Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Renovating my Tango House

I have been dancing Argentine Tango for twenty years and I have been even leading for a long time. This need for renovation became very obvious when I had tried to change my dance to a more dynamic one. Unsuccessfully. During that process I had also become aware of the generation gap in the skill and style between the younger dancers and me.

I have seen a dancer use sequences from my first dance years and became aware of how old fashion his dance looked and I heard the others comment on the conservated years. I heard also how new dancers commented on styles fully recognizable for me but unknown to them. They said it was not tango. (I could count backward when they had started to dance  . . . :))

So there was a need to update the look of my dance by adding new steps and techniques which the younger dancers also could recognize!

Another way to describe the situation is to think of what a house owner is experiencing!  You maybe are living in a house or your friends have one. Usually there are continuously some renovating project going on but then after 20 years stay you noticed that a more profound, more large-scale actions are needed. You maybe must rebuild the fundament or a basement renovation is needed before some other changes can be processed!

That was the case of my Tango house!

I wanted to change my dance and therefore a better fundament was needed to be clear and strong enough to carry the new top floor. I had been planning and working for a new type of dance for some time but the new additional floor to my tango house did not get completed.

What was keeping me back?

At the time I started to tango the techniques for a stable and solid base were not available. I grabbed and put together material I could found somewhere.  It was not possible to make a plan or choose a style but you got a basic figure here and later on something else with a totally different technique. The wind was blowing through the cracks when different techniques did not fit together. Some figures were with center oriented techniques while others were using centrifugal principles and you were continuously forced to move from one technique to another during a tanda. It happens also that the dancers in the couple have different techniques on figures they try to fit together during a tanda. In other words, it was hard to create a harmonious dance on that base of unfit blocks, unfit moves.

To start with I would have needed some kind of evaluation of the situation but it was hard to get. So I planned the content and set up the lesson structure as I needed with cooperative teachers. Lucky me to get teachers with good skills and pedagogical insights for this project!

I am building, I am renovating!

September was the busiest month with 3-4 lessons a week combined with the preparation and repetition hours at home. The later part of October was easier with 2-3 lessons instead but as busy as earlier at home and it goes on . . . .

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