Learn Tango in the Heart of Argentina

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Watercolor by Carlos ChiottaWe invite you to come and learn the Tango in Central Argentina with a fluent English-speaking teacher who has been dancing and teaching for over 6 years. RIO CUARTO is in the province of Cordoba, Central Argentina. Here you will find friendly people in a very affordable town to relax and learn the Tango. Argentineans are passionate about the Tango , and Rio Cuarto has a very large University with many students who are learning to Lucas Gasse and Melina Camarotedance. LUCAS GASSE gives private classes to individuals for a very affordable price. He can find a partner for you. You can take two private classes a day and then join one of the evening classes or dance sessions. Lucas can then put you in touch with some of the Tango groups for you to practice what you have learned. The result is that when you dance 3-4 times a day, you can learn to dance and gain confidence in a very short time. Lucas charges 60 Pesos per private lesson (appx US$15) and the groDAYANA GARAY and FABIAN GIUSIANOup lessons in the afternoon or evening are usually free or sometimes 13 Pesos (appx US$4). Lucas can arrange an affordable hotel in Rio Cuarto at Hotel Menossi or Hotel Opera for about US$20-50 per night. If you have ever wanted to concentrate and learn the Tango in a non-commercial environment with people who are passionate, then this is the place. Email Lucas Gasse - lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar

A Selection of Tango Music
Bahia Blanca
La Cumparcita


A List of Tango Terminology

MILONGA Place to dance Tango is danced. Also a musical rhythm with a faster pace than Tango - tiempo mas rapido.
CAMINADA The walk - the most important element in Tango.
CAMINADA POR EL MEDIO (walk) Dancer walks forward into the middle of the partner.
POR EL COSTADO (walk) Male walks to the left of the partner - Deriva Izquerida.
COSTADO DERECHO (walk) Male walks to the right of the partner - Deriva Derecha.
TRASPIE The male stomps with back foot to change the leg. Very important in Tango.
OCHO ATRAS Figure 8 backward - Female pivots with feet together and extends leg backward after the pivot. Put her on 1 foot, turn, move.
SANDWICH After #2 and Female Ocho Atras, Male can Sandwich her foot.
ESCONDIDO After #2 and Female Ocho Atras, Male can step over and turn, and bring woman to his side and Ocho her (Ivan maneuver).
OCHO ADELANTE Figure 8 Forward - Female can ocho forward and this move is useful for the Male to perform Sacadas.
FLOREO To enflower - a series of forward and backward steps - step, open, step, close - cruce adelante, apertura, cruce atras, apertura. The man can mirror (espejado) or opposite (crusado) the female steps // Repeat move twice to change between espejado or crusado.
GIRO (a la direcha, a la izquierda) Male pivots on one foot reaching back with the other to invite partner to go around him (can be done to the right or to the left). // Three ways to walk out of a Giro: Apertura, Cruce Adelante, Cruce Atras. / Male Fwd with L, and Back and behind with R, then L foot between hers (sacada), then R between hers (sacada), then L around and hear her, then R way behind and around, then ready to put L (sacada) again. Or... walk out. // Practice both ways, so you are ambidextrous.
FUELLE Useful to begin the GIRO. Male sends the partner back (side with his left then forward with his right foot) then brings her around on the other side and invites her to go around him. Also used to start the Floreo...
CRUCE ADELANTE Cross forward
CRUCE ATRAS Cross backward
HAMACA Bounce back and forth to turn or pause. Forward L, Back R, Forward L.
SACADA Inserting ones leg to touch partner's leg and giving the impression that he is pushing her leg away. (start with Female Ocho Adelante and Male Ocho Adelante - backwards movement).
REVERSE SACADA She makes an Ocho Adelante to the Left. The man's Left leg Ocho Atras between her legs to her thigh. Then the man's Right between her legs to her thigh. Then the man's left foot stops her. WAIT. Then step forward with the Right across to her left. Proceed to 5th step - don't traspie. (keep in your mind that when the man makes sacada, he does so at Variacion speed, while the female is at Tiempo speed).
BARRIDA Sweep of your partners leg
SCHUFFLE Sacada Adalante, Sacada Traspie Crusado, Sacada Adalante / Atras
GANCHOS Hooks - Foot is flicked. Usually between the partner's legs.
A TIEMPO (timing) On time - tiempo
ADAGGIO (timing) Slow - half tiempo
VARIACION (timing) Fast - twice as fast as tiempo
AFUERA DE EJE Put female on Right leg and turn her. Start with both moving Left foot forward. Then the Male reaches in front and to the right next to the Female's inside right foot. She leans out to the right with his support and steps around his leg with her Left then reaches back to the left with her left. Then the male repeats.
APILE Tango Hug - very close
GIRO MILONGUERO Very tight Giro in confined spaces
QUINTO PASO 5th step - part of the Salida Basica (go out basic). When you are walking acostado with your partner, you can traspie, her feet cross, continue.
REVOTE Rebound - Hamaca is a type of Revote. Used for turning.
VALDOSA Reverse (Ivan turn). Using Hamaca to turn.
CADENCIA She uses 5th step - Quinto Paso.
BOLEA Man puts female on Right foot, then swings her Left leg back behind her and back through and in front of him.
EXTRA BOLEA Man steps left to Apertura female, he steps with his right between her legs to connect with her Left thigh. The man then rotates the female around to the left with his chest. (must keep back straight and keep bottom in). The woman then returns drawing with her foot. She can Ocho Adelante inside man, or Man can stop her, or Man can bring her to Gancha (and bounce) on his Right leg.
PUENTE Bridge - man steps away with female leaning on him. In combination with Bolea.
DESTAQUE Flick her - Right leg in between her legs. Open Left, Step Forward Right and diagonal through her legs, as your pecho turns her left. It flicks her around. Not hips, chest. This is difficult.
DIBUJANDO Woman drawing with her feet.
CHORREADA Type of Bolea - Bring her around and spill her.
YEITE A small composition of dance moves that one can pass on to others to incorporate in their arsenal.
LA DISONANTE Very Difficult Ending - Lift partner up and she rolls down in your arms. Don't drop her.
CALESITA Go around. Merry go round. A Giro is a Calesita.

