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Author Topic: The Professor's Guide to tango  (Read 602 times)
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« on: May 17, 2009, 04:25:36 PM »

Abridged From Professor Ahab’s inaugural address at the Reform Club

“Ladies and Gentleman, Good Evening and welcome to my lecture on
“How To Dance Argentine Tango”. Firstly I would like to impress upon you my great intellectual capability; that I have doctorates in Social Anthroplogy and Metaphysics plus a First from this noble institution, and I have studied the piano fortissimo for a number of years.

My research is based on The Fine Teachings methods developed at the El Quixote Tango Institution of Freedonia ( where I am of course Dean); a detailed and thorough analysis of the Argentine Tango music; my own personal library of tango music now numbers some 12,000 recordings.

Whilst not having visited Buenos Aires myself I have interviewed Argentine teachers in Paris , but of course they are largely enthusiastic amateurs or semi-professional dancers who do not have the rigour or intelligence that I possess and their dancing is based on experience without any scientific analysis or formal dance schooling.

Firstly the Walk; as most of us in this room are quite capable of walking; though the ladies will have to do this backwards, the first thing is to be able to walk at a constant speed of 60 steps per minute. Although there is some slight metronomic variation in the music this can be ascribed to either slight imperfections in the recording equipment or carelessness on the musicians’ part. Therefore by the end of this lecture you will be eminently qualified to dance tango! Which makes the ticket price of 50 guineas which you have paid very good value for money. As I have said, any fool can walk, but we need an add an elementary understanding of musical theory; I’m sure most of you will be familiar with the 4/4 signature; the bass and treble clef, minor and major keys.....

the key is phrasing: A musical phrase is a unit of musical meter that has a complete musical sense of its own, built from figures, motifs, and combining to form melodies, periods and larger sections; I have deduced that one needs to move ones feet to the phrasing where the speed of the phrase does not exceed 120 bpm, at which point the human body or at least the feet is incapable of moving at this speed......

."Holding patterns: now I come to an aspect of practicality. A crowded dance floor; for this we use the analogy of a holding pattern as used by aircraft when a runway for landing is not immediatley available. In tango the holding pattern is called a "cunita". This involves a step forward and a step back by the couple. this is danced until there is room for the couple to move forward. In this photo you will see several couples in a holding pattern and you will notice their synchronicity thanks to my training. (sips port)
"First Aid: as some ladies are not as familiar with the music as they ought to be; they sometimes miss where a step goes and put themselves under my feet; this is rectified by a small box of plastes and analgesic ointments. Ladies you must learn the music off by heart in order for these accidents not to happen.......
... three hours later
Therefore you are all as capable as I of dancing the tango!”

.......... the professor was alone in the lecture theatre except for the caretaker, and his dog, who was waiting to lock up.

”We need a witness to our lives.  There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. "
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