Friday, 28 July 2017

Twenty Tango Lessons: Part Six: Quest for the truth

Every tango dancer is different, each one equally convinced of the truth of his perspective.
To mark my 20th year dancing tango, I have come up with 20 things I have learned in, through or about this dance, with all its complexities and contradictions. Here is my next "lesson."

Lesson No. 6: The truth about tango is … elusive. The truth may be out there, but I have not yet found it, and you would have a hard time convincing me anyone else has.

During my two decades of seeking the great truth about tango, I have found many small ones, some of which, on the surface, seem to contradict each other: Connection is the most important thing; technique is the most important thing. Embrace is everything, posture is everything, musicality is everything. Steps first, then technique; technique first, then steps. No sequences, just improvisation! Sequences first, then improvisation! Focus on your hands and feet and the rest will come; focus on your centre and the rest will come. The key to good posture is the position of the pelvis; the key to good posture is the position of the shoulder blades; the key to good posture is the position of the head...

Seeking the truth is like seeking the perfect teaching method. Every teacher believes he or she has the best method, meanwhile most teachers' methods evolve over time, and I can tell you from experience, at each stage of that evolution we feel we have grasped a new, great truth. But a month, a year or 10 years later those truths have transformed yet again. Does that mean we were wrong last year and now we are finally right? We probably think so, but so does the teacher across town who has just discovered his own new truth.

Some teachers are dead set against teaching any type of "basic step" or other pre-formatted sequence, while others don't believe in teaching technique, because they think students will develop good technique on their own through the repetition of movements and sequences. Is one approach better, or more "true" than the other?

In reality, while one approach might be just right for one student, it could be all wrong for another. Different people learn differently and therefore, in the end, teachers need to include different approaches in their instruction, and students need to find the teachers who best fit their own learning style.

While a visual learner might benefit most from watching the teachers demonstrate a movement several times, an auditory learner might prefer a detailed breakdown and explanation. Meanwhile a kinesthetic learner will be eager to try the steps him or herself, and will want to copy the teachers as they demonstrate rather than just watching. At the same time, detail-oriented types will pick things up differently than those who quickly see the big picture. Each will benefit from a somewhat different teaching approach, and will also probably hone their various skill sets (such as learning or remembering sequences, solid walking technique, the lead-follow connection, musicality and floorcraft) in a different order.

There are teachers, dancers and even choreographers who don't believe in counting and only use musical cues, because they say counting makes your dancing too mechanical. Feel the music and your dancing will be musical. Makes sense. But then there are those who need to count everything. Learn to structure your dancing to the music and the "feeling" will come with time. Makes sense too. So is one way the right way?

The best approach to both teaching and dancing will probably include a little of everything: some technique and some fun steps, taught using demonstrations and explanations, and learned through lots of practice time. But even then, the balance will shift over time and with each individual.

And of course there are the divided camps when it comes to musical taste: "Everything played since 1955 is worthless!" versus "More than two Golden-Age tandas in a row is boring and repetitive!" I can tell you that both camps feel very strongly about their taste and each is pretty much convinced they are the ones who know the truth about tango music. Then I think of a dancer I know whose tastes I would generally consider very traditional (Fresedo-Ray, D'Agostino-Vargas, Laurenz, Maffia...). He knows his tango orchestras better than most, loves the Golden Age classics and rolls his eyes when something big and dramatic like Varela comes on – but then has no problem dancing to one of my totally alternative and out there tandas like Tom Waits. So whose musical taste is right?

The overall tango experience itself is not the same for everyone. I could divide tango dancers into three main groups – social dancers, performers and perpetual students.

Since tango was originally and remains primarily a social dance, social dancers are by far the predominant group. Within this group we find all sorts, but I will divide them into two groups. There are the gourmands – those for whom a successful night is one during which almost no tandas are sat out. These dancers are on the dance floor as much as possible, dancing with as many partners as possible, rarely sitting down to chat and almost never heading to the bar for a drink. This all-you-can-dance buffet type of dancer is often looked down on by the more discerning gourmet dancers. Members of this group always aim for quality over quantity. They dance to select tandas with select partners, are sticklers for the codigos and spend as much time mingling among themselves as actually dancing. They are often highly skilled and therefore pretty convinced they've got it right, but others accuse them of exclusion, snobbery and elitism.

