Argentine Tango Blog 2014 - 2019

My name is Igor Polk. I am dancing and teaching Argentine Tango in San Francisco..

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Guitar sight reading, note memorization. Start with C Major scale





For the full video:


Please, review some great dances:
Osvaldo Zotto (passed away) and Lorena Ermocida: Salon Style.
You may find their movement rhythm "off the beat". That is correct. They dance to the true "syncopa" tango rhythm. Once you sing it in your mind - they become perfect.
An european couple dances in Tango Nuevo style:
Gloria y Eduardo Arquimbau 2003 - Tango-milonga (Canyengue, an ancient style)
Alberto Dassieu (passed away) and Elba Biscay - Tango Vals . Apilado style:
Roberto Herrera y Tamara Bisceglia, 2007. Tango Orillero style. Their elements are not newly made. They are authentic and ancient. Enjoy! ("El Lloron")


Argentine Tango danced by Anthony Dexter and Patricia Medina in Valentino (1951).

2018 July 25

An article by Sasan Rahmatian on "The Structure of Argentine tango" is published in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts.
The author proposes and discusses a mathematic model of tango steps. What I like about it, he addresses the quality of tango steps.
That is quite unusual for the existing literature on the subject. Though the model is different than mine, I have found the publication is useful for my personal research.

2018 July 3

If you have difficulty performing what is taught in a dance class, here is my advise:

The real problem is in your body not being able to execute what is proposed. Any verbal explanations will not help it. Do not spend your time and money on private classes. Without much words, as a trainer, I'd like to tell you what can progress you forward at this point of your dancing carrier. You have to exercise more. I recommend running including up and down hills forward and backward. Not jogging, but running with maximal power and speed. Short time, that is fine, it does not have to be tiring. 2 times a week is enough. Fast and energetic walking is also good. And push-ups to develop flexible embrace. For correct posture, the hands should be on the level of solar plexus. All this can be amended with a healthy dose of other simple exercises, preferably from gymnastics, at your discretion. More than anything else, I recommend Chinese gymnastics with swords. From tango: forward ochos and women's part of Ocho Cortado. Do not wait, start now. It is a slow process. But you will be very satisfied in 6 months.

2018 June 28

Dancing engages and changes the brain in unique ways.

"Hong Kong ballet" by Dean Alexander.

2018 May 27

What are the good qualities of Tango followers?

1. First of all, you have to be a good dancer. Your body have to be well developed, you should be able to twist your body, be able to make beautiful figures with arms, feel free on the dance floor, be very musical: to feel the music and be able to express it in your body(!!!) and steps. This is the most important advice. Good dancers differ from the rest in how they move, especially body, quality of movement. Some lucky ones have it naturally, others - have to work hard on that.
2. Second, you have to be able to feel your partners. Your attention should be on him all the time. You, ladies, are the dancers but you dance to be able to stay with a man. It is a specific Argentine Tango skill, very difficult to obtain. Trained, professional(!!!) dancers may not have it at all! They still have to struggle like everyone else.
2.2 Of course, it relates to excellent leaders mostly. There are very few of them. What is an excellent leader? The one which directs and supports the dance feeling inside his woman. Perfectly. If you do not have the dance feelings, and specifically, Argentine Tango feeling, you should develop one.
3. Thirdly. There are not that many men which are excellent. They are musical enough and lead nicely, but without much knowledge and feel of the partner. "Nicely" means they do not make anything "bad" to woman's dance feelings. To dance with such men is easy and pleasant, but if you know the dance yourself. So, the third quality means a good follower should know the Argentine Tango styles and vocabularly. And you will be fine! Dancing in open embrace may be easier with such men, than in close embrace.
4. Forth. There are beginner men (who think they are not). Majority of all men-dancers like that. Good followers do not dance with them, period. But sometimes you would want to dance with such man, just because of other social reasons. To make it successful, you have to be very, I mean VERY, strong and knowlegeble about the dance. It is possible, but very hard.
To be an ok follower is easy. To be and excellent follower requires a lot of skills and knowledge. Good luck in obtaining them!
5. PS. An advice on taking the classes:
1. Take privates with men, not women. Men know much better, how the woman should dance.
2. "Woman's technique classes" are not that useful. You will be better off doing gymnastics, ballet, modern, jazz, maritial arts, heavy weight lifting (no kidding), soccer, running cross-coutry, and so on. Those class, being useful somewhat, introduce many very bad habits, the most awful of which is not be able to listen to a man while doing "adorments" on your own. On the other hand tango technic is abundant: there are 24 ways of pivoting! And you should know at least 12.
3. Learn all styles, it will greatly improve your vocabularly, skills and abilities. The must-styles are: Salon, Orillero, Nuevo, Milonguero, Apilado, Canyengue. All of them!

2018 May 16

About the embrace during HER pivoting.

