Tango Composer Astor Piazzolla Biography

Living in Argentina, Vicente Nonino Piazzolla and Asuta Manetti (both of Italian descent) welcomed their son Astor Piazzolla into this world in the year of 1921. While he was born in Argentina, Astor spent most of his early years of life in New York City. This is where his love of music began to bloom. Enjoying Jazz and the music of J.S. Bach, his love and knowledge of this art became his passion. His father found a bandoneon in a New York pawnshop and purchased it for his young son. This seemed to be one of the most significant steps in molding the musician that Astor Piazzolla became. In addition to his music, he also excelled in multiple languages including French, English, Italian and Spanish.

Returning to Argentina in 1937, he found tango to be the reigning style of music. Continuing his love of playing the bandoneon, he and his various ensembles performed in a multitude of nightclubs throughout Argentina. Quickly becoming known as the best bandoneon player in Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzolla expanded his musical knowledge by studying under Alberto Ginastera. Covering a number of composers like Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel, he began to take from their excellence when composing his own music. That was until he met Nadia Boulanger. She quickly noticed his own magic and encouraged him to focus on his own style and talent leaving the others to theirs. In 1955, he organized the Octeto Buenos Aires and began playing his own style of tango.

Astor Piazzolla is well known in the music world for his contributions to the tango. He took elements from jazz and classical music, added them to tango and created Nuevo tango. As an accomplished composer and bandoneon player, he commonly performed his compositions adding electronic and acoustic sounds creating his unique form of music. While this new form of the tango was widely accepted in the United States and Europe, Argentina in general showed resistance to this change. Among some of his most notable pieces are Adios Nonino (written in 1959 in memory of his father), Libertango (written in 1974 symbolizing his liberation from the traditional tango), Oblivion as well as Milonga Del Angel. In 1990 he suffered a thrombotic event that eventually led to his death in Buenos Aires in 1992.

Choosing a Good Pair of Tango Shoes

I have three tips that I would like to share that will help you to choose a quality pair of tango shoes. Shoes that will not only be comfortable on the dance floor but gorgeous as well.

The first tip that I have for you is in regard to the material that the sole of a good pair of tango shoes is made out of. A pair of tango shoes with rubber or some other sort of bottom that will grip is flat out dangerous. When you are dancing the tango, you’ll be dancing side to side and backwards and forwards. The transition between some of those movements will be very fast and at times powerful. You don’t want shoes that will grip the dance floor. Believe it or not, you actually want your shoes to glide effortlessly across the hardwood.

If your feet are getting stuck on the floor, there are two things that will happen to you. First, your dancing will be jerky. Your tango moves won’t be fluent. But worse, you can injure yourself. If you are looking to make a quick change of direction your foot may grip the dance floor. Your foot holds firm the ground but your body keeps turning. Serious knee injuries happen this way that will prevent you from dancing for weeks while your body heals.

The second thing I want you to know about tango shoes is that you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap pair of shoes made with inferior materials, then your body will pay for it. Especially your feet. An inexpensive pair of shoes will have a very long break-in period before they become comfortable enough for you to dance hours on end without discomfort. A good pair of shoes made with high quality materials will have nearly no break-in time and be ready to wrap your feet in comfort nearly out of the shoe box.

Finally, make sure the heel that is on the tango shoes that you buy have a proper heel for dancing. A heel that is too large will easily trip you up while you are dancing across the stage. A heel that is too small won’t offer your ankles the support that they need while you are gracefully moving across the dance floor. Lack of ankle support leads to ankle injuries that can prevent you from dancing for days at a time.

Attention Ballroom Dancers, Have You Tried The Argentine Tango?

The Argentine Tango is actually a classic dance which emanated on the roads of Buenos Aires during the completion of the 19th century. This dance has actually developed in appeal over time with both social and professional dancers. The music is both varied and also more contemporary than the usual ballroom tango tracks thanks to added components and instruments, which is actually why at some get togethers the Argentine Tango alone is danced all evening.

The movements consist mainly of walks with the feet making close contact with the floor at all times. The follower normally walks with her legs outside of her partners. It is danced counterclockwise around the floor, and cutting across the middle of the floor is strongly frowned upon.

