Friday, 29 May 2015

17 tangos at Lujos milonga

I've just noticed that Tangotradicional videoed 17 tangos at Lujos milonga in October 2012, over two nights I think. A while back I wrote that it would be wonderful if there was an online camera at Lujos so it would be possible to drop in at any time and watch the dancing: it's not quite happened yet. I wrote '17 tangos' but the 17 clips include rock and chacarera, and sadly many of the tangos are shortened, but it's still a treat to watch much of the dancing here. 

Lujos is one of the top milongas for dancers, and the tango is usually as good as it gets. The venue is more spacious than El Beso, and it's much less of a hothouse. There's a lot less chatter than in Normarin1's videos, which are of some of the more sociable milongas, so the dancing is much more focused. For video the great advantage is that the lighting is good, and (unlike El Beso and Lo de Celia) there's usually space on the floor and around it. Apart from La Nacional, there's nowhere else I know that you can get such a good view of what some of the best social tango looks like at home. There was always a solid core of the older generation, and in these clips I recognise familiar faces, among them Ricardo Suarez, Javier Gramigna, and of course, Oscar Kotik, who organises it with Lucia. 

Marina2x4 also has videos of tandas at Lujos. 

P.S. Apologies, I made a mistake and linked this to the Abretango channel, so I was puzzled when the videos weren't there. In fact all those videos are still there -- on the Tangotradicional channel. More or less the same people, I think, so it wasn't an unreasonable error. I'm delighted to have found the videos again. A great pleasure to watch.

Friday, 15 May 2015

More chest!

At the end of a tanda I asked the Very Experienced Partner about the need for a lead to be decisive without being in the least rough. 'More chest!' was her immediate, clear and memorable reply, without hesitation. 'More chest is never rough!' she added.

She made it sound so straightforward, and yet... It's easy enough for leads to remember, at the start of a tango, to straighten the back and shoulders, breath in and hold the chest forwards, but imperceptibly it all slumps, the initial good contact with the partner deteriorates, and leading can become more awkward. Tango developed among people whose posture was naturally good, who weren't slumped at terminals all day, who walked a lot more than we usually do. Most of us don't have good posture, we tend to be round-shouldered, our heads habitually inclined forwards, our lower backs curved out, as they are when we sit at desks and tables. It can be a submissive, despairing posture.

Good yoga, Pilates or Alexander teachers can help correct this, and get the back straight and the head stacked on top of the vertebrae. It's essentially the body's natural posture, the position in which it works best and is least prone to injury (lower back injury in particular), and it's really the only good starting posture for tango. Or any other kind of dance: if you go to the stage door cafe at London's dance theatre, Sadler's Wells, you'll start to notice two species of human, those who have straight backs with their heads in line, and... well, sadly, the rest of us

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Juan Carlos Pontoriero

I was devastated to get this from a friend yesterday:
Lovely film of Isabella dancing with Juan Carlos.
Unfortunately, I think he died around 15th April. I heard he was attacked on a bus on the way home from El Maipu & had a heart attack.
My teacher had just been sitting at the same table, talking to him earlier that night.