Whoever is right, they all forget that not every tango dancer is a social dancer. Some professional dancers spend so much time training, touring and performing that they rarely ever make an appearance at milongas. And if we are talking escenario (stage) dancers, there are plenty of social dancers who dismiss what they do as not "true" tango, because it is too choreographed, flashy or acrobatic. But those show dancers have skills well beyond what the rest of us can ever hope to achieve. So who among us is the true tango dancer?

Speaking of dancers who don't go to milongas, I have students who have taken regular lessons for years (some of whom have become quite proficient along the way) but who never go out to dance socially. Perhaps their lifestyle (children, career, non-dancing life partner) doesn't lend itself to weekends and late nights spent in tango clubs, or perhaps the tango social scene just doesn't appeal to them even though they love the music and the learning process. Does that make them less of a tango dancer?

The thing is, all these dancers are tango dancers, even if their skills, goals, vision and experience of tango are vastly different.

The truth about tango, I guess, lies somewhere in the balance between simple fun and hard work, cool moves and strong technique, discipline and creativity, tradition and evolution. There may not be one great truth, but the quest will lead to many great discoveries.

Previously: Lesson No. 5: But you do need to learn steps.

Next: Lesson No. 7: You need a thick skin to dance tango.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Twenty tango lessons: Part Five: Yes, you do need moves

Teachers teach steps and sequences all the while insisting that they are secondary
to things like connection, musicality and technique. Is this a contradiction? Not really.
To mark my 20th year dancing tango, I have come up with 20 things I have learned in, through or about this dance and the learning/teaching process that goes with it. Here is my next "lesson."

Lesson No. 5: But you do need to learn steps.
If there are no pre-defined figures or steps in Argentine tango dancing, why do most teachers teach sequences, or figures? It seems contradictory, but it is not.

If tango is a language, it's all well and good to know the rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation, but you can't apply any of them if you have no vocabulary to work with. This is why teachers teach steps and sequences all the while insisting that they are secondary to all the other stuff like connection, musicality, technique and so on.

When we learn a new language, we usually learn a few key phrases to start us off, such as "Hello, my name is Andrea. What is your name?" or "How much does this cost?" or "Would you like to dance?" That way we can start communicating on a basic level right away, and then we go back and learn the alphabet, the rules of grammar and syntax and so on. The ultimate goal, of course, is to be able to formulate our own sentences, and if we one day master the language, we will speak it fluidly, without even thinking about how it all works anymore. Tango is much the same. We get a few simple sequences to work with, simple structures (phrases) we can learn, practice and understand, and through those we begin to communicate, while working on the individual movements (the alphabet) and technique (grammar, syntax etc.). Eventually we may be able to create new sequences on the fly (prose), all while retaining our connection (conversation) with our partner and playing with the music (poetry!).

Once we have learned to walk with a partner in front of us, we are already communicating at a basic level, but we need a certain amount of vocabulary to really express ourselves. And just as fancy vocabulary alone doesn't make for great conversation, fancy moves alone don't a great dancer make. But cool moves are still, well, cool, and as long as you use them correctly in the right context, they are an essential – not to mention fun – part of dancing tango.

Sequences are both pedagogical tools and leading tools, and that is why I believe they are an unavoidable part of the teaching/learning process. But while teaching sequences it is important for instructors to make clear the fact that sequences are different from individual movements, and that in the end it is the mastery of the movements that counts most, not the sequences themselves. So the sequences are a means to an end, not the end itself.

Teaching a movement, such as an ocho, within the context of such a structure, gives useful points of reference to tango students. So we teach sequences in order to teach such fundamental moves as steps and pivots, which when put together become such fundamental mini-structures as walking sequences, ochos and giros, which when linked with transitional steps in order to enter or exit the move in question become what we think of as figures.

Followers don't need to remember the sequences, but they do need to learn them, understand them and practise them. Getting stuck on the idea of the sequence itself will encourage anticipation on the part of the followers, because they will be overly concerned with what comes next, but practising sequences and understanding how the individual parts fit together teaches their bodies to do what they need to do, and how it should feel when their steps are properly synchronized to their partners'.