I am afraid I may discourage some of you. "doesn't prevent her from pivoting by squeezing hard" has double meaning. Under this phrase, some people understand that during pivoting she can detach from him with the result of moving her very upper torso away. This is possible, but it is not perfect. The perfect execution is this: her upper torso (above solar plexis) stays with the leader attached. Lower torso, below solar plexis move away from him (and he does the same) with delivering energy to the pivot. Pelvis stays toward him either. It is a complex, double-spiral structure. It is possible to hold her tight at the level of upper torso or pelvis (yep) and make her produce a perfect pivot (F or B). This requires great body abilities from a woman and a lot of knowledge from a man who must move his own body in a similar way. Shortly speaking, ribs go away, upper torso and pelvis stay attached ("parallel" among partners somone would say). Sorry for the long explanation, but who said that the dance can be put in words simply..

Or in other words, if HIS right arm is on the level of her ribs - it MUST be soft and flexible. If his arm is on the level of her shoulders or hips - it CAN hold tight.

2018 May 14

Last week I was at the Purdue university TRIZCON2018 innovation coference.
The presentation called "Mathematics and Dialectics of Dance" which I based on tango, was called by some professors "The best I have heard so far at this conference"!
I invited two beautiful assistants with whom I have demonstrated some tango elements and lead-follow asking people to try.
Participants loved it! It was truly a gem of all conference. I have gained significant recognition because of that.

See you at the class!


2016 Dec 09

The book is ready !

2016 Nov 1

I have found a nice video explaining "Hip-push". It is well known in belly dancing.
There, it is done side-way. In tango, it is the same only done forward and backward. Technically, it is exactly the same way, but there is no side-way visible pelvis movements.
Nowadays, Hip-push is known only by very advanced researchers of Canyengue style, as far as I understand. It is "very african" and allows very short steps where it is felt greatly.
During the very long steps it is not felt, but the mechanism of that still works and allows very long steps done effortlessly.

I have found the "hip-push" phenomena myself during search of the origination of Syncopa rhythm in a body of a dancer.
Once I have found it, I was finally able to understand what was conveyed to me by some tango researchers.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to explain and understand until one to starts doing it and feeling it in her own body.
Hopefully, the way it is done in belly dancing helps in understanding.
I enthusiastically promote the use of hip-push in tango: it is fun, greatly improves technique, helps to move with the small steps not loosing the sense of dance, helps to express syncopa rhythms, and, therefore, it is very tango!

Note on performance: It is not done by "muscles" or "excessive extending of pelvis" ! It is a pure mechanical way of bone movements in the hip-joint. You can even hear "a click" inside of your pelvis! It is heard through the bones.
There is no muscle effort involved, it is totally due to the structure of how our bones are aligned. At the video, the dancer shows physical effort too excessively, it is too much.

Yep, it is belly dancing done with the parter! Do you like it ?

What I mean is better explained here as an "opposite hip-push":

2016 October 11

To tighten the hips means to tightly press the legs toward each other when one stands. This tenses psoas major and other accompanying muscles (, see "addictor'-s). It feels like compression within pelvis and in the inside of thighs. It is easy to achieve when the legs are tight together, but the same tension has to be preserved always, during all steps. This gives stability and a pool of energy readily available. These are the major muscles which pivot a dancer all around, like in the yesterdays class, and for ladies the same. These muscles are trained ( and can be felt ) when doing squats without taking the heals from the floor (important detail ! ).

This is a simplistic advice. In fact we need 1) muscles twisting the pelvis left and right, 2) moving the tail left and right (our tail is not moving, but the muscles are there and they are very powerful, imagine a dinosaur !). These essentially includes all muscles in the pelvis-to-waist and thigh areas. The major thing is that they must work in "twisting" manner, those which twist right then left. Ochos and compact molinetes are the exercises for it. But just keeping the muscles tight like it is explained in the first paragraph gives great results. I do it when I dance. It goes for salon style too when the major source of energy is torso.

2016 May 29

What is art? Art is what affects feelings and generates ideas. Of crowd or just one person, now or in the past.
There is phseudo art. This "art" affects only one feeling: "oh, that is popular (expensive, has history), than it should be good"...
Feeling which is affected, brought to life in your soul, or idea born in your brain under influence of art, does not have to be comprehended by the affected one. Am I clear for you?

2016 March 22

Long time no posts, Facebook takes over..

Here is the video of the demo dance of the last class:

Demo videos are available on the Igor's YouTube channel.

We have made a Facebook page where these videos will be also linked to:

Thank you, and welcome to Igor's tango classes!

2016 April 22

A video explaining hip-bump and other hip related movements: twist, slide...:

2016 April 21

It is hard to say, but emotions do not define the dance, therefore they can not be its language.
If you look at the end of my book, there is a diagram of the six pillars of tango:
Or, if you wish, six dimensions:
Rhythm, Space, Movements, Energy, Structure, and Interaction.
Interactions means feelings. ( "Feelings are its language" ).