Argentine Tango is a bit different, a bit dangerous and a bit more exciting than the normal tango. The reason for this is that the woman must allow the man to utterly ‘control her body.’ It is danced in an embrace which can vary from wide at arms length to a very close chest on chest.

Apart from having to balance herself perfectly with his frame, she has to feel the slightest hint of him stepping forward, so that she can shoot her corresponding foot backwards and be ready for any sudden changes.

The lady can occasionally choose to decorate him with her foot or leg, but mostly she is his mirroring puppet. This I know won’t suit a lot of strong-willed woman. It’s like he is doing all the talking for once.

Some woman will struggle to come to terms with this imbalance, but this type of connection is very necessary to allow for the correct execution of the Argentine Tango.

With the right partner the Argengine Tango can be extremely sexy as well as strangely spiritual. The dancers have to give the audience the impression that they have been lovers for ages.

In Buenos Aires it is the custom to have milongas or gatherings where the Argentine Tango is the dance of the evening. There are however a few rules you need to follow if attending one of these Milongas.

Firstly you have to dance with a partner for at least three songs, even if he dances like a ‘hefalump.’ Woman are never allowed to ask the men to dance. Men tend to try and avoid rejection by simply looking at you and jerking their heads towards the dance floor if they want to dance with you.

Whatever way you choose, the Argentine Tango might just be the dance for you, and if you enjoy ballroom dancing, then you simply have to give it a whirl.

Quebec Tango Lottery Odds and Prize Payouts

If you live in La Belle Provence, you have probably heard of the Quebec Tango lottery game. I want to tell you that, because of the odds of winning and the prize payouts, I think that this is the best lotto game in the province.

First, let me start off by saying that the top prize in Quebec Lottery’s Tango game is $1 million. Now, there are games, such as Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49, that have much bigger prizes. But that’s not why I think Tango is great. The odds of winning the jackpots in the other games are really high. In Tango, the odds are a relatively good 1-in-2.3-million. And, the prize payout, while not as high as Lotto Max and 6/49, are great, considering the odds.

Tango draws once every week in Quebec, every Friday. It costs $2 to play. Aside from the top prize of a million dollars, there are other prizes as well. The second prize in the game has a payout of $50,000 and the odds of winning that are approximately 1-in-256,000. The third prize has a payout of $1,000 and the odds of winning that are approximately 1-in-12,000. There are other smaller prizes as well. The odds of winning any prize in Tango are 1-in-8.

The Quebec Tango lottery game is a great alternative to the big jackpot games, if only because the odds are much better. After all, wouldn’t it be better to at least have a shot at winning something rather that virtually no chance of winning a huge jackpot?

Tango in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has made a name for itself as one of the most exciting cities in the World. It is not difficult to see why. With its charming architecture and rich history, it is an absolute must see for any intrepid traveller.

Buenos Aires is also the home of The Tango, and Tango dancers can be found throughout the city, even using street corners and pavements as their stage. Every form of the remarkable dance and activity related to it can be found in Buenos Aires. Tango is so interwoven into the fabric of the city that you find it everywhere. Television, movies, magazines, the Tango culture is prevalent everywhere. If it is the history of the passionate dance you would like to learn or indeed the moves themselves, it is certainly possible in Buenos Aires.

Tango Clubs are popular and are located everywhere. It is not hard to find a Tango club if you fancy trying out a few steps and watching as the pros take to the floor. You will be sure to pick up some great tips and steps to help you master the art of Tango dancing.

If it is more of a spectator role you wish to take, then how about catching a show whilst visiting the city. There are Theatres such as the Recoleta Cultural Center which holds Tango shows and performances every week. Built in 1732, it was originally a convent connected to the Basílica del Pilar and couldn’t make for a nicer setting to watch some Tango carried out by the professionals. Even restaurants often entertain their customers with Tango performances, so you can combine the delights of a nice meal and a drink with a show.

Informal Tango group classes are offered throughout the city which do not involve scheduling or regular commitment. These are a fantastic way for the traveller to learn a few steps on an informal basis whilst meeting other would-be dancers in this remarkable city.

