Tango is considered to be one of the great music genres of the world, and rightfully so. Fascinating and complex, the dance has evolved over the years, as have the fashions that are associated with the dance. There is nothing more satisfying and primal than stepping onto the dance floor with the confidence that your shoes and attire are attention-grabbing and comfortable for a sensual and exhilarating night of tango dancing.
A Tale of A Tango Shoe
As a tango beginner, it is not necessary to start out with a special shoe. But, as the love of tango ignites within, dancers understand the need for elegantly and easily pivoting on the ball of the foot is essential. Shoes that do not provide a hard enough platform or that stick to the floor will impede the dancing and possibly cause injury.
Women prefer heels that range from 1″ to 4″ and are comfortable for hours of dancing. Specialty tango shoes typically come in closed cage or sling backs styles and are crafted with high-quality materials, designed to withstand hundreds of hours on the dance floor. Function and style can and do coexist with tango shoes that are elegant and fashion-forward, while still cushioning your feet and allowing for all night dancing.
Tango In Style
A pair of sexy tango shoes must be paired with an equally impressive tango dress. Flowing skirts are great for practice or casual events, but milongas demand dresses that are curve hugging and stretchy. Skirts or dresses with slits allow for leg movement and accentuate the curves of the leg. Although fashionable tango outfits are important, dancers must be able to take large steps without being hindered by the garment. Classic tango dresses are making a comeback, as they are being designed with updated patterns and fabulous fabrics that are attractive and accommodate the movements involved in tango dancing.
For the perfect fit and function in tango shoes, visit Turquoise and browse the vividly designed styles developed by tango dancers for tango dancers.
Même si les règles vestimentaires sont plus souples aujourd’hui, les chaussures de tango restent incontournables. Pour les dames, le talon aiguille est la pièce maîtresse de la panoplie.
«Les chaussures, c’est mon péché mignon», confesse Christine, une Toulousaine rencontrée jeudi soir, sous la halle, quelques instants avant que ne démarre la milonga. Elle se tenait devant le stand d’Hacen Ayad, présent chaque année au festival et spécialisé dans cet accessoire incontournable devenu l’arme fatale du tango…..
There are many many tango shoe brands out there, more and more popping out everyday. Of course “shoe making” is one of the oldest professions, so you can find out one or two craftsmen, just around the corner, to make some shoes for you. So why should you care which one to go to? One would thing that the only thing you have to consider is a good color scheme and the design itself and the shoemaker will sort the rest for you.. Right?.. Wrong..
Making a shoe is an easy task, however making a good tango shoe is a challenge that requires an expert level science, engineering, chemistry, orthopedics as well as arts and esthetics. All these are absolutely crucial components and with even one missing, the process cannot be completed.
As a manufacturer, we believe that our customers have the right to know exactly how their tango shoes are made. And we also know that we can to scientifically show how Turquoise Shoes differentiate so vastly from other big brands, not to mention the craftsman just around the corner.
This is a typical example of how we perceive what a good product means.
This is a machine to measure the integrity of your tango shoe heels.
After a Thursday out at Point Hotel I was not expecting to visit any other milongas or any other tango activities for that matter.
But when I found out that it was Ilgın’s milonga anniversary and her birthday as well, I knew we just had to go to be there to celebrate with her.
If you are looking for a milonga in Istanbul, Tangolic is the absolute best place to be on a Friday.
This is the entrance of Tangolic. It is on the forth floor, don’t be scared to go up that high, once you reach the top, it is most certainly worth the walk.
As soon as you get in, you already feel the energy in the air. The assistants are running around to make sure all the tasks are completed in time. It seems like girls were are still focusing on their task while the men are having a break for a photo shoot. The overall atmosphere is captivating.
The one thing a milonga visitor needs is a place to change their clothes. You’ll be in luck as there is large room that’s set out for that exact purpose right here at the Tangolic.
It seems going up to the forth floor was really worth it when you also have the view from the balcony. The famous Istiklal Street of Taksim where there is always traffic, but you can sit at the balcony and watch the people going by, just being there, enjoying the moment.
I can easily say that assistants are equally distributed boys and girls which is always a pleasant feature. And I also think these guys (girls and boys) do dance really good!!
Another important figure in our tango community Sercan Yiğit! The best dancer in town for sure.
As the milonga starts, the vast space seems to be quickly filled with more and more people who are getting straight into dancing. I feel like people who come here are really eager just the share time in which the floor goes from almost empty to nearly overcrowded
After the celebration Ilgın’s 30 Birtday, we are privileged to watch a wonderful performance by Pablo Rodriguez and Ilgın Tetikcan in the flesh.
