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La Pista y La Ronda

Very nice and simple graphic illustrating some of the key elements of good floorcraft for dancing Argentine Tango. There are more complex illustrations out there and feel free to post them below, but I do like the simplicity of this one.

La Pista translates loosely to "the dance floor." Another commonly used term is La Ronda (The Round) which is more closely related to "the line of dance." In other words, we dance in the line of dance (La Ronda) on the dance floor (La Pista). But these terms can be used interchangeably.

For newer (and not so new) dancers, the main things to notice in this illustration are:

  1. There is an outer lane, an inner lane, and the center of the dance floor. Generally, better dancers dance in the outer lane, but may sometimes use the inner lane as well, but rarely the center of the floor. It should be noted, that not all dance floors are large enough for these 3 areas. For example, at our milongas (Plaka and 57th), there is really only room enough for an outer lane and a center of the dance floor.
  2. The outer lane should be wider than what is represented in the illustration. My opinion is that it should be approximately two body widths. You do need room to move a little sideways to execute ochos and basic turns. So, the inner lane or those dancing in the center, should not crowd the outer lane. Too often, dancers straddle the outer and inner lanes.
  3. Dancers should stay in their lane during an entire song. If you are forced from the outer lane into the middle lane, you should stay there until the song ends and only then move back to the outer lane. It is considered very bad manners to constantly switch lanes during a song.
  4. Dancers should generally enter the dance floor at the corner's, unless it is an oddly shaped dance floor. Leader's entering the floor should attempt to make eye contact with the leader that they are entering the floor in front of. That leader should then nod or indicate approval for the couple to enter the floor in front of them. You do not have to do this if there is plenty of room for you to enter the dance floor without getting in anyone's way, but this is rarely the case on a crowded dance floor. This also means that leader's need to have their heads up when dancing and paying attention, especially when near a corner, so that they can acknowledge couples wanting to enter La Ronda. (Organizers: Do not put tables in the corner, that is where people need to cue up to enter the dance floor.)
  5. Avoid going backwards against the line of dance. A small back step is generally acceptable, but it should be small and preferably after you have first moved forward. What is unacceptable is taking large or multiple back steps against the line of dance. It is especially unacceptable for leaders to be facing against the line of dance and moving forward. I often say that the leader behind me should never be able to focus on my face. The only time he sees my face should be as it is in motion turning. It should never stop and move towards him.
  6. This is not in the illustration, but is one that I see more and more. Do not walk across the dance floor if people have already started dancing. Organizers can help with this by making sure that there is space behind the tables for walking, if at all possible.

Click here for more about Floorcraft and General Milonga Etiquette.


Traditional Tanda of the Week 34 - Enrique Rodriguez Vals

This week's traditional tanda is a fun set of vals by Enrique Rodríguez and Angel Condercuri. This set is always a crowd pleaser. It is just incredibly happy and fun. I usually play 3 vals, so I play the first two and then pick between the last two depending on my mood.

Tengo Mil Novias (I Have a Thousand Girlfriends/Brides) is about a guy that can't settle down because he loves all the women, blondes, brunettes, etc. Isabelita is about a beautiful porteña. "Estas Chicas se quieren Casar" translates to "all these girls want to get married." Fru-Fru is actually a classic French Chanson titled Frou-Frou and is, if I am understanding the translation correctly, about how women in skirts are much better than women wearing pants. Frou-Frou is the sound that a woman's skirt makes when it rustles.

Listen to this Tanda






Tanda of the Week 20 (D'Arienzo Vals) 2012-07-23

This weeks tanda is a spirited vals (waltz) set by Juan D'Arienzo. These are great examples of vals criollo (creole waltz). Vals criollo is an evolution of the European vals as influenced by the culture of the working class Argentinean and Uruguayan citizens, primarily a mixture of Spanish and African. Later this would evolve into what we now refer to simply as Tango Vals.

Listen to this Tanda 

More about:

Pabellón de las Rosas (The Rose Pavilion)

The second song of this set, "Pabellón de las Rosas (The Rose Pavilion)", was composed by Joseph Felipetti. It was located at 2855 Alvear Avenue (now Del Libertador). It contained a restaurant, dance hall, and skating rink. The entrance consisted of a roundabout, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Some of the most popular orchestras played there including Canaro, Berto, Firpo, Fresedo, and Maglio. In 1919, Fresedo played there with a huge orchestra of 30 members including two pianos played by Cobian and Delfino. In the late 1920s, it was the host of a huge Tango contest. It was demolished around 1929.






