Argentina

Milonga Timing at PRACTICanDo Tuesday

In honor of our milonga classes I am posting the latest video from the Buenos Aires Competition in the milonga category. Very nice dancing…Enjoy!
Class Tuesday May 28th begins at 7:00pm at SNAP

7:00pm – 8:30pm Technique and Paso class
8:30pm – 10:00pm PRACTICA
$15 class+ practica
$6 practica only
SNAP 4425 N Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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Informal with a judge

Sick as a dog on the eve of the Finals. The smell of menthol is on everyone’s breath at the milongas. Everyone seems to be sick or with some scratchy throat.

Rommel had the opportunity to speak informally and interpret for a teacher and a judge who was at the house coaching. Some highlights of that conversation follow.

This teacher/coach/judge considers himself a teacher, a maestro, and not so much a dancer anymore. He recommends that dancers should take classes with teachers not with other dancers. The teacher will show you how to dance as opposed to the dancer who will show you how he dances.

He expounded on how he reads the rules that are presented to him for Tango Salon. He needs to give points based on the the following criteria.

the Embrace – el AbrazoPre Finals
the connection
the step/or walk – la pisada
musicality
and execution of movement.

This last one is not on the rules for us. Maybe it is understood. He interprets this final piece as how does one feel what they are doing/dancing, como se siente lo que bailan. Rommel further interpreted this as the quality of movement that is directly powered by feeling. He sees many dancers as too tense or trying to impress the judges doing steps.

As a judge he has 15 seconds per couple (there are usually 10 couples on stage). A judge will see you at least twice and he needs to see all those things in that time.

He spoke about Tango Culture – la cultura del tango – one has to live the tango to be able to feel it. And in this journey find your true identity in tango that isn’t a copy of last year’s champion or of a teacher that you’ve had. So if you dance your own tango you will dance calmly without tension.

If you review previous champions, they all have their own tango identity in their dancing. They have their own style. He believes that the next champion has to be different than what has come before.

This is fascinating to me as it all is still so so subjective. But, yet, a common theme from all these maestros, has been the mention of uniqueness, individuality, and finding your own tango.

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Having just returned from the Finals in Luna Park. What an interesting experience. 41 couples participated. Again the results are Winners 2012somewhat hard to figure out. They showed the point results on the screens for the top 5 couples. It seems strange that couples’ scores could range from low 7’s to high 9’s, like no single couple’s scores from the judges (as shown on the screen) were consistent. Clearly some couples were favored with high scores by some judges and low scores by other.

Beautiful couples from Argentina made the top 3 spots. You can see the dancing online.

I have seen some amazing dancers this trip. It has been a fantastic journey to have shared stage with great dancers from all over the world.

Tomorrow night is our last night and we will be performing at a milonga Salon Canning. I think I am more nervous for that than I was for the Championship!

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Preparations…..

Here we are, 6+ hours of private lessons, waking up every morning/afternoon to hammering in the building, pouring rain and bubbling with excitement!

The Tango Salon Championship Qualification rounds are Monday and Tuesday.

I just got off the phone with NPR’s Tell Me More program from Washington DC where they interviewed me by phone about the Salon Championships and Tango in general. That was exciting!!!

Salon Canning with Alex and LisaBetween taking classes with Los Maestros and milongas I also managed to be part of Alex and Lisa’s 23rd wedding. Read more at 2people1life.  Alex contacted me in late July telling me about their Around the World Wedding plans and I responded to his email a little skeptically. He asked if I would be available for tango lessons and could help arrange a midnight tango wedding. It just so happened that I would be in Buenos Aires at the same time they were going to be here. After about 8 more emails and a few phone conversation, we had Alex and Lisa outfitted in Rommel and my clothes and shoes, we took them to Salon Canning to see Argentine Tango in action; to hear Color Tango play; to see a performance; they almost exchanged vows (again) at Confiteria Ideal but instead on the streets of San Telmo! Phew! all in 24 hours! They did manage to learn a few tango steps and we had pictures taken in front of the Obelisco. We can’t wait to see them!

Today we are off to some more classes. There are so many free events as part of the tango festival and we hope to catch some of them.