When Guralp told me that it would be the 11th anniversary of the Point Hotel milonga I realised that it must have been 12-13 years when I first started dancing tango. Point milonga started when was I was a beginner. Back then, we didn’t know Guralp well but a close friend of ours become a DJ. Guralp approached her and asked her to DJ at his milongas professionally. Frankly speaking, at that time no DJ was paid properly, so that was the first case in the tango community in Istanbul. Now 11 years on, Point Hotel is still going strong and is the place to go to on Thursday nights.
The location of the milonga is the best one you can get in Istanbul. Located at the heart of Istanbul Taksim area, it is easily accessible from anywhere in the city and by any kind of transport. If you arrive by car, you can leave it safely to the hotel’s valet service.
The milonga venue is a perfect vantage point and the view from the terrace is fantastic. This is the view from the place at daytime
And this how it looks at day
And this how it looks at night
Day or night, it is equally beautiful and inspiring. I know people who come to Point Hotel to have a glass of wine and just watch the hustle and bustle of the city life below. And when it comes to tango at the Point Hotel, you can be sure to meet the whole range of tangueros – not just the dancers from a particular tango school or a closed community but instead people from different studios, communities and cities. A common problem in tango world is when groups of tangueros from one community only dance with each other. This is not the case at Point. The milonga is also very well known internationally and is popular with the tangueros visiting from all around the world.
Point milonga starts at around 9:30 and the entrance fee includes one free drink. There is no dress code as such but dancers do like to dress up – as you can see from the photos that I took last night.
A friend of mine just loves to come here to have a cocktail mixed at the bar and sips his drink at the terrace while enjoying the city view or watching the dance floor, checking out who is free to dance and who is still dancing.
Usually you would expect a crowd of 70-100 people at Point but yesterday I think about 200 people turned up for the anniversary party. The place was buzzing, the energy was high and the floorcraft was really nice. Check out some of my photos from last night and see for yourselves!
I would also like to dedicate a separate section to Guralp Diner. From the moment he got into the local tango community, he has added an incredible value to it. It is his way of doing his work and his new ideas that add a fresh perspective to our tango life here in Istanbul. I never remember him bragging about his achievements, however many in this tango community continue to use and develop his ideas. Guralp is also the creator of Istanbul Tango Guide Map. Knowing the importance of bringing something new and fresh to the table, I congratulate him on his approach and wish him another successful 11 + years to come.
Here in the Istanbul Tango life section I am going to talk about the local tango scene. Hopefully, this can help international visitors coming to Turkey to dance more with the locals and immerse themselves into the true Istanbul culture and lifestyle. So here we go…
If you are coming to Istanbul to dance tango and are not sure where to go on a Tuesday night, La Cumparsita could be the answer.
Istanbul tango scene is very busy and there are new milongas emerging and disappearing every month. Considering that tango tourism to Istanbul is growing, here are a few tips about Istanbul Tango Life I’d like to share with you.
If you are visiting Istanbul to dance with the locals at the regular milongas, one stop you might wish to consider is La Cumparsita on Tuesday. Even though there are 2-3 milongas every night in Istanbul and the new ones are coming up (and disappearing) every now and then, my observation is that local tangueros prefer to go to the milongas that have been around for some time.
Yesterday La Cumparsita celebrated their 10th Anniversary, and I can say the place was packed. There was also a draw for a pair of Turquoise Tango Shoes to mark the anniversary. Halil Ertekin one of my favourite DJs was in charge of music. What a treat! I’d like to think that the place was so busy because of the draw but actually the real reason is that the tango community like and respect the owners of the milonga. Anyway, it was a special night and I won’t be referring to yesterday’s extraordinary turnout but rather tell you about what La Cumparsita is like on a regular Tuesday.
One of the things I really like about La Cumparsita is the patio with a small friendly garden. It is a perfect place to get to know people in a very welcoming environment. Despite the health issues that keep me from dancing, I really like coming to the milonga to have a chat with tangueros.
Another thing I would like to mention is the menu, which is different from what you can find at many other milongas: the owners serve coffee or tea (with refill) and real tasty snacks the whole night. If you are not crazy about alcohol like myself then this is a real paradise. As long as you don’t want alcohol, almost everything is included in the entrance fee.
Oh and don’t miss the famous cake made from crushed sesame seeds! It is absolutely delicious and is also “on the house”.
The dancing area itself is about 50 square meters with a custom made floor.
The atmosphere is very friendly, and once you get to know people, this could be a regular spot for you to hang out. One thing I’ve noticed is that, interestingly, La Cumparsita is the only milonga that I have ever been to that has more men. This might just be my observation but this is the only tango place where men have to line up looking for women to dance with.
In summer the place can get very hot but there is an air conditioner to cool the milonga, so it’s a nice option to have.
And last but not least, the final touch…Yes you guessed it right. Toilets. At La Cumparsita, they have separate men’s and ladies’ and the restrooms are very clean and tidy. In fact, the facilities are so comfortable that lots of tangueras use the ladies’ as a changing room. So you can be sure that all aspects of your milonga are taken care of.