It would be great if we could just teach improvisation from the start. If we could get beginners to see the big picture from Day One, skipping the difficult, cumbersome and often frustrating parts of the learning process. But in my experience we can't skip the early parts of the process, because learning tango is just that: a process. And it goes something like this:

1. Learn some basic moves and sequences, along with some very basic technique and leading and following tools, all of which will feel awkward and surprisingly difficult at first, and won't really feel much like dancing yet.

2. Learn some more moves and sequences while continuing to try to master the first ones as well as paying some attention to our posture, the music and a bunch of other stuff that still feels like too much to think about all at once. This often leads to much confusion and frustration for leaders, who have a tough time learning and remembering their own steps, let alone knowing what their partner is doing every step of the way, not to mention wrapping their minds and bodies around such concepts as parallel vs. cross system. Followers, meanwhile, often feel they are learning faster than their partners at this point, and start to feel they can really dance – if they get paired with a more advanced leader or their teacher. At this stage, both partners are often impatient with the leader's learning pace.

3. Leaders continue to feel stressed out about not knowing enough moves, and get bored with themselves if they don't execute every move they have ever learned within a single song. Followers start to learn that their role is actually about more than following. They begin to realize that they should be responsible for their own axis, steps and pivots, and begin to understand that not every mistake is the leader's fault. Teachers keep saying that both partners should be focusing more on posture, connection, musicality and floorcraft, but most intermediate-level dancers don't yet fully understand this or believe it. Leaders and followers can both feel in a rut at this point as they both realize how much there is to learn and that it will take more time and hard work.

4. Leaders and followers have both experienced some aha moments where, by fluke or design, everything came together with ease: steps, balance, comfy embrace and the perfect moment in the music. At this point leaders have been exposed to just about every type of move that has a name – ochos, giros, paradas, barridas, sacadas, ganchos, boleos, volcadas, colgadas – and, having spent a fair amount of time dancing in milongas, they realize that as they improve their embrace, posture and musicality things work better more often. Followers, meanwhile, stop needing to be led into endless series of impressive moves to enjoy a dance and start to derive more and more pleasure from a good embrace, creative musicality and simple steps that give them a chance to connect, embellish, play with the music and express themselves.

5. Those years of hard work are paying off and we both get that it all starts with good connections and moves on from there. The sequences and moves become tools for improvising with the music and our partners, both of whom understand that skill and enjoyment are about the how, not the what. We look back and wish we had understood sooner what it is really all about. While we have reached a stage where onlookers consider us advanced, we see that the tango learning process is an endless journey and while we derive satisfaction from knowing how far we have come, we only want to go further still.

Previously: Lesson No. 4: It's all about the music

Next: Lesson No. 6: The truth about tango is ...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Twenty Tango Lessons: Part Four: It's all about the music

Music is the raison d'être of dancing, and in couple dancing it is also an important synchronization tool.

To mark my 20th year dancing tango, I have come up with 20 things I have learned in, through or about this wonderful dance and its enthralling music. Here is my next "lesson."

Lesson No. 4: Musicality is everything
Musicality just may be my favourite subject. It is certainly my favourite quality in a dancer … well, perhaps tied for first place with a good embrace. Give me a nice embrace and great connection to the music and I am a happy dancer.

If only I could make beginners believe this from the start: Big, impressive moves do not a great dancer make. Musicality, on the other hand…

Musicality is probably the most underestimated aspect of tango dancing by most beginner to intermediate dancers. From Day One, just about every leader wants to learn steps, steps, steps and moves, moves, moves. While of course cool and complex steps can be fun, they are nothing if not executed in connection with the music. Better to execute something simple in perfect time to the rhythm than something seemingly complex while treating the music as simple background noise.

I think the same phenomenon appears in every social dance. I recently went out to a salsa club for the first time in over a decade, and I found that more than ever dancers are focused on moves. They turn you this way and that, executing series after series of complex figures, rarely if ever pausing to just dance. To just feel the music and move to it. In tango, as in salsa, complex sequences and difficult moves can be fun and satisfying when expertly executed, but there needs to be some simple dancing in between, and if the execution is not expert, if either partner is off the music, it's disconcerting to the other, and, frankly, barely any fun at all.

For the follower, it means you are constantly receiving two conflicting messages – one from your partner and one from the soundtrack – and you therefore constantly have to choose which of the two you are going to follow. A woman once confessed to me that when she is in this situation she feels like her brain is about to explode – and I feel the same way.

