Podcast Episode 35 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 35 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Roxanne Maier, who's based out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Roxanne's a central picture in the St. Louis tango community, and we had a fun conversation.  Listen for free on iTunes, Soundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks you all!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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TANGO IS A RABBIT HOLE

Rabbit holes are easy to find. If you're reading this blog post, chances are you're using the internet...which is arguably the biggest rabbit hole on Earth. On the web, we watch a funny cat video, then another, and another. A few hours later, we've moved on from cats to raccoons, then maybe to pandas or hippos. And a few hours after that, we find ourselves watching cheesy commercials we remember from childhood. And before we know it, the sun has gone down and we realize we've just wasted a colossal amount of time.

Tango is also a rabbit hole. It takes hold of us as beginners, and then we start taking more classes. Then from classes, we start coming to milongas and practicas. Then, we sign up for workshops. We start asking our teachers more detailed questions, we befriend other dancers, and then the playlists on our smartphones become populated with more tango music. 

But unlike the rabbit hole of the internet where we're more likely to waste our lives, the tango rabbit hole leads to an increased quality of living. The dance tests our desire for self-improvement, and acceptance of delayed gratification. Even if we can't spend as much time on tango as we'd like, it reaffirms our belief in pursuing worthy long-term goals. The deeper we venture into the tango rabbit hole, the more we learn about ourselves. The truths are either self-affirming, or reveal areas where we need improvement.

The funny thing about the tango rabbit hole is that by getting further lost in it, we may actually find our way.

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Podcast Episode 34 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 34 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Homer and Cristina Ladas. Based in the Bay Area of California,These two are well-known worldwide.

It was another fun, eye-opening interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks you all!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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ONLY ONE DANCE AWAY

"I'll wait until I'm better before I try dancing at a milonga."

I understand why students say this. 

But I HATE hearing it. I really do.

I admit I've said it myself. And looking back, it's the only thing I regret about my tango learning. Instead, I should have mustered the courage to go social dancing sooner.

Don't wait until you're "better." Or until you feel ready. Because that moment of "feeling ready" will never come. 

Many teachers and dancers tell us that the way to get better is to use our dancing in a social environment, and they're right. Of course, we don't have to dance every single song or attend every single event. 

And we don't have to "feel ready" in order to belong to our tango community.

But the more we dance, the more often we'll achieve that feeling of "getting it." We've tasted it in our classes, right? 

Not every dance will go smoothly, and not all tandas will be successful. But the more we put ourselves out there, the closer we'll be where we want to be. After all, we could only be one dance away from realizing our next personal tango milestone. 

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Podcast Episode 33 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 33 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I had an interesting conversation with Max Kepler, a teacher/dancer based in Seattle, WA

This is another fun interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks you all!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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IT'S OKAY TO BE WRONG

What happens if we try the cross on the other side?

If we're used to starting a particular figure using the left leg, what happens if we start it with the right leg?

If we usually start a particular figure by turning one direction, what happens if we start by turning the opposite direction?

This is a dance that was built from experimentation, not by pre-determined rules.

Although lessons and workshops are a great place to learn new tango steps, at least half of our learning happens outside of the class environment. We don't need permission to try something out on our own, or to modify a step we learned elsewhere. 

We don't know what will happen if we try this or that. Maybe it'll work, maybe not. Since tango is built from experimentation, being wrong is part of the process that moves things forward, not backwards.

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Podcast Episode 32 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 32 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I interview Guillermo García. He's a tango teacher and guitarist, and is the co-founder of the famous group Trio Garufa.

This is another great interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks you all!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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"TIMING" PERFECTION

Perfectionism and tango have an odd relationship. Most, if not all, of us tango students are perfectionists. Or perhaps our experiences with tango have turned us into perfectionists.

If our dancing feels stiff or ungraceful, We tell ourselves to "let go," and to not get bogged down in "analysis paralysis." With respect to learning, it doesn't take much to view perfectionism in a negative light. I wrote about this a while back, and today I'll add some more thoughts.

If we're perfectionists, it's better to accept it. That quality about us will never change. In tango, our problem isn't that we're perfectionists to begin with, but the timing of our perfectionist tendencies. 

For example, perfectionism holds us back when learning a new figure, because we're trying to get that figure 100% correct right from the get-go. Not surprisingly, expecting instant success and not achieving it will produce feelings of frustration and failure.

Becoming proficient at a step happens gradually, after making many mistakes. Once we get an idea of how the step works, applying perfectionism in the "correction" phase of learning will make more sense and yield better results. So while improving on our tango, we should feel free to unleash our perfectionist selves...but only at the right time.

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Podcast Episode 31 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 31 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I had a conversation with Gabriela Condrea who, in addition to being a tango instructor, is also an author and speaker.

This is another great interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks you all!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

THOUGHTS ON EFFORT AND CONTROL

Getting better at tango often means being careful with how much effort we exert. If we're in the beginning stages of learning, it's understandable to want to put forth a lot of physical exertion (leading with arms, anticipating while following, etc).