Tango Your Way to Good Health

Everyone knows that ballroom dancing is a fun form of exercise, and that dancing the Tango is particularly fun. Did you know that not only is dancing the Tango a great way to lose weight and look good, it has numerous other health benefits as well?

The Tango, which originated in Argentina, is a sultry and sexy partner dance, one that was originally danced in Argentina’s brothels. It moved into mainstream popularity, and has become a sensation. There are two main styles of competitive Tango dancing: American Tango and International Tango.

Dancing the Tango can do many things to improve your overall health. For one thing, dancing the Tango, or any style of dance for that matter, helps improve your respiratory functions.

If you are looking for a way to improve your posture, look no further than dancing the Tango. When you take Tango lessons, your instructor will drill good posture into you, until it becomes second nature. If you want to learn how to practice perfect posture before you begin your Tango lessons, here is a great method: stand or sit up straight; shrug your shoulders up towards your ears; bring your shoulders back; relax your shoulders. You should now be in perfect posture.

In addition to creating better posture, dancing the Tango can also help to improve your balance. When learning the Tango, students are learning intricate footwork, which requires balance, so, even if you don’t realize it, your balance will improve with each lesson. Many people say that after only a few weeks of lessons, they have noticed a marked improvement in their balance, and are more confident of their footing when they are out in public.

Dancing the Tango has even been known to help Parkinson’s patients. This condition often causes patients to have difficulties with balance and walking. In some studies, Parkinson’s patients have been divided into two groups, with one group doing regular exercise for a specified period of time, and the other dancing the Tango. These studies have shown that the group that Tango’d found more improvement than those who did the regular exercises.

Don’t forget your sexual health! Not necessarily physical, but the emotional side. Dancing the Tango is incredibly sensual, and if you and your partner (your significant other, or maybe the partner you met at your dance class…wink, wink) want to try something new to spice things up, there’s nothing much spicier than the Tango to get you in the mood!

So, as you can see, dancing the Tango is not only a fun and sensual way to exercise, it is a really awesome way to improve your health, and it doesn’t even seem like work! You will lose weight, gain muscle tone, breathe better, walk taller, and you balance will improve. What more can you ask for, just from one little style of dance?

Imagine You Were a Tango Teacher – Advantages of Tango Holidays and Lessons in a Small Group

Asking yourself where to go for a tango holiday or where to take lessons of this beautiful dance, being an Argentine Tango dancer mainly you have two options. Visiting a big festival with hundreds of participants or learning at a Tango holiday in a small group.

Big festivals certainly offer more distractions, and one can meet more people to socialize.

What however are the advantages you have, participating in a Tango workshop in a small group

Some advantages are obvious for everybody.

Teachers have enough time to care for every participant, giving advice individually. Participants have the possibility to ask their tango teachers at once when they haven’t understood something

Classes in the familiar atmosphere of a small group however offer advantages you might not realize at first thought.

Just imagine being not a participant of the tango workshop but a teacher. Imagine you would teach at a big festival.

In the morning from 9:30 to 11:00 o’clock maybe Tango intermediate level. After that Tango intensive workshop with “sacadas”. From 2pm Vals Cruzado for beginners and at 4pm Vals Cruzado intermediate level with “giros”. After 6pm Milonga Traspié until… and so on, and so on…

All that during two, three days with changing participants, the biggest part of them you see in one of your Tango lessons only once, maybe two times if you´re lucky.

Let´s assume you are a good Tango teacher not yet dulled by traveling and teaching at all the different festivals, seeing all the new faces. Do you think you can do justice to all the participants attending your classes?

There are many teachers who really do their best. Yet as a participant do you assume, an instructor at a big event, can give you the best tuition, having to cope every day with lots of new people, with their smaller and bigger problems and their different dancing levels?

And what about the time when the lesson is over. Do the instructors still have time and energy to talk with you. Can they answer the questions the participants still might have, while the participants of the next class already are waiting impatiently.

Maybe the biggest advantage a small workshop offers is the abundance of time everybody has.

The teachers have a full week to concentrate exclusively on the participants.

They are able to perceive individual strength and weak points and help everybody to dance better.

