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An Intro to the Bandoneon

The Bandoneon: Iconic and Extraordinary

Bandoneon

The bandoneon is, without a doubt, the instrument that we identify with tango. It’s melancholic and haunting sound combined with it’s intriguing construction leave us feeling overwhelmed with curiosity and pleasure. I’ve always found it in one word: mysterious.

Bandoneons are a dynamic instrument in the sense that they actively play both melody and rhythm (mainly rhythm). There are techniques for making the sound more intense/harsh creating a ‘boom’ on the downbeat as there are techniques for stretching one note for what seems like forever. Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino stretches and builds intensity; whereas, Canaro en Paris and Variaciones of David Alsina and Flight of the Bumblebee will blow you away with other-worldly speed. We rarely see such incredible acts of artistry in the music we use to dance due to the fact that it would make it too difficult for dancing. That doesn’t meant that a Tango musician was any less talented or dedicated in his art than his brothers who were playing Bach!

The first Bandoneon was introduced into a tango in 1899. The first tango bandoneon is widely considered Juan Maglio “Pacho” and his friend, a guitarist, Luciano Rios. They played together for decades later forming ‘La Orquesta del Primero’ in 1912 adding a violin for a trio! History completed, back to brilliant musicians. After the early 1900’s musicians were either conservatory trained, or prodigies who wanted to make a living playing in the bands. Singers (like Fama, Vargas, Podesta, and Rufino) were treated like pop stars and the tango life was that of the bohemian nightlife. Tango culture in the 1940’s was something that attracted musicians from all schools.

There is one great problem that modern tango orchestras and arrangers face when creating new music with a ‘vintage sound’ or replicating the iconic scores of the 20th century. The first is that it is too difficult to have an entire Bandoneon section. This is a result of several facts, mainly,  there isn’t enough money. Modern dance halls don’t generally have the support of 200 people per night to pay a band with a pianist, 3 bandoneons, 2 violins, bass, and singer … This completely ignores how difficult the Bandoneon is to learn! It plays a different note going in versus out and the buttons on the left and right side don’t match. It seems to me quite simply, a nightmare!

That doesn’t mean that modern music isn’t inspiring. It’s a completely different sound that is generally clean, crisp, and refined. It’s difficult have a band with the energy of D’arienzo with zero or one Bandoneon. Just look at this video and imagine what one player would have to do to create that kind of energy! Or the amount of money you would need to hire a band like that?! They would have to be making money off radio contracts and record labels, and gigs … This is a lost art and something that we probably won’t ever see again in modern music. What you can do is appreciate the live music we do have and thank the band leaders and arrangers. The hours and money they put into arranging music that originally had multiple bandoneon parts and solos, violin parts and solos, bass, and vocals with each section playing counter-melodies … uffa!

The work they do to create modern tango is simply INCOMPREHENSIBLE to those of us who just love the energy and  of a great live band. It requires true passion, drive, and love of the music.

Does this mean that ‘Traditional Tango Music’  doesn’t exist anywhere? NO! It just means that the sounds and energy of a traditional band that we hear from the 1940’s will rarely be encountered. When it is, treasure it. One of my favorite bands in Argentina is Orquesta Tipica El Afronte(sorry for the video. They converted me from an alternative/ Nuevo snob to a traditional acolyte. I’m sure it had a LOT to do with the time, place, and energy of “Maldita Milonga”. That being said, the energy of the four Bandoneons stomping on the stage, the violin bows shooting in the air, and the singer with a voice 20 years too old (thank you Marlboro) … It was an unforgettable and transformative experience that would have less power than superior musicians with smaller numbers. The best part about Argentina … is you get to see all of it. Julio Pane, Federico Leopoldo, and a thousand unknown musicans will play live music with trios and sextets that will blow you away. My most magical moment in Buenos Aires was when I was dancing on the rooftop of ‘Zonatango’ and a trio of guitars came out and started singing tangos from 1920. The reality is: the soul of tango doesn’t belong to any one instrument. Travel and see live music of all kinds. The energy of four bandoneons is undeniable … as is the duet of Julio Pane and Juanjo Dominguez!

A list of some incredible Bandoneon players you can here on youtube include Anibal Troilo, Ciriaco Ortiz, Pedro Laurenz (widely considered the three best ever), Julio Pane, Ruben Juarez, Piazzolla, and David Alsina.

 

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think! Sorry for any grammar and spelling errors. My teachers in school always told me “great idea, poor execution”. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it!

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The Importance of Choreographed Wedding Dances

So many couples today choose a current top 40 hit for their wedding song. This isn’t a bad thing, if the song fits the couple. However, not every current, popular song is fit for the perfect wedding dance.

