Friday, 19 August 2011

Pedro again!

Pedro shouts out joyfully across the street as I get out of a taxi. It's been 18 months since we last met, and he looks as sturdy and relaxed as ever. We've arranged a class at a new tango guest house, Tango Angelitos, run by an old friend of his, Alejandro Gée, in a wonderful 1920s apartment with amazing beautiful floors of inlaid wood, and painted glass windows everywhere.

Pedro stresses the joyful physicality of the dance. Tango is about the heart, not the head and the feet! It's the music, it's the movement of the shoulders and the upper chest. 'Con el cuerpo' he keeps saying: dance with body. He dances on his own and it becomes clear just how much his torso moves, not big movements but, up and down, side to side, back and forth, he's never still. He dances with a partner and his dancing looks totally instinctive, as if it's the only activity that's ever belonged to him. He dances on one spot with a partner and keeps her moving and fully engaged. When he moves around the room with her it's effortless and pleasurable, and the music seems to follow them. D'Arienzo plays: he says you need to use a lot of body when you dance D'Arienzo.

Later we all go for coffee, and he talks about the mad world of Argentine politics, about the history of tango, how tango became the rage in Argentina only after it became popular in Paris, how musicians like de Caro, Canaro and Gardel were successful in Paris, about the tango explosion of the 1940s, how he danced night and day for years, about what a huge beautiful country Argentina is with such a variety of folkloric dances and music, about Argentine zamba, how to google for folkloric teachers, about the Iguaza Falls and how it's sadly become a suicide place, about a certain milonga that has become distinctly seedy and some of the things that go on there, how interesting it is that tango gives us this brief love affair that ends with the end of the tanda, how the tango camponeato is coming up and he enjoys watching, how you can't dance to Piazzola, how Argentines listen to tango but few dance it... At first I'm getting about 70% of this, then it drops to 50%, then 40% and at the end I'm just nodding and saying 'Si, si, Pedro, claro' because I'm no longer really sure what we're talking about. 'There I go again,' he says, 'yakyakyak.'

Farewells on the street corner take another ten minutes.

1 comment:

Chris said...

On the subject of Canaro in Europe, here's a gem for us Brits.