We have been asked many times by our dear customers about taking care of their tango shoes. Before starting to mention the aftercare we need to mention the difference between tango shoes and regular street shoes first.
– The structural difference between regular shoes and tango shoes
To put it simply: “The overall structure is properly done with a tango shoes”. As you may have read on google through any search, it is certainly quality and value. Without getting into too much detail, I can say that it is all about geometry. I will post another detailed explanation about this in my next blog post. But if tango shoes were made for daily usage , they would be more comfortable than any other serial production shoe.
-The padding of a tango shoe
There is always two sides of a medal and many choices contributing to a decision. Generally when you decide to make a nice looking shoe, you have to forget about the comfort of it. However not at Turquoise, where we never compromise either. This brings me to my next topic. The padding in our shoes not only brings you comfort, but the usage of this padding does not take away from the shoes appearance as it may with other brands. One thing to note is that when the padding increases, generally the aftercare is harder.
-The Outer Sole
The outer sole issue is another issue with aftercare. Every outer sole has to be taken care of in a different way. Although we are working and spending a lot of R&D on finding an outer sole that could fit both for tango dance and regular usage, it will take some time for us to announce that. Wouldn’t it be nice if we make tango shoes that you can wear for night out as well?
After pointing out these issues, here is what you should do to take better care of your precious shoes;
The shoe, once made, cannot change its structure. If properly made, a good tango shoe will lose its initial balance only if there is any change made to it. From my experience, “cutting the heel” is the most common mistake one may make if the heel is too high for the customer. So, when deciding on which tango shoe to pick, stick to the one you are most comfortable in. The main objective is to dance, not to look nice and tall; if you are not comfortable, don’t go for a higher heel simply because it looks better. It is certainly not about cutting the heels, once you buy them.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects over 1 million people in the United States. People with PD often demonstrate postural instability, gait difficulties, and impaired functional mobility, which can lead to falls and decreased quality of life. Medical treatments for PD do not fully address gait and balance issues and, consequently, additional approaches are needed. One approach that has recently emerged in clinical studies is the use of dance, particularly the Argentine tango, as therapy to improve motor function in Parkinson’s patients. Can this social partner dance rooted in the early nineteenth century brothels of Buenos Aires really help improve the motor disturbances of Parkinson’s disease?
In PD, there is an imbalance in neurotransmitters such as dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and acetylcholine in the basal ganglia, which compromises their role in the motor control of skilled voluntary movements.[3,4] As a result, patients develop bradykinesia with short, shuffling steps and flexed posture, and may have freezing of gait. Patients also have difficulties with balance, and dual tasking while walking, turning, and walking backwards. Traditionally, physical therapy is prescribed along with medical treatment to address these symptoms. In 2007, Keus and colleagues made evidence-based recommendations regarding the four key components of physical therapy design for PD patients:
1) cueing strategies to improve gait;
2) cognitive movement strategies to improve transfers of weight;
3) exercises to improve balance; and
4) training of joint mobility and muscle power to improve physical capacity.
Based on these recommendations, it is clear why the Argentine tango may be an effective form of therapy in PD.
The Argentine tango is a partner dance in which the couple is embraced in each other’s arms, and the leader guides the follower, creating synchronized walking and body movement to the music.
This form of dance uniquely addresses each of Keus’s recommendations.
First, all movement is done to music.
Rhythmic auditory cues have been shown to be beneficial in gait training for PD patients.
Similarly, music in Argentine tango may act as an external cue to facilitate movement.
Secondly, the Argentine tango teaches specific movement strategies for walking patterns that are particularly difficult for PD patients, like walking backwards.
To walk backwards in the Argentine tango, dancers are taught to “keep the trunk over the supporting foot while reaching backward with the other foot, keeping the toe of that rear foot in contact with the floor as it slides back and shifting weight backward over the rear foot only after it is firmly planted.”
Balance, the third recommendation, is addressed though the partnered nature of the Argentine tango; the dancers must work to maintain balance dynamically while turning and in the midst of random external perturbation. Finally, similar to other forms of dance, if the Argentine tango is done with sufficient amount of intensity, it can be an aerobic workout and result in improved cardiovascular function and physical capacity.
The benefits of Argentine tango in mild-to-moderate idiopathic PD were demonstrated byHackney and colleagues in 2007. Their study found significant improvements in balance based on an average improvement of 4 points on the Berg Balance Scale after patients completed 20 one-hour Argentine tango classes over 13 weeks. Interestingly, this improvement was only seen in the tango group and not the control group, who only participated in traditional exercise class. This finding of improved balance in PD patients after Argentine tango classes was also supported by two later studies, both showing comparable improvements in the average Berg Balance Scale.[1,10] Furthermore, a 2009 study by Madeleine and colleagues comparing effects of Argentine tango in PD to American Ballroom (waltz/foxtrot) demonstrated not only an improvement in balance after Argentine tango classes, but also a significant improvement in backward walking velocity, backward stride strength, and physical capacity. The study went on to show superiority of Argentine tango over American ballroom in improving forward walking velocity and functional motor control function, as evidenced by a 0.08 meter per second increase in forward walking velocity and 2 second decrease in the Timed Up & Go test.
