Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ricardo Vidort: Jantango's comment

Jantango sent a comment on my post Did Ricardo Vidort Teach? She knew him to dance with so I didn't want to hide her comment in the 'Comments', where it might not get read. Here it is:

'Ricardo danced the same way whether he was on a milonga floor or an empty one -- he used the space. His dance was his. He never performed for the audience, he danced for his partner and himself. There is no choreography in his tango, it's pure feeling from the music.

'Work began four years ago on a blog: Ricardo Vidort -- the unforgettable milonguero of Buenos Aires, which included his notes for his classes, a series of eight. Then Ricardo told his students to go and practice and discover their own tango. I helped create the Wordpress site, but I don't believe the owner will publish it. There were interviews with Ricardo's dance partners, photos, videos, personal letters, and his philosophy of tango.

'Ricardo Vidort once told me that he taught everything he knew in eight classes. Then he told his students he had no more to teach them. They had to go practice on their own and develop their own style. They didn’t need more classes. He was right. Those who stay in classes for years want approval from the teacher and won’t practice on their own.

'I have a DVD of an interview of Ricardo that was part of a film by a hospice in New Mexico. I viewed it again yesterday and share it with visitors in BsAs who are interested in learning from Ricardo. I posted a transcript of the interview on Tango Chamuyo.

'Ricardo lived in New York City for several years, but he wasn't appreciated for what he had to share. Perhaps his tango was considered too simple, too basic, for those who were interested in the flash they saw on stage.'

It's too bad that the Ricardo Vidort blog hasn't been published. I know he said that you needed only eight classes with him to learn to dance tango and it's great that he left notes on them: I had just one class, so I've always wondered about the other seven! I wonder if these notes can be published independently of the blog? I think I've met the 'owner of the site', and I wonder if there's any way we can get all this material put up on the web. It really should be available for us all. I know that he talked to the camera and was filmed for the hospice where he passed away, and I believe there's a copyright issue with that film, but the rest of the material shouldn't be restricted.

Jantango doesn't give a link to her transcript. I found three short 'talks' by Ricardo on Tango Chamuyo, all reprints from Paul and Michiko's excellent, but no longer published magazine, El Once Tango News; Ricardo Vidort in his own Words, Is Dance a Therapy? and His Last Interview.

As to 'interviews with Ricardo's dance partners' fortunately there is one on YouTube.


tangogeoff said...

Thankyou for posting this, TC, and thank you to Janis for sharing.
8 lessons?

Papadoc said...

I was lucky enough to be taught be Ricardo Vidort. His approach to tango was simple, healthy and unaffected. He saw it as a vehicle for human contact, like a language, not as an end to itself. He knew that many people would not understand his philosophy and he was old enough and secure enough not to mind that. His skill was to help free those who would listen from the anxieties of self-consciousness. Of all those whom influenced my dancing, I remember him with greatest affection and respect.

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks, Tangogeoff and Papadoc. Papadoc, your comment sumarises beautifully and exactly my own experience of spending an hour or two in a class with him. I wish I could have put it that clearly! Yes, it wasn't because he was a great tango teacher that I remember him (although he was), it was the human qualities of his teaching that immediately appealed to me. It was as if I'd been taught by robots up to that point!

Janis said...

The movie, Solace: Wisdom of the dying, is copyrighted by Point of Light Productions.

The producer mentions future "video on demand" but there is nothing so far on

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for the link, Janis. It's fascinating that Ricardo got involved in this project at the end of his life. It seems to be a very interesting and essential project, how the dying are cared for, and how we understand death. There's a quote from Ricardo on the project website:

"I think feelings are unique, it's like a fingerprint. Nobody can teach you feeling, people who dance the tango, they are thousands. People who feel the tango, we are very few."

"This is not a poker game. So do the best you can, do it with honesty and I think you are going to die peacefully, and that's important. Because you need to die to be part of what you are going to leave behind as energy in the world."

It's too bad the film isn't available on demand, although it looks as if it is available to purchase. But this is quite separate from a lot of the material on the Ricardo Vidort website that has been created and still not published. It would be wonderful if this could be made available.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I'm always eager to hear about Ricardo Vidort