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.