Friday, 17 December 2010

The man in black

It's wonderful that Tango and Chaos, Jantango and Irene and Man Yung have done so much to widen our experience of tango tradition by filming the older dancers whose experience goes back to the 1940s and 50s.

Practimilonguero too, with videos made in 'practimilongas' rather than in milongas, that include interviews. This video caught my eye a while back.

The man in black is Nestor La Vitola. In the first 40 seconds he looks quite different from the other dancers. There's a calm assurance about his movement. His posture, like that of so many of his generation, is straight-backed but not in the least stiff, and perfectly balanced. Compared to the other dancers there's something quite formal about his posture. He doesn't look as if he's trying to sink into his partner. Some of this may be through stepping forwards with a straight leg - Cacho Dante's revelation - but how can we learn to get all that right?

The interviews show a pattern. Dancing used to start at neighbourhood dances and family events around the age of 14. The mother is often the teacher. Then at 18, attendance at salons, and close embrace tango. I particularly enjoyed Rodolfo Diperna's story of watching the good dancers and then rushing out into the street with a friend to practice what they'd seen so they didn't forget it. That's how they learned. I imagine they'd have been YouTube addicts if it had been around.

Practimilonguero also made the wonderful interview with Osvaldo and Coca, parts one and two. There's also an interview and dance with Pedro Sanchez. A pity Pedro's interview is short, but many thanks to Practimilonguero for the extended interview with Osvaldo and Coca! Que son fenomenales!

& I wondered who the woman is. Monica Paz visits Europe to teach, and has a website. She was teaching in Brussels in October. It's beginning to seem to me that if you want to meet the older – and younger – traditional dancers from BsAs it's necessary to travel to Europe. There just doesn't seem the interest to get them to the UK.

Here's Monica with Chiche Ruberto; one of my favourite milongas. I notice he dances most of it on his toes, or rather on the balls of his feet. Here's the same milonga with him at Cachirulo with Mirta Tiseyra, which is even more fluent. I like the direct energy of it.

PS> Chiche turned up again three days ago in another of Cachirulo's films, this one from the Tuesday night Cachirulo in El Beso.


Mark said...

I think one of the reasons we get so few visiting Argentine teachers in the UK is because it's so bloody hard to get them a working visa.

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks Mark; we get a fair number of visiting Argentine teachers in the UK - but not those whose background is the milongas! The visitors tend to be young-ish, to come from a ballet or gymnastics background, to speak a bit of English, and to teach an elaborate kind of tango. I'm not sure how they get visas, but Argentines whose families left Spain or Italy during the fascist period are generally eligible to apply for EU passports, which makes it easier for them to move around although completing the paperwork often isn't easy.