Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The origins of the Tango dance

I got to teach a history of the tango dance this past week at Pitzer College, and I run into these notes for a class I took long time ago  at the FLACSO university in Buenos Aires. I think they are interesting. Specially since the notes are from an article by Inés Cuello who was my Dance History teacher at the Ballet School I attended in Buenos Aires.

The history of the Tango Danza (dance)

Ines Cuello states in her article included in the book: Antologia del Tango Rioplatense: Desde sus comienzos hasta 1920):

a) The beginning (1898-1904)
- Constant Improvisation
- Connection of dancers flexible
- close connection between music and the dance
- Dance with Corte, Quebrada, Taconeo, Balanceo, Paradas and crosses.
- Name of some patterns: carrerita o corrida, corte, media luna, vuelta.
- Patterns without a name are called FIRULETES
- The dance would require a flexible body and talented legs.

b) Adaptation (1905-1910)
- Dance competitions. More complicated choreographies that are simplified at the same time.
- Elaborated and more difficult figures for the competitions.
- El 'Cuatro" y la 'sentada"
- More popular, therefore not much traveling on the floor.
- 'Tango liso" does not require so much flexibility of the dancer.

c) Codification (1911-1916)
- Interest in establishing steps and figures.
- Description of steps and technique.
- Categories: "Paso cruzado", "Paso cortado", "Paseo", "Rueda" or "Cruzado cortado"
- Walk of flexible movement to the rhythm of the music.
- Dance: Slow, staccato, agile, light bending of the knee for cadence.

In summary, three styles were born: "el tango criollo", 'el tango liso", "el tango de salón".

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My new studio in Culver City

In December 2017 we moved to a new studio in Culver City. If feels good, it feels fresh, it feels new. And sometimes it feels too hard to fill out the hours...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

One of my students sent me this link: http://joymotiondance.com/balancing-lead-follow/ and we were discussing in class if leading and following have different levels of complexity. What do you think?

Please comment...


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tandas - musicality

If you are serious about tango you need to start studying the music. That will influence and will inform how you dance. 

Try to be able to recognize ORCHESTRAS - band leaders and singers and songs. Start with the classics

Carlos Di Sarli, with singer Roberto Rufino
Carlos Di Sarli instrumental.
Juan D'Arienzo with singer Alberto Echague
Francisco Canaro with singer  Roberto Maida

There are more: (band leaders)

Start building your music library very carefully so you only have LIST A tangos - Below you will find a list of great tandas, that might help you to pick the best tangos

https://www.tangotunes.com/  (TO BUY) or itunes

The role of singers:

Monday, December 22, 2014

From Ramiro Gigliotti "Tango Venom" with permission of the author

Excerpted from "Tango Venom" by Ramiro Gigliotti. (pp.53-55)
Mister Prejudice

Come on, me prejudiced? Impossible -I responded flustered.

I was accused of being prejudiced because I upheld the notion that a guy was not going to learn to do a proper turn as long as he kept chewing gum while dancing.

It was not that night, nor the next one, but after a time I had to accept that they were there. It's hard to see them, hard to admit them, hard to understand them. Prejudices hide in the most inhospitable spots of our good judgment and they nest there. They gro, they study and when you least expect it they present themselves with the air of profound thinkers and the manners of a young gentleman educated in the best schools. Then, since we are honorable people, we have no other alternative than tale a firm stance and unfold a poker game's worth of arguments that confine those prejudices to some dark corner of the stomach.

We know that it is not true that all women wearing denim skirts dance badly, in the same way that he who believes that those in narrow skirts dispense with underwear is wrong... Not all the guys wearing glasses are intelligent, nor are all bald guys pleasant... One must admit that not all blonde women are hysterical, or all brunettes sexually assertive... and that not all natural redheads have read the Kamasutra, and that not all hair salon redheads have problems getting a boyfriend...

And then what happened was, having decided to fight my erroneous zones, I suddenly transformed into a crusader against prejudice. I quickly strayed from the path of sanity: coming to the conclusion that in every statement there exists an implicit prejudice and I protected myself from them by refusing to have a firm opinion on anything. I was capable of agreeing to the existence of a cube-shaped ball in order to avoid discriminating against right angles. Life was transformed into an eternal "it could be, why not?"

