[Tango-L] FW: Demo advice needed

Patio De Tango pdtango at bigpond.net.au
Mon Feb 11 10:44:57 EST 2008

We have been teaching Argentine Tango in Sydney Australia for the
past seven years and have found public demos to be a very effective
way of drawing more people into social tango dancing. We organise
Outdoor Milongas in scenic or touristic parts of Sydney, eg Bondi
Beach, Darling Harbour (entertainment precinct on the Sydney harbour
foreshore) Italian Piazza in Leichhardt ("Little Italy"). 

We gaffer tape one or two (6 X 4 meter) pieces of black and white
chequered vinyl flooring onto concrete or paved surface to make the
floor tango shoe friendly. The eye catching floors also define the
dance space and draw more spectators to the event. The music of the
Milonga is divided into tandas and curtinas and in the curtina
breaks an MC provides information about Argentine social Tango. The
dancing is all improvised and mainly in close embrace. The Milonga
is interspersed by solo performances by our instructors and other
experienced dancers. 

The solos are a bit like "social tango on steroids" - ie, with more
space to dance longer steps are possible, as are occasional fantasia
moves (still with minimal opening of the embrace) higher off the
floor decorations, more backward steps by the leader - but the
essence of social tango is still there. My partner and I make a
point of dancing in close embrace - and not choreographing so as to
emphasise the improvised nature of Tango, because that's what we

This strategy has worked for us, but if our school specialised in
choreography and stage tango we would organise these public displays
differently. A key consideration for public demos is - who is the
target audience? 

Lastly, if you are wanting to promote social tango don't
underestimate the appeal of good quality non choreographed, close
embrace tango to the uninitiated. 

Sophia de Sydney

'Tango is not about what is done, but how it is done'
(E. Santos Discepolo)

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