Mar 10

This is my kind of Tango

Ask every Jazz musician how they learned and they’ll tell you: from listening to records. It’s all there a lot of them will say. I feel a lot of that has happened in my tango journey. A lot of times you need to watch a lot to realize what’s happening, just like a jazz musician will only figure out why someone solo’ed using a certain scale or something in between after they themselves have toyed with that idea.

Make no mistake: All improvisational art stems from the shoulders of others. The most admired artists have themselves the utmost respect for their predecessors because in some ways they owe their brilliance to them.

This video brings me back to what I feel is my kind of tango. Deeply connected to the music, the moment and your partner. That embrace couldn’t give a damn about the proper posture and he couldn’t care less about anyone in that room during that moment. That’s what I love when I get in the zone. I just do what I need to do to pour the music out of my body, I don’t care about being judged by qualities or interpretation.

In five years I’ll still be learning from this video which probably can’t be said for a lot of other videos out there. Sorry for the outburst but I’ve just watched a lot of boring tango in the last days…

Mar 10

Tango in Europe

Javier says at a point in the interview:

Para bailar tango tanto la mujer como el hombre deben sentir y pensar en quién los acompaña. Hoy hay mucho odio tapado, se reprime la relación, hay miedo. Las personas se acercan al tango por el abra- zo, vienen en busca de él, pero cuando llegan a la clase prefieren una posición más abierta, donde cada uno esté en su eje, sintiéndose independiente. Quieren bailar juntos, se mueren por estar abrazados, se necesi- tan, pero no lo demuestran ni lo aceptan. Finalmente se cansan y se largan a la pista, pero han pasado por un prólogo demasiado largo.

English translation:

To dance tango men and women need to feel and think about the partner they dance with. Today there is a lot of hidden resentment, repressed relationships and there is fear. People are attracted by tango because of its embrace, they search for it, but once they come to class, they prefer a more open posi- tion where each dancer is in his own axis, maintaining his feeling of independence. They want to dance with each other, they are dying to be embraced, they need each other, but they neither show nor accept it. In the end they get tired of it and they throw themselves on the dance floor, but prior to that too much time has passed.

From El Tangauta Nº 184 (FEB 2010). Read the entire interview, it’s very interesting.

Apr 08

The embrace reciprocity

Johanna writes about why women can’t sometimes understand why other women get all the dances.

I must say I can relate to this (imaginary?) point. If you really dance tango because of the music and are deeply connected to the music, you want someone that also has that passion. I couldn’t care less if she can dance upside down or has impecable technique (just needs to have balance of course…). If the embrace is musically sterile the whole thing is pointless. Besides, great dancers tend to have this big ego and that just screws up people’s minds.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit annoyed of women that dance with a guy as if it was just a dance. It isn’t just a dance. At least for anyone serious about it. It has to be an experience, a moment unique in time and space. Just sit if you don’t feel like dancing in the deepest sense of the word. This isn’t a practica. As someone commented on Johanna’s post, you can have a feeling of what lies ahead the moment you embrace a woman.

With a great dancer you want to dance forever simple moves, slowly, melodically and eager to see how she interprets it. How her smile (that you can’t really see) will get right back at you as a tsunami of confidence. With the plain vanilla technique obsessed dancer you normally try hard to convey feeling and you get back a sad face because you didn’t do/try the latest and greatest trick of a recent workshop. The dance will feel like a workout instead of a blissful magic moment shared by two human beings.

Let go of technicalities and spend 3 times more time listening to music and feeling, interpreting and dancing it in your mind than practicing the latest technical challenge. In the grand overview of it all, any man will rather dance with you than anyone else. The more experienced I get, the more I see how enjoyable it can be to dance with a very beginner follower that is into the music…

Unless he’s not there for the music experience. I am sorry for you then.