Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Mariano 'Chicho' Frumboli 'fesses up...

There's a fascinating interview with the great icon of what gets called the 'nuevo movement' in the most recent issue of El Tanguata. I can't link the article itself, but it's easy to go to the site, create a login and then download ('descargar') the .pdf: look for Edición Nro 182. He's talking to Milena Plebs, and there's an English translation.

He says that we are at the beginning of a powerful era of tango because so many people are now involved, but that something has been lost. He studied with 'the last great milongueros', but was crazy about creating and as a result he says he missed something, that he '...lost the way to be able to pass on the tango essence'. Consequently, '...there are a lot of people who don't understand or know what the real essence of this dance is', the way it expresses the entire body, the weight, density and importance of the dance. He said that there used to be a respect for the floor, that he himself didn't dare take to the floor for the first five months: he just watched. Now he finds that people dance to be seen from the outside, and he takes total responsibility for this, and says that other colleagues should as well. He wishes that 'the shared intensity, in the soul' of tango should return, that it should be felt inside. 'The essence of tango is the embrace and the person you are dancing with.'

I don't know who his masters were, but I'd guess there are still a good many dancers of Chicho's age and older who would have known them too, and who wouldn't have been distracted by same urge to be creative. If there are, they might not teach, aren't household names around the world, probably live quietly, and just turn up and dance at milongas as much as they can. They may not teach, but I believe you can learn a great deal by watching, and by meeting them socially, even briefly, if you get the chance. ('Rubbing shoulders' with them is what you try not to do, at least on the dance floor!) &, yes, it might take at least five months...


Janis said...

This article has the potential of sending shock waves to the tango world. It will be interesting to see what happens to the new movement which lacks the essence of tango.

Tangocommuter said...

Doesn't it just! I feel it's a bit over-dramatic: 'I, Mariano, ruined tango for ever!', but like you I wonder how it will change things if he uses his huge influence, and undoubtedly great talents in a new (ie, old) direction.

I've nothing against people experimenting and being creative. It's really valuable: it's how we got to where we are. But at some point you have to look back and wonder it it was the right direction, and it seems that he's reached the point and been very public and honest about it.

msHedgehog said...

I quite agree that he seems to pessimistic. I don't know the gentleman, but I got the impression he'd outgrown his hairstyle without outgrowing the idea that the world revolves around him. There are lots of people, older and younger than him, who are more than capable of transmitting something they believe in. And it seems very far from true that there's 'nothing in between'. But I realise he's a very important and influential artist to a lot of people, so it's good that he's thinking these things and saying them - lots of extra people will consider them too, who mightn't have otherwise. He sounded like a generous person.

ChrisJJ said...

> There are lots of people, older
> and younger than him, who are more
> than capable of transmitting
> something they believe in.

Absolutely. His

"if we as teachers can’t transmit what was taught to us as the essence of tango when we began, the tango will be lost"

is just the the crushing pessimism of those who like him learned in classes rather than milongas and think teachers rather than dancers are the custodians of tango essense.

Tango survived 100 years before teachers like Chicho and will surely survive another 100 despite them.

Chris, UK said...

PS A more accessible copy of that article can be found here.