Saturday, 12 December 2015

Muma teaching Ricardo Vidort's legacy in California this October

Jantango very kindly passed on a link to some videos of Muma's visit to the US in October. There's a long radio interview, and several tracks of performances with Rafael Galante from LA. It's such a pleasure to watch Muma dance. There's nothing rushed or over-eager about her dance: it's as if she tries to step at the last possible moment. It adds a particular energy to her movements, and to me this langorous, unhurried way of stepping makes her dance more sensual. Sadly, there's been nothing at all from Ojai or Seattle, where she gave workshops. She also taught in LA, so we can only hope that videos of some of her 2015 teaching in the US will emerge.

There's just one video I can find of Muma teaching: it's during her visit to Vancouver in 2009. There's a short account of her teaching on posture (with a very helpful exercise) from her visit to Seattle in the same year.

The radio interview is nearly two hours, although the first ten and the last 20 minutes are 'filler', and it's split up with music tracks. It's also long because translation is sequential, but it's fascinating and brilliant to listen to. Muma's family background was 'golden age' tango, and it's wonderful to listen to her recollections of the musicians and the dance she grew up with.

This is a general summary. The interview begins with general family background.

00:35 She talks about Tanturi's Asi se baile el Tango and says it describes exactly how tango was danced when she was growing up. (There's a translation of the song here.) Then she talks about d'Arienzo, then Di Sarli. (A real insight into tango as it's heard in Buenos Aires. Essential.)

01:01 She talks about the importance of codigos in Buenos Aires, but implying that courtesy and respect should be followed generally. Cabaceo as a 'seductive game'. Respecting the dance floor, not barging into the line of dance, etc.

01:11 Talking about Ricardo Vidort, a great description of how he danced. Importance of perfecting the walk. As to the 'eight classes', ' all the years I spent working with Vidort I never heard him mention to me that he had eight classes'. How his classes actually were. 'It's a lifetime of practice.'

01.24 Other people she danced with.

Of course, there's more. Ojai's advance advertising highlighted the '8 lessons' as the topic of Muma's workshops, but Muma herself says in the interview that they didn't exist in a precise form, and their later publicity toned it down to the teaching of 'La esencia of Ricardo Vidort'. She explains that he believed in teaching walking and some basic material, which could be taught in six, eight, ten classes. After that it was up to those who learned from him to go out and create their own tango from these fundamentals. She also says that he wasn't the kind of teacher who wanted to claim students and get them coming back to him again and again. You need to be pointed in the right direction, but after that it's up to you to work on it.

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