Some you may already know about Joaquín Amenábar, and some of you have probably had the privilege of taking classes with him. I had heard of him, but I had never had a chance to learn from him. Until today. I noticed that he posted one chapter of his book Tango: Let’s dance to the music! on his website. You can download the chapter as well as the accompanying audio and video.

I highly recommend taking a look! I am a musician and have developed a part-analytical, part-intuitive approach to dancing tango musically. This exercise really breaks down the music—without getting bogged down in music theory—and demonstrates how we can use this musical awareness to create a more interesting dance. In the case of this sample chapter, we look at how the leader and follower can dance to different bandoneon parts.

If you are interested in musicality, I also suggest you take a look at what Mark has to say about dancing to the pulse v. the music. This approach to tango takes a little more work and thoughtfulness, but it opens up so much enjoyment in the dance. If a leader does nothing more than walking, but he can do it with sensitivity to the music, he can hook me as a follower. (Don’t believe me? Ask some of my favorite leaders! It’s true!) It’s that important!


3 thoughts on “Musicality

  1. Hola Tanguera Moderna: I was pleasantly surprised to see a link to my post on musicality, and I am delighted by the insights Joaquín Amenábar is adding to musicality. A commenter on my post on musicality had a link to a “book report” of his book and I was aghast at what was reported — that tango has no essential beat. I must get this book because it is truly user friendly and insightful. Even if in the unlikely event that Joaquín Amenábar believes that there is no essential tango rhythm, his book is brilliant (as much as I have seen). I will recommend it in my next post on musicality, and perhaps even use his demo video link to demonstrate the underlying tango rhythm which is in half-time for the tango piece he uses.

  2. Amenábar has been doing a lot with musicality for quite a while—Ms. Hedgehog has a handful of posts about his classes, listed here:

    I heard about Amenábar some time ago from my boyfriend, who took classes with him when he came here years ago. I wasn’t dancing tango yet, so I missed out, but I was happy to find that sample on his website. Such clear teaching!

  3. I totally agree with you about Amenabar!

    I bought his book a year ago and my musical evolution just exploded, fantastic it has been! I started at really low level not even recognizing the ONE two Three four pattern …. My childhood music memory had also faded away so I could remember hardly any tangos – Poema and LaCumparsita as two exeptions! Not good at all!

    After two weeks when following his instructions I started to HEAR…..

    It is not magic but but he has a fantastic ability to know how to shape the material so it is easy to understand. However the most amaizing thing is his respect for the readers, the ordinary dancers!

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