It wasn't bad to feel like a righteous thinking democrat so easily, but spending so much time amongst infinite possibilities left me with the need to grasp at least a minimum of certainty. I remember that the first indication that my anti-prejudice phase was over was when I caught myself thinking that all guys who danced with D'Arienzo sweated like pigs. And suddenly, as if they had been stalking me biding their time, prejudices invaded everything: cross-eyed women have shapely curves, guys that like waltz are barely virile, that in Lanús brunettes are born knowing how to dance rock-and-roll, guys who wear short-sleeved shirts have Oedipus as well as other frankly shameful complexes...

Since then I have been trying to rediscover my equilibrium. I've realized that prejudice is a crazed treacherous being that thinks on our behalf, making us say things we don't really believe. In addition, in many situations, we fall into prejudice simply due to sheer laziness, convenience or stupidity.

And then, the inevitable, unavoidable question: which prejudice causes us more damage: the one that we are not aware of and transforms us into fools or the one that we are aware of and fills us with shame when we see ourselves in the mirror?

Excerpted from "Tango Venom"by Ramiro Gigliotti. Ediciones El Tangauta. 2009.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Juan D'Arienzo, el Rey del Compás

How much fun is to dance to D'Arienzo/Echague tangos... What is your favorite one? I go through phases, I always loved Paciencia, but "Ansiedad" gets me going!

Comment if you are inclined in which one is your favorite D'Arienzo Echague  tango please...

In addition, please watch the following videos.
1) You can see the singer Alberto Echague and director Juan D'Arienzo, el Rey del Compás playing "Paciencia"  http://dai.ly/x6j05m
2) "Amorroto" by Juan D'Arienzo: http://youtu.be/u8GG5edNtkc
3) "Ansiedad" by Juan D'Arienzo and singer Alberto Echagüe. http://youtu.be/VxbFIdGxfVE

Juan d'Arienzo (December 14, 1900 – January 14, 1976) was an Argentine tango musician, also known as "El Rey del Compás" (King of the Beat). He was son of Italian immigrants and used more modern arrangements and instrumentation; his popular group produced hundreds of recordings.
His music is played often at milongas in Buenos Aires, and the instrumentals are the classic harder rhythmic tangos with a strong staccato dance rhythm. He also recorded many great milongas and fast valses.
His recordings were accompanied by singers such as Alberto Echagüe, Armando Laborde, and Héctor Maure, among others.
Upon his death in 1976, his body was interred in the La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Interesting info here : https://tango.info/JuanaDarie

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today is "el dia del maestro" in Argentina (Teacher's day). I feel gratitude for all my teachers, in particular I remember my first dance teacher Maria Teresa at the National School of Ballet in Argentina. She was so sweet to me. And in tango, I pay may respects to el maestro Carlos Di Sarli. Do you know who Carlos Di Sarli is?
Di Sarli's musical style[edit]

In the beginning, his music had a simple structure, but over time it matured into a more lyrical, richer, playful and more subtle style which remained popular with tango dancers as it continued to have a clear dancing beat. This clean compás made him a favorite of beginning social tango dancers, while more advanced ones could enjoy the complexity and variations of his music. Because of this, di Sarli's orchestra was among the most popular ones during Carnival balls of his age and can still be heard at milongas in Buenos Aires and around the world today.[3]
Di Sarli moved beyond the style of the guardia vieja of tango and Julio de Caro's avant-garde, preferring to forge his own style without concession to the fashions of the day. While being influenced by Fresedo early on, he soon established his own way. A talented piano player, he directed his orchestra from behind his own instrument. His recordings do not feature significant instrumental solos; the bandoneóns at times carry the melody but essentially play a rhythmical, milonguero role. Only the violins stand out, playing a short solo or a counterpoint melody. He recorded many tracks more than once over the years, often with different singers. Di Sarli's creativity was mostly limited to the left hand piano part, filling in, modulating and accenting his delicate and elegant dancing beat. His reputation for musical elegance got him his nickname El Señor del Tango (The gentleman of tango).

Some examples of his discography http://mp3.li/index.php?q=Carlos%20Di%20Sarli#.VBIPKksmVM4