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It’s hard to believe that eight years can pass so quickly! But last week we celebrated Tango Movement’s 8th Anniversary in London.

On 1st June 2007, David and I arrived in London from Buenos Aires and set up Tango Movement. What followed exceeded all our expectations and we’ve had a wonderful eight years. We’re very grateful for all the fantastic people we’ve met - both students and friends - without whom the journey would have been very different.

Last week we celebrated in every class with chocolate cake and post-class drinks. The festivities culminated on Saturday night with our Student Show at the UK Tango Championship. It was great to see so many of you turn out to support our students who put in so much hard work into their routine. They were brilliant and we are very proud of them. And what a great Festival! We hope you enjoyed dancing the night away as much as we did!

Watch the video of our amazing students in action here:

Now we just have to wait for 26th July when we will have our Big Anniversary Party on the Thames to celebrate.

Here are some more photos of last week's festivities:

Celebrating in our Wednesday Improvers Class

Post-Class Drinks

Celebrating in our Friday Beginners Class

Celebrating on our Saturday Course

You’ve been dreaming of those sultry, moody tangos all week and they are what you left the house for tonight. Wrapped in a snug embrace you have lost yourself in the dulcet notes of the soulful violins and the brooding bandoneon.

Now seated on the sidelines of the dance floor, your eyes begin to scour the room for your next dance partner.

Suddenly the DJ puts on a milonga track and the mood immediately lifts. As dancers move onto the dance floor, hitherto absent smiles appear on faces, and ladies give their hips just a little hint of a wiggle.

A carefree, uplifting mood pervades the tango salon but you shift uncomfortably in your seat. You fix your eyes on the floor and begin to fiddle with your shoe strap in the hope that someone doesn’t ask you to dance. Especially - you silently pray - the one you’ve wanted to dance with all night …

Milonga. The music is happy, the steps playful… so why do you find it so hard to let your hair down!

Maybe its because you’ve had very little experience of milonga and you’re not quite sure how to approach it. Or maybe it is because you *have* had experience of milonga … and that’s precisely why you want to avoid it! Because as most people who have been dancing tango for a while will know with milonga:

“When it is good it is very very good, but when it is bad it is horrid.”

An amazing milonga tanda is something you’ll not forget in a hurry. A sense of flying through every step, an effortless understanding of the other, somehow knowing in advance what your partner will lead. Unfortunately a bad milonga can also stay with you for quite some time too, and for all the wrong reasons!

Supposedly the carefree cousin of the tango family, milonga is a challenging dance, and so carefree is sometimes far from how we feel when we dance it!

With experience this, of course, changes and believe me, when it does, it is worth it! But does it have to take many years until this time comes? Or is there a way we can approach the learning process so that we can ease ourselves into milonga a little more gently?

Here are a few tips for those of you have found yourselves in the above predicament.

LEADERS

Leaders tend to find milonga more difficult than tango. There are of course exceptions. Those who just seem to have a knack for it or fall in love with milonga so much that it carries them through.

We had one student who said that he actually would prefer it if the DJ played milonga all night long and would be happy to dance milonga exclusively. And you could definitely see him come alive when dancing milonga.

My recommendation to those new or nearly new to milonga, is to get a good foundation in tango first. Once you’re familiar with the principles of the lead/follow of tango, milonga is quite a natural progression.

Secondly, try to keep it simple. It is not the steps you should be focusing on but the lead and the music. Milonga steps can be a lot less intricate than tango steps.

The challenge is that generally speaking milonga is faster than tango, giving you less thinking time. But don’t let your movements accelerate out of control. Don’t go faster than necessary, pace yourself and keep calm!

Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are some enticing combinations to learn in milonga but there may well be steps that you have already learnt in tango that work really well with the milonga rhythm. So you may not have to learn everything from scratch.

And finally (and amazingly this does happen and especially in milonga) don’t keep dancing if you feel that your follower has lost you! Don’t be afraid to pause so that you can re-establish the connection with your partner again.

FOLLOWERS

Followers also generally find milonga more challenging than tango. I’ve even heard it said that milonga is more difficult for the follower than for the leader. Not something you hear very much in tango!

Once again, a good foundation in tango is important as you need to be familiar with the principles of following the leader’s torso and not anticipating.

For me, the best way to follow milonga well is to relax. Unfortunately however, this is easier said than done. For a lot of people, just telling telling yourself to relax repeatedly can produce the opposite effect! Instead of trying too hard to relax, I find it really helpful to focus on something. Let yourself get drawn into the music, focus on your breathing, focus on your partner’s breathing.

And if you’re still find it hard to follow your partner snuggle up a bit closer to your partner. The closer the embrace, the easier it is to feel your partner’s lead.

And of course, for both leaders and followers, practice, practice, practice! Milonga isn’t a dance that is easy to bluff. Most of the music played at milongas* will be tango and the same is true of classes. You can spend a lifetime exploring tango. But if you want to enjoy this playful antidote to tango, you will need to dedicate some time studying milonga.

OUR TWO-WEEK MILONGA COURSE

We want you to LOVE dancing milonga! And to leap to your feet when you hear it played.

This Saturday and next, we’re running a Milonga Course, exploring the steps, technique and music, and very simple tricks to start playing and improvising.

We'll break everything down into bite-sized pieces so you can stop stressing and start doing what milonga was invented for ... having fun!

When: Saturday 6th & 13 June 2015

Time: 1 - 3 pm (plus 30 minutes FREE mini-practica)

Where: Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall Street, SOHO, W1F 7EL (5 minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube; round the corner from Carnaby Stree)

Level: Improvers & Intermediate Dancers

Price: £47 - 2 weeks; £25 - 1 week

No partner needed. No need to attend both weeks! Places offered on a first come first served basis!

Simply contact us to book your place.

*Milonga is the name of the place we go to dance tango (ie tango salon). It is also the name of the upbeat, playful rhythm that is part of the tango family. It is usually possible to work out from the context which one of these meanings is being spoken about.

word of mouth 27-05-2015

We’ve had some really nice comments from students joining our classes that we thought we would share with you. It’s good to hear that people are recommending us and that we’re still doing things right:

“I would ask people where they go for classes and your names consistently came up.”

“All the ladies on the dance floor who had beautiful footwork seemed to come from your classes!”

“When I went out dancing, all the guys I seemed to enjoy dancing with most were your students.”

“I was going to be working in London for a couple of months and I wanted to continue taking classes. My tango teacher in Toronto recommended you.”

“I asked my teacher in Buenos Aires if she knew anyone teaching in London so I could continue learning back home. Her face lit up and she said she knew exactly who to recommend.”

Thank you guys for your lovely feedback!

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