It is very difficult to say about emotions.
On one hand Argentine tango is emotionless dance. It is meditative dance.
On another hand, tango is a great generator of happiness.
Happiness happens when certain hormones are produced: oxytocin.
Oxytocin is developing with touch, by touch, while hugging, in embrace.
That is why babies need to be touched and cuddled to calm down.
So, we, tango dancers, dancing in close embrace for hours, generate this hormone "on industrial scale", we are literally swimming in these hormones.
Of course, it causes positive emotions.
If you do not know about this mechanism, it seems like unexplained happiness which comes out of nowhere.

The whole surroundings at a tango party facilitates blockage of feeling from outside disturbance as well as from inside one.
With its fancy music, a lot of strange friendly people, comfort, activity.
It takes away from troubles blocking negative emotions, hypnotizing in a good sense.
I have to tell you that modern people live under huge stress which includes everpresent physiological pressure.
Tango and any couple dance in general effectively block it giving its participants a true rest from negative emotions.


2015 July 10

At a regular group class a teacher rely on students who come regularly. She expects most students to know something what she taught before and she may lay down the background for future lessons. This is the time for some drilling exercises. Also, a teacher should create a relaxation atmosphere: people want to have fun.
At a pre-milonga class a teacher should give some immediate tips for the better dancing ( and, is nobody here? try to promote herself ). The most important goal of a pre-milonga class is to beef up atmosphere for the coming milonga party.
At a workshop a teacher should give a more or less complete coverage of a certain topic. This is not a time for excesses, it is time for knowledge. People come to a workshop to learn. The more they learn the better the workshop.
I disagree that the workshop is a good time for practice - it is for after workshop practice. Allocating time for practice after the workshop makes it much more valuable. Also I disagree that the workshop is a time for discussion and feedback. These are waste of time at the workshop and more suitable for a regular group class. However there is another function of a good workshop: people meet new dancers, so encouraging the interaction is good.
Time for discussion and feedback comes when the class was so interesting, that people have got carried away and stayed longer to discuss the things forgetting about time.

2015 June 24

2015: Erin Malley and Doruk Golcu ! Milonga.


2015 March 19

"Масштаб вашей личности определяется величиной проблемы, которая способна вывести вас из себя." Фрейд.

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2015 Jan 18

When argentinean teachers talk about "intention" as a lead and leading backwards with the back they speak about "Body First" steps, dancing "walking up-hill".
However, it is often very unclear what they mean which causes cofusion to students. "How it is related to "cross-body" then"?
I hope the explanation in my book being systematic brings more light on what is going on and what exact "formula" for all this might be.
There are also "toe-first steps" which are opposite to body-first steps!

2014 Dec 23

We should talk less about Rights, but more about Fairness and Freedom.

2014 Dec 23

Наивные украинцы, во всём слушаясь своего дядю сэма полагают, что за усердие их наградят эмиграцией. Так это и есть general idea - заселить украинцами канаду, а украину - немцами.
Украинцам хорошо. Да и немцам неплохо. Плохо только русским, которые полагают, что украина должна быть заселена украинцами, дружественными россии.

2014 Dec 20

Yeah... the book is very difficult. It is like a mathematical book. Even worse. What can I do :) the logic demanded it. Every sentence needs thinking and work. It is very compressed. One think follows from another and depend on previous material. But it is the theory. I definitely should write a simpler book, hopefully eventually I will be able to find time.

Do not hesitate to jump forward. Several chapters are easier and can be understood without much connection to previous material.

While reading, you should try everything many times until the body starts to understand it. It is not possible to progress through the book without practicing. All words are very week in description of human movements. And the goal of my book. It establishes the mathematically solid vocabulary for the complete description of human movements and dance in particular. It is difficult, hey, everything serious is difficult. Have you tried to read Euclid geometry?

By the way did you read other dance books? ( And no one ever written about technique. ). They are very difficult to read, even though the material is much simpler, just describing steps. Too many things are involved. And believe me, it was very difficult to write.


2014 Dec 13

Misty Copeland:  

2014 Nov 5

November 22, Saturday, PA JCC Theater.
Semiannual tango party. Live music: Tangonero. DJ: Rene.
8:00-12:00 pm, $15
Two dance floors, dance on stage !
7:15 - 8:00 pm Free tango class: Canyengue. By Igor Polk & Cecilia
5:30 - 7:00 pm $5. Tango Come-And-Share: "Tools of Improvisation". Host Igor Polk. On stage.

Photo (C) Steven He

2014 November 12

My goal and NN's goal are different. His goal is to establish here a tango community of social dancers which closely resembles the way of tango life in Buenos Aires.
My goal is to promote creative dancing, the best practices of it.

