practica el beso

so, do you do the jumps and kicks?

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A very talented, outspoken, colleague of mine asked me this a while back during a break we had in one of our morning of meetings for musicians that teach teachers how to teach music. Well, that was a very interesting question, but one that really makes most Argentine social tango dancers laugh, and laugh out loud.

My immediate response was “No…Bob…let’s just think about this a moment, how could we all (tango social dancers) circumnavigate the dance floor safely with others doing that at the same time?”

Hmmm, his look of surprise and concern was quickly forthcoming. “You are right Isabella, how could that happen?”

What a brilliant and quick mind he had. Immediately he understood that in a social context, jumps and kicks just cannot happen.

This begs the question “What does happen on the tango social dance floor?”

Here is a very recent video taken in one of the more famous places.

Many people that dance regularly in the dancehalls (milongas) in Buenos Aires, (milongueros and milongueras) just say that ‘life’ happens there.

In the milongas, people socialize, listen to tango music from the Golden Age (1940’s), dance a soft intimate style of tango that mainly plays with walks and turns moving in spirals that is respectful of all the participants.

Often people have bottles of champagne on their little tables in buckets of ice, tall glasses of Fernet-Branca and Coke, or plastic bottles of water with accompanying glasses. The table often includes mints and even hand santizer nowadays.

Upon entering the milonga people pay an entrance fee (minimal) and are escorted to a seat assigned by the milonga organizer. Oftentimes the ladies are seated on one side of the room and gentleman on the other. This facilitates the non-verbal invitations to dance of looking and nodding (mirar, cabeceo).

People are there to have a great time and they make every effort to be well-dressed and perfumed.

The Argentine tango social dance scene is full of passion and sparkles.

This alternate world thrives, it pulses and keeps everyone part of it desiring more.

Please also see “The end of a beautiful evening”


Happy holidays dear friends…

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champagne corkWe are celebrating three years on WordPress where we have shared articles, pictures, created events, travelled, and written all kinds of articles that link back to our huge passion, Argentine tango.

Thanks for visiting us and we hope all of you follow (or continue to follow) your passions towards happiness in the New Year.

Please enjoy this beautiful tango vals by Osvaldo Pugliese, Navidad.

Alberto Dassieu, a true Maestro

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"Querida Isabella, mucho me alegra ver esta foto que fue de las primeras que tuve en mi llegada a Toronto, como así también poder compartir con muchos amigos de esa ciudad, a los que siempre recuerdo. Por su gran cariño para conmigo. Esas son cosas que uno nunca debe olvidar. Y es lo que me sucede a mí, que no lo olvido, que siempre quiero recordar. Aprovecho para mandarles un cariño grande como así a todas las personas que se adhirieron en comentarios. Cariñosamente, Alberto Dassieu"
“Querida Isabella, mucho me alegra ver esta foto que fue de las primeras que tuve en mi llegada a Toronto, como así también poder compartir con muchos amigos de esa ciudad, a los que siempre recuerdo. Por su gran cariño para conmigo. Esas son cosas que uno nunca debe olvidar. Y es lo que me sucede a mí, que no lo olvido, que siempre quiero recordar. Aprovecho para mandarles un cariño grande como así a todas las personas que se adhirieron en comentarios. Cariñosamente, Alberto Dassieu”

Having had the pleasure of watching Alberto Dassieu for years in the milongas in Buenos Aires and dancing with him upon hearing he was doing a North American tour in 2011 with a stop in Toronto the idea of taking a private class with him struck home. What would we talk about, dance, what did I want the legend to share with me?
Upon reflection the easiest course that came to mind for me was hoping he would share a little bit of his insights into the orchestra Carlos di Sarli. Of course he would have some interesting views on the topic and want to include me in on them with his long experience.

The class was very interesting and right after we danced one beautiful tango Alberto honoured me with the invitation to do some demonstations with him in Toronto.

Even though we didn’t have the opportunity to ever practise together; when our chance came to share a beautiful tango at a milonga, Alberto was utterly clear with the vision that we should dance the Tango “Llueve otra vez”.

Thank you for sharing a little with me Alberto Dassieu, a true Maestro.

About the music:

Llueve otra vez
Tango 1944
Música: Juan José Guichandut
Letra: Juan José Guichandut
Escucha corazón
el eco de su voz…
Escucha, corazón, está lloviendo
y la lluvia va tejiendo
los recuerdos de su amor.
¡Qué pena, corazón!
No es ella, ni es su voz.
Tan sólo es la obsesión que me domina,
el recuerdo que castiga
desde su adiós.

y un látigo de luz me azota,
relámpago de fiebre loca.
La lluvia, sin cesar,
golpeando en el cristal,
renueva la emoción perdida.
Y entre la bruma creo ver su imagen,
igual que entonces, diciendo adiós.
y el cielo se llenó de sombras,
lo mismo que mi corazón.

Tristeza que dejó
el eco de su voz.
Tristeza de esperar inútilmente
y creer que nuevamente
con la lluvia volverá.
¡No esperes, corazón!
¡No penes por su amor!
Mañana cuando el sol radiante asome
al calor de otros amores,

Birthday Tango !

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Cachirulo in Obelisco Tango Saturday night was almost bursting at the seams.

Grand tango social dancers were in attendance and appeared to be chomping at the bit to get themselves on the dance floor as Carlos Rey played his delightful music selections.   But, wait…the locals were looking somewhat frustrated by the lack of navigation, circulation and floor craft.   Some were clearly not using mirada/cabeceo.   A few regulars were probably thinking twice about getting out there on the slick dance floor with some very enthusiastic participants that didn’t seem to know the ABC’s of Buenos Aires tango social dance floor craft.