There may be a song you and your fiancé would love to dance to, but can’t figure out how to coordinate something as beautiful as what you feel for each other. Or maybe, you’re the dancing queen and your partner has two left feet. Whatever the case is, almost every couple can benefit from professional dancing lessons.

Wedding DanceExtroverted, carefree couples will have no trouble getting out on the floor and swaying to the tunes in celebration of two lives coming together as one. However, it’s not that common to find two people who are comfortable and confident in their moves. In fact, many couples express that the first dance is an embarrassing or fearful moment for them. Why is this? It’s often because they’re worried the dance will come out far inferior to the romantic dream they’ve cooked up together.

Working with a professional to bring your ideas to life will help soften the nerves during your first dance, which happens to be one of the most memorable parts of your wedding day. People remember three things about weddings – the food, the music and, you guessed it, the first dance.

Many other couples have experienced great results from our professional dance lessons – just check out all of our reviews on The Knot’s marketplace. Our experienced and patient instructors work with you every step of the way to help you get the same experience that many of our please clients have had.

Contact us today to find out more or to sign up for one of our upcoming classes!

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Five Benefits of a Chiropractic Appointment

Do you find yourself with occasional back, neck or joint pain? Do you get head colds out of nowhere? Do you just feel stiff and unable to complete tasks that require even the slightest flexibility?

A visit your local chiropractor for a consultation may be the change in your life you need. Chiropractors use a combination of treatments for any sort of mild or severe condition that you may have. Take a look at these five benefits of a chiropractic appointment.

1. If you are active in sports, hobbies or other types of strenuous activities, visiting a chiropractor will help keep you and your body aligned. Slight injuries that you may want to just “brush off” may lead to mistreatment, perhaps creating a larger problem or condition later on. A chiropractor will be able to help keep you flexible and moving freely to keep up with your favorite activities.

Back Pain2. Back and neck pain are two of the main reasons why most people visit the chiropractor. Other pains in the body can arise if you have a slipped disk, a stiff neck or any other pain issue in your central body systems or spinal system. Getting an alignment done can help alleviate these symptoms.

3. Chiropractors typically offer a more natural approach to medical treatments or drug regimens. Instead of taking medications, they find the spot or spots in your body that are not aligned correctly, and work on fixing that spot, which will then align the rest of your body.

4. Posture, posture, posture! One of the biggest concerns – especially with all of the sitting and lounging while using technology – is posture. Chiropractors can help you to set and maintain a better and more proper posture, and provide tips and suggestions on how to improve your posture every day. Improved posture can also help relieve pain in your spine, making you more comfortable during your long days at the office.

5. Surprisingly, even asthma attacks and cold symptoms can be treated by visiting a chiropractor regularly. By aligning the body, your airways will be freer and more open, leading to a better flow of air. This can even lead to better breathing during sicknesses or flare-ups of allergy symptoms.

Convergence Dance and Body Center is more than just a dance studio. For more than three decades, they have specialized in helping dancers and those in need of spinal alignment alike to improve their posture and body. Open to the public, the center’s chiropractic clinic offers services that can offer you relief from your aches and pains. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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Stay fit and have fun this summer

RollerbladingFor some, working out is a way of life. Most people who regularly work out say they couldn’t imagine their lives any other way. For others, staying in shape is merely a phase or driven by desire to look good on the beach in the summer. If you’re the type that likes to stay active but who tends to avoid workout sessions, you can try switching it up with uniquely entertaining summer activities that burn calories.

Instead of hitting the gym or completely changing your diet, simply burn calories and vary your intake. The workout activities suggested below are ideal for a 150- to 165-pound woman working out for about half an hour.

Skip the Gym

If you normally use a stair climber, for example, consider changing it up to an outdoor venue using a large staircase. Walking and powerwalking through large malls and shopping centers is perfect for this, plus hiking a nice trail or even mountain climbing provide a great change of scenery that can you’re your workout both fun and efficient.

Outdoor Sports

Get the friends together for some outdoor activities. Beach volleyball, softball and football are all perfect ways to boost your spirits and heart rate! Even a lively game of Frisbee or badminton is a great way to spend time with family and friends and burn calories, too.

Gardening and Spring Cleaning

Believe it or not, housework and gardening burn many calories. The slow, consistent moving, paired with moderately heavy lifting, makes for the perfect workout. Whether cleaning or planting, you’re getting rid of more than just dust and bare gardens.

Light Bicycling and Swimming

Low-impact biking for longer intervals is a great way to tone the quads and hamstrings. You can also stay cool and work out some of those same muscles by splashing around in the pool or by swimming at the beach. Plus, these are both excellent aerobic activities to get the blood pumping.

Rollerblading/Inline Skating

Bust out the roller blades and don’t worry about all the jokes you’ll hear about how it’s not 1995 anymore. It’s rollerblading – it’s healthy and it’s fun.

