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Coronavirus and Tango Elegante classes

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the indeterminate nature of when ‘lock downs’ may fully end, we are foregoing the Autumn/Winter Seasons. Now we have the first of the vaccines being made available and rolling out in the UK, I’m finally tempted to start arranging class dates for maybe Easter onwards, although I still have a feeling that random lock-downs may still be a feature for the whole of 2021 until enough people have been vaccinated or achieve natural immunity to create a permanent break in the transmission of the virus.

Under current UK lock-down rules it seems that the areas I’m likely to restart classes in (Watford and Pinner) are moving to Tier 3 soon which essentially means no classes just yet, but then we have a proposed 5 day ‘lock-down holiday’ over Christmas. Good idea or bad idea? Will infection rates soar again (probably)? Will the NHS become overloaded with new cases? Maybe, maybe not. It seems that not much of the Nightingale ‘pop-up’ hospital capacity was ever used this year, and influenza death rates have plummeted (because people have already died of Covid instead?) so maybe NHS capacity won’t be under as much strain this winter as last spring. Who knows?

It still remains very uncertain as to when enough restrictions could be sensibly removed to make face-to-face tango with a relative stranger viable again. Will we all be required to take one of the vaccines? Our UK Prime Minister says no one will be coerced… Even if that’s true I don’t think I will be voluntarily taking the Pfizer vaccine (if offered) since it seems to have adverse reactions with some allergy sufferers (I’m gluten intolerant). Will we be required to download the Track-n-trace phone app, which for some people would imply an erosion of civil liberties? For some things like travel, that may be compulsory because of other nations requirements even if not our own.

I’m sure you all out there have your own opinions about the vaccines and tracking apps, whether they’re safe, and whether you’ll use one or not, and what you think the way out of lock-down may be. It’s up to each of us to judge what we feel is safe and sensible for us.

It may be the case that the tango community may never be able to get back to real live face-to-face tango until either everyone has faced the challenge of the illness and has developed immunity, or one or more of the current  potential vaccines has been shown to have no medium to long term side effects and has been rolled out.

For now you can continue to review the proposed future schedule by looking at our events page. (There currently isn’t a schedule for the remainder of 2020 or early 2021. I will talk to venues about next year and see what they think about potential start dates).

In the meantime, with very little opportunity to dance at class or milonga venues, we can at least all improve our musicality by listening to lots more tango, vals, and milonga tunes. Those of you out there who can already tango to some level might also like to explore the subject of ‘visualisation’ which is a technique of imagining yourself performing a task perfectly. Apparently practising with visualisation (even if you don’t have a partner) is about 70% as effective as physically practising… hmm…

You may be aware that I am writing a series of articles (with examples) on the structure of tango music and possible interpretation. I published a new one a couple of months ago, and I’m working on more hopefully to come out soon, so you may wish to study them while waiting for the tango world to start turning again.

All tango articles can be found by following the menu link at the top of the page.

If you have the space and a decent floor, you may also want to avail yourself of the many online classes and dance ‘events’ which are popping up on the web. It’s not quite the same as ‘in person’, and ideally to gain the maximum benefit you will need a partner, but it maybe enough to keep your tango going to some level or another. The tango community has to try stick together as much as possible until this crisis is over so a big thanks to all those teachers who have managed to move their activities online to keep the community alive.

This is definitely one situation where ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’, so try practise as much as you can, even if solo.

Please follow the Government advice and stay safe.

I look forward to seeing you soon.


Lounge Tango – Tango Salon

Christine and I have been lucky enough to continue dancing tango during lock-down, albeit in a much smaller space, so I thought I’d write this post relating our experience of ‘lounge tango’ (or tango salon), just to show that with a partner, there is tango life after milonga. What is lounge tango? Well for us … Continue reading “Lounge Tango – Tango Salon”

Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Eight

In the previous post on Musicality in Tango, we looked at the mixed rhythmic/lyrical style of Osvaldo Pugliese. In this post we travel a bit further along the time line to look at Astor Piazolla and his music. If you find early Piazolla from the 1940’s, then his orchestra will mainly be playing music composed … Continue reading “Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Eight”

Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Seven

In the previous post on Musicality in Tango, we looked at the rhythmical style of Juan D’Arienzo, and in this post we look at Osvaldo Pugliese. I finished off the previous post with the perhaps slightly unfair comment that Pugliese chucks in odd extra notes. This is not quite accurate. He was of course a … Continue reading “Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Seven”

Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Six

In the fifth part of this series I looked at a popular tune ‘Motivo Sentimental’ recorded by the Carlos Di Sarli Orchestra in 1944, and the lyrical style of Di Sarli in his hay day. As I promised in Part 5 (a long time ago – thanks for the ‘nudge’ to get part 6 written, … Continue reading “Musicality in Tango Dancing – Part Six”