It is very different. For example, NN would tell that ganchos are "illegal" and wrong to do. I would say that they are a nesessary element.
He would say "High boleos are illegal because they are dangerous on the dance floor". I would say that they are a traditional element of the dance everyone must master. NN would say, during boleos a foot must be on the floor for safety. I say, it must be on the floor because it makes the body of the performer work differently and better, more expressive.
He would say "There is dancing for stage and dancing social", I say "All dancing follow the same rules the same technique or a dancer does not dance right, does not really know the dance".

I have danced with quite many argentineans including pretty famous ones. I do not think they all are examples of the very good dancing. Far from that. One thing is to look at them, another - to feel their dancing. I confidently say that here, in SF, I have met local women with the skills far exceeding the skills of many Argentinean celebrities.
My goal is not to teach how these argentineans are dancing, some of them started their dancing after even me.
My goal is to promote the best dancing I've ever experienced personally myself, restore the dance and research all available styles. And go further. Based on the theory I have developed, based on view on the dance free from any social aberrations, promote the inventive development of the dance, give you the tools, the bricks, the methods how it can be achieved.

And I am correct, since Tango, as all masters whom I respect say, is an improvisational dance. What does that mean. It means not dancing as everyone else. It is opposite to "dance like everyone else". The best dancers dance like no one else. Every master strives for his own style and does not want to look like someone else.

I am trying to convey the principles of building a personal style while staying within the boundaries of traditional tango and beyond.


2014 Nov 3

From a conversation: "... If this was true, then someone could have a stroke and lose their sense of rhythm. This has never happened. There are several tests for beat-deafness and nobody has been found who cannot find the beat. This is just an excuse made by people who don't know how to teach and confused students who are mistaught. 

I've taught rhythm for years, and I promise you that your friend knows how to access it. It is there for you as well, but you are probably looking outside your body. This won't work. You can't follow anyone or anything for rhythm. You must find it inside..."

2014 Nov 2

I have met recently quite a few publications that "Performance reviews in general are outdated and pointless". This is not so. Let me give you my view why they are important FOR YOU!

Companies and projects come and go. Bosses come and go. A performance review is an official document, only document, which testifies about your achievements and qualities. If you do not have a review at your job you should demand them!

I had several reviews in my professional life and all of them served me greatly later. I am very thankful to my managers who took time and care to prepare them.

If you do not have a review you are at a total mercy of a your superiors in all promotion decisions. If you have a review, you have some argument which can be useful if a situation at job is changing. Demand reviews !

2014 Nov 7

Европа прощай? Россия это и есть Европа. Второй её полюс. Первый, с победой английского флота над испанским в 16 веке - Англия. Россия развивалась на восток, в Сибирь, а Англия, к её счастью, на запад, в тёплую америку. Германия, Польша и все остальные болтаются между двумя этоми полюсами. И этого никак не изменить и этим объясняется вся политика на протяжении столетий и будет объясняться.
..Да культура только начинает возраждаться после смутного времени Горбачёва и Ельцина.

А насчёт того, что Россия это "сущая азия", что то мне вам сказать.. Жил я в Белоруссии. Я работал лаборантом в Новополоцком Политехническом институте. Потом поступил в Минский Радотехнический Институт. Потом работал, в том числе в Минском Медицинском Институте. Так вот, все преподаватели и работники этих институтов, а если не они, то их преподаватели получили образование в России.
... А насчёт Азии...недавно один китаец меня спрашивал, а много ли американских преподавателей было у меня когда я учился. Когда я сказал, что ни одного, он посмотрел на меня очень странно. Чувствую, не верит. И уязвлён.

2014 Oct 24

IndieReader has published a review on my book. Three stars !

" The book is laid out with specific instructions on origins of the movements that a dancer must master in order to effectively dance the Argentine Tango. There are also detailed descriptions of poses and steps that when paired together can create a wonderful dance "

" Polk is able to successfully explain ... intricate steps because of the immense detail he provides "

" Polk's book [is] a huge help for instructors "

Since the book is full with grammar errors I would add one more star :) Don't you agree?

IndieReader provides INDEPENDENT anonymous reviews by the topic experts. An author has no influence on the outcome whatsoever.


2014 Oct 24

Piano Performance, Liszt, Companella, Sofya Gulyak ( Софья Гуляк )


2014 Oct 23

Visualization of rhythms: Check their tango presentation.

2014 Oct 8

New article: Three ways to make a Forward Pivot and how it is used in Several Figures of Forward Ochos

Forward Ocho

2014 Oct 8

New video:

2014 Oct 4

A wokshop at a community dance club in San Jose:
" Thank you for the great lesson we had from you today, especially on such a late notice.  We shall keep in touch and arrange for more "

2015 Sept 15

A workshop is coming at the DanceBoulevard:
1. Basic Figures for Social Tango
2. Tango Turns and Other Elements of Modern Tango

The first workshop was absolutelly fabulous !!!
The second one was useful, but a little complex for the dancers. People need more practice for the turns! We also practiced close embrace tango walk, a real one, and forward ochos and boleos.

