Thursday, 30 May 2013

Jorge Lladó

An email arrives from a friend returning from Bucharest, and from encounters with 'El Flaco'Dany, Ricardo Viquiera, and Jorge Lladó. Three wonderful dancers of salon tango, who tour and teach, dancers with a background in the milongas, rather than a background in professional dance or gymnastics. How come all three are in Bucharest? Of course El Flaco has visited London, but how come London is hardly on the map, unlike most of the rest of Europe, when it comes to salon tango, especially since these days a substantial number of us dance, or try to dance, salon? Isn't it pathetic?

Not that there's a lot we can do, except rant, like me. Visitors from outside the EU who want to work here are treated as immigrants, so employing them legally is a complicated and expensive business, and if they aren't legally employed they can't be advertised. & sadly tangueros with a background in the milongas aren't invited. It was explained to me that visiting teachers need to give earth-shattering displays to encourage people to learn from them, but I think this view demeans the intelligence of UK tangueros. It's an outdated view that might have been true six or seven years ago, but for many of us it's no longer the case. Of course it's true that the teachers who are brought over 'know' the salon dance: they know the steps and have a thousand ingenious variations. But it's not their dance. They are likely to teach a subject, not a passion and a culture. They can teach the facts, they teach what is danced but can they teach how it is danced, the feeling? Aren't they dance teachers who don't actually teach dancing? 

It's really time this changed and we started to enjoy the tango teaching available across the rest of Europe. It seems we are trying to find our way there, even without visits from dancer/teachers like those three, and it would be good to have some help!

& who is Jorge Lladó? He's younger than the others, in his 30s. I've seen how faces light up when he arrives rather quietly and quickly at a local milonga, and it's obviously where he loves to be. There's a great interview with him and his father on Practimilogueros There's also an increasing list of YouTube clips, but sadly I can't find one of him and partner dancing actually in a milonga, so this clip of a demonstration at El Beso will have to do. 

Personally I'd rather watch this over and over than five seconds of an earth-shattering display. There's plenty to learn; the precise, unhurried tempo, the energy, the softness of the feet, the posture. & much more.

Jorge learned from his father, now in his 70s and a dancer since he was very young. The story is in the Practimilongueros interview. First, Jorge was standing wrongly, his head held forward, in effect, round-shouldered. It took 14 months to correct the posture. (How would any of us react to spending 14 months being told to get our posture right?) Then he learned a salida, and wanted more, but his father said: 'You're moving but not dancing!' One year later (how many of us would have waited?) he was taught more steps and started to take his mother to milongas, where he danced with her for two years. After that all the women wanted to dance with him. (It's curiously reminiscent of those Zen master stories.) & above all he was taught courtesy and respect, the bedrock of the milonga.

Jorge is also the nephew of the late Tete, spent time with him and learned from him. There might not be much apparent similarity in the way of dancing, which is as it should be, but I recognise the same joyful enthusiasm in the dance of both, and I'd assume that for both of them it comes from the music, from vals in particular.

A visit from Jorge could make a big change in UK tango. For too long UK tango has focused on externals, on steps, on appearances. It'll take us a lifetime to even begin to get a real feel for the music, and how that feeling moves the torso, but someone like Jorge could show us the heart of it, the warmth and enthusiasm, the courtesy of tango, and show us how it is really danced.

Video thanks to Gurisatanguera.

PS. Since I wrote this I came across another demo by Jorge which is very much more extreme than the one above, and in every way a poor example to social dancers. Perhaps his teaching is still very sound, but why create a 'do as I say but not as I do' situation? I went back to the partial video of Ricardo Vidort and Muma dancing to Quatro Palabras to enjoy again the gentleness, kindness, musicality of tango. It's really sweet! It would be so good to see someone dancing and teaching like Ricardo again.

1 comment:

Francesca. said...

great dancing by Jorge & his partner.
More of this sort of thing!