Music is pretty much the raison d'être of dancing. It is why we dance differently to different types of music.

So why oh why do so many tango dancers treat musicality as an after-thought?

I believe there are two reasons:

First, there is no basic step in tango. In most social dances there is a basic step that fits a specific rhythmic pattern and generally fits cleanly into a musical phrase. To again use salsa as an example, you have three steps, a pause, then three more steps and a pause, all of which fits perfectly into an eight-count phrase.  So the basic step is taught that way: as a pattern that starts and ends in time with each musical phrase. In tango there is no real basic step besides the walk, so you are not obliged to start a sequence on "1" or finish on "8." Even if we do use some sequences as part of our vocabulary – and some of those might even contain exactly eight steps or actions – we can change the rhythmic pattern by pausing a beat or two or dancing double-time, thereby changing the place in the music where we complete our figure. Add to that the upredictability of our partner's responses and the traffic on the dance floor, and it becomes impossible to impose any type of sequence with a specific step count or musical count.

Second, tango music is so layered that there are many ways to interpret and play with it. This makes it hard for teachers to impose a musical structure on their students, because so many other musical structures might work just as well: quick-quick-slow vs. slow-slow-slow or slow-quick-quick, not to mention adding pauses or syncopation. … But I think teachers do need to pick one pattern and impose it at first, as an exercise in awareness and discipline. We need to train students to force themselves to dance to the music, consistently keeping time with the beat. Because so many just don't. They figure they will worry about the steps first and deal with following the music later. But often that "later" never really comes; they get so used to dancing to the beat of their own drum – or ignoring it altogether – that they never learn to let the music that's playing lead them and inspire them.

There are different levels of musicality for dancers:

•The beat. This is the basic unit of time in the music. It is the rhythm you would tap your toes or clap your hands to, and in tango it is your basic walking rhythm. So a basic walk follows the regular strong, or accented beats in the music. The beat, el compás in Spanish, is like an ever-present metronome; it is the constant and consistent time that all the musicians are keeping, even as their melodies might speed up, slow down or pause. Like a heartbeat, this beat, also called a pulse, is always present, whether you hear it or not and no matter what else is going on in the music. In many other types of music this time is often played by a drum or other percussion instrument, but this is rarely the case in Argentine tango. Different instruments can play the beat at different times, which is one of the reasons it's hard for some people to even hear, or feel, the beat in tango at first. So it's a challenge for some, but it's essential for all. You can't be on the music if you can't find the beat, so find it and force yourself to stick to it before moving on to other possibilities. Some people think it is boring to teach people to dance on the beat and that we should immediately teach them to dance on the melody. I disagree. In all these years of dancing and teaching I have seen too many dancers who have trouble even hearing the beat consistently, let alone dancing to it, so I think it's important to teach this basic concept first. If you're on the beat, you will not be wrong, although you will eventually want to make things more interesting by playing with …

•Pauses and double-time. In terms of variation on the beat, pauses will come first, as you often will have no choice but to stop moving for a beat or two to get your bearings or let your partner get his or hers as well as to manage the always unpredictable dance-floor traffic. Just be sure you do pause for a beat or two or three – not some random time that ignores the music. Pause on a beat and start again on a beat. Double-time dancing, sometimes called traspie (especially in milonga) or contratiempo, means dancing twice as fast, or, in other words, doing three steps in two musical beats. This is where things get interesting … and, of course, more challenging. Just remember, if you can't yet stick to the time, you won't be able to handle double-time.

•Syncopation, phrasing and dancing the melody. These are more complex concepts. For high-level dancers they are incredibly fun, because you can get incredibly creative, but they are also quite difficult. Many dancers never get to the point where they can use these elements, and you absolutely need to fully master the previous concepts before even attempting to go further.