Tango Notes

These are comments from the teacher that provide hints and guides to students when they are learning
= When you don't know what to do - Traspie
= Ocho Adelante to finish the Giro
= No broad base - keep feet and knees together. Bend the knees.
= Many points of inflection (ankles, knees, hips, lower back, shoulders, neck) increase stability.
= Man on the inside is better, because he can see where he is going and avoid bumping into other couples.
= Always dance Counter Clockwise.
= Do not pass people in front of you (not polite).
= Do not bump into people (not polite).
= Don't look down.
= Don't use muscle, use invitation!
= When dancing Tango - everyone looks! - stay elegant.
= Guapos & Gauchos.
= From the body not the feet.
= Man stand tall, don't fall forward. Important in Giro.
= 3 Movements:
1. Foreward, Back, Side.
2. Pivot (lift heel). Male or Female on one foot. Choose direction, take step. (Pivot, then open, 3 step. Calesita).
3. Standing Still - when done on purpose is also dancing. Always go from one step to the other with the music.

Tango Videos



A Short History of Argentine Tango

by James Stewart
Edinburgh Tango Society
(source Andreas Lehrke)

Although there are many legends and stories about the origins and development of tango, I will attempt to give an outline that is broadly accepted, and I have picked up from a variety of sources. Tango is a dance and music that originated in Buenos Aires at the turn of the century, developing in the melting pot of cultures that was Buenos Aires. Immigrants from Europe - Italy, Spain, Britain, Poland, Russia, Germany and every other European country mixed with earlier generation of settlers of all races from other South American countries. They brought their native music and dances with them, and continued to assimilate new innovations from abroad. Traditional polkas, waltzes and mazurkas were mixed with the popular Habanera from Cuba to form a new dance and music, the milonga, which was popular in the 1870s . This was known as the "poor man's Habanera". The word tango was used at the time to describe various music and dance, for example the "tango andaluza" from Spain in the 1880s. The black population had their dances, the candombe, a mix of many different african traditions, and the place they danced and the dance itself have also been referred to as tango.

Buenos Aires was very poor city, with almost penniless immigrants coming to make their fortunes on the plains of Argentina or Uruguay, failing and ending up in the cities. In the early years of the 1900 2 million immigrants arrived in BsAs from Europe, 1/2 from Italy, 1/3 from Spain. Many were single men, hoping to earn enough to return to Europe, or bring their family or buy a bride from Europe. A poor, desperate, male population bred crime, brothels, gangsters, and the tango! The generally accepted history has the tango dance originating from the minor toughs, the compadritos, with nothing to their name except macho pride, imitating the dances of the African population, as the danced on the street. Thus, the much wilder candombe was mixed with the milonga to form the early Tango. Men danced together - there were few women, but tango inevitably moved to where they could be found - in the brothels, and it is said that the women could chose their clients by their dancing skill. The man had three dances to prove himself! In the mysterious way that popular culture develops, this dance and music moved up the social scale, met more refined cousins coming down, and was picked up by the sons of the rich who preferred to send their time in the less salubrious parts of their city.