Another advantage is that there is no next group when your lesson is over. There is lots of time to answer questions, which pop up in your mind after the class, to chat, to explain…

And the teachers don’t leave once the class is over. They are available, maybe at the pool or during the meals.

What do you think? Do you learn better, quicker and with less stress in the familiar atmosphere of a small class. I certainly do.

By the way, I don’t say you shouldn’t go to big Tango festivals. It can be fun and another welcome opportunity to dance this sensual Argentine dance.

When it comes to getting results from the teaching however, you probably should not expect to much, when you attend a workshop where 20 couples or more are considered a “small class”

Wolfgang Sandt

Wolfgang Sandt Sculptor, stone mason, painter and tango teacher Via Campagna 17 Castel Rigone 06065 Passignano sul Trasimeno (PG) Tel/Fax 075 845457 Cell 349 0764 009 Wolfgang lives and works as free artist near Munich, Germany, and Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy. Apart of being a sculptor He is as well tango dancer and teacher. He has been dancing Argentine Tango since 1994 learning from the worlds best tango dancers and teachers. He gives Argentine Tango lessons at Villa La Rogaia in Umbria, Italy focussing on the understanding of the music, on the harmony with the partner and the other couples on the dance floor and the joy of dancing rather than memorizing steps.

Dance Argentina’s Tango In Buenos Aires – 5 Lessons About This Sensual Dance

Being deeply attached to Argentina’s idiosyncrasy, most precisely to the soul of Buenos Aires – the cosmopolitan European-like capital of Argentina -, tango is now danced everywhere in the world, though there might not be a better place to dance it than in the many typical ballrooms of Buenos Aires’s neighborhoods.

Wherever you go, the music of tango immediately brings to people’s minds the name Argentina, a country full of natural and cultural treasures that cherishes a passion for tango that goes beyond all frontiers, cultures and languages. Every year thousands of international tourists of all ages come to Argentina to explore their beauties and learn Spanish, and when in Buenos Aires they cannot help themselves taking at least a couple of lessons and dance a tango!

Argentina’s tango has a language, a symbolism and a mystery that portrays the spirit of Buenos Aires’s people. Besides, if you happen to come to Buenos Aires, you can also learn Spanish and understand tango’s lyrics. The following first five lessons will give you an insight into this Buenos Aires’ dance.

Lesson 1: The first and most important thing about tango is how to embrace your partner. You might think there is nothing new to discover behind it. Yet embracing your partner the right way is one of the secrets of a good tango dance. Your embrace must be firm, but without pushing your partner. Your legs must be closed to each other, but without taking your partner’s breath away. Since your balance is in both of you, you should learn to communicate to enjoy the tango.

Lesson 2: Now we will learn the basic steps. There are eight beats in tango: One, two, three, four, five, and when changing to the fifth step the woman must lead all the weight of her body on her right foot, and then, with that same foot but changing the direction of her weight, she moves backwards, and you continue dancing: Six, seven and eight!

Lesson 3: Once you have learnt the basic steps, you need to know how to combine them in different steps and figures. In the eighth step there are two beats: One that lets you come in and the other that lets you come out. They go around the couple, and here the man can choose to give her partner enough space for her to move around, or accompany her movements.

Lesson 4: Synchronizing your movements is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of Argentina’s tango. To be successful, the man has to call his partner’s attention; otherwise he is invading her territory. Always remember that in tango, as in life, if you do not take your time to listen to your partner, what was meant as a dialogue may become a monologue.

Lesson 5: You are not going to learn any new step now. Before you continue, you should know quite well what you are doing. If you cannot understand what it means to dance Argentina’s tango, if you cannot feel its essence, no matter how well you dance, it will never be a real tango. Tango is danced by an embraced couple. You embrace your partner with your arms wide open and you surrender to your partner’s embrace. Argentina’s tango is about a corporal and affectionate dialogue.

Buenos Aires’ tango is more associated to a ballroom dance, and so Buenos Aires offers many traditional places where tourists can go and spend a wonderful night, tasting Argentina’s delicious meals and wines, and enjoying the company of a good live orchestra, while they learn Spanish in a great Buenos Aires’s atmosphere.

