Saturday, 23 November 2013

Ricardo Vidort and Luisito Ferraris: videos

I came across this among MullerPatricia's clips: she didn't recognise the dancers, but anyone familiar with the informative TangoandChaos website will recognise the second part of it as film of Ricardo Vidort with Alejandra Todaro, and the first half is from the same session. However, this first part doesn't appear on the website, so it must come from the T&C private archives, which I think are very extensive, and I wonder if there's more of that available. It's just curious that the clip doesn't identify the dancers. TangoandChaos apologises on the website for the film quality, and points out that it's great to have film from when Ricardo was still energetic and in good health. I've always seen that second half as a really wonderful example of tango, and it's a treat to have the rest of it. I just can't help wishing for even more.

Jantango posted about that recent video of Luisito Ferraris on the same day as I did, and adds a link to a video I hadn't seen. She says it's also Luisito, and it does look like him, and it's his way of dancing. Once again, the clip doesn't identify the dancers, which makes it hard to find. It appears to be a commercial for something called tangoline: the website no longer seems to exist. But the dance does, and it seems very intense. In a way it doesn't matter who the dancers are.

I'm struck once again by how close the feet of the dancers are. Sadly, most of us managed to kick our longsuffering partners a few times when we were learning, and are cautious now about dancing with our feet that close. But stepping close, this very neat footwork, is a feature of social tango, something I notice in a lot of the clips. I think it's part of walking one foot in front of the other in line, which results in 'collecting' and also in a sharper stepping. If you dance in a practica with a partner who's accustomed to the dance of the BsAs milongas, she's likely to point out if you aren't stepping close and 'collecting'; similarly, a guy who's danced there all his life would notice the lack of 'collecting' in a partner who is careless about it. It adds a clarity and sharpness, as well as a kind of additional closeness to tango.

That's about it for Luisito Ferraris on YouTube, very sadly. But there is one more video which I'd watched just part of until recently, when I discovered with pleasure that the second half of it is a milonga. I really enjoyed it: it's a kind of milonga I can relate to, and which I haven't seen much in video. The traspies are subtle, and the dance flows. Much as I love watching 'El Flaco' Dany I know I can't in any way regard him as a role model.

I'd just written this and checked to make sure there was nothing more of Luisito on YouTube... and came across this, posted just one week ago, and 15 minutes long. It seems to be the conclusion of a private workshop earlier this November, and we see Luisito dancing with his students there. He seems to be able to get people to dance, and to enjoy doing it. The text says, roughly, 'Luisito Ferraris is greatly appreciated for his dancing and teaching ability, and for being such a friendly guy'.

It brightened up a cold, dark late November afternoon.

P.S.  The original version of the second half of this is here, Adios Arrabal danced by Ricardo Vidort and Alejandra. It's better quality than the version above. I suspect the version above might have been made with a camcorder off a TV screen somewhere.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Luisito Ferraris again

Back in 2009 I re-posted sara4tango's video of Luisito Ferraris and Mirta Tiseyra, which delighted me (I still find it breathtaking) and several others, who left comments. Among the comments was one from... Luisito Ferraris, to thank us all, and he left his phone number too. He's Argentine, and I understand he was a companion of Ricardo Vidort in the milongas, and that he moved to Milan a decade or so ago. I talked on the phone to a friend of his about bringing him to London for a few days, but I wasn't in a position to make a firm offer of money, and the talks lapsed. A pity: he's hardly a 90-minute flight away.

Anyway, he resurfaced in a recent video from MullerPatricia. (Sadly, there's very little of him on YouTube.) Luisito is still on his feet, still teaching, which is wonderful, and although it's hard to make out any words, his gestures and body indicate that he's showing how to respond to the sweeping phrases of Di Sarli. & it's wonderful to watch the few moments of dance: he follows the phrases of the music with a calm, effortless elegance, nothing forced, nothing rushed, total attention to the dance. It's beautiful: so that's how you dance to Di Sarli! & how complete and relaxed the embrace is! The quality of dance, the basics of walking are instinctively there, in Luisito of course, but in the partners he dances with too.

Here's a brief quote, if Patricia Müller will permit me, slowed down slightly, and with the aspect ratio approximately corrected.

A few days later a complete tango was posted. The dance is quite active and varied, and on the small scale of social tango. 

This is Patricia Müller's website.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

'Sophisticated use of the basics.'

The great animator Richard Williams, who won two Oscars, one of them for Roger Rabbit, has compiled a massive series of 40 DVDs on animation practice: there are extracts on YouTube. They are fascinating. He talks about some of his teachers. He says that in animation literature one of them, Milton Cole, tends to be damned with faint praise: yes, he made sophisticated use of the basics. What! says Richard Williams. What else is there? What more do you need to do? Sophisticated use of the basics!

It looks as if the basics are neglected in London tango. Years of show tango classes have left their mark, as much in the mentality of thinking of dance as display as in the steps. Consequently, our milongas tend to be a bit chaotic. Very few couples actually look as if they are dancing harmoniously together. In the rush for a parody of stage tango, little time has been spent on the basics, on the walk, the embrace, on listening to the music, on the courtesy of tango. If the simplest basics, getting the walk right, are ignored, then the embrace doesn't work well, and tango hasn't begun, whatever fancy steps are tried. So I understand it, anyway.

Get the basics right, then make sophisticated use of them!