By 1910 the rich sons of Argentina were making their way to Paris, centre of the cultural and entertainment world. They introduced the tango into a society eager for innovation, and not entirely averse to the risqué nature of this import, especially as taught by the dashing, rich latin boys who brought it. In 1913 the Tango had spread from St Petersburg to New York, not without controversy, and had become an international phenomena, even if its heart was still on the Rio de la Plata and the cities of BsAs and Montevideo. The Argentine upper classes who had shunned the tango were now forced into accepting it, because it was fashionable in Paris. Hollywood glamorised the tango to a mass audience, with Valentino as the most famous if completely inauthentic tangoing gaucho. At this point a long conflict started between tango as the expression of the soul and experience of the Buenos Aires resident- the Porteño, and this being inaccessible to anyone else, and a universally practiced and meaningful music and dance.

The First World War was a hiatus to the development, but during this time the first films were made, the tango lyric and music developed and recordings made. After the War the tango was again taken up again and became the dominant music and dance of the fun seeking and culturally anarchic 20s. The development of tango in this period reflects its emergence from the small venues, where sex and machismo were the everyday, to become a mass entertainment, danced by thousands of respectable citizens of prospering cities: Argentina was now one of the richest countries in the world. The dance was refined to the slick and elegant 'salon' style, the lyrics of the songs slowly moved from lamenting the poverty and loneliness of the immigrant men, to more generic love songs for the mass market. However, many lyrics played on nostalgia for the "good old days" before the neighbourhoods were cleaned up. Stars were made, singers, notably Gardel, and many other musicians, dancers, lyricists and composers. They were not only famous in Argentina and Uruguay, but travelled the world.

By 1930 it was out of fashion in Europe, but in Argentina the Golden Age was starting, with a flourishing in music, poetry and culture, and the tango came to be a fundamental expression of Argentine culture. The depression also changed the character of tango, and the lyrics reflected the renewed poverty and social divisions in the country. However the Golden Age lasted through the 40s and 50s, and this is the period of its greatest development and expression.

Tango changed with political and economic conditions, and we can hear this in the music. In poorer times, orchestras were smaller, and as political repression developed, lyrics become political too, until they started to be banned as subversive. The dance style changed, as large salons closed , and dancers were once again forced into small venues with less space. Tango eventually went out of fashion, crushed like many other dances, by the arrival of America swing and rock and roll, and was repressed by the nationalist government . From the 1960s to the 1980s it was only danced and played by a few of the older generation and enthusiasts.

The current revival dates from the early 1980s, when a stage show Tango Argentino toured the world creating a dazzling version of the tango and a romantisisation of the early and golden ages of tango. This is said to have stimulated the revival in the US, Europe and Japan. With the arrival of democracy in Argentina, and a search for a national culture, tango interest was revived, and although still ignored by many young people, there is enough interest to supply the world with a steady stream of hopeful tango teachers and a market for musicians to rediscover and reinvent the music.

The 1990s is again a period of renewal, of tension between the international and the argentine, between a desire to recreate the Golden Age, and another to evolve it in the light of modern culture and values. There is an explosion of interest around the world with places to dance in many cities and towns, and a growing circuit of international festivals

Tango Music

Some people see tango as primarily a dance - a connection between two people in a beautiful pas de deux. However most will say tango is the music, and the lyrics, and the dancers' interpretation of that music, and the sentiments it expresses. Getting to know the music is part of learning tango. Learning both the general style and the individual compositions and recordings enables you to dance with much more confidence and enjoyment.

The classic tango orchestra or 'orquesta típica' is made up of bandoneons, violins, piano, and bass. The guitar is also a common instrument, especially accompanying singers, notably Gardel. Other instruments are added viola, cello, saxophone, lute, flute electric guitar, drums in various styles. The Bandoneon, perhaps the key to the tango sound, is a large and fiendishly complicated concertina, originally developed in Germany for churches that could not afford organs.

In the first years of the century the first tangos were written e.g. El Choclo', La Morocha, and were big hit and best sellers of piano scores. Recording came in in the 1910s and older songs, like La Cumparsita were arranged as tangos. Gardel recorded his first tango Mi Noche Triste in 1917, and became an enormous force in popularising tango.

