Podcast Episode 44 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 44 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Lorena Dumas-Guntner. She's the organizer of the renowned New Orleans Tango Festival, and has a lot of great information to share.

Check out our conversation on on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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TANGO EXPERIENCE/LIFE EXPERIENCE

Most tango teachers will rightfully advise us to revisit basics, or steps we've learned before. Reviewing is a good idea, as it always helps to hone our fundamentals. 

And if we happen to be revisiting basics with an instructor we've never worked with, looking at what we already know from a different teaching perspective can be very helpful as well. 

But if we've been dancing tango for several years, how has our mindset towards tango changed over time? What kind of person were we way back then, versus now? For example, are we more patient? More rhythmic? More confident? 

Over the years, what has happened in our lives that might affect the way we now approach our dancing? Have our years of tango experience given us a new perspective? Or has our general growth as individuals been most influential in the evolution of our dance? Or a bit of both?

There's no doubt that tango will change our lives. But at the same time, changes in our lives will impact our dancing, too. Let's not overlook that the next time we review something we learned a long time ago.

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Podcast Episode 43 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 43 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Maximiliano Alvarado and Paloma Berríos. They are salón and stage tango dancers with over 20 years of experience. Based out of Chile, they placed 2nd in the World Argentine Tango Championships in 2007, and in 2008 they won 1st place in the TAFISA World Tango Championships in Busan, South Korea.

Check out our conversation on on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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TRUST YOUR PARTNER

Even when dancing with a partner who possesses abilities comparable to our own, we may still feel anxious. Much of this is has to do with trying to bear complete responsibility for the outcome of the tanda.

Our tango teachers have told us that trying to be 100% responsible for the dance is not the right way to go, yet we do it anyway. Perhaps it's because the demands of our professional and personal lives subconsciously carry over into our tango time. It takes a lot of practice to let go of that mindset, so let's keep working at it.

One thing that helps is putting more trust in our partners. We can't manage their parts for them, and like it or not, they're responsible for elements of the dance that are out of our control. And remember: they're having to trust us to do our parts as well. 

Instead of constantly checking on each other, let's shift focus to building together. Sometimes we won't be sure where the dance is going, sometimes we will. Sometimes we'll be frustrated, other times we'll be delighted. That's just how the dance works. As long as we keep up the energy that gives us something to build off of, our tango will get somewhere.

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Podcast Episode 42 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 42 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Carla Marano. Carla has been dancing since childhood, and has a strong background in ballet, Spanish dances, and contact improv. Fortunately for us, she fell in love with Tango and has been dedicated to it for several decades. She's part of the generation of dancers that changed the teaching structure of tango. digging deep into studying movement technique and musical expression. 

Check out our conversation on on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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Podcast Episode 41 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 41 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Bob Barnes, an accomplished bandoneón player based out of Minneapolis, MN. It's a highly informative interview, and Bob is also full of fun historical tango facts. Check out yet another fun conversation about tango music :)

Listen to the interview free on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW

- Even when a workshop covers steps we're already familiar with, observe the teaching methods of instructors we haven't worked with before

- Meet dancers in other communities, and pay close attention on how to adjust to them

- Keep note of how a different tango partners move

- Try dancing tango to a song that isn't a tango

- Try out a different way of moving your body

How else can we keep tango fresh?

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Podcast Episode 40 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 40 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Iona Italia, aka the Terpischoral Tango Addict. It was another fun talk, and of course we had a great time discussing her famous tango blog.

Listen to the interview free on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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LET BEGINNERS MAKE MISTAKES

A lot of novice tango dancers are understandably timid. Although they've mustered the courage to show up to a milonga, it's a new environment and can be intimidating at first. Many experienced dancers try to help by taking them out on the dance floor, and that's great.

And once out on the dance floor, we experienced dancers make an effort to keep things simple for the novices. But we have to be careful not to make things too easy. If we spoon-feed them by making up for their mistakes or compromising our own form, we'll tacitly encourage bad habits. 

We should definitely get a feel for what our partners can or can't keep up with, and challenge them just enough. At the same time, we have to allow beginners to make mistakes. It's hard to let someone feel the full brunt of an error, because we remember how uncomfortable it can be. The purpose, of course, is not to shame beginners or scare them away. Instead, we're helping them build the fortitude to keep going on their tango journey.