  • Syncopation means placing rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur; this would generally be done in a place where the musicians are doing it, so you have to hear it, get your feet to mark it and your partner to feel it, all in the space of a fraction of a beat. 
  • Phrasing is the way the music is grouped into structures. In tango, these structures will usually be 8 or 16 counts. In tango dancing, you do not have to "start on 1" the way you do in some other dances, but the music changes between phrases, so if you are aware of the phrasing and the changes you can also change the quality of your dancing in those moments, thus being more fully connected to and expressive of the music. 
  • Dancing the melody can be done by marking the intricate rhythmic sequences of one of the instruments as well as by dancing the feeling of the music. This is what will, or should, make us dance differently to different orchestras. Clearly, different styles of music invite different styles of dance. From the time my children were very young, I noticed that I could play any genre of music and they would instinctively move in a way that closely resembles the dances we all associate with that genre: country, swing, hip hop, classical … even if they had never heard the music or seen the dance before. Each style of music automatically evokes a different feeling and a particular way of expressing it physically. If we extend this concept to tango, it means that the feeling and quality of our dancing should change with each tanda, each style, each orchestra. Obviously waltz should be danced differently from milonga, which in turn should be different from tango, but within these different styles each orchestra should be danced differently as well. If you wouldn't move the same way to Tchaikovsky as to Eminem, would you dance a 1930s rhythmic D'Arienzo the same way as a dramatic Pugliese from the '50s?

So, what about the follower's role in all of this? There is a mistaken idea that musicality is mainly the leader's job. But no, like everything else in tango, it should be 50/50.

For one thing, it is the music that will inspire the follower's embellishments. Why do I choose a tap vs. a lápiz? A series of tiny, playful steps vs. a slow caress of my partner's leg? The music, of course!
But also, sometimes it is my job to keep the time. For example, if my parter leads me a turn while he pivots on one foot, embellishing with difficult enrosques, it is up to me to mark the music with my steps, helping him to turn, keep his balance and easily keep track of where I am so he can end the turn at just the right moment.

The music has another very important role in couple dancing: It is a synchronization tool. If my partner and I are both dancing to the same music, we will more easily dance in sync with each other. When we talk about going beyond the beat to dance double-time, to syncopate or to explore other layers of rhythm and melody, it is essential for the follower to be as in tune with the music as the leader. For example, when my leader wants me to dance double-time, he gives me a lead to go faster, but what tells me exactly how fast to go? The music! My leader doesn't place my foot on the floor; I do, and I do it to the music. And if he wants me to syncopate or mark a more intricate melodic pattern? Impossible if I am not hearing it in the music myself.

If all of this sounds daunting, remember: Start with the basics, or the beat, and you will not go wrong. Little by little, as you begin to master one concept, you can attempt the next. Then maybe one day you, too, will embody the music, using your own body like one of the instruments in the orchestra, keeping time with the beat while filling the space in between with melodies full of creativity, emotion and suspense.

So musicality might just be the most important element in our dancing. But then again, you do need steps.

Next: Lesson No. 5: But you do need to learn steps

Previously: Lesson No. 3: Posture is everything

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Twenty tango lessons: Part Three: The importance of posture

To mark my 20th year dancing tango, I have come up with 20 things I have learned in, through or about this simple yet complex dance over the last two decades. Here is my third "lesson."

Lesson No. 3: Posture is everything. I admit it, I am pretty obsessed with good posture. Being a dance teacher and having recently become a yoga teacher as well, I adjust posture (mine and others'), observe posture, study posture and think about posture every day.

You don't have to be as preoccupied with posture as I am, but let's face it: If your posture is bad, your embrace will suffer. And if your embrace is bad, your connection will be lacking. And without good connection, what is tango?

Why can we not have a good embrace without good posture? Well, just as the arms are connected to the rest of our body, the embrace is connected to the way we hold ourselves. And while when we say "embrace" we think specifically of the arms and hands, we really embrace our partners with our whole bodies: hands, arms, shoulders, back, chest, head – even the position of the hips, legs and feet contributes to the way we hold our partners. If your head is held too far forward, for example, it might push against your partner's head in an uncomfortable way, hurting his or her neck or throwing off his or her balance and therefore affecting the way he or she holds us. If your upper back is too rounded and your shoulders are forward, your chest will cave in and your partner will feel you are holding back or pushing them away rather than inviting them in.

Good posture is a huge part of good overall technique, which will free us to dance with ease and to hold our partners comfortably. So, what is good posture?

Posture refers to the position in which you hold your body upright. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit, lie and, of course, dance in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.

This illustrates correct alignment.
Posture and alignment go hand in hand and correct alignment is essential for maintaining good posture, so let's look at what constitutes correct, or healthy, alignment.

