Tuesday, 29 January 2008


I am not having a very good week so far (apart from the baby pictures, which always make me smile). I'm annoyed. I got a lot out of my regular class yesterday but I'm not writing about it while I'm annoyed.

So I'll just observe that Johanna has written her own version of the beginners' guide to tango. I love her bit on adornments, and why you shouldn't.

I made an executive decision quite early on not to bother with adornments until they started happening all by themselves. Only then would I pay the subject any attention. I still think that was the right decision, and I only do little ones. I'm gradually introducing variations and trying to increase the range of what I can make work.

The littlest one I do is with my eyelashes. It's tickly.


Anonymous said...

Sigh - how I dislike blog entries by people explaining how amazing and advanced they are and how beginners should keep away and be grateful....

msHedgehog said...

Well, that's good news because that's not what it says. It says I was a beginner a very short time ago, and I made a decision I'm glad I made which worked out well for me.

koolricky said...

Well, I think tango is sooooo complicated for beginners that adornments are just unnecessary at this stage. If you can't walk properly (which is the core technique to get in tango) why should you bother with adornments (why would you buy a plasma TV if you don't have a house yet).
As for the anonymous comments I guess that more advanced people can only suggest to more beginner people not to incur on the common mistakes. It's up to the beginner to choose!

tangobaby said...

One thing that Ney Melo teaches his beginning students is that you should start learning adornments when you start learning tango. Nothing super fancy, just little taps.

His thinking is that once you've learned the basics and dance relatively well, it's harder to introduce adornments later. Because you have to learn to do them in time with the music and as part of the dance without interrupting your partner or messing things up.

I have to say that I do see the value in this method, in my case at least. I am having the hardest time incorporating adornments into even just a basic walk after never having done them at all for years. It's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. I am like an old dog trying to learn new tricks. :-(

But I'm glad to know that your way is working well for you.

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how in tango there is never one right way to do things. I never seem to see many adornments/decorations for men .. is that too taboo? As a leader, sometimes the music just seems to ask for something a little more spicy!

tangobaby said...

Dear anonymous,

I don't know if this counts as an adornment for men, but my teacher Roberto dances in a way where he is always touching or playing with the follower's feet.

I can never see what exactly he is doing when he dances with me, but it is very playful and it never interferes with the dance. All I can say is that he is the only person I've ever danced with who does that, and it's a total blast when he does.

msHedgehog said...

They're not taboo at all, what I would call adornments for men are quite common in my experience. I expect it depends on what you consider an adornment - I'm thinking of little taps, extra steps and things that add to the musicality. But some people do a lot more than others, I think a lot of people probably don't do them because it's difficult to do it without creating noise in the lead and getting results you didn't intend.