If we made it through our bumpy beginner phase without being coddled too much, they can too.

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QUICK THOUGHTS ON FANCY STUFF

Our teachers are always stressing the importance of mastering simpler steps like walking and pausing. Along with a good connection, instructors tell us that those elements are all we need in order to dance tango well. Definitely true!

But that doesn't mean we should avoid the fancier steps altogether. When (or if) we have the space on the dance floor to safely execute them, they can be really fun. But at the end of the day (or night), all those sacadas, ganchos, and leg wraps are built on the foundation as the same walking movements, pivots, and basic connection principles we've been working on since our beginner classes. 

So let's not learn fancy steps just so anyone who happens to be watching will think we're good dancers. Let's learn them to expand our understanding of the basics. 

 

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Podcast Episode 38 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 38 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Koichiro "Chewy" Suzuki and Yulia Zhukoff. They are well known in the Pittsburgh community, and a great team to work with. It was another fun talk and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Listen to the interview free on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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DELAYED vs INSTANT GRATIFICATION

Instant gratification is nice, but it doesn't exist in tango. If we're serious about tango and aim to get really good at it, we'll need a ton of commitment. It takes work and discipline...and we definitely deal with enough of that in our professional lives.

But with a commitment to tango, we have the potential to meet new friends. Tango helps us stay physically active, has a positive effect on health ailments, and is really good for our brains regardless of how old we are. People all over the world enjoy it, so we always have a community to visit when we travel. Tango is also therapeutic, which gives us something constructive to look forward to every week.

The dance is challenging, and often pushes us hard. Some nights, it wears us out. But its benefits are far reaching, and can last a lifetime. As nice as instant gratification stuff can be, does it offer any of the same?

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Podcast Episode 37 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 37 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I got to interview Korey Ireland. He's a professional composer, tango instructor, and bandoneón player based in Berlin, Germany.

Listen to the interview free on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you so much!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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A MATTER OF DEGREES

To do tango steps correctly, we must learn to move and step with a high degree of precision. For instance, if we don't step far enough, don't pivot and ocho enough, etc, the figure won't feel good. Or, it won't work altogether.

This can be frustrating!

To cut down on that frustration, perhaps we need a sift in mindset. When we make mistakes in tango, it's true that we haven't been precise. But when something feels wrong, let's not always assume it's because we've made a huge mistake. On a technical level, it often means we were very close to being right.

With that mindset, trying again is much more palatable.

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Podcast Episode 36 now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 36 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I got to interview Lena and Oleg Mashkovich. They're based in Chicago, where they organize lessons, milongas, and an impressive roster of visiting instructors.

Listen to the interview free on iTunesSoundcloud or Stitcher.

Please take a few seconds to subscribe, give 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. Thank you!

More episodes coming every Monday...

Check out the Blog archive (2013 - Sept 2017)

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THE MENTAL TANGO

During classes & practicas, while we're learning technique or figures, our brains are generally in a more analytic mode. We break down figures to individual components, and think through what our bodies are doing. 

The goal is to work correct technique into our muscle memory, so we can dance fluidly. And by the time we get to a milonga, our fluid dancing will reflect a more intuitive mental state rather than an analytical one.

One way we sabotage our dancing is when we apply analytical thinking at the wrong time. If we're overthinking technique during social dancing, we're likely to feel awkward or stiff.

At a milonga, good dancing happens when we balance analytical thinking with intuitive. There are moments when we feel as though we're in a meditative state while dancing, and things feel as though they're flowing nicely. As pleasant as that is, we can't get completely lost in the moment and the music. A part of our brain also needs to stay "awake" by being focused on remembering basic technique, such as keeping good posture and staying balanced. Go too far in either direction, and the dance falls apart. 

The two modes of thinking have to work in balance. So not only do we physically dance tango, we dance tango mentally as well.

________

Guillermo Garcia of Trio Garufa makes some good points about this idea in an interview we had earlier this year (click here to listen)

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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. Thank you!

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. Thank you!

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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