Friday, 9 October 2009

Biagi... and Miguel Balbi

When I was looking for Biagi in music and dance I forgot to look at Tango and Chaos, where most of the best videos are to be found. In a comment, Anon reminded me of this video. Those smooth energetic turns are so effortlessly on the beat; could it be better? One thing that strikes me: if you use a lot of turns you are constantly surveying the space around you: they use space quite freely because they know where all the other dancers are.


Anonymous said...

And there's more Biagi on Tango and Chaos! Another milonguero with a very smooth style:

And more of Miguel Balbi, together with other interesting dancers:

I agree that turning a lot helps with navigation, but if that's enough to explain Balbi's ability to walk backwards half of the time without bumping into anyone...? Especially the first few seconds of 'El Trece' are unbelievable.

Tangocommuter said...

Outrageous! Try that in your local milonga... Well, at least he's walking backwards forwards along the line of dance, approximately. Walking backwards backwards is truly unforgivable.

It's those long rhythmic turns that amaze me; giros are something he does incredibly smoothly, with that dip from the knees to change direction. But half the genius of it is from his partner; her musical sense seems effortless, and she's wonderfully supple.

Much as I love that young couple, I think this shows that they have a way to go...

jantango said...

I believe the milongueros have a sixth sense when it comes to using the available space as well as eyes on the back of their heads. They not only know where there is space, but they know where it will open when they need it. They know each other's dancing and can predict where they are going. Their awareness of the space around them is amazing.

I had the pleasure of dancing with Miguel Angel Balbi for three years as well as many other milongueros.

Tango en el Cielo said...

and for another delightful interpretation of Biagi see:

About navigation, Jan has absolutely hit the button. Real milongueros (and other good dancers) are so aware of the space and the other people around them, they don't need to look with their eyes, or not consciously anyway.
I remember Pablo Pugliese saying (at the age of 15!!) that he knew where the nearest couples were without looking with his eyes- he could sense their body heat around him (or something like that).
But when a man (or couple) without that sensitivity is on the floor, it changes the way the milongueros dance, as they have to watch him/them consciously with their eyes.
I am happy to say that during my recent weeks in BsAs, I danced only once with a man whose navigation wasn't good enough for the floor (a Frenchman with 5 yrs tango experience in France, dancing in Maipú 444, a small floor with a high standard of dancing). I had to dance with my eyes open to watch his back, and I could see the other men dancing near us watching him carefully and taking avoiding action. Clearly, it reduced the pleasure of dancing for those men and their partners, even though we had no collisions. The Frenchman was oblivious. Needless to say I didn't dance with him again. At that club, he would have done better to have spent some time watching.

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks, Jantango and Tango en el Cielo for the comments. But I found it revealing that dancers at Cachirulo needed to watch a dancer who didn't dance in their style. This suggests that any 'sixth sense' works only when they are surrounded by dancers whose style is smooth and regular, who they can rely on not to make sudden unpredictable moves, who are careful to maintain an even flow on the floor.

My own (very limited!) experience is that if I turn fairly frequently I retain a good sense of whether or not anyone is close, and of where the space is open, even in London where moves are often unpredictable. But if I don't turn frequently I find I have an almost physical sense of blankness. There may be no one there, but I'd feel very uncomfortable about stepping there.

ChrisJJ said...

> Walking backwards backwards is truly unforgivable.

Take care not to assume who is leading... :)

Tangocommuter said...

Good point, to wonder who's leading.

Stepping back against the line of dance is unforgivable, unless you are absolutely sure there's no one there. But for a leader to walk backwards along the line of dance isn't so unusual. It's just unusual to do it that much, but among a few friends on a rather large patio...

& Miguel Balbi has close to 60 years continuous experience of dancing tango, so I wouldn't want to judge anything he does as forgivable or otherwise!