Tango detox

It’s something I recommend for class junkies and newcomers to Buenos Aires who don’t know how full their bodies and minds are with nonessential toxins that are hazardous to their dancing health.

Tango detox is the physiological removal of toxic step patterns embedded in the mind and body after years of programming.

You can start your tango detox by avoiding the biggest source of toxins — classes.  That’s where toxins abound.

A gradual process of withdrawal doesn’t work.  One has to pull the plug on exposure to toxins by complete withdrawal.  The body and mind may feel the painful effects of withdrawal, but it’s the only successful means of tango detox.


13 Responses to “Tango detox”

  1. Mikko Says:

    This is so true. But it is surprisingly hard to admit that group classes can be harmful. I sometimes have some trace of hope, and return, just to usually get disappointed.

  2. Chris Says:

    jantango wrote: “You can start your tango detox by avoiding the biggest source of toxins — classes. That’s where toxins abound.

    If only more beginners knew this, how different would be the tango dance scene around here! Much bigger, for starters…

    The majority of the difficulties people have in learning to dance tango arise from classes. It is sad to see so many a newcomer quit in the belief his difficulties arise from himself.

  3. sonidistaenisrael Says:

    How can a beginner dance in Lo de Celia without classes? Ricardo

  4. Janet Rieck Says:

    I totally disagree…totally. I have been dancing for 23 years and have learned a great deal from my classes…although I was never a class junkie…only studied with a very few. The problem in B.A. is that most people here DO NOT take classes and have no real technique. The basic fundamentals are not there that would allow them to know how to dance with just about anyone. So you are stuck with for the most part, very mediocre partners who basically do the same patterns over and over again. They cheat the art of dancing tango

    Classes are only information that give you the ability to make the tango your dance…not a format or pattern to dance. This is the problem. Everyone you dance with will be different. If you don’t have secure fundamentals how in the world can you expect to adjust to new partners. As anyone can see, it has brought the level of dancing here very low. Only a very few stand out.

  5. jantango Says:

    Lo de Celia isn’t for those who are learning to dance, it’s for those who dance.

  6. Chris Says:

    Janet wrote: “I totally disagree…totally. I have been dancing for 23 years and have learned a great deal from my classes…

    I think you’ve misunderstood, Janet.

    The point is not that classgoers don’t learn a great deal.

    The point is that they learn a great deal that harms their dancing.

  7. Michael Says:

    Janis is correct. Classes turn dancers into robots by removing the improvisation of the dance. Some women are amazed when they find out going to the cross doesn’t have to be the first figure. I remember a woman at a milonga who said “You’re not dancing what my teacher taught.” I told her to go dance with her teacher.

    The other problem is the concentration is on steps, not technique.

  8. Patricia Says:

    There’s tango teaching and there’s tango teaching. I think it’s a mistake to put teachers all in the same basket.

    There are teachers who:
    …..emphasize set patterns, whereas others help their students develop efficient use of the body,
    …..teach flamboyant figures more suited to performance, whereas others focus on movements suitable for crowded milongas, teaching skills needed for considerate floorcraft,
    ….place little emphasis on Golden Age tango music, whereas others base their classes on it,
    ….are all but ignorant of milonga etiquette, and others who weave it into their teaching.

    I could give further examples, but I hope my point has been made.

    Even the old milongueros of Buenos Aires talk about learning from others, and developing their own personal style. They had the advantage of being immersed in tango culture from an early age – but they had their teachers, too. They weren’t let loose in milongas until they had reached a satisfactory level of competence.

    Most of the rest of us have taken formal lessons – some useful, some not. With a bit of luck, we’ve found teachers who are able to share the stuff that really matters. Because, without developing the skills I referred to above, we wouldn’t stand a chance of getting dances with good partners in traditional Buenos Aires milongas. Nor would we begin to appreciate the rich culture of tango.

  9. Chris Says:

    Patricia wrote: “the old milongueros of Buenos Aires … had their teachers, too.

    You hear this a lot from teachers.

    You hear a very different story from the milongueros themselves: “In those days there were no teachers”.

  10. JohnM Says:

    Chris quoted milongueros: “In those days there were no teachers”.

    But they still informally learned from others, practised with others and with their peers. Just because there were no formal (& self-appointed) teachers does not mean they were not taught nor sought to learn.

  11. Janet Rieck Says:

    It appears it is quite obvious people learning how to dance tango nowadays do not get the proper instruction. Fundamentals come first…you have to have balance and rhythm and the ability to walk properly and you have to know your own body and how to move it. This takes a lot of practice and listening to the great tango music.
    As far as steps go, nothing wrong with learning combinations…it teaches you to think. BUT, I do not ever think of combinations when I dance tango…all I think about is responding to the music and my partner. The old milongueros did have teachers…other milongueros…they watched and they listened. We could learn a lot from them. Beginners should not be in the milongas in Buenos Aries…they are not ready for it and they just disrupt the dancing. Don’t embarrass yourself by coming too soon. Enjoy your dancing in you own home place first. Take the time to learn what is necessary first.

    One of my favorite teachers used to give combinations and then ask us to do it in reverse. Most could not do it. He said the purpose of the exercise is not to do it in reverse but to teach you how to THINK. But in reality when you really dance tango, you do not think at all…you just dance. But the exercise is a very good one because it teaches you to concentrate.

    One thing that is not mentioned here is practicing. It probably is more important to practice than to take a lot of classes. The more you practice, the easier it is to dance. You are more relaxed. Teachers should emphasize that, but few do. But we can’t be too hard on them, most only have a few days to teach classes in one location. They are limited to what they can give you.

  12. JohnM Says:

    Janet: I agree with your first paragraph and more or less with your final but not with your observations about combinations nor with reversing them to make you think. Nor is such a teacher actually teaching you to think, he is forcing you to do something entirely inappropopriate and especially so for women.

    Social tango should be movement together to the music and according to the floor. There is video of Tete saying to his moving to the music class: “Sin pensiamento” and teachers should take that onboard. But first they should do as you say, teach people how to dance and in turn pupils should learn and practise the fundamentals.

  13. Chris Says:

    I agree with John, mostly.

    Janet wrote: “As far as steps go, nothing wrong with learning combinations…it teaches you to think.

    Top of the list of things wrong with learning combinations is that it teaches you to think.

    A major obstruction to learning to dance is thinking when dancing.

    One of my favorite teachers used to give combinations and then ask us to do it in reverse. Most could not do it. He said the purpose of the exercise is not to do it in reverse but to teach you how to THINK.

    I guess this class is designed specially for students lacking the ability to think.

    Regardless, surely it appeals only to students lacking the ability to think…

    A second major obstruction to learning to dance is NOT thinking… when choosing how to learn.

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