Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Dancing tango in tight spaces

[Thank you so much for your participation in Part 2 of the "Tango in tight spaces" survey!"  The provocative question I want you to ponder is four paragraphs below the video in red."]

Blog Visitors, if you want to take Part 1 of this brief survey CLICK HERE]

This intriguing video, sent to me by Carlos, a tanguero in Canada, is from the 2011 tango festival in Seoul, Korea.  In it we see Ricardo Viqueira and "Fish" dancing to "Pocas Palabras" by the orchestra of Ricardo Tanturi with Alberto Castillo singing.  

They’re dancing on a small table!  

What is the value to you of this performance beyond it's being an entertaining stunt?

You probably don't need me to connect the dots, but just in case someone wants clarification:

If you could confidently dance a whole tango in the surface area of a small table and totally have fun with it, imagine how you could dance in crowded milongas! 

Now, if you did the survey and are watching this video for the second or third time or more, please answer this question for yourself, and below in the comments area:
Are Ricardo and Fish dancing with only "very small" or "tiny" steps?  Do you see how you have options for moderate-sized movements even when restricted to 80 cm/2.5 feet (the  short side of the table)?

Please watch, and tangueros, think about whether this is a skill you'd like to have . . . and soon!   It's not so much about the table, but about dancing freely and joyfully in very restricted spaces!

(In a few days I will be giving you information that can help you do exactly that.  Email my team at support@tangomojo.com if you want to make sure you receive it!)

CLICK HERE to take Part 1 of my brief survey about your own experience of dancing in tight spaces. (5 questions.)

Please comment below about your own experience with dancing in crowded milongas. 


  1. Replies
    1. Would you like to dance like that, Robert?

  2. For me the main thing is the connection and musicality. The more you can bring each other into the moment, the more it becomes about how you're doing things rather than what you're doing. So even simple weight changes aren't boring when you're deeply connected, and moving with the music, quite the opposite.

    I also find it's a mistake to underestimate the woman - a lot of followers will surprise you with how much they can twist and turn through dissociation while keeping their axis in a tiny space. This works particularly well when my body is facing at angle to the line of dance - in a crowded milonga it creates a more interesting space for her to move in.

    And if the couple in front keep stepping back against the line of dance, despite the floor already being crowded, then I'll dance in place long enough to let them advance a bit further and create a buffer zone between us.

    1. Really good comments, Anon!
      What many tangueros don't have yet is the knowledge, skill, or experience to dance in place for a long time in a way that's fun and interesting.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  3. But can he do it with his eyes closed? : )

    1. Well, Adam, I know you're joking. But seriously, the leaders' keeping his eyes open and being 100% alert (while still being intensely engaged with his partner) is critical. That's why I'm not in favor of dimly lit milongas. I think you need the clear points of reference of the 4 walls around you. (I know there are a few blind milongueros out there, but they've got other senses acutely developed.) Just like I'd never recommend that someone drives his car with eyes closed, I think that our vision plays a critical role in the lead.

  4. Sometime at my practica, I'll use masking tape to make a few 3' x 3' squares, and ask the leaders to stay in them for a while. The actual instruction is for them to keep one of their feet and one of the follower's feet in the square. It's a pretty good drill.


    1. Very cool, David! How do they respond to the challenge? Most teachers do not prepare their tangueros to do this.

      How about making it all 4 feet in the square as a next level? Because a square meter is all you've got in most crowded milongas at peak time!

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkrs4TjVHR0

  6. Great link, Stefano! Silvia and Al are two advanced dancers but if Al's follower is not so skilled, reactive (read 'light') and creative like Silvia, it would be difficult for him leading that way, without boring the partner. We would have seen a totally different video.
    Sometimes, unfortunately, the space is necessary in order to create the physical momentum for the partner in order the express her freely with some dynamism. I am afraid to say that some tanguera is so 'follower' that expects her weight to be literally pushed than simply lead into a creative, personal step that is a feedback for a subsequent lead. Obviously there are also tangueros that do not lead in the proper way expecting their partners to use a crystal ball. Again "it takes two..."


    1. Excellent comment, Antonio. It also looked to me like Silvia is the more creative of the two, and has great musicality herself. But there's also the possibility that Al is "painting with her feet". (Article: http://www.helainetreitmantango.com/2012/04/he-paints-with-her-feet.html)