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I just loved receiving this video recently of our lovely students, Ed and Katie, dancing tango at their wedding.

Ed and Katie have been coming to our classes for years but it is a very different thing learning to improvise (as we do in our classes) to learning a choreography. Not to mention the feeling of getting up and dancing in front of a big group of people. Yes, we try to tell ourselves that that group is made up of only family and friends who love us and think anything we do is wonderful, but somehow those butterflies can be hard to shake.

Ed and Katie dance so well in this video that you’d never guess that their choreography did in fact turn into an improvisation when a technical hiccup meant the the tango went on for 20 seconds longer than expected. Can you tell? I couldn’t! I guess all those tango classes learning to improvise paid off!

Congratulations Ed and Katie for your beautifully elegant wedding dance. And congratulations on your marriage. We wish you many years of love, happiness and tango together!

So I did it! I kept dancing tango until the night before my baby was born.

I did it for my first pregnancy four years ago and now I’m happy to say I also did it for my second.

And not just because I didn’t want to give up teaching the classes I love until the last minute, but because I so enjoyed the feeling of dancing tango with my baby bump.

There is something quite amazing dancing while pregnant. I felt completely at peace with myself, freeing up my self-expression. The movements felt natural and for some reason I didn’t feel uncomfortable or unstable wearing my 9 cm tango heels. I know it is difficult to believe. Outside of class, I shed my wedges mid-way through my pregnancy and would only wear the flattest of flats when walking on the street. But in my “Comme Il Fauts” I felt completely happy.

Yes, at times tango’s close embrace was compromised by my ever-growing bump and more showy moves were out of the question. But somehow salon tango felt so much easier than walking to the dance studio from the tube station.

Although in many ways it is a wonderful feeling to be pregnant, in the final months you do feel a little like a baby elephant going about your daily activities. Just walking at a normal pace would produce a pain in my side or hip - very frustrating for a person who likes to run from one activity to the next. Yet, I never once felt a twinge when dancing tango. Maybe it was all those lovely endorphins that tango is meant to release. I’ll never know. But I am very grateful for it.

This video shows me improvising at the end of our Wednesday night Improvers class on the very night before the baby was born:

Just under two weeks after the birth, watching the video with my “now you see it, now you don’t” bump, is already incredible to me. Was that really me? And I’m so happy that as my little girl gets older, I can show her the video and tell her that was you inside my tummy just the night before you were born.

And I'll just also leave you with a few more videos of me dancing tango with my baby bump. Here at 7 months pregnant at the Che Tango Festival in London:

David and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our second daughter, Amélie Rose, who was born on Thursday 14th July, weighing 2.7 kgs/6lbs. She is absolutely gorgeous!

We are now enjoying a 2-week break while we all get to know each other. Our full programme of classes will resume in August. And I hope to return from maternity leave by mid-September.

We hope you're all enjoying a wonderful summer and we're looking forward to seeing you in just over a week's time!

Your Feedback 15-04-2016

It’s always wonderful to receive glowing feedback from students. It’s good to know that we’re still on the right track. Here are some of the lovely messages we’ve received recently which we’d like to share with you:

“Just wanted to tell you that I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the Good  Friday South Bank tango event, and danced for 2 hours with familiar faces. I loved it so much I decided to go to the Saturday afternoon milonga at Tango Garden. I couldn't believe that I danced the whole time.

I did have several compliments about my feet and was asked who teaches me. I proudly said Kim and David,the reply was OH! So that explains it !!!!!!  They're fantastic teachers and very stylish.

Since the weekend I have been floating on a cloud and waking in the night with the music in my head. My head is consumed with tango, it's so crazy.

I'm so glad I found you lovely guys, I really couldn't wish for better teachers. You put so much into your teaching you really deserve to see some rewards.”

“Thanks for such a lovely lesson! I wanted you to hear what [another student] said (and I agree with) "not only are you both great teachers and great teachers together, you also make every single person in the room feel special." This is such a great gift you have and probably something I have never seen before. Everyone goes away feeling good about themselves.”

“Lovely class last night. Great moves as always and so nice to see some of the students from when we first started your classes...London can count themselves lucky to have such high class teachers.”

Changing Lives 07-03-2016

What does tango mean to you? Was it something you always dreamed of doing? Or did it take you by surprise?

For me it was a bit of both. I think I always had a little dream of dancing with another person and somehow just knowing what the other wanted without pre-learning a thing! Of being swept into another world. And if that other world was one from many years ago, even better - I’ve always had a soft spot for old movies.

