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Tango Bones

It was Brigitte Winkler, tango teacher extraordinaire, who many years ago first talked to me about tango bones. It's an important idea, something to understand as you develop as a dancer.

There are a many elements in play that affect your development as a dancer: your ability to move, your ability to hear and respond to the music, your somatic sensitivity, your spatial imagination (for leads), how often you dance, how often you practice, the quality of the dancers in your community, the quality of the DJs in your community. All of these affect your development and are important.

After you have danced a lot you will have tango bones. Your body now understands the movements of tango in an automated and organically expressive way. In order to develop tango bones there is no short-cut. You dance a lot, you do it with reasonable technique, and when the time comes that you stand, embrace, move, and feel the music like a tango dancer you have tango bones.

We move in a certain way, we tango dancers. We have our favorite tango music. We have feelings about the different orchestras, maybe about the different singers. We walk differently. We have a special quality to our back step. We collect our feet and knees when balanced. Our bodies know how to execute many odd movements specific to Argentine tango such as boleos, ochos, molinete turns. I could go on and on

To dance like a tanguero is like speaking Spanish like a porteño (like someone native to Buenos Aires) with the particular accent, inflection, and colloquialisms. So it is with tango, which is an immersion into a cultural way of moving and feeling. To dance like a tanguero takes a long time. Be patient, for there are pleasures to be found so worth the effort.

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