[Tango-L] No dancing before the music

Michael Figart II michaelfigart at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 23 02:51:57 EST 2008

Hola list, 
I've been reading with much interest lately all the
postings on this subject. For the record, here in the
US, I'm considered pretty traditional, and to a large
extent, am at odds with much of my community, because
I advocate the use of the cabaceo, the tanda format,
the old guard and golden age music during milongas,
and traditional "milonguero" courtesy and respect on
the dance floor. I've travelled to Buenos Aires twice
for a total of nearly two months, etc, etc. I love
Janis, and her postings, and have a lot of respect for
those such as Ron, who are "right wing" in their views
regarding the music and the dance.
But, I do disagree with them at times, and here's one
of the big times. I did not care for tango music when
I started the dance. I got into it because a neighbor
invited me to a milonga. It happened to be on a
weekend when the sponsoring teacher also was
sponsoring a workshop featuring Daniel Lapadula. I was
awestruck, and needed a new hobby, so I started
lessons the next week, and have been working at
improving my dance ever since.
Anyway, I did not grow up listening to tango music,
had no idea of the culture, or the codes, etc. I
struggled for 2-3 years, and where the majority of men
quit and try something easier, like salsa, I was not
going to let tango get the best of me, and I
persevered. I've grown to really love tango music, and
now I CAN "feel" it, it is getting into my bones.
But I DID grow up listening to the blues, a form of
music that I feel is particularly suited to dancing in
a style similar to that of tango. I don't care if its
really tango or not, that's not important. What IS
important is; that's the music I grew up with; that's
the music I've "felt" all my life. And its also
important that I really enjoy it. Like Jake, I've
always been inclined to snap my fingers on the upbeat
(or in the south, the backbeat).
And here is what's really important; I would not be
anywhere near the dancer I am today had I not learned
and worked at dancing to this music. It has taught me
so much about musicality that transfers easily to
tango music...so much you wouldn't believe. And the
gist of it is, that's everything about tango; the
music and the ability to dance to it with musicalilty.
It kills me to see 98% of the US dancing tango
1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4, over and over and over. Or 1-2, 1-2,
1-2. no pauses, no imagination, no playing with the
rhythms, no pauses at all, especially no pauses where
they should be, where the music tells you to put them.
I am a strong advocate of dancing "tango" to music
that you feel, and using what you learn doing this to
help you learn to "feel" tango music. There is no
music richer, more inspiring, or with more feeling
than tango. But if there is anything that can help you
to learn this, and feel this, use it. The blues helped
And as a kind of an aside; in support of musicality,
I'd been dancing for about five years when I met Senor
Ricardo Vidort. He had watched me dancing the night
before at a milonga in Denver (I could feel his eyes
on me, but I didn't know who he was). We talked  for
thirty minutes the next day before he told me his
name, and I mentioned that I was sorry I had not taken
any of his classes. He told me I didn't need his
classes, or anybody else's; he told me to dance often
and just listen to the music; just work on feeling the
I know there's a limit on the length of these
postings, and I also know there will be some asking
for specifics, so I'll cut you off and continue...
My warmest!!!!

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