Alignment refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles relate and line up with each other. When dance teachers talk about "axis" and "keeping your axis," they are really talking about keeping correct alignment. Proper alignment of the body helps you achieve and maintain good posture, which will be great for your tango dancing as well as your life in general, as it will mean putting less stress on the spine. There are four main points that should be aligned when we are standing. Moving from the ground up, these are:
• the lateral malleolus, or the little bone on the outside of the ankle
• the greater trochanter, or the top part of the femur (thigh bone), located at the the hip joint
• the acromion, or the little bone at the top of the shoulder
• the auditory meatus, or ear hole

Maintaining these points of alignment maintains the natural curves of the spine, which form an S-shape. Viewed from the side, the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) spines have a lordotic, or inward curve, and the thoracic spine has a kyphotic, or gentle outward curve. The spine's curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance and facilitate range of motion.

A common example
of poor alignment:
the tailbone is tucked,
sending the centre of
gravity too far forward,
and the head is jutting
forward. This changes
the natural curves of
the spine.
In tango, as in day-to-day life, correct posture and alignment can be difficult to maintain, especially if this is all new to us.

Often, people tuck the tail bone, relaxing the lower back muscles, flattening the lumbar curve and sending the centre of gravity toward the toes rather than keeping it over the heel bone (which is the largest bone in the foot and therefore made to support us). Tucking the pelvis puts strain on the feet, knees and spine, but is particularly problematic in tango because it means your pelvis, legs and feet sit farther forward than your upper body and you will tend to bump knees with your partners or even step on their toes (or get your own toes stepped on).

Many people also hold their heads too far forward, jutting the chin (which compresses the cervical spine) or, as is often the case in tango, hanging the head forward in a downward-looking position.

Keeping the head back, by keeping the chin parallel to the floor and sitting the head back on top of the spine, elongates the cervical spine while keeping its natural curve. This position will help you keep your balance while dancing and will prevent you from pushing your head or face against your partner's in an invasive or uncomfortable way.

The good news is, if we practise good posture and alignment regularly, we gradually strengthen the necessary muscles while developing new, healthy habits, and one day we realize that we now stand and sit correctly most of the time, and it even feels natural!

A big part of the challenge, once we have found correct alignment, is to keep those points of alignment while we are in motion. In tango, we have the added challenge of maintaining our own alignment while moving and holding someone else. What can I say except that practice makes perfect? Posture and alignment are not things to be practised an hour or two a week in tango class. They need to be practised as often as possible during your daily activities: sitting at your desk, walking down the street, waiting for the bus, brushing your teeth and, of course, dancing.

Speaking of maintaining your alignment while dancing with someone else, I always tell my tango students not to sacrifice their posture for anything or anyone. This means you don't contort yourself to execute an awkwardly placed gancho and you don't dance hunched over because you are taller than your partner. You also don't lean forward in order to retain a close embrace; if you or your partner can't execute a move in close embrace while standing up straight, either open the embrace or forego the move; do not sacrifice your posture.

And speaking of close embrace, there are slight sacrifices in alignment to be made when dancing in a close, milonguero-style abrazo. But when I say slight, I mean it. Because we are looking for physical connection between our own torso and that of our partner, our rib cage may sit a tiny bit forward in relation to the pelvis. However, if we make sure to keep our hips over our heels and not to thrust our heads forward, the adjustment in the upper body in order to reach our partner will be slight, and should re-adjust itself automatically as soon as we release the close embrace. If the leader keeps his hips back over his heels, he should not have to lean forward at all to achieve close embrace. It is up to the follower to reach forward and find the connection with her partner. But again, if her lower body is correctly positioned, there will be little reaching necessary. Also, any forward reach should be accompanied by an upward stretch in the torso, which will lengthen the spine and prevent us from leaning in an uncomfortable or unhealthy way.

Of course, all this work on your posture and alignment will help to carry you through life with less pain, fewer back problems and better overall health. So improving your posture and alignment for tango will have benefits that reach far beyond the dance floor.

Posture might just be the most important element in our dancing.

Then again, musicality is super-important, too.

Next: Lesson No. 4: Musicality is everything

Previously: Lesson No. 2: The embrace is everything