Although it's true that tango requires effort, the majority of our energy should be directed towards other areas: How much physical effort do we give our partners so they feel our connection, but not so much that we're knocking each other off axis? How much (or little) energy should we put into keeping our frame so that we have a solid presence, but not to the point where we feel tension...or feel too loose? Are we putting enough energy into finding our balance, or just falling into every step?

The concept of effort in tango shouldn't be associated only with physical force. It's more helpful to think about effort in terms of control. But let's not take that to mean we must control the entire dance. As one half of the tango partnership, we're always trusting 50% of the outcome to another person. That being said, what we're left with is a large amount of - and need for - self-control.
 

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Podcast Episode 30 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 30 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Mariano Laplume, a world renown tango instructor and violinist.

This is another fun interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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ALREADY LOOKING FORWARD TO DECEMBER

December? But it's only January! 2018 just started! Shouldn't we feel excited to begin another year, with so many opportunities to move our tango forward?

Yes, but...

With a life-long adventure such as tango, always looking to the year ahead has the tendency to make our ambitions seem more daunting. If we're too aware of the big challenges, we might be more likely to give up... or justify mediocre efforts.

Instead of peering into the distant future, where we imagine ourselves dancing with the expertise that we don't yet have, what happens if we focus on our efforts in the moment? What happens if we collect all the small improvements, day by day or week by week?

And when December comes, let's take a serious look back.

How far did we go? What did we accomplish? How often did we surprise ourselves?

When it comes to goals, December is just as important as January. Reflection is a powerful, yet underrated motivator.

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Podcast Episode 29 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 29 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Robin Thomas, who's a world renown tango teacher and DJ. Robin is a mainstay of the NYC tango scene, and it was a pleasure to speak with him.

This is another fun interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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DON'T FORCE OUTCOMES

As some of you know, I've been interviewing tango teachers, musicians, and organizers for my podcast. As of this post, I've conducted only 33 interviews, so this project is still in its early stages. But even so, I think I'm starting to see some patterns emerging.

One interesting thing is that most, if not all, tango pros and musicians I've spoken to never originally set out to make a living with tango. They never insisted on gaining international acclaim, and most never even thought they'd become teachers. 

It all started by falling in love with the dance (or music), and working hard to get better at it. Before long, they found themselves on a journey...but not one with any pre-planned destination.

Rather, they just went wherever tango seemed to "call" them. There's a lesson here about success, and how it's a delicate act that involves pursuing our passions without trying to force a particular outcome. Just something to think about.

More interviews are in the pipeline - thanks again for supporting the podcast!

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Podcast Episode 28 now online!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Episode 28 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Sasha Cagen, who's a tango teacher, life coach, and author!

This is another interesting interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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Podcast Episode 27 is now online!

Hello Friends! Merry Christmas!

Episode 27 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Mark Wyman. He's a world-class tango pianist based in the Netherlands.

This is another fun interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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IT "SHOULDN'T" WORK, BUT DOES

Here in Madison, WI, we enjoy a Salsa/Tango party every Tuesday. I know I've mentioned this before in previous entries, but it's been a constant source of learning.

Anyway, the playlist alternates between tango tandas and sets of salsa (and bachata). People often find it odd when they first hear about this event, because it seems weird to juxtapose these dance genres under one roof on the same evening.

I remembered conversations with skeptics who listed numerous reasons why it would never catch on. 

Salsa and Tango?  

It shouldn't have worked. The idea was too weird. The Salsa and Tango crowds were already established, the personalities of the dancers were too different, and at the time no one knew who I was because I was new in town. There was a lengthy stretch of time when the event struggled to gain traction. I wasn't getting the results I wanted, and on many occasions it seemed more practical to give it up altogether. 

But after a (long) while, not only did it pan out, it's considered one of Madison's more prominent dance scenes. And a decade later, it's still going strong.

When we seek to learn or improve our tango, we're excited about the idea at first. But as we advance, we encounter more difficulties. Harder steps make us feel awkward more often. We find that we didn't anticipate the challenges that come with this dance, and start feeling overwhelmed. We doubt our progress. There's too much technique to remember! And  it seems as though everyone else is better than we are! We want to be good dancers, but can't quite imagine ourselves as such. 

Me? A tango dancer? we might ask ourselves. How can this work?

And after a time, it does work. Then, we realize that learning tango was a good idea after all. Perhaps we can save ourselves a little worry and self-doubt if we remember that reaping the rewards of any undertaking always takes longer than we think.

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Podcast Episode 26 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 26 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Dr. Madeleine Hackney. She's a researcher who's known for her work exploring Tango as a means of treatment for Parkinson's Disease.

This is a very interesting interview, and you can listen for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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Podcast Episode 25 now online!

Hello Everyone!

Episode 25 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Miguel Di Genova, lead singer and director of Otros Aires.

We had another fun conversation, and you can listen to the interview for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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Podcast Episode 24 now online!

Hello Everyone!

Episode 24 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Vania Rey. She started teaching in 2002, and has since traveled to dozens of cities to share her knowledge.

It was yet another great conversation, and you can listen to the interview for free on iTunesSoundcloud, or Stitcher.

It would mean a lot if you could take a few seconds to subscribe, give it a 5-star rating, and a positive review (on any or all of the above mentioned sites). This makes it easier for new listeners discover the podcast. Thanks!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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