Podcast Episode 65 is now online!

Hello Friends! Joe's Tango Podcast Episode 64 is now online!
Listen here


My guest today is based in the Netherlands. He is the founder of El Corte, a world-renown tango center located in the city of Nijmegen. With a background in dance education, he studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory and started teaching tango in 1987.

El corte has grown tremendously, and sees roughly 25,000 tango students a year. 

Today’s guest is also an internationally famous tango instructor and teacher, and as you can imagine, he has a packed travel schedule. He spends several weekends every month - nearly half the year - flying around the globe teaching tango.

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Podcast Episode 64 is now online!

Hello Friends! Joe's Tango Podcast Episode 64 is now online!
Listen here

My guest today is Robert McKenney. He's the general manager of Convergence Dance and Body Center in St. Louis, MO, and also an instructor there. And if the name of that studio sounds familiar, it's because several months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert's mom, Roxanne Maier. 

Robert grew up around dancing, and started studying it at age 16. He has also studied with a number of tango masters, including Gustavo Naveira, Pablo Inza, Mariana Montes, Daniel Trenner, and many others. He has taught and performed all over the US and Argentina, and is also a very popular Tango DJ.

Podcast Episode 63 is now online!

Joe's Tango Podcast, EPISODE 63 is now online!

My guests today are Nico Tapia and Stephie Berg, based in Phoenix, AZ. They met in 2013, and have been working together ever since. Well versed in a variety of tango dance styles, they have taught and performed all over the world. In 2014, they won the US Tango Championship. They are still active in competition, and have also gone on to train other US Tango Championship finalists.

Listen here

 

Joe’s Tango Podcast: 1 year anniversary

Exactly 1 year ago, I launched Joe’s Tango Podcast.

Since September 1, 2017, at least one new interview aired every week. It’s been a great learning opportunity, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have spoken with so many amazing tango instructors and organizers.

Even though a year has gone by, I still feel as though I’m just getting started. 

More interviews are on the way!

LEVERAGE YOUR LIMITATIONS

With tango, the shape of our bodies - regardless of size - presents a number of limitations. In addition to that, the amount of space we have to dance in, physical obstacles on the dance floor, and the length of each song create yet more limitations. And we're also limited by the extent of our dance knowledge.

We should be aware of boundaries in our tango, whether they be physical or mental. We should test them, stretch them, and on other occasions, work within them. 

But it’s counterproductive to think of limitations only as hindrances to our dancing growth. Paradoxically, the creative nature of tango can’t come to light without them.

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Podcast Episode 62 is now online!

Hello Friends! 

Podcast Episode 62 is now online!

My guest today began her tango career in Portland, Oregon. She has danced and taught all over the world, and spent a total of two years living and breathing tango in Buenos Aires. 

Now based in San Francisco, she continues to teach and organize events. A highly versatile follower and leader, today's guest is known for instructing her students how to connect with the music and adapt to a variety of social tango styles. 

Let's meet Jennifer Olson...

Listen here

TANGO IS MESSY

For many of us, tango dancing is not a strict discipline. For instance, multiple teachers will introduce multiple ways to execute the same step. Two teachers may contradict each other, yet still both be correct. There is no universally agreed-upon method of instruction, and what works for one group of dancers won't necessarily work for us. 

Learning tango, and developing our own style can be like wandering through the woods without a map; we'll have to find our own way instead of following a trail. Becoming a good dancer in an environment such as this requires a willingness to experiment, and to discover a bunch of ideas that won't end up working. 

But even without a "map," we can successfully navigate the tango "wilderness" by indulging our curiosity. Add a strong dose of pure determination, and we'll be on our way. Don't panic if the journey gets messy. That's just the way tango is sometimes.

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Podcast Episode 61 is now online!

Hello Friends! 

Episode 61 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Listen here

My guest today has been dancing tango for well over two decades and he's taught and performed all over the world. Having studied with a variety of different maestros and being familiar with many different styles of tango, today's guest is known for focusing much of his teaching around perfecting one's axis. He's originally from Australia, but is currently based in Poland. 

Let's meet Damian Thompson...

More on Damian here:
Website
Facebook 

THE MORE WE ACCOMPLISH

On our tango journey, we'll encounter a numerous internal obstacles such as voices of doubt, lapses in confidence, and irrational fears of judgement by others. In the face of all that, we push ahead anyway.

But those obstacles don't go away as we improve. In fact, they get bigger. The fearful voices in our heads get louder.

The more we accomplish, the more reasons we'll find to quit.

We'll never completely silence the voices of doubt, but that isn't the goal. Instead, we need to be careful not let our internal fears drown out the objective, observable improvement in our tango. The process of getting better is a worthwhile endeavor, even if it's never a smooth journey. 

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Podcast Episode 60 is now online!

Hello Friends! 

Episode 60 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Listen here

My guest today is originally from Buenos Aires, but is now based in Chicago, Illinois. He's been teaching and performing for over a decade, having studied with a variety of tango maestros. He and his partner have been invited to teach at a number of major festivals in North America, and was once part of the exclusive staff of La Viruta (the most famous milonga in Buenos Aires). And I should add that he's also a phenomenal DJ.

With a very clear and personable teaching style, he's very well-known for his method of easily communicating important tango fundamentals.

Let's meet Hernan Prieto!

