Performances

Performances with Daniela Feilcke-Wolff

Here is a performance playlist to 3 songs that Daniela Feilcke-Wolff and I performed to at Milonga Popular Berlin.
We started the performance with the milonga, “La Vida es Una Milonga”, followed by the tango “Remembranza” and then into a short performance to “Oblivion”  – as a shout to my contemporary dance days.

The crowd on Monday nights is a pretty open, young crowd. We were received warmly and enthusiastically. It was lovely to perform with Daniela to make my Berlin debut!!! And it was a nice promotion for upcoming weekend workshops for Women leading and learning to lead.

There is still a lot of discussion around the topic of same sex dancing, about exchanging the roles in the dance while dancing, aesthetics and even simpler questions, why? And there are quite a variety of answers from 1) there are too many women dancers for the amount of men dancers, 2) it’s fun, 3) it improves my dancing, 3) why not, 4) a stand on identity and self-expression, to just name a few.

Those who know me, know that I entered tango from the perspective of a trained dancer, so the form and structure of the dance captivated me first. (Versus coming to tango as a stress reliever, to meet people, for the love of the music, or because I saw a Tango show, which are often how my students have found tango.) Learning both roles seemed natural and normal to me and then served me well when I was asked to teach. Learning new steps was never a problem and so learning to lead was like learning another dance at the time I started. As we know, the tango journey is that, a journey, and I weaved my journey between leading and following, sometimes leaving one role behind for many many months only to pick it up rejuvenated. I have found Daniela Feilcke-Wolff inspiring as a leader to dance with. She has some great insight into leading as a woman. I think we make a nice team! Enjoy!
And spread the word of our Tangueras weekend and come join us!

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Videos with Irfan Yüksel

Below are 2 videos with Irfan from Istanbul. They are improvised performances.

So fun to see Irfan and me dance and compare it to our video from 2008. He chose the music and we did not rehearse to them prior. We did learn a lot about each other through teaching together, putting together the classes with ideas from both of our years of experiences and shared toolboxes.

Coming from a dance background, where most of the time you are preparing for performances or looking to perform your own work or another’s choreography or possibly even an improvisational score, the skill of improvising a tango is still a work in progress for me. I am always questioning the role of performance in this genre and the role of the experience of the medium: live or video. I know I have experienced a live viewing of a dance and have been moved to emotions only to re-experience it on video, to show someone how great it was, for example, only to think, “hmm – not so great here”! I worked with a choreographer in my contemporary dance years who obsessively recorded every rehearsal. In the end, I found her work looked so great on video and yet, I was never moved by seeing the dancers perform live….

In short,  in the role of performance you have the perspective of the performer and of the audience. In a solo performance the artist, the dancer, has some control over the desired outcome. In group choreographies, the choreographer trusts the dancers to produce a vision. In tango, as we know, the trust is in your partner and your experience, with the music, your body, your partner.

But is there any responsibility to your audience?

I think there always is, and have always felt this way. As one of my brilliant students once said that he hoped in a performance that the dancers would show you something new, something that you, as the audience, hadn’t seen before. And this is not always in terms of figures, or patterns for, as we all know, they have all been done before. But the surprises, the act of being moved, is usually found in the musical interpretations, or the expression of the idea or content, and in tango, the connection, the understanding between the 2 people.

For me this year of opportunity has also been an exploration in performance. I feel that I have had very little experience with performing tango, and it has been a privilege and joy thus far performing with varied talented personas and having these new embodied experiences.

For me the question is, can I express myself and my love of the music, with any partner, and show my audience something transcendent, selfless? Can I move those who watch? I strive for this….

And I leave you with these:

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Pelando Variación: Give it all You Got!

Pelando Variación! It literally translates as: Peeling Variation, which hardly illuminates what this is all about. And I have a curious mind so I went on a small quest to understand the word pelando in this context, which meant, ask Carlos (my dad), who didn’t have any idea of how the word worked in this context, therefore, he asked his Argentine friends, who gave a variety of answers! Of course, I reached out to the organizers of this event for their input as well.

The word pelando seems to be slang and very popular today (however, my Argentine younger cousin had no idea what I was talking about!) and the older generation (my father and his friends) also had some trouble with this word.  Sacar a relucir came up, meaning to show off to shine. Also, I was told that it’s a 100% Uruguayan expression!!! I asked Rommel Oramas, who is currently in Buenos AiresRommel Oliver Gaston Rebecca and participated enthusiastically in this Pelando Variacion, who said it’s about showing off a part of the music, in this case the variación. Finally, asking Oliver Kolker, one of the organizers of the competition, who said, “Show me what you got!”