2014 Sept 09

Some fresh photos by Steven He:

2014 Sept 7

Dear Dancers,
I have lost the original mailing list, so if you want to receive update messages from me, please, let me know:

2014 Aug 28 - new video of our class material. I do not like they way we are dancing. but I'll keep it here for the reference of the figures.

2014 Aut 22

Contra-body boleo

So called "contra-body boleo" or just a contra boleo is a popular figure. In the past, around 2000 I have met it at tango nuevo lessons. Now it is taught at milonguero and salon style classes as well. Some kind them works in close embrace very nicely.

There is well felt difference between regular boleo and contra-body boleo. As a regular boleo, contra-body boleo can be both behind and in-front. As an excellent visual example, I'd like to refer to the Homer and Cristina Ladas video on boleos. Almost all boleos here are contra-body.

Here is a simple explanation how it is done on example of boleo behind when a woman is on her right leg. After a back pivot like in back ochos and when her leg is already extended preparing for a step or after a regular slow boleo when her leg is behind her, a man with his torso goes around a woman's axis to his left (it means clock-wise) provoking her to charge more and therefore producing an energetic, deep movement of the leg to her left.

The key points here are: 1) Geometry: A man "Goes around" her. Not a slightest distance away, but perfectly around; 2) Timing: He starts movement to the his left (her right), leading contra-boleo when her leg just finished the extension. 3) Response: a man while going around her is provoking her to charge her body toward him (to her right) more. However for the best result she should keep facing him with her torso actively, it means turning toward him herself. It is her body performing the figure not his. Often women do not do it and that prevents the figure from happening.

After a man went around her no more no less than needed, he leads her a regular "boleo return".

The common mistake in learning this element besides a man "not going perfectly around" is that a woman is "too hasty". If instead of nice extension of the leg, slow, juicy movement, awareness and enjoyment of her leg she just falls back this not going to work.

Now let me show you what is happening during "contra-body boleo" from the point of view of "Twisted Body" dance theory.

- Here, on the left, a process of preparation is shown. It is the first two phases of a regular back boleo. On the top, let us call it 1), a woman starts moving the leg back. Because a man leads it, of course. How - this is beyond the current topic. On the lower picture (2), she is in a "ready" position: her leg is extended, she is on her standing leg well balanced. If instead of boleo she would do a pivot without boleo, it is exactly the same.

Changing between 1) and 2) produces a regular boleo.

At this moment a man will start moving around her to the left, she will turn more toward him, charging the body more, and finally performing the leg return with more energy. I want to mention that for the performance of the element a man is not necessary, a woman is able to make it alone. That is why for the sake of saving space, I will show only the woman's part.

On the picture below, you can see the diagrams of body part positions for pelvis, lower torso and upper torso. For the explanation, see here. From 2) when a man goes around to her right, she "twists" her lower torso toward the man as it is shown on 3). This produces overcharged twist in the body: both lower and upper torso are "twisted" to the right, and therefore release to 1) is significantly more powerful. Oh, that feels good !

These diagrams help to understand what is going on in the body. The lower torso plays the crucial role. "Twisting" does not mean there can be actual movement, not necessarily. It can be just a tork.

There are at 4 types of contra boleos on each leg. I have described one of them, other are done is a similar way.

To practice overtwisted body, you can use this pose.

2014 Aug 19

A colleague of mine from Italy, Enrico Massetti has made wonderful jewelry for tango dancers.
Check it out!

Tango Jewelry


2014 June 23

From one blog:

"I am strong: I know my strengths;
I am worthy: I know when, in what, and for whom I am very useful;
I am beautiful: (well. that is for women..) YOU are !
I am perfect in something ( which I know of what ). And the rest does not matter much;
I am surrounded by many people some of whom can help me, some of whom can support me. I know how to be friendly. I am different with everyone. I am tall, because I am standing on the shoulders of giants, and I study from them..
I am me because I realize my strengths, worth, beauty and perfection, and I have support of my friends and relatives, and I slowly but surely go in the direction which I feel is the best for me.

( yes, yes, I wrote it, but it is for someone else ).

2014 June 19


2014 June 10

Yesterday I have taught in one single beginner's class to several first-time students: pseudo-left turn, right turn, going to cross, ocho-cortado. This is my personal record.

