One of the three canonical "genres" of Tango music,
vals is a graceful rhythm in 3/4 time and
true to its European origins, it retains a playful swirling quality
that invites us to catch and flow with the sound of the music
by dancing some circles of our own.
But unlike Old World forms with their predictable patterns, strict
synchronization and standardized "steps," dancing vals
in Tango is a paradigm of New World individuality and vitality.
While the music of vals lends a continuous and regular
shape to our wider shared soundscape, in Tango this common frame
of reference serves us more as a backdrop and starting point for
an investigation of movements, feelings and creative expression
that are uniquely our own.
Among the many challenges of dancing vals is how
to artfully reconcile our encounter with these two contributing
factors the swirling regularity of the music and Tango's
deeply improvisational nature in ways that expand upon
the potential of both aspects, and help us deepen our experience
of the dance:
- How do we add the kind of beguiling curves, turns and rotations
that vals music invites us to explore ... yet
fit them seamlessly into a dance form that is renowned for a
much more linear idea: its famous "walk?"
- Do we put our focus entirely on the strong beat and let the
music cascade around us ... or can we explore the softer interbeats
the two's and three's of the one-two-three
and still keep pace with the flavor and pulse of the
- And how do we connect these ideas to what we already know
in ways that let us improvise in the moment, share space with
our neighbors, and keep in full communication with our partners?
In this 90-minute "Turning on a Dime" workshop,
we will take a closer look at these issues and more uncovering
some of the mechanics that inform rotational situations in Tango,
catching and expressing the playful energy of vals
music, and coordinating our sensitivity and imagination with that
of our partners in ways that help us float and soar on the dance