Monday, 10 February 2014

Ricardo Vidort in Rome

Thanks to several friends who alerted me to this video of Ricardo Vidort, uploaded recently to YouTube. Four dances from Rome, including two milongas, which I think are the only available videos of Ricardo dancing milonga. An extraordinary dancer; I'm really glad to see this. Absolutely my favourite milongas on film! There's a warmth and intensity I find nowhere else. & his partner I guess is from a ballet background; those fast, flexible ankles seem to show that much. Perhaps they hadn't danced a lot together, and use the same music for both performances. Viejo tigre! There are several clips of Ricardo dancing to Viejo tigre. Perhaps he felt it was apt.

The film is dated 2006, but that's unlikely as Ricardo died in May that year. Clearly it's summer: everyone is in summer clothing, with fans too: this can't be Rome in the winter of 2006. His last visit to London was the previous summer, 2005, which might be more likely. Perhaps even an earlier year. I see Jantango also questions the date.

Presumably he was in his mid-70s when this was filmed, the more  extraordinary that he'd been ill for some years. He dances with terrific vigour, fire, energy. In fact when I first watched it I hadn't noticed the date, and assumed it was from some years earlier. He certainly puts everything into it: he said that if you dance tango, put everything into it. If you don't give it everything, don't dance. Autopilot isn't an option. & the sense of compás, the beat, is so precise that on occasions it's almost as if the dancers are actually making the music, instead of only responding to it. 

It is extraordinary, but at the same time... Well, I watched again one of his videos on the Tango and Chaos website* and  I must say I still prefer the videos of that relaxed afternoon milonga among friends in Lo de Celia. It's relaxed, intimate, tender, and still lively and inventive.

At the beginning of the Rome clip there's also the briefest glimpse of Ricardo dancing in a milonga: it would be wonderful to see more of this. It doesn't have the bravura of a show on an empty floor, but it's the real world. Many thanks to artymusetta for uploading this. 

& I hope artymusetta won't mind: I wanted to watch this in more detail, so I slowed down most of the second milonga. As usual the music sounds dire, but the opening 15 seconds show a lot: Ricardo on his toes, weight forwards, pushing forwards with the music, then a turn so fluent that for a moment he almost seems about to leave his partner behind. & there's a jauntiness to the dance that fits so well with the music, a slight bounciness; nevertheless, it stays grounded throughout, body weight so much a part of the dance. & even when he's hitting every beat he still shoots his legs out straight from the knee. Landing on a straight leg, and taking off with a bent knee, it's powerful.

* I notice Tango and Chaos says: 'I’ve thought about this page [about Ricardo] for a long time, but I just couldn't seem to get going. I kept putting it off. Part of the reason is that there’s so much video.' So much video? So where is all that video?


Tango en el Cielo said...

Thanks so much for posting this video! Haven't seen it before. I love Anna Maria's dancing and know she was one of his favourite partners.

I think this was most probably filmed in August 2003. Certainly it couldn't have been 2006 as he was too ill to come to Europe. He came here in summer 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2003 he spent July and September here in London, and most of August in Rome hosted by Anna Maria. I don't think he went back to Italy again, though he did meet Anna Maria later (2004?) to perform at a festival in Paris.

Re Tigre Viejo- one of Ricardo's all-time favourites. You're right that he and Anna Maria didn't dance together very often, but I can't imagine he'd have deliberately chosen the same tango for two performances for that reason. He probably just chose it on the evening because he liked it so much, and wouldn't necessarily remember what he had chosen the time before!

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for the comment, T en el C, clarifying the date. It's a vigorous milonga, and 2003 sounds much more likely.

In any case it's a wonderful addition to the small collection of videos of Ricardo, the more so since it includes the two milongas.