[Tango-L] demo advice needed

Stephen.P.Brown@dal.frb.org Stephen.P.Brown at dal.frb.org
Fri Feb 8 15:41:43 EST 2008

Trini de Pittsburgh wrote:
>>So I'm wondering if folks might have some tips regarding demos or 

One important issue is to determine whether the demo is of social tango or 
stage tango.  If you are providing these demos as a way to build the 
community, it is best to demonstrate a form of tango that is danced 
socially, but with a high level of musicality and execution, with a little 
bit of fanciness thrown in.  If you shift to stage tango, it will attract 
specators or those who wish to learn to dance a more theatrical style of 

If it is a demonstration of several couples dancing tango socially, 
dancing improvisationally in the line of dance can work quite well.  It 
creates some dynamic movement and variety.  Remember, however, that the 
more visusal side of the embrace is typically toward the center of the 
stage when everyone is following the line of dance. 

The couples shouldn't be crowded together for such demonstrations because 
separation improves visibility.

>>1. Any tips for handling a demo when the audience is on only 1 side of 
you, such as on a stage, so that the visually interesting stuff is 
presented to the audience instead of the back wall?<<

I would recommend that the couples toward the back of the stage dance 
simply and musically, leaving the couples at the front of the stage to do 
more showy movements such as volcadas, colgadas, barridas, etc.  Complex 
movements at the back of stage aren't very visible and can be distracting.

Rather than reverse the line of dance for the demonstration, the leaders 
at the front of the stage can pause and reorient themselves and their 
partners to make sure the more showy movements are visible to the 
audience.  If you do a gancho and realize that hasn't shown well, reorient 
yourself and your partner and do it again.

If much of the audience is relatively far away, exaggerated movements in 
open embrace may be necessary to create visibility.  The dance needs to be 
visible to those in the back row.

>>2.  In cases where the audience is sitting down and the demo occurs at 
floor level, it seems that the only ones who get to see the demo is the 
front row.  Those in the back would miss the footwork.  So the only 
solution to keep them involved is to either open the embrace or do higher 
leg work.<<

For floor-level demonstrations, it's best to have people assembled around 
the outside of the dance floor.  That way most people have only one or two 
people in front of them.  The front row can be encouraged to sitdown on 
the floor.

For these demonstrations, fancy footwork close to the ground can work 
quite well, and so can movement that eats up the floor.  If visibility is 
limited, glimpses of flying legs seen between other people can create an 
exotic impression, even if most people can only see parts of the dance.

If the audience is seated in chairs or on the floor but on only one side 
of the dancers, moving back a little and dancing in an open embrace with 
higher leg work may be necessary to create visibility.

Trini de Pittsburgh

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