Tango is the embrace.
Gustavo Benzecry Sabá, in Embracing Tango
How I dance
The Primacy of the Embrace
You can decide that your embrace will conform to the steps you do, or you can tailor the steps to enable the embrace. For me, it is the embrace that comes first. If I have to compromise, I will sacrifice fancy steps. The back sacada is not for the social dance floor. With good technique, however, a dancer can have a considerable range of possible movements even in a relatively unchanging close embrace.
The Basic Step of Tango is the Walk
Together with the embrace, the walk is the main thing in tango. You are a good dancer if you can walk well. If you can´t, all your fancy moves don´t mean a thing. A good walk takes many years to develop.
Elements over Sequences, Feeling over Steps
Tango is not about long, complicated sequences. Tango is made up of small elements, single movements which can be strung together with complete freedom. Tango is not tango if it is not improvised. If a step stops me from concentrating on the feeling, on my partner and the music, I don´t do it.
The Music rules all
If you don´t dance on the beat, you don´t dance. If you are off the music, you are doing something wrong, regardless of the movements you may be performing expertly. Dancing well means dancing to the music.
We are not alone
Tango is a social dance. When we dance, we share the dance floor with other couples. Moving together and in harmony with others is part of the dance.
What I teach
I teach what I dance
I teach what I dance, and I dance what I teach. I am not a stage dancer, I dance salón tango and nothing else. I only teach what can be used in the milongas. Sorry, no jumps. I take my cue in that from the great Gavito who refused to teach even ganchos unless the student in question was an aspiring stage dancer.
We are not athletes
Tango is a dance, not a competition. The way we dance should not be like an extreme sport. We want to share an embrace and experience the music together, so we must be reasonably comfortable. My technique works for anyone who can move about normally, and it works for a considerable range of moves even in the close embrace.
Tango is not a spectator sport
What is good tango? Is it what wows the people watching the dance floor, or is it what makes your partner glow with pleasure? For me, it is the latter, and that is what I am trying to help people achieve. This is not at all the easier option.
Owning, not Apeing
I feel it is important for students to fully understand what they learn. Each movement has its place in the technique, structure and yes, also in the poetry of the dance. Teaching means helping people to aquire the movements in the broadest possible sense, so as to make them their own.
Teaching vs Learning
Classes should not be about the teacher, but about the learner. My job as a teacher is to facilitate learning, enabling students to learn to the best of their ability. To that end I employ a process-based teaching method using feedback and discussion that empowers the students, enabling them to shape the lesson according to their needs. This makes for extremely gainful and dynamic learning experiences and for me is as exciting as tango itself.
Tango is the Basics
Tango is very, very simple in its structure, that is why it can be so complex. I emphasise work on the basics, because that is what tango is about: a comfortable embrace, good posture and balance, easy walk, clear lead, active following. I work a lot with simple exercises and don´t believe in complex sequences as a teaching tool.