In 2005, while dancing tango in Salon Canning, one of the old milongueros told me it was the ‘honour’ of the milonguero to ‘never’ touch anyone on the dance floor.  Once he made me aware of this it was wonderful to have that realized beautifully on the dance floor. We were on this brilliant square wood floor in and amongst every kind of tango dancer and….low and behold…had never touched anyone and were able to circulate with the group in the ronda.

Magnificent and safe!

To move as a group and feel phrases of the music and breathe together as a community……incredible!

Claudio mi cumple 2014 3On Saturday evening even with the fear of people bumping into each other and the floor being somewhat slippery, it was great fun.  The celebrations culminated for me with an invitation to dance for my birthday by Hector and Norma of Los Cachirulos Tango.

Magnificent Claudio Strang agreed to dance with me.

Thank you to everyone who sat through the demonstration and honoured us with their presence.

We danced Telón by Osvaldo Fresedo 1938.

telonTelón, telón de la comedia
que empezó con un cantar
y que le dio final tu desamor.
Final atroz de ver la soledad
en el rincón del cuchitril
que un día enloqueció tu folletín.
Dolor de ver morir una esperanza,
sueño de Pierrot,
que al despertar se vio bufón.
Telón brutal que a la ilusión le dio un final
el día en que tu amor
se fue con el vaivén del vendaval.

festivals yes….festivals no….

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albuquerqueNeed a change?   Caught up in the local Tango scene and needing some fresh air?

Why not try out the idea of going to a new Tango Festival or finding time for more tango travel?

Chicago Isabella and Paul 2013

The lovely benefits of meeting new dancers (and old), listening to even more beautiful music, being in a different space and feeling a new vibe, certainly can be enchanting.

The idea of meeting more people that are as passionate as you and just as dedicated to growth within the dance absolutely beckons.

See you in Albuquerque.

on safari !

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Tango shoes in Buenos Aires…the selections in the stores here are fabulous and the shoes peer out in various showcases like gorgeous, shimmering jewels waiting to be found.

animals and tango shoes 2013 019Looking in some of the windows is so exciting at some locations, while at others you have to go in and ask to see the latest trends. Some of the shops are modern, others frou frou but my favorite is the shop that is loaded with antiques and harkens back to a by-gone era.

Tango shoes come in all kinds of colours, solids or patterns,, leather, suede, patent leather, even stamped leather and fabric.

Which heel height would you like? High? Low? In the middle range?
What style of heel do you feel good in? Flared? Spike?

Does the arch fit your foot?

Sling back, full back, or T strap?

Do you prefer things that are sleek or fuzzy?

What kind of sole do you like most? Leather, non-leather, chrome, a mix of both?

Should you pay cash or use a charge card? What are the advantages to either?

Isabella y Gerard 4Buy one pair or more?

Go with a friend or find your treasure on your own?

Which brand will I choose??

So many lovely questions to ask oneself when on a tango shoe hunting safari.
No wonder it takes us so long to decide on which pair after considering all of the above!


Alluring improvisations….

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At times I have asked myself if other people that dance tango in the milongas truly adore the absolute thrill and visceral power of dancing totally “improvisationally” as much as I do.

When the opportunity arises to attend a milonga the anticipation beforehand is palpable.

What music will be played?

What should I wear?

How will my tandas be?

Will my favourite partners be there?

How will the floor/group feel?

Will I be able to open a little door and create some of the magic that will leave us both desiring more at the end of our beloved tanda?

isabella y juan carlos 2012

Having the experience of dancing here,abroad and travelling to Buenos Aires many times and residing there for months on end my desire to improvise something beautiful/passionate and completely in the moment has never been diminished.

I would be thrilled to hear some of your stories about interesting spontaneous tandas and would love you to share some of them here if you like.

Here is one of my last demos this year in Buenos Aires at Cachirulo,the Saturday night milonga hosted by Norma and Hector in Villa Malcolm. This tango is pure spontaneous improvisation….and to me, completely thrilling.

Isabella Szymonowicz currently is one of the hosts of a Monday night practica.
For details/times please check Swansea Town Hall


This article has been translated in articulos en espagnol.

Let’s join together…

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Dear friends,

sandy hookAs most of you already know I have had the honour of working for the school board here in Toronto for many years. I have shared my passion for music with many educators and students.

Fridays events have left me shaken (as with the rest of the world) and questioning my beliefs. In an effort to try and do ‘something’ I would like to invite you to make a donation with me to the families and community of Sandy Hook. I don’t possess to have any knowledge of how this must feel but I do know what it is to lose a loved one.

Today we will have our last practise of 2012. We will have a special envelope for anyone to donate if they wish with me.

If you are unable to join us this evening, online donations are accepted here.

We look forward to seeing you this evening, and I want to extend our wishes for a peaceful holiday and joyful new year to those who are unable to join us.

Come celebrate !

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We invite you come out and share our joy in celebrating our one year Anniversary of classes, workshops and special events at Practica El Beso with a little toast Monday November 12. 


Each week we offer Buenos Aires style Argentine Tango music in a beautiful space with wood floors, mirror, and barre.   In the Teiaiagon Room at Swansea Town Hall,95 Lavinia. 
We encourage you to come out and viscerally feel the music as styled from the milongas of Buenos Aires by Isabella and practise your beloved tango in a supportive environment.
Cost $8.00
From 8p.m. till 10p.m.
Stay tuned for upcoming events…