Podcast Episode 53 is now online!

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Episode 53 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Let's meet Veronica Toumanova...

Click here to listen

Although she was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, my guest today is based out of Paris, France. She is one of the founding members of the group Tango Mon Amour, where she assumes the role of instructor as well as art director. 

She has a background in classical ballet and modern dance, as well as yoga, pilates, and gyrotronics. And as you can imagine, her teaching method is grounded heavily in understanding body mechanics. She has taught and performed in over a dozen countries, is fluent in 7 languages, and is also a very well-known blogger. Many of you listening have come across her book, entitled Why Tango, which is a collection of her many essays.

You can also find the interview on iTunes or Stitcher

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Podcast Episode 52 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 52 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Click here to listen

In this episode, we'll meet Christy Coté, a highly respected teacher in the US and Argentina. In addition to teaching, she's also a well-known performer and choreographer. Christy has been featured at CITA, the annual tango congress in Buenos Aires, and in 2012 she was the first ever American judge for the Official USA Argentine Tango Championships. 

Christy has a huge list of accomplishments, including international performance tours, appearances in various magazine articles and television programs, and since 2007 her popular Tango Boot Camps have attracted literally thousands of students.

Click here to listen

You can also find the interview on iTunes or Stitcher

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THE WATER IS NEVER AS COLD AS YOU THINK IT IS...

As novices, we're understandably apprehensive when we're about to attend our first milonga. But even if we're pumped up and ready to go, we'll likely come down with a case of the jitters once we notice the dance floor. 

To our inexperienced eyes, it will seem packed with expert tangueros.

Working the nerve to tango as a newbie is like approaching a pool for the first time: We can either jump in right away, or wade in slowly. Sooner or later, however, we'll have to get wet. 

It's always a little uncomfortable to leave our comfort zone and step into something new. And when we do, things aren't guaranteed to go perfectly. But at the same time, we'll find that the water is never as cold as we fear it is.

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Podcast Episode 51 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 51 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Pablo Repun, based out of Naples, FL.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pablo has trained with a number of masters including Carlos Hidalgo, Celia Blanco, Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, and many others. In addition to tango, he has also trained in Graham Contemporary Dance and Parallelism Dance Technique at The National School of Dance in Buenos Aires. 

Like several other interviewees on this program, Pablo taught at the renowned CITA (Congreso International Del Tango Argentino) in 2015. Also in 2015, he performed and also choreographed dance sequences for the Opera Tango Show "Maria de Buenos Aires" and "Opera Tango," which took place at the Wang Opera Center in Naples. He's been a part of many other big tango events, including performances, TV appearances, and international tours.

Check out our conversation 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...

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Podcast Episode 50 is now online!

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Episode 50 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Jake Spatz, who's based out of Washington, DC.

My guest today is Jake Spatz. He began dancing tango in 2001 in Brooklyn, NY, and has been teaching regularly in Washington, DC, since 2005. He currently runs the popular Eastern Market milonga on Thursdays, where he has been the house teacher and a regular DJ for twelve years. Since 2010, he has taught for the student tango club at the University of Maryland.

Jake's work in tango has led to performances for the Washington Performing Arts Society, where he led a small troupe that opened for Broadway legend Chita Rivera; and he has been featured as a dancer at Disney World,  two television commercials, and a full-length stage play. As a dancer and DJ, Jake has been featured at the Philadelphia Tango Festival, Tango De Los Muertos, the New Year's Marathon in Providence, and numerous "big weekend" events around the East Coast, including a milonga thrown by actor Robert Duvall.

In addition to dancing, teaching, and DJing, Jake's tango interests have included translation and literary research. He edited the book In Strangers' Arms by Beatriz Dujovne (McFarland, 2011), and has translated the lyrics of more than 80 tango songs. 

Check out our conversation 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...

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FEELING vs AESTHETICS

When it comes to dancing tango socially, a good embrace and connection may not be apparent to an outside observer. But those elements are necessary in order to make tango enjoyable for our partners.

In a social setting, making the dance feel good is the priority.

But what about making our tango look good as well? 

Although not totally separate from maintaining a good connection, emphasizing tango's visual aesthetic is a separate skill set. It requires a deeper understanding of technique, body awareness, and concentration. It's also a bigger mental challenge, as we'll need to make sure the extra focus on ourselves doesn't compromise the connection with our partner. 

Again, making tango feel good for our partners is more important. But the added effort to look good has benefits, too. It shouldn't be viewed only as an opportunity to impress onlookers or to gain attention. It's much more useful when approached as a new mental challenge.

And any new challenge carries potential for growth.

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Podcast Episode 49 is now online!

