[Tango-L] No dancing before the music

Janis Kenyon Jantango at feedback.net.ar
Thu Feb 21 00:46:31 EST 2008

Trini wrote:
Out of genuine curiosity, did you listen to tango music for
a year before you began dancing?  If I think about those I
know who have done very well in tango, I honestly don't
think that they would wait for a year before hitting the
dance floor.  They're much too accomplished to let a
certain lack of knowledge keep them from their goals.>

    Good question.  I grew up with tango because my parents were ballroom
dancers.  During the 1950s, we listened to tango records at home in Chicago.
I had the advantage of dance and musical training from an early age.  When I
became interested in Argentine tango in 1991, I had a head start with a good
ear for music and a good eye for dance.

<As one who knew zero about the music when I first learned
to dance, I think I did alright.  It took me years to learn
to love the music.  It took Sean longer because he is
completely tone-deaf (he never could clap at the same time
as everyone else), though most people can't tell now.>

Memorizing steps and patterns don't make anyone a dancer until they relate
to the music.
It doesn't matter if someone is tone deaf, because dancing doesn't require
If someone can't feel the beat of the music, that can be taught.

<While I can see where you're coming from, I don't quite
understand how you think this is at all a practical way to
grow tango.>

Grow tango?  What do you mean by that?  Perhaps you are referring to growing
a community of tango dancers.  If that is to happen in any city in the
world, it has to begin with an understanding of the culture.

I don't see any advantage in having hundreds of dancers in a community if
only a few of them know and love the music of the 1940s, respect the
culture, and dance with feeling.

I heard that ValenTango in Portland had the largest attendance ever last
weekend, but what do alternative music and nuevo tricks have to do with the
tango of Buenos Aires?

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