Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Find the ONE when you need it!

to recognize the ONE
why  and how
taping and stepping
speed up the song
low volume
Julio & Juana
Joaquin Amenabar

For the first ten (!) years I was dancing and even leading without *hearing*, being aware of the musical structures. In other words, I couldn't tell you when the ONE....One .... One was sounding in music, not even on a most simple song. Surpricingly my feet knew better and I was appreciated for my musicality, my ability to step on the accents and fit the phrases. This gave me enjoyable tandas with musical partners but was a hell at musicality workshops! I didn't understand, I wasn't able to do anything of the stuff a teacher asked! The lessons became easier when I learned to recognize the retuning ONE in the music structure and the workshops became bearable! The retuning ONE is a fundamental base, giving me valuable anchoring points in music and organizing the sometimes overwhelming musical chaos. It was so for me and therefore to make it easier for you I have written down some guidelines which I used to break through the sound barrier in tango!

How to recognize the ONE and series of them!

The most important guide for me has been Joaquin Amenabar's book Tango: Let's dance to the music! When I got it I had been dancing for 10 years without never recognizing a single ONE. After doing the exercises for two weeks I first time knew: THIS is ONE! and HERE is another ONE! and there!  and here again!

The exercises made me sound, tap, sing and step - to approach the music from different angles and I was put to express the sounds my ears could catch. For me this has been the most important tool for development - to do something when I hear the music, to train my body to become synchronized with the sound, to connect my ear and foot! That's what the dance is about, isn't it?

The book will be available again later in autumn! This time digital and in seven languages!

There are a lot of other things dancers can do by themselves at home. Youtube provides some helpful features for aiding the learning and I have used these possibilities! When listening to youtube songs I do it sometimes at a higher speed because that emphasizes the sound structure and the One is more audible. Another trick is to put the volume down so you hardly hear the weakest parts and this highlights the ONE structure to be easily recognized. .... and all the time I am tapping on the table, on the edge of my laptop to clue the music and body together!

On youtube you also find JuanayJulio website with several examples presented with rhythms and suggested steps. Here is an example of tango and milonga! Tap you through these examples several days in a row! Leave them for a while and return again for some additional days! On an adventurous day, you can test the steps too or test the songs with more variation on the structure.

tango: https://youtu.be/pZzLqvpeuA4Aa
milonga  https://youtu.be/rQ5m1z2ebXM

I work happily at home but If you like to work together with others, form a group and learn together or maybe the teachers are with you! There may be an occasion, time for such a course! Ask them! During a workshop teachers can help their students forward by using a short exercise or a game for learning and then even the music educated can survive the training moment without getting dead bored!  

I have also noticed that when the base is stable many additional patterns can be developed more easily. Just this now: 1-3-1-3. When you know the ONE and step on it you can place the next step in the middle on your way to the next ONE. Try the milonga above with this in mind!

My initial drive to work on music was to become a more skilled dancer! Music was part of the path. Later on, the motivation and goals became more diversified including the enjoyment for me and my partner, understanding the lessons, to hear more details as well as larger structures in music. The persistent basic training has even increased my enjoyment in listening to other music and the enjoyment seems to continue growing . . . . 

How to orient among all these options?