Sunday, 17 August 2014

Bienvenido a Mónica Paz!

Excellent news that Mónica Paz is to visit the UK early next month. She's been a regular visitor teaching in Europe and the US for quite a while now, so a visit to London is long overdue. 

There's a long list of Buenos Aires women who have danced in the milongas for many years and have learned their tango in the arms of the older dancers whose tango goes back to the end of the Golden Age, Muma and Myriam Pincen with Ricardo Vidort, Silvia Ceriani with Tete, Susanna Miller with Cacho Dante, María Plazaola with Gavito (these are the partners they are most associated with, but their dancing goes much wider). Then of course, Ana María Schapira, Alicia Pons... There are many more, and all are teaching, many, like Mónica Paz, sessions before milongas. I say 'sessions' rather than classes, because 'tango classes' have come to suggest learning tango steps rather than learning to dance tango. 

Women who go out regularly to dance always have an interest in men who dance well, and thus an interest in getting men to dance better. Nothing new here: a good many of the veteran tangueros recall being taught by their mothers and aunts, even before they practiced with their friends.

These pre-milonga sessions in Buenos Aires typically focus first on posture, the walk and the embrace. Mónica, like Susanna, María and Alicia, usually works with several 'assistentes', so men and women both get a chance to work with experienced dancers on getting the best posture, embrace and walk. When these have been practiced there will probably be a sequence of some kind, and practice in extending it in different ways, but these are classes in dancing, not classes in tango steps, and they are useful. Mónica's take on this, the 'practilonga', is to bring a bit of the formality of the Buenos Aires milonga into the practica, which is helpful to visitors who want to get the most out of their time there. 

Mónica currently seems to have just two dates in the UK, Tango West in Bristol on September 7, and Corrientes in London on September 13. I hope more can be arranged: here is someone who can convey the feel of the tango of the milongas of Buenos Aires, and the way people dance there. 

Her website is here, and this is her YouTube channel. All her interviews with the older dancers are on her Practimilongueros YouTube channel.

Finally, here she is dancing with a great dancer and a regular partner, Chiche Ruberto: lively stuff, and great energy. He's one of her interviewees on the Practimilongueros YouTube channel.

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