Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Tango in Paris 3

Anyone who assumes that, outside of Buenos Aires, London is the centre of the tango world, should take a look at the Paris tango listings. There are 11 (eleven!) milongas every Saturday night, and most of them go on to two or three in the morning. There are 15 milongas listed for Sunday afternoon/evening... and five or six every weekday night. If Buenos Aires seems a long way away, think about a trip to Paris!

First, videos of two of the three dances in Tete and Silvia's demonstration, the first with an intro by Nathalie of unriendetango. The hall is excellent; probably an old industrial workshop with pine pillars and rafters, and an excellent new floor. Spacious, but small enough to feel intimate.

Now a few short video clips. First something you won't find anywhere on YouTube: only on Tangocommuter, Tete and Silvia dancing... a milonga! A very short clip, but look how smoothly they dance. Milonga often looks a jumpy dance, but not when danced by milongueros. This was on the boat, La Demoiselle, moored in the basin of a canal, during the Saturday practica.

The next clip: Tete showing the four moves he taught on Monday night. Note that he shows them, counts them in sequence and fits them perfectly to the music. A Frenchman wandered over to me after the class and said how astonished he was that Tete can always fit whatever he does to the music, but Tete simply knows his music backwards. If you watch his videos closely you sometimes see him fit in a few odd steps so he can get his big move in time to the music, because he knows when the big chords are coming. I've added a slo-mo version.

A couple more things they taught. I didn't video at the time, so I've cut clips from the demo. The first, a very Tete-esque double saccada involving a 90 degree turn on one leg. It's a hard one, but at his best Tete can make it look totally casual. (Try this at home first.)

Next, a very simple move from an ocho into a cruzada: the 'danseur' makes one fewer steps than the 'danseuse'. Two versions.

I can't find the 'passing move' sequence exactly: it's a 90-degree change of direction followed by a saccada leading into a turn. In this clip Tete starts from a turn, which adds another change of direction, but the basis of what he taught is here.

This isn't a 'style' to be copied: only bad artists copy. Steal these moves, make them your own, work on them so they are right for you and any partner you dance with in a milonga. (There was an amazing old violinist who played with the Tarifa Haiduks, the gypsy band from Romania. Someone asked him where he learned to play violin: 'You don't learn this job,' he said, 'you steal it.')

Vals at at the Monday night milonga: looks familiar. Tete and Silvia danced the Pugliese version of Desde el Alma for their demo: this is a D'Arienzo version.

A rather disorganised spontaneous Chacarera at the milonga. A number of the dancers are Argentine or S. American. A fun evening!


ChrisJJ said...

> take a look at the Paris tango
> listings. There are 11 (eleven!)
> milongas every Saturday night,

Take a closer look and you'll see often there are only six. Some Saturday milongas are only once a month.

And sadly these days quite a few don't get enough dancers to make much of a milonga. E.g. last weekend at La Latina ("Paris' oldest milonga") the floor had four couples, tops.

Tango commuter said...

Many thanks, Chris. It did seem too good to be true! But London is still way behind, both in quantity and (my opinion) quality.