To achieve the best results, pair this plan with a healthy, clean diet. You can get started with this 7-day Clean Eating Challenge.

Contact us directly at 314-324-0887 to learn more about developing a full diet and fitness plan.

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The Best Workout to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Healthy diet

Everyone wants to achieve the same end goal when it comes to fitness: to look good and be healthy. The benefits of this would take forever to list, but the two most important benefits of achieving this goal would be that you’d feel happy and confident in yourself.

What does this mean?

First of all, it means that you wake up every morning looking forward to starting your day. It means that you can do the things you want without taking a toll on your body or it slowing you down. Most importantly, it means that you are enjoying what you’re doing.

Most people always decide to roll with a new trendy workout, or whatever their favorite bodybuilder’s new workout is for that month. Even more so, these people go about these workouts with little to no interest at all, putting themselves through grueling exercises that they don’t even want to be doing. This type of work doesn’t even help improved your body or, really, your overall health because most of the time you end up cheating yourself and skipping out on steps.

The key to building a better body, and essentially a better you, begins with a sound and healthy diet. If you’re looking to build muscle, then you need to eat. If you’re looking to lose weight, then you need to eat less. And if you’re looking to do both then you need to practice both at different times, but realize that patience will be the key here.

With all this being said, you should find a workout that you will enjoy doing and push yourself through it. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to stick with it.

It’s much easier to figure out your goals and what you’re hoping to achieve. Are you looking to be muscular or skinnier? Are you looking to improve your endurance? This will give you an idea of what type of exercise to look for, and then find the one that you think is the most fun.

Want to try your hand at dancing? Contact Convergence Dance and Body Center today!

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Quit Procrastinating and Dance!

dancing

Here’s the thing: we all procrastinate. Some more than others, but it’s simply a fact of life. Maybe you’ve been putting off signing up for the gym (or getting to the gym). Maybe you’ve pushed off starting your own business. Or, maybe you’ve been talking about how you want to learn how to dance for years, but just haven’t gotten around to it.

Well, you’re in luck. Today, we’re going to provide you with some tips to help you stop procrastinating! Instead of us telling you what to do, we’ll leave it to an expert. Simply watch the video below, courtesy of Social Triggers.

Stop procrastinating! Here’s how:

Moral of the story: sometimes we need to give ourselves a little incentive (positive or negative) to get ourselves moving.

For example, if you’ve been meaning to learn how to dance for years, NOW is the time to just do it!

Sign up for a class and make that commitment to yourself. Not only will you stop procrastinating, but dancing (and learning how to dance) results in many benefits including increased confidence, reduced stress, plain old fun, a different way to exercise, and it helps you become more courageous in all aspects of your life.

And once you stop procrastinating with one area of your life, you never know how it will affect the rest of your life!

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Aerobic Exercises: Too Many Benefits to Count!

aerobic exercise

As you likely know, aerobic exercise (or cardio) is physical exercise that gets your heart pumping and blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body. Some popular aerobic exercises include walking, biking, and swimming – all of which can help you live a longer, healthier life.

But that’s not all. Aerobic exercises also provide many other benefits. In fact, there are just too many too count! However, for the purpose of this post, we’re going to review seven of the many benefits of participating in aerobic exercise.

Let’s get to it!

  1. It can help keep your weight down: Although diet also plays a significant role in weight management, aerobic exercise can help you lose and keep weight off.
  2. It can help increase your endurance: Through aerobic exercise, you’ll be able to increase your endurance, allowing you to feel stronger and less tired throughout the day.
  3. It can help decrease your risk for health conditions: Some of these conditions include obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and even some types of cancer.
  4. It can help keep you healthier: In addition to lowering your risks for the above ailments, cardio can also help you ward off viruses such as colds and strains of the flu.
  5. It can help boost your mood: Aerobic exercise has been known to help fight depression, decrease anxiety and help individuals relax.
  6. It can help keep you mentally sharp: Physical, aerobic exercise keeps you mentally sharp and does more for your mind than puzzles and games.  Oxygenating the brain is the game!
  7. It can help you live longer: Various studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly live longer than those who don’t.

As you can see, there are several really awesome benefits of aerobic exercise. As little as 30 minutes a day, three times a week will have you feeling better and reaping the many benefits of aerobic exercise. So get out there and get moving!

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Hobbies That Keep You Moving

yoga

Research continues to show us that if we can keep moving, we are all the better for it. Our health, mental state, and peace of mind and mobility, depend on this kind of consistent activity. Hobbies and activities we naturally love are the best way to incorporate physical movement and exercise into our daily lives. And when we are doing something we love, we are far more inclined to commit.