Before I went on the quest for what the heck pelando meant I kept thinking it was peleando!  Which almost sounds the same but peleando means fighting! Which makes me giggle because my crazy mind thinks with all the types of “dance battles” that we have today  – here we go with tango!!! And what a concept!

But now I’m on track. And clearly so are you!!!  Caught up in my 2 loves of language and its reflection/expression of culture and tango!

The brainchild of Oliver Kolker and Gaston Torelli, Pelando Variación is a competition, with great prizes! It entails only dancing the Variación in the music.

What’s the variación you ask?
Not all tangos have one but some of them have tremendous ones:  the part of the music that goes nuts! Sometimes in the middle of a song, more usually at the end, the variación climaxes everything fantastic in the orquesta to this moment in the music. Show dancers are expected to be able to really perform this part of the music. It is the virtuosic part of the song and for me the dancers too, show their virtuosity as they strive to reflect the music in their fast footwork and expression.

This is an excellent way to help tango students understand the music from this vantage point. Often times the tango music seems so complicated or boring to untrained musicians or non-Argentines and I think this is an excellent way to bring aspects of the music to the forefront and to also see how it relates to the dancing. Again, probably bringing up questions like, how can I dance the variación without choreography and just naturally during my tanda in the milonga? Will this mean more variations on musicality classes in the future?

This competition is judged by a panel as well as by the public. Go cheer your friends on! Keeping tango in the community alive! The judges look for: 1) Precision 2) Elegance (Quality of Movement) 3) Musicality 4) Originality 5) Difficulty. And the winner gets, among other things visas to come to the US for a month tour. A great prize as it is so difficult and costly for Argentines to obtain visas to the US for work. 

Here’s the video link to the semifinals of Pelando Variación Semi Finales – you can see the couples individually as they show off and give it all they got! The Finals are coming up on Wednesday October 21 and you can see the scores on Facebook @pelando variación.

 

 

Who is your favorite couple???

http://www.pelandovariacion.com/#!variaciones/c1lug

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Mundial 2014 Day 1

What a crazy trip this has been so far! Some of you have been following me on Mundial day 1Facebook and know that my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the following day. And it has been a whirlwind since!!! Classes, milongas, shoe buying, clothes fittings and fixings, non-stop!!!!

And today began the qualifying rounds of Tango de Pista at L’Usina del Arte en La Boca, Buenos Aires. (Incidentally, right across the street from a nice local restaurant called El Obrero where we went on one of the Cultural Immersion tours.)

Although the Usina is far from where we are staying it is quite a lovely venue and the dance floor is wood and wonderful!!!

Yesterday, we ventured to Usina by bus  which took us 40 minutes in light traffic and today by cab that took 20 or so minutes. This was a long weekend so the traffic was light.

The weather took a turn to 27 C. That’s 80 F !!!! It’s winter in Buenos Aires and I brought my boots and my sweaters!!!! They are expecting it to be warm all week. Strange since it was just 50F a few days ago!!!

Back to the Mundial! It appears there are about 380 couples registered for the Tango de Pista ( this is the Tango Salon competition’s new name since last year). For those who are new to my blog – this is different than the Stage Tango Category.

Out of all those couples we are #335 and we are dancing in Ronda #31. There are about 11 or 12 couples in each Ronda. We were told our 3 songs while we were back stage waiting to enter. Our songs were by Julio de Caro, Francisco Canaro, and Juan D’Arienzo. The goal is to express them differently and sometimes this is hard to do. You have to know your music! I leave this up to Rommel!!!

The space is an actual theater, an end theatre, with great seats for the audience in a sloped seating formation. There was formal lighting. It was nice.

It was pretty organized. We were given a call time of 3pm. I had time to do my makeup upon arrival. Then we had a chance to try the floor – a quick 1 song dry run!  Then the turn around time was rather quick. We performed and were done by 6pm. What a long day!!!! It started with getting my hair done at 1pm with a great hairdresser on the corner of our street. So grateful that Andrea Manoli’s a fabulous hairdresser and accommodating. She worked on the long weekend.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is day 2 of the qualifying rounds. After that we will know if we go on to the semi-finals. I was advised not to change dresses in previous competitions so the judges recognize you. However, there might be a change for me….

Reminder: if anyone you know wants to learn to tango socially I will be doing another Beginners  Blast in September. Send me a message if interested.

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Tango Performance in NYC

Rommel and I had the opportunity to perform at the RoKo Milonga on Sunday night. Hosted by Robin Thomas and Ko Tanaka it is a large space and was a lovely milonga. We saw Robin at his other milonga the night before and he asked if we wanted to perform. What a great opportunity, so we said yes, of course!!!!
Youtube had issues with the 2nd video so this is the 2 songs combined. Enjoy! And an apology to those who received a very old and outdated email with this title on it. I hope that I have now resolved this technical issue.

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