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?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Silvia Ceriani

It's looking likely that Silvia Ceriani will be in Europe at the end of May.  In the UK in July she already has bookings as DJ at two milongas, and several workshops are planned.

Silvia was the late Tete's tango partner. They first visited Europe in 1995, at the invitation of Pina Bausch, who wanted to include tango in her piece, Nur Du. They started teaching in Wuppertal, and after that visited Europe regularly up until Tete's death 15 years later, teaching in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and elsewhere. They visited the UK just once, but not at all recently. She became an excellent dancer, and a teacher in her own right, always insisting, as Tete did, on the importance of the basics of the walk. Her English is excellent, and she's a lively and engaging talker.

Her contact in Europe is Nadine Million after 29 May. Anyone in the UK interested in meeting her or inviting her to teach or DJ can leave a message in the Comments to this post: I promise I won't publish it as a comment!

She's put forward a teaching agenda:


Becoming friends with the music. The rhythm, cadence and elegance of Tango Salón. Embrace makes the difference. The importance of the pause.

All levels

Differentiating between Tango and Waltz. Simple sequences, rhythm and movement on the dance floor

Medium and advanced

Simple sequences, musicality, balance. Changes in direction and turns in Tango Salón. Sequences and turns combined in waltz rhythm. The importance of the pause.

(I hear Tete shouting 'Pausa!' at me from his table during a milonga...)

It doesn't sound 'content rich' but in this type of tango there's a big emphasis on how it is danced. She can also give a talk on the development of tango music. (She's regular tango DJ at Salón Canning and at La Catedral.) I'm sure she could be persuaded to give a talk on Tete as she has a collection of short films about him, some of which aren't available on public sites like YouTube. There's also talk of organising a DJ workshop. All this is likely to happen between July 4 and 20.