Listen here

More on Hernan and his partner Daniela here:

Website: https://www.danielayhernan.net/

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DON'T CELEBRATE GOALS

It's important to have specific goals with our tango, whether it's to attend a certain festival, learn a particular step, or build the courage to perform for an audience.

Reaching a particular goal feels great...for a short while. But focusing on that single moment is a waste of time in the long run. Nothing magical will happen, and chances are we won't be suddenly transformed.  

We also need to think about what a particular tango goal means. Upon reaching it, what have we learned? What other opportunities have opened up? What have we been doing wrong up until that point? What do we need to do more of? Or what do we need to stop doing?

Celebrating a goal, like dwelling on failure, becomes counterproductive after a while. They should be looked upon as occasions to honestly evaluate ourselves before moving forward.

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Podcast Episode 59 is now online!

Hello Friends! Episode 59 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Listen here

My guests today are internationally recognized instructors. Originally from Buenos Aires, they are now based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have taught at various workshops and festivals in multiple cities, and are known for their clear teaching style and explanation of body mechanics. They have a desire to build confidence in their students, and seek to expand tango wherever they travel.

Let's meet Pablo Rodriguez and Eva Garlez...

More on Pablo and Eva here:
Website: www.bienmilonguero.com
Website: www.evaypablo.com

LET THE MUSIC TAKE YOU

When we feel like we're actually dancing, we realize that we've let go of anxiety and the mental struggle of remembering countless technique points. That feeling of smooth movement, even if it's fleeting at first, gives us a sense that we can indeed become tango dancers after all.

The sensation is like riding a bike for the first time, when the person teaching us lets go of the seat and leaves us to balance on our own. On the dance floor, we capture that feeling when we start making a better effort to move with the music.

We may still stumble every now and then as our muscle memory takes shape, but the key to our next tango breakthrough is closely tied to the music. So let's pay closer attention to it, trust it, and not be afraid to let it take us. 

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Podcast Episode 58 is now online!

Hello Friends! Episode 58 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

Listen here on Soundcloud

My guest today is an internationally renowned dancer and teacher who started dancing tango at the age of 12. Born and raised in South America - in Colombia to be exact - he's now based in Columbia, South Carolina. 

He graduated from the National School of Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires, and has been a tango professional since he was 18. He has performed with Mariano Mores, one of the most famous tango orchestras in the world, and has also toured with the Washington DC-based orchestra Quintango. Today's guest has been teaching and performing in the US since 1995, and helped establish Argentine Tango in much of the southeast.

Let's meet Harby Gonzalez

Listen here on Soundcloud

More on Harby here:

Website: http://www.emeraldballroomsc.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harby.gonzalez
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EmeraldBallroomSC

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HANDLING FREEDOM

When we watch our favorite tango couples online, we're mesmerized by their amazing technique. But what exactly goes into that technique?

Once we start understanding particular steps and/or technique, we often find ourselves trying to control every single body movement in order to get things right. Intuitively, this makes sense. But the more we apply control, the more restriction we'll feel. And when we feel restricted and tense, nothing feels or looks right.

If we take a closer look at those tango pros, we'll notice that their movements reflect freedom and ease; they're not exerting absolute control over every movement. But when we try embracing freedom, tango feels more risky and scary...as though we're about to lose control.

Yet the need for control - or illusion thereof - is the very thing holding us back.

Tango requires us to embrace more freedom than we're comfortable with at first. But in the long run, things work better when we trust that our minds and bodies can handle that freedom.

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Podcast Episode 57 is now online!

Hello Friends - Episode 57 of Joe's Tango Podcast is now online!

My guest today is one of Seattle's most experienced dance instructors. She's been teaching full time there for over 20 years, and was one of the first Tango teachers to be established in the area. In addition to Argentine Tango, she also specializes in Salsa and West Coast Swing. She's well versed not only with social dancing, but also with performance and choreography.

Let's meet Michelle Badion...

Listen here

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SMALL VS LARGE CHANGES

Learning new steps is always fun. However, learning more and more steps doesn't necessarily mean we're improving our tango. Even if we don't know too many steps yet, there's a lot we can do to make our tango more interesting and dynamic. Here are three ways to improve our dancing without having to learn a bunch of new steps.

RE-ORDER
If we're leaders, we fall into a habit of dancing the steps we know in a certain sequence. if we stick to the routine, things can get boring. We can take the steps we currently know, and simply reorder them. Reorganizing or breaking old sequential habits will help our tango feel new and fresh again.

MUSICAL INTERPRETATION
With tango, it's relatively easy to move with the strong beat of each song, and apply occasional quick-quick steps during certain musical phrases. This, too, can become a habit that can eventually make our tango feel stale. Fortunately, addressing rhythmic habits can be as simple as slowing down when we have normally sped up. Or, for some more dynamism, we can mix half-time steps with faster syncopations - this is fun. Leaders probably have more flexibility in applying this change, but opportunities also exist for followers as well. 

BE BOLD WITH SMALL ADORNMENTS
For followers, be on the lookout for opportunities to try adornments. As we gain experience with tango, we'll find that following is quite an active and assertive role. Adornments are a fun way to bring that out. They create spice in the dance, and open up opportunities for back-and-forth playfulness with the leader. And with leaders who are alert, adornments offer further connection practice. 

Although easy to understand, it takes a lot of practice to implement these ideas effectively. Work on them one at a time, and take your time thinking them through. Although keeping our tango fresh and feeling new takes effort, it won't always require drastic action. 

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