Early orchestras (pre 1920s) include Firpo, Fresedo and Canaro. In the 1920s two streams of music developed: the 'traditional', exemplified by Canaro, which concentrated on the rhythm and dancability, and the 'evolutionary', led by Julio de Caro and his brothers who explored harmony, melody, the fraseo, and created the modern sextet. These two steams continued into the Golden Age of Tango in the 1940s and 50s The most popular bandleaders and composers in the traditional stream are Canaro, Tanturi and D'Arienzo (the 'King of Rhythm'), Biagi and De Angelis. The evolutionary or 'decareano' school was developed by Troilo, one of the greatest composers and bandoneon players. In the deareano school we also find Carlo Di Sarli, Osvaldo Pugliese, Miguel Caló, Salgan, Gobi, Piazzola, Francini and Pontier.

As the music developed it became less rigidly rhythmic, more harmonic and melodic, and the hallmark tension and release was developed. The fraseo, the soloist (or soli) bending the melody across the underlying rythmn, became a central part of tango. Many interwoven layers of music can be picked out and danced to each with their own rhythm and feeling. However the orchestras, who knew which side their bread was buttered generally kept the underlying time steady, except for maybe catching the dancers out sometimes with breaks and unexpected endings. The 'traditional' orchestras (e.g. Canaro, D'Arienzo) played it simple and pleased the dancers. Composers and players, in the Careno school such as Pugliese, Salgan and Piazzola were more interested in the music, and played for listening. Their music takes the tension and release further, the time changes, they introduce spectacular pauses and accelerations. Their music was originally shunned by dancers, who thought it impossible, and it is still extremely difficult to dance to. Of all modern tango musicians, Piazzola is the best known, and the person who tackled it musically, introducing new sounds and concepts. Born in New York, and trained classically, his music is often completely un-danceble in a salon, but he never intended it to be.

Different tango music tends to suggest different styles of dance when we hear it. Although many of the dance styles that were original danced when it was compose are now lost, with our mixed and reinvented tango we are able to interpret it. Some music suggests the use of cortes 'cuts' that reflect its strong rhythm, others are most flowing, while still others are full of tensions and accelerations. In the end it is up to the couple how they dance, but it is important , and more interestingly to really listen to the music, and not just dance the same all the time


Tango Shoes



Places and Times of Tango in Rio Cuarto

MONDAY: Habana Mix (Lamadrid 720). Nivel inicial 20.30 a 21.30 - Nivel avanzado: 21.30 a 22.30 - Prof: Lucas Gasse - Contactos: lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176.

TUESDAY: La Casa Azul (Pringles 68) Nivel inicial 21.00 hs.Prof: Melina Camarote y Fernanda Oviedo. Contactos: melinavcam@hotmail.com 054 0358 154 226546, o_mariafernanda@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 030677
Piaff (Sobremonte esquina La Rioja) Nivel inicial 21.00 hs.Prof: Edgardo "Lalo" Giuliani. Contactos: reallalotango@hotmail.com - 054 0358 154 262649.

WEDNESDAY: La Copla Arte Bar (Moreno esquina Mendoza) Nivel inicial y Avanzado 20.30 a 22.00- Prof: Lucas Gasse y Melina Camarote - Contactos: lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176, Melina - 054 0358 154 226546.

THURSDAY: Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto (Aula Taller de Arte - Campus Universitario) Nivel inicial e intermedio 14.00 a 16.00 hs. y Avanzado 1 y 2 de 16.00 a 18.00- Prof: Lucas Gasse y Melina Camarote - Contactos: Departamento de Arte dptoarte@rec.unrc.edu.ar - 054 0358 463 8002, lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176, Melina - 054 0358 154 226546.

SATURDAY:Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto (Aula Taller de Arte - Campus Universitario) Nivel Coreografico (para avanzado unicamente): 16.00 a 18.00- Prof: Lucas Gasse y Melina Camarote - Contactos: Departamento de Arte dptoarte@rec.unrc.edu.ar 054 0358 463 8002, lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176, Melina - 054 0358 154 226546

Miercoles: Milonga C Abierta: La Copla Arte Bar (Moreno esquina Mendoza) de 22.00 a 03.00 hs. Entrada gratuita - Contactos: lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176.
Domingos: Milonga / Show : La Copla Arte Bar (Moreno esquina Mendoza) de 21.30 a 01.30 hs. Entrada: $10 - Contactos: lucasgasse@yahoo.com.ar - 054 0358 154 247176.

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