Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Muma with Osvaldo Natucci

Well worth keeping an eye on Bendtango's channel: there's another video of Muma dancing with Ricardo Vidort that appeared there about a week ago. But there's also a condensed version of a vals tanda of Muma dancing with Osvaldo Natucci (in light shirt and hair) at El Beso in 2000, which I keep watching over and over. It brings it all back! & it's as well filmed as could be, given how close everything is, and the rather low lighting levels. Really a sense of sitting right there, watching the surging movements of the torsos, and looking down at the tiny neat steps, absolutely in time with the music, that keep couples gliding around, seeing just how close people are dancing. It could be more crowded, but I'd say this is about optimal: you wouldn't want more people, or it gets difficult, but there are enough to create a real buzz. Osvaldo holding Muma with real care and affection, and Muma looking totally radiant. Guys, do your partners look anything like this relaxed and happy when you lead them? Something to work for, isn't it?
Wonderful. Thanks Bendtango.

Saturday, 26 May 2012


It was great to meet up recently with a friend I'd met in BsAs. Of course we went out dancing, and had time to chat about tango and old friends.

Something that interested me: I said I thought nuevo, and Gustavo's dance (which I believe he calls salon), isn't particularly new, it's a kind of tango that goes way back. & she disagreed. 'No, when you dance with leaders who've learned that way, they don't stay grounded. The experience, the feel of it, is tango becoming balletic, tango trying to fly. The beauty of tango, the real pleasure of it, is how grounded it is. Nuevo is 'nuevo' because it's taken the old dance and given it a different dimension, a whole different feel, and that new dimension has taken away the pleasure of it. The real pleasure of tango is how grounded it is.'

I've had plenty of objections to 'nuevo', being kicked for one, of course, as well as the confusion created by the erratic movements of nuevo dancers, but I have to admit I've never actually been led by a nuevo leader, so this was a whole new idea to me. I remembered the late Tete's statement: tango is danced in many ways, but always on the floor, and that is where it gets its energy. The whole idea of being grounded in tango has always fascinated me: a lot of European dance seeks to fly, at least to jump up and down. 
We talked about learning Canyengue before tango, but she wasn't sure it would help: the change in direction used in the basic step isn't so easy to lead and follow, '...but people would learn to be grounded if they learned canyengue first.' The 'leaning together' of canyengue dancers is much more pronounced than in tango, your feet are further away from your partner's feet, which gives a much stronger feeling of weight and connectedness, both to each other and to the floor. Immigrants, exiles, devising a dance like no other, that forces them physically together and holds them down in place.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ricardo again!

...and tango181 (Bendtango) has just uploaded another short extract of Ricardo Vidort at the milonga Bien Jaileife in July 2001.

Fascinating to watch not only Ricardo but the other dancers too.

I found a long and interesting quote from Ricardo on Jenney Surelia's blog, but I couldn't get the link to work, (it's but it lead me to a blank page.) It obviously worked in the past since I copied the quote. Since I can't link it, I hope Jenney won't mind if I put it here in full. Ricardo said:

To explain what is a milonguero, is really very difficult, because the feeling of this beautiful emotion is something new to each person. It is almost impossible to put it in words. But I shall try to do it, and I hope without offending or hurting anybody's feelings.

To be a milonguero, first of all you have your own style of dancing. It means that you have a unique feeling for the music, rhythm, cadence and embrace. When you have all this, the music invades your body and mind and then, only then, the chemistry begins that really makes you transmit to your partner as if both were talking, whispering, sliding on the floor with sacadas, corridas, turns, dancing only one for the other, not for the people. In that moment, when both are listening to the magic of the music, the skin of one in the skin of the other, the smell, the touch produces the miracle of something like a mantra, and the ying and the yang is there!!! We are dancing tango!!!

