Tuesday, May 29, 2007


There's been a tango festival in Denver going on for the past, like, month and a half, and NOBODY had pictures of Julio and Corina until just now! How can I stalk them when I have nothing to work with, I ask you?

I am still in Town That is Not My Usual Town. I haven't had a chance to dance yet, but my stilettos are on my desk so that I look at them and get wistfully antsy, so I think tomorrow I'm taking the plunge.

P.S. I have nothing as nice as Corina does to wear, either. Where does she find these great clothes? In every picture and every clip I have ever seen, she has on this fantastic, classy outfit. Does she shop at Amazing, Flattering, Flowing Clothes, Inc.?

Picture by Alex.Tango.Fuego

I could not love this moment more, when he's committed his full intent to the step, and the axis is shifting and she's moving with it. Plus, her forehead against his cheek is like a painting. Just, awesome, awesome stuff.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Okay, what?

Am I wrong, or do these shoes have a belt?

I really don't think I'm wrong. That's a belt, you guys.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bulletin: Feet!

Still traveling, sending you this report from the field:

Alicia Pons has some of the most amazing feet in the world. (This means the expression of the two feet she was born with, and not some disembodied collection of feet in her basement or something, that's not what I'm implying.)

For women wondering about alternatives to the Geraldine style, check this out; just as skillful, and probably a lot easier to use on the social dance floor since a lot of it is about musicality and pointing the toes and not so much about the kicking. I love the kicking, don't get me wrong, but this stuff is a lot less risky, and it's so elegant. I mean, just look.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I'm leaving town for a few days and headed out to explore the wilderness. And by "the wilderness" I mean "another town."

My first week of tango, a girl came in from another city. (Not that I could tell, I was so new to tango I didn't know anyone, but I asked her where she usually danced and got a different city. Behold my deductive powers!)

She was like an exotic bird with her comme il fauts (the first pair I ever saw), her ankles glued together, her perfect balance. When she told me she'd been dancing two years, I was ravenously jealous that she'd gotten so good so fast. I was totally ready to throw down, except that she turned out to be extremely modest and nice, if a little afraid of a clumpy beginner in character shoes who wanted to talk about where her butter-yellow satin shoes came from.

She's not going to be in the city I'm going to, nor do I have plans to wow anyone with my flawless technique, as that would require flawless technique to begin with, and hahahahah!

I am, however, taking my flashiest shoes. If I'm going to suck, I'm going to suck proudly!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stalking gets me through the week.

No fooling.

It's everyone's favorite victims-o-stalkin', Julio y Corina!

My favorite thing here is the musicality - with the exception of a few awesome back sacadas that Julio can do because he's Julio and you're not, it's all just walking/crossing/ochoing/giroing, but the way they both clearly know the song, they way he comes back to refrains in the steps, and the way he bobs his left hand around like he's having SO MUCH FUN he just can't hold still, which would make me want to smack anyone else, but since he's my BFF I'll let it go.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tango - A Photo Essay.

Okay, a brief photo essay about tango.

This is social tango.

This is stage tango.

The End

The difference? Visible underpants. I don't want to see any underpants, people. I mean it. It's not that kind of dance floor.

All photos from Flickr: here, here, here, here, here, here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My Two Cents on the Geraldine Debate.

Dear everyone in the world,

You are not Geraldine. Quit the kicking.

Yours sincerely,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A History of Tango Music.

...not really, though. Come on. Is that the kind of thing I do? That requires research. And I have done some research, but most of it was pizza research (conclusion: I like mushrooms).

Nevertheless, I am in possession of the following facts:

1) Tango songs are generally depressing.
2) There are usually instruments involved.

As evidence of these facts, I offer any tango lyrics ever, and the fact that a capella tango is kind of thin on the ground.

(No, seriously, tango lyrics. Canaro's "Poema", pretty much the sweetest, most profoundly romantic tango song ever recorded, that has as its pivotal lyric:

"And at my sad goodbye, you too will know the sensation of my pain!"

I mean, seriously.)

So, I'll work on a little history of tango music looking only for songs that are 1) depressing and 2) usually accompanied by music.

A History of Tango Music, Parts 1 and 2 of 34,985

1. Corpus Christi Carol, 15th cen.

Lyric sample:

"Lullay lullay, lullay lullay,
A falcon hathe borne my mate away...

