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10 replies to this topic

#1 koshka_jete



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Posted 12 October 2002 - 01:48 PM

Has anyone taken classes in this dance form before? Any experiences, tips, etc. to share?

I hope to start taking some classes in this dance discipline soon. I now live in a city that offers a wide variety of dance forms and I want to test out the diversity... Tango sounds like fun, but I have not had any experience with anything spanish-y, except for ballet summer intensives (we had spanish classes). Thanks!

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 02:48 PM

The tango is an Argentinian dance, which is, of course, flavored by Spanish work, but it is unique to the nation from which it springs, much as Samba is an entire lifestyle in Brazil and distinct from Portuguese!:) It can vary widely, from coarse and vulgar to the ultimate in sophistication and refinement, and always contains the element of sensuality. It is a very beautiful dance, and rather forgiving, as it seems to have the power to lend grace to many of even the most awkward of dancers!:)

#3 balletmom311


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Posted 13 October 2002 - 09:41 AM

Do you think that is why they choose the Tango for Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt (Sp?) to dance in their new movie "Tuxedo"? I don't think either of them has a background in dance.

#4 tigger



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Posted 13 October 2002 - 12:05 PM

i believe jennifer love hewitt has background in dance (ballet?) i saw an interview with jackie chan where he was discussing the movie, and he said she was easy to teach, and that it helped that she was very flexible because she used to dance.

i've watched some tango demonstrations and performances around campus, and really enjoyed it--such a dramatic dance, and the music is marvellous! i haven't taken any classes, myself. one of my friends teaches it, and apparently each move has a particular meaning... the dance evolved in the brothels, where the girls weren't allowed to talk... for example, there's a foot flick thingy that means "i'm available tonight!" :)

good luck with your tango classes!

#5 Paquita


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Posted 13 October 2002 - 12:28 PM

There are a lot of Tango films that you might be interested in watching. Some of the plots are so-so, but the dance sequences are excellent.
Tango (Julio Bocca is in this one)
Assassination Tango (Robert Duvall. I saw this in the film festival this year)
The Tango Lesson (haven't seen this one yet, but heard it's good)
There are many more which I can't remember right now...

#6 tigger



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Posted 13 October 2002 - 04:05 PM

moulin rouge has some tango near the end (but annoyingly filmed, so you can't see the dancers' feet all the time)

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 05:30 PM

The idea that you study the dance form with a partner from the beginning of your studies was refreshing for me. The fact that (as a female) I must follow an interpretive, improvisation led by my partner (the male) was difficult -- I wanted to lead on occasion too!

In addition, unless we were learning a specific step or combination, there was no "choreography" -- our goal was to be able to dance with/be led successfully by any partner. This was at times frustrating for me because often my weight (the way my body wanted to naturally go) was different from where my partner was leading. Finally, I found the stance (our instructor told us to stand with our weight slightly back on our heels and to slightly hyper-extend the knee to produce the prettiest line) a little difficult to master initially.

However, the music and flow of the dance (with practice) was eventually really fun and liberating. Watching a tango movie before taking lessons was a completely different experience than viewing one afterwards. I guess I highly recommend tango to dancers or those interested in studying dance. And, I recommend watching (or reviewing) a good tango movie after you've taken a few lessons.

#8 Estelle


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Posted 14 October 2002 - 11:16 PM

Originally posted by balletmom311
Do you think that is why they choose the Tango for Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt (Sp?) to dance in their new movie "Tuxedo"? I don't think either of them has a background in dance.

I've read that Jackie Chan was an apprentice of the China Drama Academy for many years in his childhood, and besides martial arts his training included dancing and singing. Probably not tango, but at least there was some dancing!

Tango is very popular in Finland, and I think there is a special kind of tango there- perhaps Jaana or Päivi could tell us more about it?

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 11:21 AM

I study tango and also compete in ballroom dancing. I will tell you rigt now that being a ballet dancer has its pro's and con's in ballroom. I studied ballet for 13 years and relized last year that I would never have a career in it. So now I devote my time to ballroom, which I compete in on a world level. But I still do you ballet:p (old habits are hard to break)

There are two main kinds of tango.... Argentine and American.
Argentine is what you will see in Tango, Moulin Rouge, and The tango class. It originated in the barrows of Buenos Aires and it is a wonderfull dance. It can look intimidating but there are only 12 set steps. You dance it to the music it requires you to use your musicality. The lady follows the gentlemen, but in Argentine style there are moments when she can choose what she wants to do. You dance it like a conversation you never know what will happen next.

American style is somewhat the opposite. It is a very set style and is more of a competitive dance. Its more strict and rigid, think Fred Astire.

I hope this helps,


#10 silvy


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Posted 13 May 2003 - 07:41 AM

I am a ballet dancer AND a tango dancer. I take classes on both, and perform both. I live in Uruguay, a country where tango was born (together with Argentina, as it was phenomenon that took place simultaneously on both sides of the Rio de la Plata)

I can tell you that tango is a unique experience, and so different from ballet that I sometimes find it hard to switch to my ballet after a weekend tangoing. The woman follows the man, but tango is a dialogue, and, if the man is sensitive enough, he can give way to her proposing steps - I mean, it is not a "dictatorship" on the side of the man.

Having danced with different men I can tell you that each one has his distinctive style, though you may be able to spot certain "schools" in dancers: there is the man who holds you very close to his body, in an inclined plane, chest to chest, so that your body has to be in an inclined plane also to keep balance. Then there is the man who keep his axis straight, so that you are straignt too. And there are different ways of embracing the man: you can put your arm around his neck, or on this arm, or on his shoulder. This depends on his embrace, and on the figures.

Hope to have cleared up something - feel free to PM if you wish!!!


#11 psavola



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Posted 13 May 2003 - 09:32 AM

I can try to describe the Finnish tango, but it is difficult because while I can dance the Finnish tango (most of the adult population can) I've seen Argentinian and ballroom competition style tangos only briefly and therefore it is very hard to "compare and contrast". :)

The Finnish tango is a social dance to be danced for the enjoyment of the participants, and practically never performed to an audience or competed in. There is an element of the dramatic, temperamental and sensual in the execution of steps, but in keeping with the reserved Scandinavian mentality it is very subdued when compared to the Argentinian and ballroom versions.

The Finnish tango steps are shortish, because the dance floors are often very crowded. It is danced quite close together, and the man always leads.

The music has a characteristic Finnish tango rhytm and structure, is mostly sung (as opposed to instrumental) and always melancholy. Suitable Finnish tango subjects include unrequited love, unhappy love, memories of lost love, betrayal and impossible dreams. :)

In Finland, tangoing (and other social dancing) is a very respectable pastime, and especially popular with the elderly, because it offers natural opportunities for socializing and moderate exercise. Persons of all ages and shapes dance the tango, and most learn it at the latest when they go to the university or their friends start getting married, because almost all Finnish social occasions and bigger celebrations include a dance portion where tangos (in addition to other social dances) are commonly played. There are also numerous public dance halls around cities and towns, which fill every night with people who want to dance.

The tango has also many special events and festivals in Finland, but I don't know much about those. :)


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