Monday, 11 April 2011

Tango without mirrors

Tango dancers who've learned how to dance in front of mirrors; do you recognise the category? Like, so many of the younger teachers coming out of BsAs these days... Isn't it a kind of self-regarding, almost narcissistic style? We KNOW how good we look! How pretty we are! & if you've ever danced with a partner who is preoccupied with how he/she looks in a mirror, you'll probably know how alone you can feel while dancing with a partner. The mirror encourages the idea of dance as performance to be viewed: are my voleos the right height, do I extend my leg straight in my lapiz? I wonder if giving myself lifetimes of bad luck destroying mirrors in dance studios would result in people dancing better... Of course, mirrors are necessary for dance that's meant to be watched, but aren't they distracting to the tango of the milonga? Shouldn't every moment, even in classes, be in awareness of your partner, the music and the dancers around you?

I'm glad to see 'Chiche' Ruberto turn up in a Practimilonguero interview. He dances after the interview but he's had a knee operation recently. I really like the energy and directness of it. I can be bored with milonga (dare I say it!) but this brings a whole new personality and directness to the dance. He has some great stories, too, a wonderful view of tango in family life in BsAs in the 1940s. There's a handful of his milongas on YouTube; someone who learned by dancing a lot, all his life, by discovering what suited him and his partners, not by watching himself in mirrors!



Here he is again, last year in El Beso. They're really enjoying themselves! A fierce, direct dance. I've not seen younger dancers in this league.

3 comments:

Chris, UK said...

"Of course, mirrors are necessary for dance that's meant to be watched, but aren't they distracting to the tango of the milonga?"

Typically the dancing of the instructors to which you refer IS dance meant to be watched - in classes and shows. It is not dance for the milonga.

"Shouldn't every moment, even in classes, be in awareness of your partner, the music and the dancers around you?

That's a recipe for the dance of the milonga, TC, but it doesn't work in class. Class dancing is based on lecture and demonstration that require you to focus instead on the instructor. The typical instructor turns off the music precisely to stop it distracting your attention from what he's saying and showing.

tangocherie said...

After having been in so many tango classes as a student and teaching tango for so many years, my opinion is that the moment the instructor turns off the "distracting" music it's the time to walk out of the class.

Chris, UK said...

Agreed 100%, Cherie.

BTW, thanks TC for those great videos