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Tango is fascinating, intoxicating, and totally addictive. Every one of us that dances the Tango has embarked on a love affair that will last all our lives.
We all long for that perfect dance. Those of us that have felt it can't wait to feel it again - the moment when everything is right, when the two bodies merge seamlessly into one couple, when the music leads, and we have the power to do anything.
We go to class after class, and read everything we can, looking for the secrets that will help us find that perfect dance again. And yet how frustrating that process can be! In class after class we are shown steps, as though another combination of movements of our feet is all we need to take our dancing to a higher level.
Christine Denniston, author of the Dancing Tango series, says, "I have had people come to me for lessons practically in tears, frustrated and confused, trying to understand what it is that they need to do to be a pleasure to dance with.
"Even the basic step can cause huge amounts of confusion. I was once teaching a class on the magic of the basic step to a group of intermediates, and one of the students said, 'I've been dancing Tango for six months - why has no one ever told me this before!' He had suddenly understood what made even the most fundamental movements a joy for both the follower and the leader."
As a foreign woman living in Buenos Aires, entirely for the purpose of deepening her knowledge of the Tango, Christine was in a hugely privileged position. She could dance regularly with great leaders from every part of Buenos Aires, dancing every style, no matter who they did or didn't talk to! Not only that, but Christine is an exceptionally fine leader herself, and she also had the opportunity to dance with some great followers in Buenos Aires.
She says, "I was always very careful of where I led in Buenos Aires, as I was afraid that the older men would not like to see a woman leading, but time and again, a fabulous dancer who had been dancing since the 1940s would come up to me and ask me to lead him! He would tell me that he wanted to show me something, and would start to teach me in the way that he had been taught as a boy in the prácticas in the Golden Age."
In fact, Christine became a frequent visitor at a private práctica held in a garage at the north-western corner of Buenos Aires, where she was usually the only woman in a group of men who had begun to dance in the 1940s.
"Tango doesn't have to be confusing," Christine says. "In the Golden Age everyone in Buenos Aires could dance the Tango. I've danced with great dancers, average dancers and bad dancers, and I can honestly tell you that there are simple techniques which even the not-so-good dancers from the Golden Age use that make them a joy to dance with, and make me want to keep coming back for more - and I learned from them what those techniques are."
During the terrible political turmoil that darkened Argentina between 1955 and 1983, the Tango went underground, almost no one learned how to do the dance, and the traditional methods of learning were lost.
"The difficulty Tango dancers face today, whether they are complete beginners or professionals, European, American or even Argentine, is trying to piece together again the skills of the dancers of the Golden Age. In our honest attempts to understand, and in their honest attempts to explain to us something that is as natural to them as breathing, sometimes we get things just a little bit wrong. I know how hard it was for me to get rid of some of the habits I had from many years of dance training, and people that taught me my first steps - before I went to Buenos Aires - naturally had problems separating the techniques they had used for other dances in the past from the techniques that make Tango unique, joyful, and as easy as breathing."
In the Dancing Tango series Christine presents those techniques that are unique to Tango, and that make it such a joy, clearly and simply. Her students say about her classes:
"natural and organic... this is that way I want to dance!"
"Christine focuses on the intimate connection between the tango partners and shows how to keep that connection throughout every move. This means that the dance is effortless and enjoyable for both partners."
"makes you fall in love with this wonderful dance all over again"
and even complete beginners find volume 1 Unlocking the Mysteries
"very helpful and clear"
"attractive and inspiring"
Volume 1 is available now. For more information about Dancing Tango - Unlocking the Mysteries click here.
Future volumes will be available soon. If you would like us to let you know about them as they are launched, please join our mailing list.