I'll tell you more theory about it, why it came together nicely.
1. Pseudo-left turn ( Corte-y-Quebrada two times which can be done turning left) has the rhythm 1-2-3, 1-2. Two times: 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2 or 3 measures)
2. Right turn, even in its simple form, has the same rhythm: 1-2-3, 1-2. Two times: 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2, or 3 measures.
3. Going to cross after Corte-y-Quebrada ( continuously), together with it, this is a turning figure to the left, has the rhythm 1-2-3, 1-2-3, or two measures.
4. Ocho Cortado, which includes Corte ( Arrepentida) has the rhythm 1-2-3, 1-2-3, or two measures.
5. All these figures have interchangeable parts matching together.
6. That is why it was all possible.
7. As you can see 1. and 2. has the same rhythmical structure, but 1 is to the left, 2 is to the right. 1. cuts the turn, 2 makes a continuous turn.
8. And 3 and 4 has the same rhythmical structure, but 3 is to the left, 4 is to the right ( of a man). 3 makes continuous turn, 4 cuts the turn.
9. It all forms a very symmetrical mathematical structure ! Everything fits so nicely, and just asking to be in one lesson.
Note: 1-2-3 means roughly: three steps on 1,2, 3, and pause on 4.


2014 May 30

Tango Feet


Tango Embrace

Tango Walk

2014 May 29

Tango steps is a complex art and science ( link ). What would be the most useful brief advice how to make a back tango step? Press a hip joint of the free leg toward the partner as a preparation to the step.

2014 May 28

To lead is to make a woman feel like she is dancing.

2014, May 20

Where is in the book the explanation how pelvis area is used in balance? See the chapter about pelvis, hips, “Origins of movements in Pelvis Region” is at the very beginning. It explains that there is twist of the pelvis itself and another one of a Tail. “The tail” concept is really powerful. The tail can be “twisted” in both directions independently of twist of the pelvis, and therefore greatly variating it applications. The “twist” there is imaginable, it is an abstract concept. Our actual tail does not move. But muscles are still there. They work. They are very strong. I like to compare our little “was a tail” with a powerful dinosaur tail. It suits tango perfectly.

Just saying “tight the bottom” works, but it is not enough. How to use it? Combinations of pelvis and the tail “twists” provide vocabulary for creating new movements. Move your tail!

Once the bottom part is tight, particularly, “twisted”, the balance is very good and the upper torso is being freed for free movements.

Torso is important for balancing too. Good use of torso, rib cage, and muscles connected there provide wonderful balanced movements. One has to feel “stretch in the lower rib cage”.  

2014, May 19

Second edition of my argentine tango dance theory book is updated with

  • Case Study: 8-Count Basic
    • 8-Count Basic, the First Way, Salon
      • Salida
      • Transition to prepare for 3-Step-to-Cross done with Boleo Turning 90° Left
      • How to Lead Boleo to the Left
      • Transition to Prepare for the 3-Step-to-Cross in a "Regular Way"
      • What is Cross
      • Going to Cross from Side-Position on the Same Leg
      • 3-Step-to-Cross
      • Transition from Cross preparing for Resolution
      • Resolution
      • "8-Body-Twists" Basic
      • Step Diagram of the 8-Count Basic done with Boleo Turning 90° Left
      • Step Diagram for the 8-Count Basic with the Preparation for 3-Step-to-Cross done in the "Regular Way"
      • Step Diagram of the 8-Count Basic done in a Rectangular Way
      • Step Diagram of the 8-Count Basic Done in a Most Unusual Way
      • Timing and Rhythmic Feel and Variations
      • Common and not so Common Improvisations
      • Apilado Notes
      • Obtaining the Stage 4 Pose with Glued Feet Pattern Generator
    • 8-Count Basic with the Circular 3-Step-to-Cross
    • 8-Count Basic with a Foot Change done simply. "Cross Basic"
    • 8-Count Basic, the Second Way, Orillero
      • "Open Body to Cross Body" vs. "Side, Foot Change to Cross Body"
      • "Opposite Barrida to Cross and to Liberty" vs. "Opposite Barrida to Parada"
      • "Side, Foot Change, and to Parada" vs. "Side, Foot Change, and to Liberty"
    • Inserting Cross into Milonga Box. The Third Way of 8-Count
    • Unwinding 8-Count Basic in a Line
      • Milonga Box Resolution in Line
      • Boleo with the Redirection to Left Going Around the Woman
      • Man's Opposite Parada in Promenade Pose
    • Making 8-Count Basic with Turning to the Left Twice
    • How to Lead Her to Forward Step Instead of Cross. Continuation of the Circular 3-Step-to-Cross into the Second Half-Turn ending with Boleo with the Redirection to Left

This part is not available on line.