There are many novel tendencies nowadays as regards this dance. For example, some foreigners come to Buenos Aires and hire the services of a private tango dancer while some others profit from their travel to Argentina and join courses where they can learn Spanish and Tango at the same time. Buenos Aires is one of the cities most chosen for this purpose. Many young travelers wish to learn Spanish and immerse in the culture of Argentina since this is an only opportunity to spend some time in Buenos Aires, one of the most cultural dynamic capitals of the world, meet foreigners, learn Spanish in a Latin American environment, and dance tango as Argentina’s people do. So, Shall we dance a tango?

Visiting Buenos Aires Tango In Argentina

About a year ago my wife and I went to the movies to distract us from a difficult period in our lives. I had no way of knowing then that one day I would end up in a shoe shop in downtown Buenos Aires wearing a Carlos Gardel hat while strutting the tango snugly against various young Argentine women in tight clothes. And not just with my wife’s permission, but it was her brilliant idea in the first place.

Nothing much of interest was playing that hot summer night at our local movie Cinemaplex. But we could both agree to settle on a movie that had a picture of Richard Gere and lovely Jennifer Lopez on the billboard. It was called Shall We Dance.

I don’t like to dance but I don’t mind watching Mrs. (or is it Miss?) Lopez in tights. About half way through the movie I realized the degree of my wife’s enthrallment in Mr. Gere and the romanticized tale of Tango being presented in such a touching style. I was surprised when even I began to shed a tear at the end of the movie.

Tango. This was all my lovely wife could speak about. She researched it, rented tapes, bought shoes, and of course she made me sign up for tango lessons. To my disappointment, my tango teacher was not as exotic as Jennifer and I soon lost interest after my 4th class because I didn’t manifest into Richard Gere.

But my wife’s interest increased to the pitch of, “I want to go to Buenos Aires” on a daily basis. Finally I relented. A place I had never been, a language I had never spoken, and all because of a few dance steps I knew very little about.

I rented an apartment in San Telmo for 2 weeks at more than a third less than the cost of a hotel. After we paid the landlord, I unpacked and took a stroll around the neighborhood looking for tango. The first thing I noticed was the age of the architecture. It reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Wrought iron balconies and super sized windows. I saw about 5 interesting restaurants on my lap around my block as well as a few extraordinary women. I did not identify any immediate signs of tango but I kept seeing an old picture of a man that looked to be somebody famous and debonair.

The following day my wife and I went shopping for antiques and other unique items. We saw a sign for tango classes in a window and signed up for a 2 hour class at the price of $20 USD. The class was a living nightmare. Not only could we not understand what the teacher was explaining, we found the instructor to be very strict and rude. And the other students were taking it very seriously and laughed at us. It was a disaster and I swore I would never dance again.

The next day, as we wondered the cobblestone streets of the tango district, I saw a tango nightclub that was painted exotic colors and I bought 2 tickets for a show and dinner. This dinner had courses the size of free samples at our hometown grocery. And once the show began, I kept wondering where the rest of the band was. Were they out back smoking? The whole cast included 6 people. About half way through the show, the spotlight turned on us at and the MC began asking us questions in Spanish. I turned red and my wife and I felt very embarrassed as the crowd around us laughed at a joke we did not get.

Enough tango I told my wife. She suggested we take a city tour and found one in English for 20 pesos. This was her first good idea. I learned a lot that afternoon about Buenos Aires and the fascinating politics that could give most people whiplash. Our guide informed us about a Day Of Tango Tour that would guarantee a positive result and a deep look into the tango of Buenos Aires. I protested hard. My wife made a reservation anyway and at the last minute, I agreed to accompany her. Mostly due to fear about her dancing alone with Latin men.

This tour started out in a great café in the city. Then we walked through the old tango district and I finally learned about what I had been looking at the whole time. I learned who the man in the picture was, Carlos Gardel, and I discovered the history of the dance. Men created it and danced with each other in the beginning. They set the roles of women in a submissive stance thus making tango a manly dance. I could appreciate that.