In another way, it took me by surprise. When my sister suggested I join her for a tango class (back in the late 90’s), I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I had no pre-conceptions about tango (other than perhaps confusing it with ballroom tango) and no expectations. After that first fateful class, I remember thinking, “I think I might do this once a week”!

Little did I know that soon I would be dancing several times a week, and then every day. And then ... well, most of you know where tango has taken me. Within a relatively short space of time, tango went from being a pastime to a passion, taking over my life, becoming a way of life.

And I’m always fascinated when I see students going through the same thing, crossing that threshold from pastime to passion. Hearing the way they talk, seeing that all-familiar gleam in their eyes. And I love hearing their stories of how tango has changed them in completely unexpected ways, in both their personal and professional lives.

One student - a dermatologist - told us recently that when she opens the door and welcomes in her next patient, she does so with more poise, presence and confidence than in her pre-tango days. And she feels that this in turn helps her patients feel more confident and trusting in her care.

And just the other week, we received this moving message from a student who had returned to tango after a long, injury-induced break:

“With much trepidation I returned last night to your absolute beginners class, boyfriend in tow, intending to just walk for an hour. I wanted to remind you just how special a job you and David have, and that what you do for us is about so much more than just a dance.

Even years after I had been in that room, it felt exciting to be with so many people just starting on a tango journey. I talked to a girl who was at her first class, and by the end her eyes were lit up with the possibility of the dance. It was quite an emotional class for me, a mixture of fear that I wouldn't manage, dismay at the weakness and wobble in my legs, a deep calm from the tango itself, and the hope that my boyfriend was enjoying it thrown in for good measure.

Tango has made me walk taller in other aspects of my life, helped me to be determined, shown me to sometimes just let go of things when they aren't working, and to trust myself. I have missed you all so much.

I am starting again very slowly, probably with a few quiet weeks of beginners as I let my muscles wake up. I do hope that I will see you soon, inspiring me again.”

When I read messages like that, I realise it’s what I love most about my job. That it’s more than simply teaching tango, it’s about helping people to live out their dreams and enrich their lives.

The other day, I was spending time with another close student - a doctor who works in intensive care. I’m constantly in awe of what he does day in day out, the stress he is under and the long hours he puts in. So when he commented on how important a job David and I do, I laughed, “Not in comparison to you! You save people’s lives every day”.

To which he replied: “So do you!”

Please let me know if tango has impacted your every day life, helped you to understand yourself better or changed your life in any way. It would be great to hear more stories!

Last Saturday, it was our Student Night Out. As always, it was wonderful to have many of our students join us for a great night at the Light Milonga in Shoreditch.

Our Nights Out are an opportunity for students of all levels to get together outside of class, mingle, dance and generally soak up the atmosphere of some of the best milongas London has to offer.

We always love spending time with our students who over the months and years become our friends. But something about last Saturday night in particular stood out for me. Something a little different from the norm.

Our Nights Out always attract a big group from our Improvers, Intermediate and Advanced classes but - although we encourage our Beginners to come - there is usually only a very small number. The majority understandably feel hesitant about coming and often choose to wait until they have a few more months of tango experience under their belt.

However, last Saturday was quite a different story. A sizeable group from our Beginners and Confident Beginners classes turned up. Watching intently from the sidelines, many of them got up and danced. There’s no need for a “tango licence” to dance in a milonga and - following our advice from class - they kept it simple, kept to the line of dance and tried to avoid collisions. We felt very proud and excited for them. Just as nice was to see them together as a group, supporting each other in their first experience at the milonga, already forming friendships.

At the end of the evening, students who had only been learning tango for a matter of weeks came up to me with bright eyes and glowing faces, saying how excited they were to have come to the milonga and to have actually danced!

One guy, who had only come because some classmates had pleaded with him to join them earlier that day, wrote me this email:

“Thanks for inviting us to the event last Saturday! It was a great tango evening! What I found amazing was that after just four classes of the crash course, I was actually able to do more than enough moves for a whole dance and have the confidence to invite ladies for a dance! Thanks for that! (It took me about a year to gain that kind of confidence for salsa and kizomba).”

2016 is definitely shaping up to be a great year for new starters. Here’s to the new generation of London tango dancers!

Blue Monday 19-01-2016

It's "Blue Monday" apparently and I don't know about you but already some of my New Year's Resolutions are slipping. So I thought a note to remind you of what you have to look forward to this week might be in order!

