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!


Anonymous said...


Tangocommuter said...

...in a word! Thanks, anon.

Anonymous said...

Firstly you need teachers who really can dance close embrace, then students willing to spend hours getting the basics right and finally teachers willing to explain that show tango exhibited by visiting BsAs dancers is a good example of how not to dance at a milonga
Sydney is no exception.
David G