Tango embellishments: a 3 step formula to better adornos
Would you like to do more tango embellishments but feel unsure how to do them? Did you ever wonder how profesionales manage to make them look so natural? Are you afraid to disturb your partner or even hurt them or you?
I remember how long I was searching to find the best way to embellish my dance in a natural and authentic way. And finally I came up with a 3-points formula.
The three steps formula for better tango embellishments:
- Practice tango embellishments alone
- Listen to Tango music, again and again and again… and again
- Never forget that embellishments are what they called: embellishments
Practice tango embellishments alone
If you don’t have any idea, what to do as a tango embellishment, first search for a really really easy and simple embellishment, for example by watching videos of your favourite couple or teachers.
If you’re still unsure, try this for starting: while walking backwards, swipe the heel of your free leg over the floor, pulling the toes upwards, as if your heel is a piece of chalk and you want to draw a line on the floor. This doesn’t only embellish your dance but also helps you to keep balance.
Before trying this with your partner practice your new ornament alone. This will give you confidence and control about the movement. Your body gets used to the feeling and if you practice good enough the embellishment it will come by itself, almost without thinking. So, practice, practice, practice!
Listen to Tango music, again and again and again… and again
Another trick to make tango embellishments feel and look natural is the total knowledge about the Tango song you are dancing to. If you know exactly which instrument will play which sound at a specific point, you can choose the appropriate tango embellishment for that moment of the music.
Listen to your favourite Tangos, whenever you can. Try to sing the tangos by imitating the different instruments like an acapella band. For example, I would sing Recuerdo like this: Daaadigidi-digidaaadi, da didi da di daa diii… schrangggi digidangi digi digi digi da, di schrangggi digi digi digi dangi digi da…
Also try to get the small notes, e.g. of the piano, those, which donot form primerly the melody but… embellish the song.
Try it! You will see how much your understanding for the music will improve. And even it makes a lot of fun!
Never forget that embellishments are what they called: embellishments
Yes, today the dance is more free, followers may lead and leaders may follow, but… do not ever give priority to your ornament instead of the leading of your leader. Believe me, in most cases your leader has a plan and it was difficult enough to create it. Now when the leader gives the best to put it on the dancefloor and you interrupt this process, you probably will destroy the connection and the trust between you. Your leader will feel unsecure and probably enjoy the dance less.
In some cases it may even cause injuries. Imagine if the leader wants to lead a dynamic step and you are still occupied with doing your wonderfull adorno, because you love so much how your new shows are looking when you do this sweet circle thingy, till you find your heel scratching your foot…
Yes, do ornaments and do them totally convinced. But put them when they don’t disturb the leader’s lead.
One tango tip for easier tango embellishments: put them inbetween two beats, most of the time these moments are not occupied by steps. There are enough of them, we don’t need to steel the beats that the leader needs to lead.
Ani Andreani de Herrera
Ani Andreani de Herrera – Germany
Ani started to teach modern dance when she was 13 years old. Soon she filled her repertoire with all kind of dances, like Jazz, Hip Hop and Ballroom until finally Tango and argentine Folklore captured her heart and soul. Since 2016 she is teaching in Munich and is now the head of her own Tango school with a close cooperation of the Herrera Tango Academy of Roberto Herrera.