By that bedside there kneeleth a maid,
And she weepeth both night and day."

What makes it tango: Somebody's dead and/or borne away by a humungous predatory bird! Sounds like tango to me.

Playable?: Dunno. Does anyone have a lute hanging around?

2. Alf Leyla Way Leyla, Arabic trad.

Lyric Sample:

"The night and its sky, its stars, its moon, and keeping awake all night.
You and me my sweetheart, my life."

What makes it tango:
Are we sure this isn't a tango? Can someone check up on Echague on this?

No, seriously, are we sure this isn't a tango?

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Dancing.

I'm not sure how much to talk about my dancing anymore - when it's good I don't notice because I'm listening to the music and not worrying about it, and when it's bad it's just a laundry list of things to practice in a not-funny way. Plus, I'll never set the Thames on fire, let's face it. Do I love tango? Oh, yes. Does it drive me nuts? Oh, yes. Am I ever going to be awesome? Oh, no. Does it stop me rattling on?

Oh, no.

I notice that I'm much less nervous about my leading than about my following, because following is asking yourself, "Can I?" and leading is saying, "I can." As a follower, if you accept a dance with someone you pretty much have to be prepared to follow whatever they lead- a huge unknown quantity. As a leader, you know already what you can do, and chances are you know what your follower can do, and it's much, much less stressful.

When I manage to get a really sharp follower it brings home the fact that my tango vocabulary is not huge - I'm a big fan of the walk, basically. At the same time, the volcada/colgada/gancho thing isn't my style as a follower and kind of as a human being, especially volcadas - give me my axis back, dude! I worked hard for that! I'm in stilettos! Give a girl a break!

Ahem! ANYWAY. I shouldn't be surprised that I don't like leading those, is my point.

history is littered with the evidence of men who loved volcadas too much

Also, tangent: what man in his right mind leads a gancho on a woman in stilettos? Just...is that wise? I'm asking. (Not talking about professionals here, they are very spicy and sexy etc., but for your average social leader and your average social follower, it's kind of flirting with disaster, I think.)

That being said, my following is actually much nicer than it was before I started leading, which is half the passage of time in general and half because I'm more relaxed about following. Also, another half is because I'm much pickier about my dances now, having an attitude of, "If you can lead this better than I could, I'm happy to dance with you. If not, please excuse me." So, that's three halves. Good thing I'm not an accountant. I'd be rich!...and in prison.

To sum up: following is fun. Leading is fun. My feet hurt. Those Italian engineers really never lived that one down, did they?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Planchadora Rips Into Commenters, Part 2 in a Series.

So, a gentleman posted in a comment to a video of two women dancing, qualifying women leaders on criteria other than "ability" and "body odor". And he had the very bad judgement to do so on my blog.

I think you'll agree with me when I say: Mistake!

For those who don't want to go scrolling all over, the comment in its entirety is pasted below:

"She leads very well, she have great musicality (in milonga!), and she is hot... I dont know if i have to feel threatened by her (and her kind of girls) or just excited about such dancers.
But I know one thing: I REALLY want to dance with her sometime. Probably it will be a little difficult, because I find that women who often leads aren't "flexible" (I can think in a better word) in her follow. But it sure must be a pleasure =).
I use to think that women who leads don look good, but some girls I knew, prove me wrong.
Great video!"

Now, this gentleman commented to an earlier post and made it known he's Argentine, so I'm not going to ding him on grammar or anything, because let's face it, I can ding his content plenty.

1) The "hot girl" in question is Silvina Valz, frequent and favored performance partner of Flaco Dany. I've been lucky enough to take some of her classes.

Dude? You should feel threatened.

2) Who else loves the idea that because she's hot, she's not as threatening as some more mannish women leaders? That's pretty awesome. (See #1.)

3) Women who lead aren't as "flexible" if they lead regularly. Interesting thought. I'm not going to conjecture the word he meant, because I think he means "pliable" and that would make me spitting mad, so we'll give him a pass here.

I would like to point out, however, that 99% of professional female tango dancers know how to lead, for teaching purposes if for nothing else, and they're probably flexible enough to suit most people. If this isn't enough, I'd like to refer the statement about "frequent female leading = bad following" to Fabienne Bongard, Sharna Fabiano, Rebecca Shulman, Valeria Solomonoff, andBrigitta Winkler, members of the all-female tango troupe Tango Mujer, and not bad as followers go.