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Episode 49 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Atakan Ekiz who's based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

He is part of DF Dance Studio, which his wife Maria Ivanova founded in 2008. The studio specializes in a huge variety of dances, employs many dancers, and since its inception, it has become one of the largest and most dynamic dance schools in Salt Lake City. Atakan began his tango training in Turkey, and joined a dance group that he traveled with for several years. On top of that, he is a graduate research assistant at the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute. Today, he is known as one of the top dancers and instructors in the state.

Check out our conversation 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...

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ACTIVE LEISURE

Improving our tango takes a lot of practice. And when we find ourselves putting forth more and more effort, our brains often convince (or fool) us into thinking that we're doing work. And work is something we make an effort to avoid during our leisure time. We ought to be relaxing and not working so hard, right?

In a strict physical sense, we do need regular rest. But let's not conflate leisure time with lounging around, or engaging in activities that involve passive entertainment. If we think about it, spending free time doing things that don't engage our brains isn't all that enjoyable or satisfying in the long run. 

Instead, remaining mentally active during leisure time feels much better. Tango definitely keeps our minds active, but it also brings a sense of relaxation/meditation that we need in order to counterbalance the stress that builds up in life. Any time we "work" at improving at tango, rest assured that it's leisure time well spent.

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Podcast Episode 48 is now online!

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Episode 48 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, I myself will be the guest so you'll learn about me and how I came to create the podcast. In the interviewer's seat this week is Dr. Martina Rau, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Check out our conversation 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...

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THINK OF THE FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS

After the initial excitement of beginning tango, we strive to move on to the next level. New challenges crop up, and the dance appears to become more complex. With that, we'll experience more periods of frustration.

But before we surrender to that frustration, let's remember that all tango figures, even the seemingly complicated ones, are based on some combination of the basic movements: Forward, back, left, right, and pivots. Once we're aware of that, organizing our thoughts and working through difficulties becomes easier.

Becoming more experienced isn't so much about exploring completely new figures, but deepening our understanding of the elements we encountered as beginners.

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Podcast Episode 47 is now online!

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Episode 47 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet David Phillips.

David is a teacher based just outside of Austin, TX. He has a strong background in ballroom, and tells an interesting story of how his tango journey came about.

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...

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EVERYONE IS SCARED...OF THEMSELVES

Milongas seem intimidating at first glance. Often, the attendees are all dressed up and looking sharp. Not only does everyone want to dress well, they also want to look good on the dance floor. 

But once out there, instead of dancing our best, our minds are preoccupied with avoiding mistakes and the fear of judgement. But by focusing so much on avoiding mistakes, we are also - consciously or not - announcing to all that we're afraid of expressing who we really are. 

However, tango is the best place to fully embrace (pun intended) our true personalities. Only by doing so will be have a chance of looking good in front of everyone. So don't hold back. Don't be afraid of who you are.

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Podcast Episode 46 is now online!

Hello Friends!

Episode 46 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Maxfield Wollam-Fisher.

Max is a professional cellist based out of Washington, DC. He's the leader of the dynamic tango music group, Da Capo Tango. Passionate about his craft, he's shared the stage with tango legends such as Pablo Ziegler, Pablo Aslan, and many others. 

I first met Max in the early 2010s while he was in graduate school.  He showed up to one of my tango classes, and I'm really glad we kept in touch. It's been great to follow his career, and it gives me hope that young guys like Max are working hard to move tango music forward.

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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A WILLINGNESS TO LEARN

What does it take to become a good tango dancer? Other than the ability to walk, we're often told that it just takes is a willingness to learn.

A true enough statement.

It makes sense, and is simple enough to understand. Yet figuring out how to step from point A to point B in time with music, which shouldn't seem all that difficult, suddenly becomes a much bigger challenge than we first thought. 

But if we take a second to unpack the "willingness to learn," there's actually a lot to consider.

Being willing to learn tango also entails the the willingness to give up partial control and trust our partner to do his or her part. Being willing to learn tango is also about being decisive with our movements, and fully accepting the possibility of being wrong. 

We need a willingness to not surrender to self-consciousness and nervousness, while at the same time fully experiencing those mental states. We also need a willingness to address other issues in our lives, such as the irrational fear of being judged and carrying unnecessary tension in our bodies. Those problems affect our dancing, and we have to pay attention to them while off the dance floor, and not only when attending class or a milonga. 

Once we have all that figured out, stepping from point A to point B in time with music is kind of easy.

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Podcast Episode 45 is now online

Hello Friends!

Episode 45 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

In this episode, we'll meet Morgan Luker, a professor of ethnomusicology. He is on the faculty of the renowned Tango for Musicans workshop at Reed College. We'll also meet Kim Gumbel of Vespertine Works, who is chiefly responsible for the administrative organization of this huge event.

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 44 is now online!

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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!

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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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