WARNING: THIS IS A PERFORMANCE! It is a DEMONSTRATION of class material! (Only joking...)
Martha Anton and 'El Gallego' Manolo really are among the most welcoming and genial teachers I know. Manolo seems to be a walking archive of canyengue: I hope someone's cross-indexed his memory, although video is likely to preserve a lot of it. & Martha will remember you from years ago, with a big smile.
The classes are relaxed and unstructured. As they are held in the Escuela Tango anyone may turn up for a taster (and maybe so they can add '...studied canyengue with Martha Anton and 'El Gallego' Manolo' to their CVs). Or, like this class, it might be just a few friends, some who've known them for years. Whatever happens, Martha will have the beginners dancing basic canyengue to that hypnotic beat by the end of the class, or Manolo will have dug out something totally unexpected even to his oldest friends. All with a smile and about three words of English, if you don't speak Spanish. If you do, you might catch Manolo complaining about the young dancers who flock in demanding a lot of new material, and forgetting it as they leave...
Of course canyengue itself helps. You can dance it with a grin on your face, and the music is a lot more simple and cheerful, and less emotional, than tango. It's fun, which you can't exactly say of tango, and at its best it's fascinating to watch. I love the effortless way Manolo weaves himself around Martha at the beginning of this clip. Manolo learned in the late 1940s with his childhood friend, Rudolfo Ciere, at a time when canyengue was regarded as at best old-fashioned if not actually primitive. If I remember Robert Farris Thompson ('The Art History of Love') correctly, the crouching stance was regarded as regrettably African at a time when civilised people stood up straight and danced tango. But what Manolo learned was a kind of proto-tango, from dancers who were already getting on in years when he was young. Proto-tango dance to proto-tango music: it fits early Canaro like a glove. A lot of what you learn can be transposed to tango without much problem. Just make sure you stand up straight, though.
The music is El Pensamiento, played by the Cuarteto Punta y Taco. It doesn't quite sound like old music, and the group may be a sort of revivalist group, perhaps from the 1950s. Martha and Manolo have their own series of CDs of music for canyengue, which you can buy from them, a mix of early Canaro, Donato, Carabelli, Lomuto, with a lot of almost unknown orquestas, some of them wonderful. Many of the recordings pre-date the introduction of electric recording in 1928, so the sound quality isn't great, and it has to be said that the tracks from Canaro and other well-known orquestas are probably available in better quality on other CDs. But if you really want CDs with recordings by Perez Pocholo, Alfredo Cordisco, D'Alessandro, and many others, they are here. You may be able to listen to them on Todotango too.