Saturday, 27 August 2011

Learning to dance like a porteño

Means what? I read it in a blog somewhere.(Apologies: I can't remember where.) Does it mean learning a style? & like which porteño? They aren't alike in the least, even if they are all recognisably tangueros. Even in a wire-frame animation you could tell Ricardo Vidort from Tete from Alberto Dassieu from Osvaldo Centano. They have distinctive ways of standing and moving, as well as characteristic preferences for certain steps, which must come from having learned in a less organised way, and from having danced so much longer. Younger local dancers are much more alike, and also much more like recent learners from the rest of the world, too. I wonder if they'll go on to become more individual.

But the more I thought about it the more sense it made, because the point of learning in BsAs isn't to copy an individual style but to absorb something much more fundamental. To me it makes sense to learn from those with the greatest experience, people who've been doing it since they were young and are still dancing; or, failing that, from people who have spent a lot of time dancing with those who learned when they were young. Who better to learn from?

'Learn' isn't the best word since it suggests school work, a one-off process: like a school task, you learn it and it's done. 'Absorb' is better, as it suggests something slower, more a kind of 'growing into'.


Anonymous said...

I think that we are always 'absorbing',tango commuter.I thought that only the gentile nod was used for the codigo,but Janis tells me that there are many ways of asking a women to dance,such as a raise of the eyebrow,for example! I hope that you are enjoying yourself,and I like to think that the younger generation would be able to dance as well as the old milongueros in the future...Alan Jones.

jantango said...

The point of learning in Buenos Aires is to absorb the culture of tango. Portenos have the culture. It's not about how they look, it's about how they feel, think, and communicate when they dance.

Those who travel abroad to teach tango don't bring along the culture as part of the package. They can make lots of money performing and teaching their choreography.