Based on this information, the Argentine tango appears to contain the four recommended components of physical therapy for individuals with PD and to be an effective form of movement therapy as well. Not only has Argentine tango proven to be beneficial for the motor function of patients with PD, it has also demonstrated superiority to exercise and American ballroom dance. The Argentine tango demands postural control, movement initiation, turning, and moving in close proximity to another individual. These fundamentals of Argentine dance can improve balance, difficulties in movement initiation, directional changes, and overall functional motor control. While there is currently a small number of studies looking at the Argentine tango and its effects in PD, the research to date is highly suggestive of a potential benefit for patients with mild-to-moderate PD with movement disturbances. If research continues in this direction, it may not be long before we see Parkinson’s patients practicing the Argentine tango up and down the halls of Neurology Clinic.
Neha Jindal is a 4th year medical student at NYU School of Medicine
Peer reviewed by Damara Gutnick, MD, Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
1. Hackney ME, Earhart G. Effects of dance on movement control in Parkinson’s Disease: a comparison of Argentine tango and American ballroom. J Rehabil Med. 2009;41(6):475-481.
2. Gage H, Storey L. Rehabilitation for Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review of available evidence. Clin Rehabil. 2004;18(5):463-482. http://cre.sagepub.com/content/18/5/463.abstract
3. Marsden CD, Parkes JD. “On-off effects” in patients with Parkinson’s disease on chronic levodopa therapy. Lancet. 1976;1(7954):292-296.http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(76)91416-1/abstract
4. Benecke R, Rothwell JC, Dick JP, Day BL, Marsden CD. Disturbance of sequential movements in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Brain. 1987;110(Pt 2):361-379.
6. Keus SH, Bloem BR, Hendriks EJ, Bredero-Cohen AB, Munneke M; Practice Recommendations Development Group. Evidence-based analysis of physical therapy in Parkinson’s disease with recommendations for practice and research. Mov Disord. 2007;22(4):451-460.
7. Dance as Therapy for Individuals with Parkinson Disease
8. Thaut MH, McIntosh GC, Rice RR, Miller RA, Rathbun J, Brault JM. Rhythmic auditory stimulation in gait training for Parkinson’s disease patients. Mov Disord. 1996;11(2):193-200. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC486690/
9. Hackney ME, Kantorovich S, Levin R, Earhart GM. Effects of tango on functional mobility in Parkinson’s disease: a preliminary study. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2007;31(4):173-179. http://nnr.sagepub.com/content/24/4/384.refs
10. Hackney ME, Kantorovich S, Earhart GM. A study on the effects of Argentine tango as a form of partnered dance for those with Parkinson’s disease and healthy elderly. Am J Dance Ther. 2007;29:109-127.
Born in Istanbul, Murat had his training in dance, music and fine arts all over the globe and is famous for his clean, polished lead and outstanding musicality. Murat’s background as an artist and musician gives him an ability to blend the senses of human body movements through time and space. Michelle brings a wealth of training and professional dance experience in many disciplines (with a focus on injury-free techniques) to the partnership. Their enthusiasm for tango is contagious and is spreading fast as they travel to teach at all major tango festivals throughout the US, which includes one of the most popular tango events in the North America – the Portland Tango Festival. Both accomplished performers, Murat and Michelle have shared the stage with the masters of tango and performed to live music of several legendary Tango orchestras, most recently with the internationally acclaimed Color Tango Orchestra of Buenos Aires.
MURAT & MICHELLE TEACHING IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Murat and Michelle have well over ten years of experience in teaching and performing tango. Their methods of instruction are very down to earth and continue to be extremely successful. It is rare to see a couple teaching with such simplicity and clarity, while inspiring students with their own unique style of improvisational dance. What makes Murat and Michelle so special is their emphasis on community spirit and their focus on building relationships between different tango groups. At the same time, M & M’s teaching style is concept-based which means that they focus on the logic, anatomy and geometry of the dance. Their students learn in depth about connection, lead and follow, musicality and etiquette. Most importantly, they gain valuable skills that enable them to dance socially at any milonga and be more proactive when it comes to self-study. Murat and Michelle have taught successfully at almost every major festival in the US and Europe.
Clay Nelson’s Portland Festivals are the largest and most prestigious tango events in the US. You can find the official festival survey results below: Portland Valentango 2009
Portland Valentango 2010