Who would have ever thought that ASU Argentine Tango club would have such world renown tango dancers come to visit with them?
I have been teaching Argentine Tango at ASU for 8 years and have watched the club grow and thrive. I have watched dreams come true through tango club. Maybe not gynormous dreams but dreams like, can we have a festival? can we have x teachers come here? I am always amazed and inspired by my students’ creativity and motivation. Yes, they are young and sometimes disorganized but I watch them learn so much through the process of creation. Maybe from the chaos rises the beauty! We are in a Phoenix burb after all.
Chicho y Juana offered a class to the Tango Club Practica on Thursday night and more than 40 students came. This class lasted for more than a generous hour and I think it blew some of the students’ minds. The Tango Club is open to ASU students who are not only in my class but to any ASU student currently enrolled at ASU.
Ironically, I took my first class with Chicho when I first started dancing tango and on his first and only trip to the Phoenix area prior to this visit with Juana. I have had the pleasure of taking classes with him throughout my tango journey. I am always impressed with his creativity. Possibly through my exposure to other kinds of artists I am not put off by his shy nature, which has often been referred to as unfriendly. He is a creative genius at work! It was really fun to watch him open up to the young students during this weekend: he listened to them. I know he and Juana had opportunity to share with tango club president, Ganesh. A time that I know will remain a lasting memory for Ganesh!
The way Chicho teaches reminds me of my modern dance days when I would take a class with a master teacher in a crowded room full of other eager to be seen dancers and they would throw choreography at us and then say, “now perform it backwards, invert it, retrograde it, mirror it, put it on the other side”. Chicho is not so extreme but he likes to offer ideas of creativity and possibilities in the movement form.
AND let us not forget – CONNECTION. He spoke of this wholeheartedly and importantly. Which of course makes me smile. The true magic between the partnership. And it’s not about the steps but about understanding the concept. Chicho said this repeatedly.
It goes back to “technique” – the technique of the dance is not that different along the spectrum of body types and labels, etc. One of my stellar students came to me last week and said, “what Chicho is saying is not that different from Graciela Gonzalez. Isn’t that interesting?” YES!
And this blog would not be complete without mentioning their spectacular 5 performances during the Saturday evening Grand Milonga in ASU’s Ballroom. Someone in the community commented to me that their performance energy was palpable and it filled the room. I experienced the same feelings, which I do when I see them perform. I think performing Argentine Tango as an improvised dance is an art form in addition to just learning to improvise. I think it’s a hard thing to do well. (and that’s a blog for another day!) Chicho and Juana won the hearts of many with their spectacular performances. They smiled and shared their dance generously with us. The highlight (if there’s a way to rank 1 song above another!) was Chicho’s dedication to Ganesh prior to their 3rd song performance to the slow challenging melody of Astor Piazzolla’s Milonga del Angel. A rare thing, Chicho told the audience, to dedicate a performance to anyone.
I know this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Chicho y Juana and ASU Tango Club.