The priorities of a milonguero are the feeling and the woman. The codes are like the commandments which were born with the tango, and the music is defined in three parts. The first is a question, the second is a pause or prologue, the third part holds an answer. All this is in our feeling and this is why we always improvise, having the pleasure of being ourselves, in our own style with the rhythm and the cadence. Today people teach in methodic ways, but the tango, the real Tango Salon, does not have method, because it is a feeling. Technique and choreography are only for performance, this is tango which has been learned for hours for show business; there are hundreds of couples doing the same thing, and only a few of them, let us say ten or fifteen are really very good because they are different and that is another thing. Every tango dancer of the streets, those who practised in the squares or parks, with other men, developed technique naturally, without knowing it. His steps and feeling were a technique. My advice is - walk, walk with your toe first and always in the music, walk and practise to be yourself and not a copy of anybody else.

Jenney Surelia's blog

Friday, 18 May 2012

Ricardo and Muma

Janis has very kindly drawn my attention to a new video of Ricardo Vidort, always a cause for celebration! & what a video! Ricardo and Muma dancing, no less, and in a milonga too. Sadly it's brief, but that makes it easier to watch over and over. It's wonderful stuff: the beginning is especially magical, the way they glide into view with a musical phrase – but then it's magical throughout.


The music is wonderful, too: Cuatro Palabras by Adolfo Carabelli.

This and other videos, particularly of Muma, are on Bendtango's YouTube channel. Bendtango has also uploaded a cleaned-up version of the video of Muma's Milonga Criolla with El Flaco Dani. One can only be grateful to people like Bendtango who filmed these dances years back, and hope there's more to come! It's through old videos like these that we really get a glimpse of tango at its best.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Since we're on the topic, here's Tuesday night Cachirulo at its new home, Boedo Tango, San Juan 3330. Looks good, reminds me of Maipu 444 in layout, although there's obviously more space around. This seems to be the first video they've uploaded from the new venue.

The query is: Thursday night Lujos. Depending on where you look, it's at Lo de Celia or La Nacional. Lo de Celia would preserve the intimate, friendly atmosphere of Lujos at El Beso. La Nacional is an entirely different venue, but very beautiful.

Monday, 7 May 2012

El Beso

So the rumours that have been swirling around the last few weeks are true: El Beso has been closed down. Jantango has confirmed it. I shouldn't be surprised, having been there when it felt crowded to the point of being unsafe. It also means that if it can be made safe it could reopen; depends on whether the owners think it's worth it, I guess. It has plenty of history, but it was small and crowded, and dingy, too, and the lighting wasn't great. There's a demand for milongas, so all the activities will move elsewhere. There are alternatives, some of them a lot more spacious.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I hear that both Alberto Dassieu and Ricardo Viquiera are in Switzerland this month.
Here are Alberto and Paulina in a great video from Irene and Man Yung. I especially like this one because they are dancing in a milonga, but it's not crowded. I've often watched Alberto and Paulina in crowded milongas: he leads with all the feeling for the music that's evident in this dance, but slowly, with a lot of pauses, quite cautiously, moving decisively only when he has room; it's a good lesson, a kind of minimal tango. Here he has plenty of space to enjoy the dance no need to be minimal. Still, every Thursday night they turn up at El Beso and sit and eat at a tiny table, crowded in with people coming and going and greeting them, they dance on the crowded floor, and Alberto beams with happiness: such a great milonga tonight! Alberto grew up with Villa Urquiza tango, but not the Villa Urquiza of many contemporary teachers, who use the name for a dance of big gestures. There's something very 'trained', very precise, about Alberto's walk, the way he steps and moves, effortlessly smooth and musical but very passionately with the music. That quite disciplined walk isn't really like the walk of many other local dancers.
'Que vals!' as he would say.

 And Ricardo Viquiera: a neat demonstration of floorcraft this, worth watching again. Ricardo is also clear about the right way to walk and move, not for aesthetic reasons, not because something looks good, but quite simply because it works better that way. As his video demonstrates! He has an excellent reputation for spotting areas where dancers need help, where things aren't quite right.
I guess Ricardo will be around for a few months in Europe...

PS: Sorry to hear that my information is out of date: Alberto had to cancel his visit to Switzerland. But the video still looks great!