Book:  Dance Theory of Argentine Tango
To get the book in print, contact the webmaster
$24.99, 102 pages, 152 drawings, 8.5x11, $4 mailing
in US, $12 mailing to Europe

2014 April 24

Here is the video of a group performance at the event (patio with the fabulous view is on the left, on the right is the stage for musician, all spectators are behind):

SF Bay Area ATUSA Championship contestants - "Nada" - at Palo Alto JCC, another angle: Published on May 19, 2014 Argentine Tango Salon Style Demo by SF Bay Area ATUSA Contestants @JCC Palo Alto, May 2014 Music- "Nada" by Di Sarli;

and here is the performance of 2014 Salon Tango campions Nicholas and Stephanie. Vida querida" - at Palo Alto JCC

This was the best feeling event of all our parties. Thank you everyone !

* * *

On May 17, Saturday, we are going to have an annual tango party at Palo Alto Jewish Community Center. We already had a party around the New Year, so it turned out to be a semi-annual party.

Musicians: quintet Redwood Tango Ensemble
DJ Paul Vladimirsky
8:15-12:00 - Dance party
7:30 - 8:15 - Introductory tango lesson
Location: "Cultural Arts Hall" ( the theater ).
Two dance floors: dance on stage! Potluck. Coffee and tea provided. Link

Before the party, Igor Polk will present his tango book:
5:30 - 7:00 - "Twisted Body Dance Theory of Argentine Tango".
Location: on stage. This is a tango workshop. Free.
Igor will present the main concepts, show how they fill the puzzle of tango and answer questions.
The book is about how tango figures and elements are formed, why they are the way they are, why there is ambiguity in tango teaching, what is the difference between styles, what is leading and following, how to improvise, what is tango rhythm, how to dance with energy.
The book is very technical, in condensed language, with numerous illustrations. 118 pages.
Preliminary acquaintance with the text is advised:
The book will be available for sale, $20

2014 May 12

The Verdi Club Milonga on Thursday will end this month . .
After an 18 year successful weekly run (!), San Francisco's Thursday night milonga, The Verdi Club Milonga will unfortunately be closing at the end of May.  It will be replaced by (a much higher rent-paying) Salsa night starting in June.  Christy Cote and Víctor Meneses started the milonga on July 4th 1996 and Christy and Adolfo have been running the milonga since 2007.

With only three Thursdays left, make sure to take part in this farewell. Trio Garufa will be playing this week, and Seth's sextet will be playing on the last Thursday.

As a side note, you might be interested to know that this is a result of what has been happening in S.F. with the exploding demand for real estate.   As locals probably know, many large dance spaces have closed or will be closing soon like Vima Dance (a space that was considered as a back up location to the Verdi Club until they lost their lease), Cocomo (closing soon but reportedly has a new space in SF), Cell Space (closing at the end of 2014.  The milonga plans to find a new home).  The space where El Arrabal is held has been sold...actually 1/2 the building was sold...a new ballroom is planned for in the other half of the building before the end of this year but in the meantime El Arrabal with not be happening.  To sum it up, the current tech boom is making tango move out of the city.  Will the boom last for 18 years?   

2014 May 08

A friend said to me: "I know what makes the new World Tango Champions. The follower executes every movement with perfection. She uses the floor better than any tango dancer I have seen to this date. She has the floor moving up her body through the top of her head with power. She is not lacking in energy in every execution. Every muscle in her body is working. Her whole attention is given to every moment. Because of this, the lead is most likely there also. But I could not keep my eyes off of her. She demanded attention."

2014 April 21

Wow ! The US tango competition was a real blast this year ! Amazing experience !

2014 April 20

Our dance ( Cecilia is in white-red dress, I am in black ). Day 1, round 4, song 1. We have made 10 turns of different kinds, forward and back ochos during the first 1.5 minutes we were recorded. Song 2.

2014 April 16

Laban notation does not take in account the technique. It is only visual. The good thing is that it is suitable for any style of dance. But at the same time it makes the record very cumbersome, overweighed, and difficult to read for a dancers.

My notation is a shorthand of my technique. It has graphical and symbolic form, and is actually very short. Graphical form is easier to understand, but symbolic is also not difficult ( and it is shorter ). More important is that the symbolic form allows to present “transition”, i.e. mechanics of dance figures. Of course, it is all related to Argentine Tango only, but I feel it can be used in other places where appropriate.

Do not pay attention to symbolic formulas, just skip it. Graphical formulas are more useful. Video will never be able to replace abbreviation, it is not abstract enough, many things are just not visible. My abbreviations show what happens inside the body, other abbreviations – only what is visible.  

2014 April 15

Very mistaken are those who think that the dance must contain elements of great physical abilities. Large theatrical movement, kama-sutra poses, rabbit-fast steps is not what defines a dance. All this belong to a totally different area: manipulation of spectators to program their mind in a certian way. A dance is defined by correct body postures ( 14 of them on one leg), variety of perfect rhythms, combination of steps into figures, adaptation to a dance partner and environment, inventiveness, musicality, feeling, enjoyment of movements to music and in community. All that is available to any average people. The conclusion is that everyone can dance well !