Dude? See #1.


Yeah, yeah, I'm all videos and no talk these days, I promise I have really haunting revelations soon that will change your life, mend the hole in the ozone, and get the red wine stains off your shirt. (You crazy klutz!)

But I had to post this, for obvious reasons. Pointed out to me on Fishnets and Fedoras by one of my favorite followers, who is now trying to get me to lead in heels. She's funny. And delusional.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Video of the Week: Holy Poo!

You guys, this girl is SIX. YEARS OLD.

I would have shown you earlier today, but I was in the fetal position crying because I will never, ever, ever be as good as THIS SIX YEAR OLD.

I mean, she can also probably read and build sand castles, which means I can't beat her in ANYTHING. This six-year-old has left me in the dust. Thanks a lot, small person!

I should have made this a shout-out on Father's Day, but my father never taught me to tango, so I'm all mad and don't want to wait.

Friday, May 04, 2007


You can pretty much name this clip "How to Take The Embrace, Walk to the Cross, and Look Good Doing It. And Some Other Stuff." Because that first thing is about twenty seconds, and the clip is longer than that. But really, this is Tango 101 type stuff. Plus, the longer it goes the better it gets; the elasticity from close embrace to slightly more open; the embellishments for her and him, the musicality...

...I seriously wish these guys would adopt me. Then together we could work on tango a lot. And fight crime! I'd end up being the snarky sidekick who gets captured a lot, I recognize that, but sometimes the snarky sidekick ends up getting her own comic book where she gets to explore her origin story at the hands of mad scientists and stuff! So that would be fun, too, if the tango part didn't work out.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Embrace: A Field Guide.

New to tango? It can seem like a wasteland, I understand. So many disciplines, so many things to remember, so many things that define you as a dancer, right down to the embrace. But never fear: whether you're a gentle beginner, or someone just looking for a style to call your own, there is a handy field guide to the embrace.


Close embrace, the woman's arm around the man's shoulders, torsos pressed together or tilted slightly to form a small "V". Man's left hand close to the body, tilted upwards; woman's hand resting on man's hand, elbow towards her body.

Close embrace, the woman's arm around the man's shoulders or with the left hand on the man's shoulder blade, torsos in a "V" shape. Man's left hand close to the body, sometimes slightly raised above the shoulder, palm tilted slightly towards the woman; woman's hand resting on the man's hand, the tilted angle giving her a little resistance.

Open embrace, the woman's left hand lightly gripping the man's right arm, the man with his hand on the woman's spine. Man's left hand a little away from the body, palm to the woman; the woman's hand mirrors this.

Villa Urquiza
Close embrace, with the woman's hand low on the man's back, fingers spread. The torsos form a slight "V".

Inestable (The Unstable)
Slightly open embrace, marked by a vise-like grip on the woman's back that robs her of her axis and makes her lean backwards, so the dancing pair forms a human letter K. The man's hand is usually pressing forward; the woman's arm is mostly achy.

Pluma (The Feather)
Close embrace style notable for its trust in the follower to do whatever is led without any guidance or support from the actual embrace. Look for a soft, yiedling hand on the man, and am ebrace loose enough to stick a fist through. Also traceable through a succession of nervous followers.

Lanzar (The Pusher)
Open embrace; the man's right hand i sholding on to the follower's armpit, and the woman's embracing hand grabs the deltoid. The man's left hand is held out from the body parallel to the floor, palm facing her, making it eaiser to fling her. The woman's right hand is her only lifeline; followers of this style tend to have extremely toned forearms.

Lobo (The Wolf)
Extremely close embrace; the man's embrace is firm and his head as close to the bosom of his partner as possible, the woman's arm wraps around the man's neck tightly; for a particularly long-armed follower, wrap two or three times around. The held hands on the open side of the embrace are firmly jammed into the man's collarbone.

Exquisito (Exquisite)
Marked by a firm, yet elastic embrace, hands helf comfortably and with dynamism, and proper axis. This embrace is almost extinct, and can usually only be seen in capitivity. For in situ observation of this rare creature, a trip to Buenos Aires is recommended.