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(2020-05-25 05:52)
Many people think of dancing to music only as stepping on the beat, but there is much more to it. Dancing with cadencia, for example, is also a part of the equation. Cadencia refers to the swing of the body in correspondence with the rhythm and speed of the music. In other words, dancing to music involves not only timing the steps, but timing the swings of the body also. Cadencia is one of the key techniques in tango that is essential to the dance but often being overlooked.

To learn to do cadencia, you first need to learn to swing your body. Most people don't know how to swing their leg, much less to swing their body. To swing the leg, you need to lift your hip until your free leg hangs loosely and can swing freely like a pendulum. You need to keep the knee and ankle of the free leg straight while swinging it, so the leg looks long and graceful.

Imagine, now, that your leg does not start from the hip but from the chest, th
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(2020-05-22 06:12)
Dancing tango is like having a conversation with someone. You tell her how you intend to move. She tells you how she agrees to follow. You adapt your lead to her follow. She accommodates her follow to your lead. The silent exchanges of information - intentions, feelings, interpretations, feedback and adjustments, etc., make it possible for the two to dance together as one unified body. Good dancing is the result of good communication.

In order to communicate, you need to speak the same language. If you speak a different language, or use self-invented words, or talk with an accent, it would be hard for others to understand. Not speaking the same language is a big problem in our tango. Different leaders often lead the same step differently. Different followers often follow the same lead differently. The leader complains that the follower does not follow properly. The follower complains that the lead is unclear. That happens often because people do
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The more I think about the challenges that tango is facing, the more I feel the need to draw a distinction between social tango and performance tango. People who promote performance tango often say, 'Why draw a line? They are all tango. The tango is one.' But that is not true. Social tango and performance tango are different dances that serve different purposes. They are different in almost every aspects, including appearance, embrace, connection, feels, steps, techniques, lead/follow methods, and philosophies. Any definition describing one dance automatically excludes the other. In fact, people who only have learned one dance are not able to dance the other dance. Instead of palming performance tango off onto beginners, it is better to tell the truth, so beginners would know what they actually get into.

Social tango is a popular dance. It is a simple and user-friendly dance suited to the tastes, needs and abilities of the ordinary people. It is danced
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(2020-05-15 10:20)
When people comment on someone's tango as gymnastics or acrobatics, they are referring to a lack of romanticism in the dance. Gymnastics is an athletic exercise involving skilled physical movements to build muscles and strength. Acrobatics is an exhibition of physical feats, such as flipping in the air, balancing upside down on one arm while doing the splits, bending the body 180 degrees backwards, etc. Such exercises are designed to show what the human body is capable of for sportive or entertaining purpose. They are difficult to do and are not intended to be comfortable and romantic.

Tango, on the other hand, is a social dance that expresses the emotions of the music and the beauty of the body through movements. It emphasizes the humanistic and artistic aspects such as feelings, music, beauty and harmony of the dance rather than the physical aspects such as strength, speed and tricks of the steps. What matters is how soulful, graceful, coherent and h
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(2020-05-11 07:10)
Laymen may not think of tango as a language but in fact tango is a language, which can be understood, taught, learned and used to convey intentions, feelings, musicality and movement traits such as step type, size, variation, direction, rhythm, speed, syncopation, pause, etc. Those who know the language can communicate with each other, identify each other's intentions and feelings and move harmoniously and beautifully as one unified body. Those who don't know the language are not able to express and respond to each other, and they feel awkward and frustrated in the dance.

Like any language, tango has its own alphabet, vocabulary, grammar and composition. The body parts, including the head, the arms, the hands, the torso, the waist, the hips, the legs and the feet, can be seen as the alphabet of tango. We use these elements to make steps, which are the vocabulary of tango. Musicality and communication are like the grammar, according to which steps are i
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Raul Cabral is a tango master, a brilliant thinker and teacher of the milonguero style of tango. He published a series of essays on http://www.raultangocabral.com.ar (The site is no longer available) . The following is a brief summary of his key message on achieving synchronization through proper embrace.

The most important qualities of a dancer have nothing to do with steps. What are essential for the leader are his musicality and his ability to drive the follower. What are essential for the follower are her abilities to be weightless and to synchronize the movement.

The leader is the driver in tango, who uses his body to affect the movement of the body of his partner. Every step of the leader should be expressed through his partner. Driving does not mean that he moves and waits for his partner to follow. Tango is synchronization, or moving exactly at the same time. This suggests that the word 'follow' is an incorre
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(2020-05-05 22:20)
Pluralism posits that the world is composed of many entities independent of each other, in contrast to monism which views the seemly independent parts as connected fragments of an integrated whole. Pluralism is used by individualists to underscore the individuality, independence, liberty and sovereignty of the individual, and to promote individual freedom, personal rights, diversity, unconventionality, alternative life style, LGBTQIAPK, same-sex marriage, multiculturalism, etc., against the monist view regarding the individuals as interdependent parts of a coherent human society, emphasizing unity, connection, integration, harmony, common values, common interests, common cause, responsibility, and the well-being of the society as a whole. 

Aristotle said, 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' Before modern times, monism was the dominant philosophy throughout human history. Early humans understood the importance of the unity and coopera
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(2020-05-04 09:57)
Tango can be danced in many ways. For example, it can be danced in a virtual embrace where the two partners dance around each other at a distance without actually touching each other. The man leads the woman with a visual signal from his torso to show how he wants her to move and the woman follows the visual lead to carry out the step. A visual lead is difficult to perceive because it cannot be felt and must be seen. The difference between different signals often is so subtle that it is hard to discern by the eye. It's quite challenging for the man to send a clear visual signal and for the woman to apprehend it. Also, the virtual embrace lacks the physicality, comfort and sensation of the physical embrace. It disables movements that require physical support. Despite these limits, the virtual embrace discloses an important distinction between lead and follow: the former is to plot the dance and the latter is to beautify the dance. (See The Gender Roles in Tango.) It also reveals th
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(2020-04-30 15:57)
Music plays a critical role in tango. Lousy, unfamiliar, outlandish or non-tango songs never produced a beautiful tango. Well-performed tangos are all danced to excellent classic tango music, which is an inspiration indispensable for bringing the dancer's skills into full play. Good classic tango music excites the dancers, stirs up their emotions, lifts their spirit, kindles their creativity, generates synergism, and leads to what the Argentinians called duende, an elated state in which the dancers perform exceptionally well. Without good music, there is little scope for even a master's abilities.

There are tens of thousands of tango songs available on the market. Only a fraction of which are good, danceable songs and the majorities are either mediocre in quality or for listening and not dancing. The CD makers understand their business. If they place all good, danceable songs in one basket nobody will buy the rest, so they mix the good and the junk tog
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We love tango in part because tango is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with that. People pursue beauty for the same reason that plants bloom. It is natural. It pleases the eye and attracts mates. It provides better chances for living things to reproduce. Beauty is a valuable quality for those who own it. Consequently, it is admired, worshiped, idolized and imitated. Cosmetics, fashions, hair styling, face-lift surgery, silicon implant and many other methods are developed to make people look beautiful. Billions and billions are spent each year for it. As a result, beauty now is no longer natural and real. It becomes artificial, perverted and delusive.

When we are obsessed with superficial things, the substance is often overlooked and problems occur. A beautiful woman may have advantages, but at the same time she may also have disadvantages. She may be spoiled, arrogant and unprepared for the tough realities in real life. She may demand more and be har
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