Somebody asked me what I thought of Rachel Greenberg's dance on Friday night, and I've been thinking about it. Rachel gave a demonstration dance with Ivan: there were several performances that night and theirs was the only one I saw apart from Brigitte and Leo. It was crowded, and I was more interested in the orquesta, and I have to admit I'm not that interested in performances anyway. I love to watch the occasional couple in a milonga managing crowded circumstances with elegance, creativity and musicality. But give a couple the whole floor to themselves... Where's the challenge?
I like watching contemporary dance. I've watched a lot, enjoyed a lot; occasionally I've seen something that didn't quite work, but more often than not I've come away from it enthralled by the imagination of the staging and choreography, the energy and intelligence of the dancing. But I think that if I'd ever seen a whole performance that was little more than technically amazing I'd have felt cheated: you expect something more. The dance on Friday night lasted little more than three minutes, but I couldn't see more than technical excellence. Compare that with Gavito's three-minute dances: his little stories and apilado steps can be repetitive, but there was always a heart and passion and musicality to it, which I felt was absent from that dance on Friday night. It was cold, technically amazing and cold.
My impression is that this is an entirely new type of Argentine tango teacher. The teachers of the older generation danced all their lives because they loved and valued tango, and that a few of them have been or are teachers now is almost an accident. I believe the new type often starts out brilliantly at a young age in gymnastics or classical dance, and my impression is that the choice to become tango teachers is a career decision promising travel and change. They can manage effortlessly the complexities of stage tango, and they study how to teach. They are skilled dancers and teachers, but their tango seems heartless.