3 Reasons To Be Happy on Blue Monday:

1) All our regular drop-in classes are ON. With a class for every level (and 5 levels in total), we're bound to have something for you.

2) It is our final Technique Workshop this Saturday AND my favourite topic: DYNAMICS & CREATIVITY: speeding up/slowing down movements for expression.

3) It's our FIRST NIGHT OUT this Saturday. Venue: The Light Milonga in Shoreditch. We'll be teaching the Intermediate Class and then staying on for long night of music, tango and fantastic company.

Well, I don't know about you but I feel better already!

Un abrazo tanguero,

Kim

Rusty Tango 08-01-2016

It’s that time of year again. After the excesses of the festive period,there ’ll be many of you out there thinking of putting on your tango shoes again and seeing how your first few steps feel.

A little wobbly perhaps?

We have only given two classes so far this year and already two different students have come up to me and said just about the same thing: that they were nervous about coming to class that day. And that they they were sure they would have forgotten absolutely everything.

And maybe that is how they felt as they started the class. But watching them from the outside, they looked fine! Their footwork was polished as it had been before Christmas, and when I led them, their following felt light and responsive. Perhaps they felt they were out of practice, but it wasn’t something that their partners or a spectator would have necessarily picked up on.

And I’ve had students come back to class after a much longer period than just a few weeks and to their relief also find that they haven’t lost everything. Yes, they feel rusty to begin with. And perhaps a little apprehensive. But I always tell them that it is only a very thin layer of rust and that they’ll have shaken it off by the end of the class.

The body is a miraculous thing. It remembers so much more than we often give it credit for. I’ve come across students who come back after taking several years’ break and find they can still dance after a few refresher classes.

And I’ve even seen Beginners who danced another form of dance as a child (and never since), doing tango movements in a way particular to that other dance, their body somehow remembering something from the dim and distant past.

Of course, if you haven’t danced for a while, it may be that your muscle strength and suppleness have diminished. But it has a much less dramatic effect in a relatively gentle dance like salon tango than in something more physically demanding like ballet. And in my experience it is quicker to recuperate lost strength and suppleness than build it up for the first time. In other words, your past dedication was not in vain!

So don’t sit at home worrying about your bambi legs, head down to class, brush off the rust and let the dancing begin!

I just have to say this out loud: we have the most wonderful, passionate, warm-hearted students anyone could wish for. We're incredibly grateful for the year we shared with you and can't wait to get started with the next one!

All our classes re-start on Tuesday 5th January. We’ll have our regular programme of drop-in classes for Beginners through to Advanced, our popular Saturday Beginners Crash Course - PLUS an exciting new programme of Saturday Workshops!

We’re happy to be starting the year with our lovely new studio for private classes. It feels so nice to teach in our own space and we know it creates a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere for our students.

This year, we promise to create more inspiring, innovative and supportive classes for you so you can take your tango to the next level and continue to enjoy all the magic that this dance has to offer.

To welcome in a fresh year, we will be celebrating on Saturday 23rd January at the Light Milonga in Shoreditch - our first Student Night Out of 2016! Please join us! More information will be posted on our News page shortly.

Wishing a very Happy New Year to all Tango Movers!

Last Tuesday 10th November, David and I were performed alongside Royal Ballet Principal, Marianela Nuñez, at the Argentine Ambassador’s Residence in an evening of Ballet and Tango.

The evening was attended by Ambassadors from all over the world, VIPs and members of the Anglo-Argentine Community.

Marianela Nuñez, together with Alejandro Parente, principal dancer of the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, performed a contemporary ballet piece to Astor Piazzolla’s “A Buenos Aires”. David and I performed two traditional tango pieces. And the evening’s programme was closed with Marianela and Alejandro performing the “Dying Swan” from Swan Lake.

Marianela Nuñez was born in Buenos Aires and trained at the Teatro Colon Ballet School before joining The Royal Ballet School at the the age of 15. She became a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at the age of 20 and has performed leading roles in the classical, dramatic and contemporary repertoires.She is currently playing Juliet in the Royal Opera House’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

Tuesday’s performance was followed by a reception with Argentine gastronomy and wines. The Ambassador thanked the performers:

“One of the central aspects of our work in the United Kingdom is cultural diplomacy. Art, in all its expressions, improves relations, contributes to greater knowledge of our country, allows a greater understanding and promotes dialogue between the nations”

David and I were honoured to take part in this evening and represent tango in this important cultural setting.