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When in BA...contact Janis!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. 
When in Buenos Aires, do yourself a favour and contact Janis Kenyon. She loves meeting new people and is one of the kindest, most helpful people that you'll meet. 
https://jantango.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/look-me-up-when-you-visit-buenos-aires/
Recent posts

Travel and perspective

I've been back a week from 3 weeks in Buenos Aires and have been so impressed with the quality of the events in Welli, the lack of collisions on the dance floor, the number of people dancing milonga (almost all the dancers last night), and the overall level of dancing. 
The great thing about going away is the fresh perspective that it gives you about your home. This is especially true for tango, especially if you live in Welli. 
Congratulations to the Welli dancers, the organisers, their helpers and the teachers. 

More Lessons? Really?

I recently read a blog by a well known dancer and teacher, who had responded to a question from a reader about connection. The reader questioned 'why it works with some people but not with others?'. The teacher's response could be summarised that “one could only really change oneself, so dancers needed to focus on improving their own dance and technique, and to take more lessons”.

This is great for those who make a living as teachers, but where is the evidence of progress for all that investment?

There are thousands of dancers in Buenos Aires who enjoy dancing socially and who look like they've taken very few lessons. I'm not saying that they are great dancers, but they certainly dance better than many of those in other cities who have years of lessons under their belts.

I've danced with a lot of women, and a few men, in a lot of countries. Their dance abilities ranged from absolute beginners through to professional dancers and a  consistent thread running thro…

Choreography or not? (a beginner's guide)

I recently got drawn into a tango blog discussion as to whether a tango demo was a video or not. They said it was improv, I disagreed, and suddenly I was called upon to justify my view with evidence and tempers were starting to flare. A bit of an over-reaction but that's the world of tango blogs for you. People care about this stuff. A lot.

Rather than publish it there I thought that I'd publish my beginners guide here, instead.

At the outset I probably need to say that I don't like watching demos, although I appreciate that they're great as a means of drawing new people into tango, and motivating people to improve. However I was sidetracked for a few years by perceiving demos as examples of good dancing.  I see many dancers here and overseas in the same situation, so I now see demos as simply a diversion.  A bit like ballet, another dance that doesn't push my button.

I also won’t be linking to any demo videos as I don’t want to pick on anyone in particular as you’…

Advice for Followers

This post is about the most common questions that I'm asked about following.  It's a companion piece to my Advice for Leaders post. Read both, especially if you don't do both, because you need at least some perspective into the other half of the dance if you wish to improve.  My apologies for the use of gender when describing leaders and followers, sometimes my typing fingers get tired.  Regarding 'style', I've posted elsewhere on this site about that but suffice it to say that this advice is for a tango approach where a leader and follower move together to build a dance that is greater than both of them.
My post on leading talks about accepting followers as they are, strengths and weaknesses, just like in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary (one of my faves). However, followers can be on the receiving end of some pretty dreadful technique which sometimes means that they have to react rather than follow. 
Having said that, you should always be trying to give you…

Advice for Leaders

This post is about the most common questions that I'm asked about leading.  It's a companion piece to my Advice for Followers post. Read them both, especially if you don't do both, because you need at least some perspective into the other half of the dance if you wish to improve.  My apologies for the use of gender when describing leaders and followers, sometimes my typing fingers get tired.  Regarding 'style', I've posted elsewhere on this site about that but suffice it to say that this advice is for a tango approach where a leader and follower move together to build a dance that is greater than both of them.
Good leading is largely about accepting followers as they are, identifying their  strengths, then leading to those strengths (eg wonderful musicality, great connection) and avoiding areas of weakness (eg no axis, not very stable, connection not very good). Having said that, you should always be trying to give your partner the best possible time. Even if t…

Janis Kenyon on Ricardo Vidort

Here's a profound post by Janis Kenyon, reproduced by Tango Commuter, about Ricardo Vidort.
Ricardo taught people 8 lessons and then told them to go away and develop their own style.

Exactly. There's a lot of overthinking and overselling of tango which gets in the way of learning the dance. If the top of the tango mountain appears to be moving away rather than getting closer, then it's time to look for different advice.