2018 Winter Classes, Tuesdays with Emma 

1) Personal Training for Tango Dancers 1/9,16,23

2) Milonga: Musicality and phrasing 1/30 + 2/6,13

3) Milonga: Time and space 3/6,13,20

details below…

Tuesdays Jan 9, 16, 23; 7:30 – 8:30 pm: Personal Training for The Tango dancer 

 7:30 -8:30 pm, 195 Longfellow st. Portland Maine (Alton’s “White Oak Villa”)

$30 before Jan 1 or $45 after, ($20 single class drop in)

You’ll need a mat and stretchy comfortable clothes, a water bottle, shoes not necessary. Other equipment supplied, like stretchy bands etc.

* foot strength and flexibility, ankle strength and stability, knees lateral and medial stability, hips and lower back strength and posture, core and upper back integrity, balance.

This is a class I have been thinking about and developing for a while.

Being a fitness trainer for over 22 years and a tango dancer for over 16, I have noticed that tango dancers face a particular set of postural, muscular and equilibrium challenges. I have collected an array of exercises and stretches to keep myself strong, flexible, balanced and injury-free. I’d love to share this ever-growing set of information with other dancers.

The improvisational nature of the dance necessitates instant changes in direction and timing, strong feet and ankles, core and back, and an acute sense of balance. The kinetic structure flows through floor, feet, legs, torso and embrace to the other partner. It requires core and lumbar strength and integrity through the chain to transfer information clearly and precisely. The flow of energy must travel between leader and follower requiring a strong yet flexible body structure to create an seamlessly connected and musically pleasurable dance. Plus you have to have a nice, snuggly, firm and integrated embrace, or it’s just a no – go.

Luckily, these qualities transfer equally well off the floor, permeating our daily life and activities. All our motions can be strong, graceful and balanced; simply getting out of a car, effortlessly picking something up, or catching a wobbling child (or adult). The qualities that improve our dance also improve our life; Improvisational abilities = boosted reaction time; better balance = less prone to tipping, tripping or accidents; stronger muscles in legs and feet = lower limb joint health and strength; good upper back posture = less neck and shoulder pain; spinal flexibility and core strength = decreased risk of lower back pain or sciatica.

By developing my own regimen, observing tango dancers of all levels, and training tango beginners, I have developed a program to benefit all levels of dancer. Appropriate exercises and stretches will be offered, and dancers will select training tools to fit their needs under the guidance of a fitness instructor with over two decades of experience. You’ll end up with a 30-60 minute flexible program specifically tailored to your body and your dance.

About the instructor:

Emma Holder has been a fitness instructor since 1996, a personal trainer since 1998, a licensed orthopedic massage therapist since 2000. She teaches a myriad of fitness and dance classes and is one of the original founding members of the Argentine Tango scene in Portland Maine (2001). She has been following since 2001, leading since 2007, has visited Argentina 8 times to deepen her education in the dance and it’s culture. Emma travels and dances in a number of other communities. A deep background in body mechanics, anatomy, nutrition, a Masters degree in Microbiology and Immunology and a love of teaching allows Emma to share skills to improve not only Argentine Tango, but also other aspects of an active, healthy and happy life. Private tango lessons and personal training are available.

Jan 30, Feb 6, 13,  7:30 – 8:30 pm,  Milonga lisa and traspie I: Music and Rhythm

musicality, phrasing, embrace, more info TBA

7:30 -8:30pm + 30 min guided practica afterwards  195 Longfellow st. Portland Maine (Alton’s “White Oak Villa”)

$30 before Jan 15, $45 after Jan 15, $20 single class drop in

March 6, 13, 20, 7:30 – 8:30 pm Milonga lisa and traspie II: Time and Space

speed -> slow vs fast, how not to be driven by, but instead to use the music, ideas for creating figures, how to instantly morph them to the space you have, dancing musically and simply in tight spaces, more info TBA

7:30 -8:30pm + 30 min guided practica afterwards  195 Longfellow st. Portland Maine (Alton’s “White Oak Villa”)  $30 before Feb 15, $45 after Feb 15, $20 single class drop in

Contact me with any questions or to register.  All levels are welcome!

207 415 7204   eholder@maine.rr.com


A Youtube video of local tango dancers

Traditionally, Argentine Tango  is danced with a man and a woman, but non traditional forms of the dance exist in too. Here, Emma and another local teacher (Elmira Cancelada – Portsmouth) dance Tango Mujeres, switching leads throughout the dance. This will give you an idea of the connection and flow of the dance. It is totally improvised, the dancers are listening to the music and each other.
A few words from new dancers:

****Want to have fun learning a new skill or refine tango understanding?….”Argentine Tango for Absolute Beginners” is a great choice. Emma Holder is a genuine, generous and precise instructor. Prepare to be inspired. – Joan S. ****

*** For me, the whole experience was one in which I went from feeling unusually reserved at the beginning to feeling inner walls against new relationships and strangers I hadn’t met yet come down and felt myself open up to learning with people I had hardly known before. You created a safe environment where we were all supportive of one another and tried to listen and speak clearly so that we could care for our partners and have a great 3 minute experience in dance with them. – Mandy D. ***

It started with Al Pacino in the movie, “Scent of a Woman." I wanted to dance 
like that.  I tried ballroom tango but no magic happened.  Then I tried 
Argentine tango beginner classes with Emma and Laura, and very quickly I began 
to understand there’s a different way a person can experience gravity.  Since 
then, I’ve taken workshops from many very good teachers, but I keep coming back 
(4x so far,) to review the important fundamentals of Argentine tango with Laura 
and Emma, and it’s a blast every time! - Tisha M

My very first step to tango was in your class through Portland Adult Ed.  The enthusiasm and skill with which you guided us to understanding the basics gave me and a friend the courage to try out local Practicas where we felt totally welcomed and supported in beginning to learn this dance.  It's been over a year now, with more workshops and practices and dances in the tango community here building from the foundation you put down for us. It is exciting to watch the continued stream of newcomers to tango from your classes and the support at the two of you provide to the tango community at large.  - Pierre S

Tango is a challenging dance, but Emma & Laura present the basics in an impressive way--making tricky concepts both logical and fun for beginners. 
And, for me, (surprise!) they managed to bring a deeper understanding of moves I've been doing for years. - Bobbi M

Beginner Tango was daunting to me, coming from a ballroom and swing background, because it seemed so technical, so un-choreographed, and frankly challenging.  Had I had the misfortune of starting beginner tango with teachers other than Emma & Laura, I'm certain I would not have continued and could not call myself a Tango dancer today.  Their compassion for what a beginner dancer is imagining is their top skill.  It's more the predispositions in our mind we have to rise above than it is the moves with our body.  These two women, who teach us to lead and follow, start first with your feelings and progress to teach technical tango skills.  Having taken other beginner tango lessons, I feel confident I received the BEST base to add to with this class.  You will as well. - Dawn T