Next update will be the times we are dancing on Monday and Tuesday. And Rommel got his hair cut per “la maestras” orders!!!

 

 

 

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“It’s an Art, not Gymnastics”

Club AtlantaMAESTROS de MAESTROS – The Teachers of Teachers, a workshop with those milongueros, who can speak about dancing in their early days with tango in Buenos Aires, and it, the workshops, started out, well, slowly! 4 days, 2 classes per day.

Rommel and I and Tyler show up to this famous historic stadium, Atlanta (which is right down the street from Tyler’s place). The previous night’s torrential rains caused a bit of havoc on the space. We arrived 20 minutes early to find the space being mopped. Not the whole space but a few very large places on the floor were covered in water. After 1 hour of waiting, the first teacher never arrived. The next teacher and his wife show up a little early so the young organizers arrange for those of us who were still there to ask questions and for this couple to tell us a bit about the building, Atlanta, and tango in the early days.

The neighborhood and the space is historic. It was the biggest dance club during its heyday. The actual place opened in 1904 as a soccer club. But it was and is an athletic club and had 1 of the largest dance floors in the 40’s. Many great orchestras came through here and it was known fClub Atletico Atlanta insideor its “Carnevales” – big parties during carnival time (before Easter).

http://www.atlantapasion.com.ar/historia.php

The first class was not really a typical class – it really felt more like a practica. The maestro would show a step, we would dance and dance and dance and he would walk around and check us all out!

As the week has worn on and we have gone diligently to these classes, I am fascinated, inspired, and touched by all of the teachers. They came and opened their hearts, shared stories, some personal, some silly, but all with a very real feeling of sharing. Some of them showed us steps and we worked on them over and over again. Some watched us dance and gave advice on our embrace or our walking. And some even talked about the Championship and their opinion of it.

We heard over and over again about how dancers need to slow down. We are not running, there is no race, the dance has lasted and has many more years to go! This was said by Jorge Rodriguez.

Most of the teachers commented on the “chaos” at the milongas that they see now, that it’s basically dangerous dancing at milongas with high kicks and tables being knocked about. Rodriguez said that the dance, “necesitamos apoyar a nosotros”, meaning that the dance needs the dancers’ support, the communal tango support on the milonga dance floor. The feeling that I got from his explanation is that all of us on the social dance floor are responsible for tango – for where it goes and how it grows.

Internet was down today and I tried desperately to post this sooner. More Maestros to be continued….

 

 

 

 

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A New Week

R & D & Acacia in BATo say that the last week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. We have been doing private classes, group classes, milongas, trying to stay healthy, dealing with rain and torrential down pours, 1 day of sun, clouds, cold – whoosh! But none-the-less so far, so good!

La Maestra has recommended that we take a workshop that begins today with 8 of the oldies but goodies. It’s 4 days with 1.5 hours with each teacher, 2 per day. It’s called Maestros de Maestros. It’s a good opportunity to learn from those who are the oldest, as for what they know, goes with them if they don’t pass it on….. So that begins today.

And the rain has stopped!

I find that one of the funnest reasons to be here in BA is to catch up with people who I R & D and Yumikohaven’t seen in a long time. I finally ran into a tango friend from England who I haven’t seen since teacher training in 2006. How great to catch up. Also have connected with a family from a visit to Charleston. It’s amazing how tango brings people together even after a long time apart!!!

It appears that the Festival of events that accompany the Mundial are posted.
http://www.tangobuenosaires.gob.ar/festivalymundial12/web/es/events/index.html

All these events are free! It’s so exciting!!! I have already seen some really really beautiful dancers at some of the milongas. It appears that the overall attendance at the milongas I have been to are low. And this is not surprising. I am still dying to know how many people are competing this year…..

As I prepare to head out today, I share with you a tango reminder. I have been working on not collapsing my torso on the closed side of the embrace. It appears that I have acquired a habit of shortening the left side of my torso (picture a sideways bend, but not so dramatically!). Ladies, pay attention to this in your own bodies, making sure that your torso is not compromised in anyway in your embraces.

Keep dancing!

 

 

 

 

 

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