Sunday, 18 December 2011

Happy Christmas! Last 2 tango classes of the year, and continuing your learning in 2012


I hope you are well, and starting to enjoy Christmas time, without being caught up with the various (often shopping related) stresses that can come with it.

Already the year is almost over and there's only 2 lessons left before 2012!

Monday 19th 8-9:30pm (with dancing afterwards until 11pm), and Tuesday 20th, 6:15-7:30pm.

Both lessons will be for everyone who already has a grasp of the basics. In fact, since they are the last lessons of the year they will be a chance to try some more adventurous and playful movements in tango, with the emphasis on having fun. I hope you can make it! For those who have missed a few (or more) lessons, don't worry, you can still come to this class even if you're feeling rusty.

As usual, the classes will be at Povey's Dance Centre, 159 Shirley Road, Southampton.

Also, Tuesday evening, from 9:30pm we'll be heading to TLC's on Archers Road, for Tracie's xmas tango party. Please join us!

Continuing your learning in 2012

Next year, from 4th January, there will be an improvers/intermediate class on Wednesdays, 8-9:30pm. This class will be for everyone who has done a beginners course and feels happy about walking with the music and doing crosses and ochos. In these sessions you will develop skill in using the more challenging movements in tango, such as secadas, ganchos, boleos, barridas, enrosques and shared axis movements, as well as the more advanced use of dynamics. You will also deepen your understanding of the basics.

So, that's every Wednesday 8-9:30pm, with dancing afterwards. Cost is £8 per lesson (or £30 for a set of 4 sessions). I look forward to seeing you there! So I have an idea of numbers, if you'd like to come to these please let me know, thank you!

New beginner courses in 2012

The next beginner course will start on Monday, January 9th. As usual, 8-9:30pm with dancing afterwards. But it's now 6 weeks long.

This is the link for anyone who wants to book that, or to send it on to a friend:

If you know anyone around the Cheltenham area, or for some reason happen to be moving there, a new beginner course is in the works there too (alongside the advanced workshops I already run in Cheltenham).

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I want to thank everyone who has taken lessons over the last year and been a part of Tango Lingua. It's been a great year, both a privilege and a lot of fun for me. I'm looking forward very much to seeing everyone develop their tango over the next 12 months. Remember, sometimes tango feels like heaven, sometimes (hopefully not too often) like hell, but persevere and the dance always has more riches to give, more depths of connection, flow and musicality to offer.

I'd like to share a few thoughts on patience and kindness in relation to tango. As in the rest of life, these two qualities make a huge difference to a fulfilling experience of tango. For the fanatics and diehards, it can be easy to lose touch with the fun side of tango, which is, after-all, a dance. When this happens, patience and kindness to your partner as well as yourself, is often lost with it.

In a myopic focus on 'getting things right', stress and frustration takes over and the fun is gone. But, compounding the misfortune, this kind of stress is less likely to put us in the state of mind where we perform at our best. From my experience, what works much more effectively at helping us perform at our best is being able to accept one particular thing. Namely that learning to dance together seamlessly and in harmony with the music is a process; one which includes, in fact benefits from, 'mistakes' and sticking points.

How does that acceptance of this learning process manifest in the moment of dancing and practicing? Through a calm willingness to try again and be open to change, while keeping a respectful and playful frame of mind, in fitting with the dance, towards your partner and yourself. I think the combination of playfulness and respect results in a particular sort of kindness. This sort is more of an outlook than a set of favors, which is clear when contrasted with the condescending 'oh look how kind I am to dance with you' variety of 'kindness' (which might easily be arrogance). The outlook variety tends to replace judgements about fault or indebtedness, which restrict the ability to keep listening, with more questions.

Of course, the sort of kindness you have, affects the kind of patience you have. If you're just doing someone a favor, then 'patience' is like tolerance, putting up with a bother (and vice-versa, if you think someone is just doing you a favor then you'll more easily grow impatient with yourself and undermine your own confidence). But if you have the kindness that flows from a respectful and playful outlook, then patience can be enjoyed, because you are engaged in the subtle and rewarding, shared process of learning.

I continue to be reminded of the importance of patience and kindness in my own dance, especially whenever I forget it! Just recently at the Tango Feast festival in Torquay, Osvaldo and Graciela were a particular inspiration in that regard. Besides the example they set themselves, just about every workshop they taught they made a point of reminding everyone to have fun with the dancing and trying a technique.

The importance of patience and kindness also applies to the social tango dancers and dabblers who may be experiencing frustration that their progress is slow, or boredom because they are not learning the kind of stuff they see on Strictly. Remember that while tango offers plenty of thrills, the best ones require a bit of digging, and the less frequently you practice, then by necessity, the longer that digging is going to take. If you moderate your expectations in accordance with your commitment, you will be able to enjoy the dance more. So be patient and stay kind to yourself, without judging, and especially not against those who might dance much more frequently.

Finally for those who can't make either of the last two lessons, this Monday or Tuesday, have a great Xmas break and I look forward to seeing you soon in the new year.

Warm regards,

ps. If any of you have some inspiring personal stories to tell relating to tango, I'd love to hear them. (They don't necessarily have to be related to Tango Lingua courses or classes.) Just email me if you'd like to share.