2014 April 2

Javier Rodriguez and Virginia Pandolfi Tango and Milonga:


2014 April 2

About “breaking down preconceived idea about tango”. It goes in two directions. One is innovation. I mean innovation in usual terms, another one is going to very basis. It is my direction. It serves innovation, because it discovers very basic and therefore powerful mechanisms of generation of all available moves, figures, and dances. It goes well beyond the usual established thinking. That is what my book's most important result. And that is what you going to get studying it. Not just “new” ways, but ALL ways! This is what mathematical approach gives. Think about it. It is overwhelming?

2014 April 1 ( not tango: Final Fantasy Dance Battle )

2014 March 12

How to make tango friends for a woman. Valuable friends.

On the way in doing this, do not ask others for dance unless you are a master. Look approachable, but not insisting. Do not sit in a corner. Be communicative, but do not spend time talking. This averts. Watch other dancers and do so with a pleasant, approving, open face, it attracts. Dance well with whoever invites you. And go to workshops where more advanced students go, that is the way to secure friends. Good leaders observe dancing couples and choose whom to invite by observation, this is true. Well, that is only if they are looking for a new partner, have no friends in line to dance with. The most valuable is elegance, axis, ability to follow, good spirit. On your face an enjoyment of dancing must be read. This is important and attractive. The most advanced dancers will look at the feet and quality of turns. Tricks attract clowns. No adornments, god save you from this!  The best time to get to new partners at the beginning and at the end of milonga, when there are less people. Also less popular events, where there are fewer people serve well as meeting grounds. Wear attractive dress. Sexy, yes, it does work. But elegant and tasteful. The cloth has to be pleasant on touch, not slippery, not rough.

The paramount is quality dancing. This ultimately defines everything.

2014 March 03

Here is a new figure. For the terms, abbreviations, and technique of individual elements, please visit "Twisted Body" Dance Theory; For questions.

The figure A. This is a variation on 8-count basic. It introduces back ocho for a man and a woman on step 3. To the best of my mind this figure was taught be Puppy Castello and presented here, in San Francisco, by Graciela Gonzales. Stages of the figure:

  • 0. Starting position. On the diagram, man is below, women above;
  • 1. Back-side move for both partners like in regular 8-count basic;
  • 2. Pivot backward for for both partners. It can be done with a boleo; Then step. It is done in the direction of the previous side step, to the left of the picture;
  • 3`. One more pivot back for both partners;
  • 3. The man is leading woman to pivot back, but he does not do it himself. After her pivot they are in a regular 8-count basic position for a three-step to cross;
  • 4. Three step to cross.


There are variations. One was shown by Gavito while he was in Redwood City invited by Cristy Cote. It is when a man does not pivot back on 2, makes a forward third step instead of the back, but leading a woman to back pivot on 3'.

On the picture B there is a variation, when the man makes a very deep pivot, and a woman makes it very small, essentially just repositioning her body. Then everything is like in A, but the direction of the third step is like on the picture B.

Here is a new figure, on picture C. The transition 2 is done like on A or B. On 3 a man makes a back pivot too and steps backward (!) leading a woman to a regular three-step to cross. He steps backward in forward direction. A man makes himself back and side steps and after the side one, fixes the direction of his face forward, like in the regular 8-count. Fancy !





2014 February 21

"Twisted Body" Dance Theory is published online. Welcome to read it. Leave your comments at the discussion forum, Google+, or Facebook. You can e-mail directly to me.

Computerized dance: Nobuyuki Hanabusa;
I think it would be better if dancers controlled lights..


2014 January 21

Oops, 2014 already, I should start a new page...

Here are some gems. Maestros

Carlos Gavito y Natalia Hills

Orlando Paiva


2014 March 01

Донецк; Харьков; Одесса;

2014 Feb 27

I prosto stihi

Не знаю, откуда стырено. Копирайт отсутствует.

Путин: А у нас в России газ! А у Вас?
Янукович: А у нас переворот, вот.
Лукашенко: А у нас одна картошка,
но у нас ее так множко, что нам пофигу ваш газ!
Никакой переворот не допустит наш народ! Вот!
Путин: А у нас Олимпиада! Что еще для счастья надо?
И ликует весь народ! Вот!
Янукович: А у нас переворот. Вот!
Лукашенко: А зато у нас в стране, благодаря, конечно, мне
нет ни бедных ни богатых. Все живут лишь на зарплату.
Путин: А у нас на лыжах в Сочи, каждый может отдыхать
И чиновник и рабочий, вот такая благодать!
Янукович: А у нас переворот! Вот!
Обама: Ну, а мне вообще все страны,
шлют картошку, газ, бананы.
Кто бананы не пришлет, у того и переворот! Вот!

2014 Mar 1




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My name is Igor Polk. I dance tango in San Francisco.
Argentina Tango, Argentin Tango, Argentinian Tango, Tango Argentino

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