We went to several areas of the city before we got to our tango lesson. We purchased tango shoes handmade at a 3rd of the cost in the US. Our teacher was very sweet and patient with us and as we danced, others began to join us. Amazing women about 30 years younger than me found themselves in my arms, looking up to follow my interpretation of the classic music. I got to kiss each one on the cheek after a 3-minute jaunt around the dance floor. Somebody put a tango hat on my head and my wife began taking pictures of my giant grin and me. It ended all too soon with more kisses and hugs and laughs. And I did indeed find that I had manifested into Richard Gere. Perhaps even a little better looking.

Well, the Day Of Tango Tour was paying off nicely. We went back to the hotel and changed into evening attire and were escorted to a historic restaurant where Carlos Gardel watched over us from his familiar pose in the black and white picture. We had the befe de chorizo and were glad we did. Then off to a real tango show. The kind I had expected to see. And after hearing about it all day, and learning the moves, I could really appreciate what I was witness to on the stage. The talent was incredible, and they were all so young. This time, the band was a proper band with a few accordion players who could really squeeze the thing into some expressive melodies. The music was great, the show was great, the day was fantastic and it all ended too soon.

Finally we had found tango in Buenos Aires, and had enjoyed ourselves immensely.

When we returned home the first thing I did was sign up again for tango lessons and asked my wife, “Shall we dance?”

“Si” she said.

Fabian Salas, Researcher and Teacher of Tango Nuevo

Sometimes when you speak about one of the great masters of Argentine Tango, you take it for granted, that everybody already knows everything about them.

Maybe though it does make sense to tell a little about Fabian Salas.

During its “Golden Age”, Tango had been danced everywhere in Buenos Aires and you learned to dance Tango watching your parents or other dancers from your town quarter.

This happened completely naturally. Everybody watched and imitated the good dancers…and practiced. Opportunities to do so you found everywhere. Nobody had to think about teaching methods or didactics.

Fast forward to the eighties. After the end of military dictatorship in Argentina the Tango scene has changed completely. Only a few dancers remain who have lived in the Golden Age and can pass on their knowledge. Most of them are excellent dancers, but have never wasted a thought on how to teach Tango efficiently.

A group of young dancers around Fabian Salas and Gustavo Naveira now tries to figure out, how the old milongueros danced. They try to get a profound understanding how the movements and dynamics of the dance work and develop for the first time a didactically based teaching method. This method until today has a big impact on all Tango dancers, no matter whether they dance traditional Tango or Tango Nuevo.

But they do not stop at that point. With their profound knowledge of the dynamics of Tango they break with old, sometimes rigid conventions and develop a new way of dancing Tango, more open, more fluent. And they start to dance to music, which hasn´t been considered danceable until then, for example the music of Astor Piazzola.

Fabián Salas becomes world famous as one of the main characters of Sally Potter´s world famous Tango movie “The Tango Lesson”, together with Gustavo Naveira and Pablo Veron. All three of them are beyond any doubt fantastic dancers. Yet there are different aspects contributed to them.

While Gustavo Naveira is said to be the main choreographer and inventor of those three, and Pablo Veron is considered the technically best dancer, Fabián Salas is without doubt the best teacher of the trio. He developed a unique style of teaching and is considered one of the best tango teachers worldwide. Whoever gets the chance to learn from him, specially in a small, intimate group gets more than simply “Tango lessons. It is a unique experience which catapults Fabiáns students dancing abilities to a higher level.

Yet Fabián Salas is not only a teacher but also the founder and main organizer of the CITA, the world´s most renowned Argentine Tango festival. Here he brings together tango dancers from all the different styles of Tango, from Tango Nuevo to more traditional.

Wolfgang Sandt

Wolfgang Sandt Sculptor, stone mason, painter and tango teacher Via Campagna 17 Castel Rigone 06065 Passignano sul Trasimeno (PG) Tel/Fax 075 845457 Cell 349 0764 009
Wolfgang lives and works as free artist near Munich, Germany, and Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy. Apart of being a sculptor He is as well tango dancer and teacher. He has been dancing Argentine Tango since 1994 learning from the worlds best tango dancers and teachers. He gives Argentine Tango lessons at Villa La Rogaia in Umbria, Italy focussing on the understanding of the music, on the harmony with the partner and the other couples on the dance floor and the joy of dancing rather than memorizing steps.