Walking

It may seem obvious that walking is a wonderful and healthy hobby to adopt; but too many of us exist within the rush of life and taking a few minutes each day for a non-stress related walk seems out of the question. Taking on walking as a hobby is much different from the necessary walking we may do on our jobs or running errands. Studies show that setting aside time for at least a 15 minute daily walk, is highly effective and much more effective than the walking we do in naturally stressful activities.

Yoga

Yoga is a practice and a hobby. You can get into this ancient Eastern form of exercise and meditation as deeply as you choose, or you can see it simply as a great way to keep your body moving and flexible. The wonderful thing about doing yoga, is that you can begin at any age, yes, any age. If you are under a doctor’s care, ask your doctor about beginning a yoga program and they will advise you accordingly.

Bike Riding

As the old saying goes, bike riding is something you never forget how to do once you learn. It is also a great form of exercise and an exciting hobby to take on. You can bike around your neighborhood if you live in an area in which this is possible. You can also go to a nearby park or biking trail to catch some beautiful scenery while you get your daily dose of exercise.

Dancing

Dancing is one of the most effective ways to lose extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight. You can begin wherever you are in your physical stage of life, and practice will make you more energetic and flexible. Once again, if you are under a doctor’s care and want to add dancing to your exercise routine, let your doctor know, and he or she will advise you as to whether or not this fun hobby is one that you can enjoy.

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Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Try Something New!

try something newLife is busy, often frenetic, and whether you are single, in a relationship, or perhaps have family, things can become routine. You can end up running on auto-pilot and in a rut, risking the joy of having passion and creativity in your life. And life is meant to be lived creatively.

This doesn’t mean that you should give up your job and abdicate your responsibilities. But it does mean that shaking things up a little might be good for not only the soul, but also for your overall wellbeing.

When you are too focused on work and the “business of the day” at the expense of your creativity you are only living with half of who you are. Trying something new, perhaps even something that provokes fear in you – whether it’s tap dancing, painting, learning a new language, skydiving, knitting, yoga, figure skating, writing, sewing, mechanics,  – whatever strikes your fancy and gets your mind, body, and spirit working outside your comfort zone, awakens the passion inside you.

Getting yourself out of a rut, and flexing muscles other than the ones you use every day, stimulates the brain and the body, and puts you in the mindset of discovery. It can stretch you in ways you never thought possible and give an added dimension to your life. And it doesn’t matter if you excel at your new endeavor.

Just the experience of it increases self-confidence, enriches your self-esteem, and gives you the impetus to keep trying new things and to grow as a human being. It makes you think differently about the person you are and see yourself anew.

And the best part of stepping out of your comfort zone is that it gives you a new appreciation for your life, yourself, and the things and people around you. You approach everything with fresh eyes and a new found gratitude for what you have.

Trying new things stimulates, brings fun into your life, and reawakens parts of yourself that may have lain dormant for a long time. It enhances your life mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. It makes you stronger, more open, and your best self. There is nothing better than that.
 

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How Physical Touch Benefits Us

physical touch

In many societies, touching, such as hugs, kisses on the cheeks and hands, are a normal part of everyday life. Often in these kinds of societies, people are generally happier and feel more connected to not just family, but to the community as a whole.

children huggingThere are even experiences of touch that are so common, we feel that we hardly notice them, such as, a pat on the back, or a touch of the arm when speaking to someone. Cutting edge research conducted by Dacher Keitner, editor of Berkeley University’s website, The Greater Good, touts the amazing benefits of touch, both conscious and unconscious forms.

According to Keitner, after many years of delving into the science of touch, even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant forms of touch, offer profound benefits. The simple act of touching releases and expresses our compassion for one another, and appears to be our primary way of experiencing and receiving compassion.

Many recent studies on the benefits of touch, including Keitner’s, have proved that touching has emotional, mental, and physical benefits. Touching has shown itself to be a fundamental part of achieving health and well-being. Touching also assists in our ability to bond, and to effectively communicate with one another.

Consider the question: Have you gotten enough hugs today?women hugging

Keitner’s groundbreaking research demonstrated through controlled experiments that human beings communicate emotions through touching, and that we are able to know intuitively what a person is feeling through touch. One experiment conducted by Keitner, placed two strangers in a room with a divider in between. One person was asked to stick his arm through an opening, and the other was asked to convey various emotions through touch. The chances of guessing accurately were proven to be only about 8%. However, remarkably, the participants in this study were able to guess emotions, such as love, gratitude, and compassion, correctly, at least 50% of the time.

Interestingly enough, Keitner’s study also showed differences in the way men and women communicate their feelings and emotions through touch, and it appears that Americans, compared to parts of the Eastern world, are touch deprived. Maybe, Americans see the act of touching as a sign of vulnerability, when in actuality, studies show that the experience of touch strengthens us and strengthens our ability to understand one another.
 

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