is Argentine Tango?". Argentine tango is a way of placing and displacing the feet. It is a way of moving, a way of holding one's body and arms and it is a way of feeling. Argentine tango is an embrace that is danced, it is 'two sad faces and four happy feet', it is a way of life. Virulazo, a great Milonguero and dancer in the Broadway show TANGO ARGENTINO, said that "if a man didn't know how to hold his left arm properly, he couldn't dance tango well," since he would not be able to use his feet properly; if he couldn't do displacements well, he couldn't dance tango.

There are several forms of "authentic" Argentine tango. Salon tango is when a knowledeable tango dancer asks another tango dancer to dance and they can do so without first rehearsing a choreographed pattern. The more options and elements of Argentine tango the leader knows, the better he will be able to get around the dance floor. A man must have many options everytime he takes a step. He must be aware of the traffic and the direction the couples are taking and by having many options, he can determine in which direction he can go. The more the partner knows about the language of the tango and how to respond, the better the follower she will become. Women must learn to become better dancers on their own and not depend on the man or a partner to do it for her.

In authentic tango one never copies another's variations because it is an insult in Argentine culture to copy; one takes pride in creating various styles. Also one does not dance the same way to different orchestras. Orchestras such as DiSarli, Pugliesi, D'Arienzo and Troilo play differently and so one must react differently to their music.

When a person dances tango, or any other dance in a social environment, then he or she must learn the etiquette of the dance floor. Argentine tango is one of those dances that follows a line of dance (LOD). That does not mean that one has to run counterclockwise around the floor. On the contrary, it means looking around so that one knows how the flow and speed of the dance is going and can adapt to the situation.

Having various options and alternatives will help in the selection process while dancing. A student of ours put it very well when she said she felt that "it was the man's responsibility to protect her from being kicked, jabbed and stepped on while dancing with her on the dance floor." She also felt that while dancing, undivided attention should be on enjoying the dance and reacting to the music and to each other and not on dancing for an audience.

The material for tango used on stage or exhibition is choreographed to fit the accents of the musical piece being performed, taking into account where the performance will take place. In salon tango, the dancer has more freedom to exercise his options. Often students study with professional performers; these performers are paid to entertain an audience. It is often fun to take classes with them because they are entertainers. If one enjoys taking these classes that is fine but they must keep in mind that the material taught may not be suited to the dance floor. That is particularly true if you are dancing on a crowded floor and executing those patterns means interfering with other couples.

Many performers have never frequented a milonga (a dance hall where tango is danced) and do not know about floorcraft. The student must keep in mind that what is appropriate for an exhibition may not be suitable when dancing in a salon or nightclub.

Maria Bastone (Danel & Maria)





If you want to find out more about the events and classes Danel and Maria are offering, please go to their website at www.TangoCentral.com/bailemostango/.



Maria and Danel looking elegant in black and white





Diego, Ezequiel, Milena, Carolina



Darrio and partner



Wolfie, Bailemos Tango DJ



Sarah and Rosie



Bailemos Tangueros



Loreen and Marcia



Milena and Ezequiel perform



Milena and Ezequiel perform



Milena and Ezequiel perform



Jak and Hilliard



An Argentine Folk Dance: Chicarrera



An Argentine Folk Dance: Chicarrera



Bailemos Tangueros



Bailemos Tangueros

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