Alternative Tanda 5: Pop Vals

This weeks alternative tanda focuses on pop waltzes (vals).  "Hijo de la Luna" is a classic alternative tango song and has a great waltz rhythm for dancing. Sting's "Until" is one of my favorite waltzes to dance to. It is such a beautiful song and has a classic waltz rhythm. "Will You Remember" is a sweet and pretty waltz. Also, a note for DJs, I have trimmed the intro off of "Will You Remember" so that it does not take so long to get to the waltz rhythm.

Listen to this Tanda

Click here for more Alternative Vals Tandas



Alternative Vals (Waltz) Tandas

Song Orchestra / Band
Cantor/Singer Year Type
Listen to this tanda.
La Valse d'Amélie Yann Tiersen     Vals
Les Jours Tristes (inst) Yann Tiersen     Vals
Padam Padam Edith Piaf     Vals
Listen to this tanda        
Hijo de la Luna Mecano     Vals
Until Sting     Vals
Will You Remember? The Cranberries     Vals
Tout le Monde Bruni     Vals
Preservons l'Amour (edited) Mouron     Vals
Analia Cuarteto Almargro     Vals
Fuck Was I Jenny Owen Youngs     Vals
Buonanotte Fiorellino Francesco de Gregori      
French Accordian Quadro Nuevo     Vals
Where Do You Go To My Lovely Peter Sarstedt     Vals
La Valse de L'Amour Edith Piaf     Vals
Padam Padam Edith Piaf     Vals
Simply a Waltz Edith Piaf     Vals
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien Edith Piaf     Vals
Androgyne Quartango     Vals
To Tango Tis Nefelis Haris Alexiou     Vals
Pearl Cirque du Soleil     Vals
Sólo por Miedo María Salgado     Vals
Tango for Evora Loreena McKennitt     Vals
Pearl Cirque du Soleil     Vals
Di Goldene Pave Chava Albertstein     Vals
Di Krenitise (The Well) (edited) Chava Albertstein & Klezmatics     Vals
Ershter Vals Klezroym     Vals
Yumenji's Theme In the Mood for Love     Vals
My Tender and Affectionate Beast Evgeni Doga / Kolibri     Vals
Waltz of the Butterfly Seitkaliyev with St. Petersburg     Vals
Waltz 2 From Jazz Suite Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra      
Palomita Blanca Hugo Diaz      
Guitarra Mia Hugo Diaz      
Amores de Estudiantes Hugo Diaz      
Ilusion de Mi Vida Los Indios Tacunau      
Romance de Barrio Los Indios Tacunau      
Luna de Arrabal Los Indios Tacunau      
Marlene 17 Hippies      
Ungarn-Walzer 17 Hippies      
Gelb Zwo Drei 17 Hippies      
Ein Letzter Tanz 17 Hippies      
Ershter Tants 17 Hippies      
Le Waltz 17 Hippies      
De Cara a La Pared Lhasa      
El Desierto Lhasa      
Ta-Bakiera Kayah      
Ghir Enta Souad Massi      
Dance Me to the End of Love Leonard Cohen      
Take this Waltz Leonard Cohen      
Here are some crazy but fun waltzes. They are only for that late night crowd or practica with dancers that are very adventurous.
Das Grobe Erwachen (...und jetzt...) Annett Louisan      
Buonanotte Fiorellino From Album Ninne Nanne      
La Valse A Mile Temps Jacques Brel      
It's Oh So Quiet Bjork      


Vals Tandas - Mixed

Here is my collection of mixed vals tandas. My favorites are highlighted. I usually play 3 song vals tandas, but most of the tandas below are arranged in 4 song tandas for when they are needed.

Song Orchestra Cantor/Singer Year Type
This is one of my faovrite vals tandas. This includes a wonderful version of Corazón de Artista by Ricardo Malerba.
Bajo Un Cielo de Estrellas Francisco Lomuto Fernando Díaz 1941 Vals
Corazón de Artista Ricardo Malerba   1943 Vals
Lagrimas y Sonrisas Rodolfo Biagi   1941 Vals
I think this is a great example of trying to put songs together that have a similar spirit and feel. These are fun and playful and fit together very well. All of these are real crowd pleasers, especially Tengo Mil Novias and Estas Chicas se Quieren Casar. People are always smiling and laughing after this tanda.
Isabelita Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno 1940 Vals
Tengo Mil Novias Enrique Rodriguez Roberto Flores y Choir 1939 Vals
Estas Chicas se Quieren Casar Angel Condercuri Alberto Castillo 1949 Vals
Todos Queremos Mas Angel Condercuri Alberto Castillo 1953 Vals
Isabelita Alfredo Gobbi     Vals
Rosamel Carlos di Sarli Roberto Rufino 1940 Vals
Jugando, Jugando Miguel Caló Raul Beron 1944 Vals