Entry 1 Date 10 April 11, 2017Since it was the first lesson of the semester, we began with a brief introduction of ourselves. It was a Tango training lesson in which we were to learn the dance moves. Expectations at the end of the training were spelt out to us. I had only learnt the theoretical aspect of the tango; so, this was an opportunity to finally implement the dancing theories I had learnt. The first thing I learnt is that my weight is concentrated on one foot during the dance (Koopmans et al. 136). Each dancer was supposed to stand on one foot without shifting weigh to the foot. I found this to be physically demanding because I always fell over whenever I tried to stand on one foot for longer than 10 seconds. My imbalance also affected my dancing partner who was equally poor in balancing on one foot.
Entry 2 date 10 April 11, 2017
After the weight shift lessons of lesson one, I learnt the walking skills of tango. I learnt the difference between parallel and crossed walking technique and how to seamlessly switch between the two. I found the linear crossed walking and changing side move a bit challenging, but I was able to perfect the moves after several practice attempts. This was quickly followed by the facing fundamental postures in which I was paired with a partner and coached on how to keep face contact during tango dancing. This is the most important part of the tango because it helps dancers connect with each other. I learnt that with ease because my simple step-dancing was in sync with my partner’s. Travelling the tracks was easier than I anticipated and the instructor ended the session by advising us that the best tango shoes are the ones that are comfortable on the feet and would not impede the dance movement.
Entry 3 date 11April 11, 2017
In this session, we were introduced to the more technical aspects of the dance: the forward OCHOS and the back OCHOS. We practiced both versions by touching a solid wall with three fingers of both hands. Since the wall does not move, this was a stationary forward OCHO. After perfecting the forwards stationary OCHOS, I was able to practice with ease the backward OCHOS. I found this skill to be easier to learn than the forward OCHO. However, this skill is designed to enable dancing even in crowded dance floors. We recapped the tango lessons by being shown the artistic illustrations of the tango dance (Pinniger, et al. 20). I compared the artistic impressions with my own postures and realized that I was on track to perfecting the dance.
Entry 4 date 11 April 11, 2017
To add to our tango dancing repertoire, we were introduced to dance to Vals and milongas. I learnt that Vals is exclusively about music. Music helped me to connect emotionally with my dance partner. The lessons I gained from the tango lessons enabled me to dance the Vals with ease because one does not need any complicated dance moves. I realized tango and Vals shares common dancing basics such as posture, frame, collecting, and walking. The only difference I noted is that Vals dancing is nonstop unlike tango.
Entry 5 date 12 April 11, 2017
I spent the final session of the lesson recapping what we learnt about the tangos and the Vals at an out-of-class venue (Milonga). We spent the first 25 minutes warming by forming a circular ring, stretching, and dancing to simple symphony music to help in the dance moves (Savigliano 138). The outside environment of Milonga presented me with an opportunity of assessing my grasp of the dance lesson. For 25 minutes, I analyzed and synthesized the movement material I obtained from class. I finally demonstrated my mastery of the tango dance by an individual rehearsal of the tango dance steps, before wrapping up with a final dance with my session partner. Those who were in attendance at Milonga gave me a standing ovation which was a clear indication that I have perfected the art of tango dancing.
- Koopmans, Hanneke, Anja J. Doornbos, and Ilse M. van Eekelen. “Learning in interactive work situations: it takes two to tango; why not invite both partners to dance?” Human Resource Development Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 2, 2006, pp. 135-158.
- Pinniger, Rosa, et al. “Intensive tango dance program for people with self-referred affective symptoms.” Music and Medicine, vol. 5, no.1, 2013, pp.15-22.
- Savigliano, Marta E. “Notes on tango (as) queer (commodity).” Anthropological Notebooks, vol. 16, no.3, 2010, pp.135-143.