TANGO BEGINNINGS Rebecca Niemier, updated January, 2015
Welcome to the world of Argentine Tango! As you may discover, there are copious amounts of tango videos, blogs & websites out there, so I hope this reference page will save you time and frustration by offering the “Rebecca’s Digest” version of what is helpful for newer dancers. Start a tango folder in your computer and save it for future reference!
As you begin your journey, you will see the vast difference between stage tango and social tango. One is for inspiration, the other is for illumination. You may also notice a difference between traditional/milonguero/close embrace tango and nuevo/alternative/open embrace tango. Both “camps” begin by learning in open embrace, and transitioning into close embrace. Over time, each of us learns the difference in the various styles, and may decide which is our favorite.
Traditional style emphasizes the subtle connection between the partners, where nuevo is more athletic and requires more space on the dance floor to avoid being kicked. Salon tango is a combination of both open and close styles. For beginners, I teach the fundamentals in open embrace which then allow dancers to bridge into any style they wish. Developing good body memory and understanding of the foundations of tango from the start will prevent you from having to unlearn bad habits later, and reduce frustration!
The key things to becoming a fine tango dancer are: 1. Listen to classic tango music daily, 2. Come to classes, practicas and dances, 3. Practice at home, 4. Relax and be patient with yourself and others, 5. Get your body ready to dance, 6. Be dedicated.
Facebook: Rebecca Niemier. Please “friend me” to receive announcements. Tango dancers love Facebook, as we can post videos of favorite dances, keep in touch with local and distant tango friends, and post Event info for local and regional tango happenings.
Email: Rebzebb@msn.com Ph: 360-739-0685 Address: 2610 Likely Ct. Bellingham 98229.
Recent tango article by Rebecca: http://www.suddenvalleyviews.com.php53-10.dfw1-1.websitetestlink.com/153
Rebecca’s TangoLife Milonga, first Sunday every month: (Typical social dancing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5RsAEMJ3Ao
Rebecca and Eric demo at Bham Farmer’s market: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCKXkobLtKg
KVOS Tv Video on Rebecca’s teaching & tango in Bellingham: http://vimeo.com/10538433 (From about 2010. See allbellinghamtango.com for current dates.)
Eva and Patricio’s demo video. My first Argentine tango teachers, living in Seattle:
And social tango instruction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtFxEfMsnaY&NR=1
Oscar and Georgina Mandagaran, intensive studies with them as well:
Show style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIXiHxz4fkA
Family style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YadXy5_YnI
A nice father-daughter dance by Oscar Casas and friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhGTTV8ps8I
**Milongas of Buenos Aires: 80+ videos of typical social dancing. Watch for cabeceo!
**Bellingham’s community tango website: http://www.Allbellinghamtango.com
Seattle’s website: http://www.allseattletango.com
Vancouver’s website: AllVancouverTango.com
Prepare your body : Fitness and flexibility are both good things for dancers. Yoga is great. However, posture is paramount for tango. PLEASE begin to research and do Alexander technique: http://www.freeyourneck.com/
Music : I am happy to make copies of tango music CD’s for students to get you started.
Here is a site which has a vast amount of tango music samples, and tabs for vals and milonga music samples as well. http://www.tangoplaylist.com/
Tango Music on Pandora: for computer or iPhone. Free. Enter a Golden Era orchestra like Canaro, Biagi, or DiSarli instead of just “Tango” in order to get more danceable music
Juan D’Arienzo conducting his orchestra in “Paciencia”. Incredible passion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXVgQA5_ByE&feature=related
Shoes! Start with low heels that will become your practice shoes. Then (ladies) work up to higher heels IF you choose. Be sure you can pivot on the ball of your foot.
*Men and women’s dance shoes: Creative Dancewear, 705 W Holly, Bellingham. Great practice shoes and first year ladies shoes. Tell them you are my student!
* “Real” tango shoes: At Tango Festivals—usually 2-3 vendors set up; best selection is early! Cost: $150-200. Men’s may be a little less $.
Locally: Seattle—Eva Lucero and Patricio Touceda carry Comme il Faut, and display at some milongas or makes personal arrangements. In Vancouver, contact Pimon at Java Tango on Facebook for men/women’s shoes.
*Online: Hours may be spent researching shoes which may fit. Many people are successful at this, but there is some gamble. I prefer to wait and try on real shoes because it is hard to fall in love online. 😉
Tango terminology (definitions) (much more than you will need to begin, but a great resource) http://www.tejastango.com/terminology.html#top
Tango culture and protocol:
ToTango: The art and practice of “cabeceo”—asking for a dance with a look and a nod:
(Excellent, website RICH with info you will want to really enjoy tango, plus tango music info galore!) http://www.totango.net/cabeceo.html
Much ado about something. One man’s manifesto about tango, including personal and social development potential, musicality, etc: http://www.tangoprinciples.org/
Tango Courtesies & Floorcraft
Styles of Tango
Tejas Tango by Stephen and Susan Brown. A golden resource for new (and experienced) dancers: Beginner’s guide, terminology, music, etc.
“Google translate”: type it in your search bar to translate Spanish to English or ?
MOVIES! You may know of Tango Lesson, or Assassination Tango, and Scent of a Woman, but the one called “Tango” by Carlos Sauro is my all time favorite. Lots of modern dance and tango mixed, too. (Trailers here): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUgExRNZdUM&list=PL6A187B8BDEF020C3
Oldie and very goodie, 1947: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj475iWj9XA&index=2&list=FLLMQqNmQkFusJcIbpXM8o1Q
Good luck on your tango journey. Remember, your progress depends on YOUR dedication.