6176  How tango evolves

ARTICLE INDEX


Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 10:13:08 -0800 (PST)
From: "Trini y Sean (PATangoS)" <patangos@yahoo.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Hi all,

Since there's been some reference to tango being changed to whatever the users want it to be recently, I've been thinking of the factors that cause tango or dance to evolve. While I agree with many that tango does evolve, I don't believe that it happens willy-nilly. That anybody can decide what happens.

So what has prompted tango to evolve in the past? Women's fashion changes. Changes in the music. Space limitations. Changes in teaching methods.

Here's an old tango-L post that describes the influence of Petroleo.
http://pythia.uoregon.edu/~llynch/Tango-L/2003/msg01480.html
Notice that the changes mentioned improved the dance. They were not changes for changes sake.

All of this indicates to me that lasting evolutionary changes to tango involve something fundamental that create an organic change. The work of Pulpo did, for example, is merely an extension of basic tango technique that, but it still follows the core principles of tango.

What is tango at it's heart? To answer that I asked myself what could I strip away from the dance and still call it tango. Could I strip away boleos? Yes. Could I strip away improvisation? No. Could I trade away connection or musicality? No. I came up with a few characteristics that I think describe tango at it's heart:

- A Walk
- Physical Contact through an embrace
- Emotional connection
- Improvisation
- Lead/follow
- Musicality
- Elegance

If I had to give a prototype to a beginner about what tango is, it would include these characteristics. Perhaps a short video of Miguel Zotto and Milena Plebs simply walking elegantly to the music.

As tango evolves, I see the above-mentioned elements as necessary ingredients of the dance. The quality of these things might change from person to person, but I don't think that anyone would really be willing to sacrifice any of these elements. Yet, people will do so inadvertently. Is this still tango? I would say yes, but it wouldn't be good tango. It wouldn't be the prototype that you could show to a beginner and say "this is tango" in a way that is meaningful.

So while I do think that tango evolves, I would say to be aware of evolutionary changes versus passing fancies. Comments?

Trini de Pittsburgh




















Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 08:09:26 +1100
From: "Vince Bagusauskas" <vytis@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

I would add:

Changes in culture in Argentina itself
Tango spreading across the world to non-Argentinean cultures
A younger audience who don't dance to grandmas music (a quote from real
Argentineans)
-whether reinterpretation of the classics
-nuevo
Women wanting to lead
Gay tango



-----Original Message-----



Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 5:13 AM
To: Tango-L
Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

So what has prompted tango to evolve in the past? Women's fashion changes.
Changes in the music. Space limitations. Changes in teaching methods.






Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 14:41:28 -0700
From: Nina Pesochinsky <nina@earthnet.net>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-l@mit.edu
format="flowed"

Vince is right. Those are the big changes and they result in the
changes in tango.

And I would add (with lots of sarcasm and disappointment:):
- bad dancing (like leading a beginner woman that barely learned to
walk in tango to do a volcada). In the past, men would never allow
themselves to be seen by women as failures in tango, so they would not
dare to try something that would most definitely fail, either to their
own or the woman's lack of skills.
- lack of polite, socially acceptable behavior - How about saying
hello and goodbye? It helps the quantity and quality of dancing. In
the past, if you forgot to say hello to someone you dance with in
BsAs, that person would not dance with you for three months.
Offending people is nmot a good idea, but now people do it all the time.
- high anxiety and fear about not-dancing at events.
- lack of knowledge and/or understanding of music.
- lack of standards (anything goes).
- changes in values (feeling vs. non-feeling technique, etc.).
I need to stop here or I will start complaining!:)

Tango reflects the people that dance it. Just look at the people of
different eras (in BsAs) - what they talk about, how they dress, how
they dance. how they treat each other in the milongas - and the
evolution of tango becomes revealed.

All the best,

Nina



Quoting Vince Bagusauskas <vytis@hotmail.com>:

> I would add:
>
> Changes in culture in Argentina itself
> Tango spreading across the world to non-Argentinean cultures
> A younger audience who don't dance to grandmas music (a quote from real
> Argentineans)
> -whether reinterpretation of the classics
> -nuevo
> Women wanting to lead
> Gay tango
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tango-l-bounces@mit.edu [mailto:tango-l-bounces@mit.edu] On Behalf Of
> Trini y Sean (PATangoS)
> Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 5:13 AM
> To: Tango-L
> Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
>
> So what has prompted tango to evolve in the past? Women's fashion changes.
> Changes in the music. Space limitations. Changes in teaching methods.
>
>








Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 14:48:48 -0700
From: David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-l <tango-l@mit.edu>


Trini de Pittsburgh wrote:

- Elegance

The best tango dancers are indeed very elegant. But I question how much of this is style,
and how much is simply practical. I.e.

It works best if:

1. I keep my head up. That way I don't bump into others.
2. I walk with my chest forward and step off a straight leg. That way the woman really
feels my intention.
3. I step straight ahead, and not wander around. That way I am not pulling the woman
off her axis without intention.
4. I keep my left hand relatively still and positioned just so. That way the woman
is comfortable, and the information that I convey to her is not confounded with
noise coming from a waving/pumping arm.

Etc. Sounds quite practical, yet as a byproduct, quite elegant.


David

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Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 19:02:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Jack Dylan <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-l@mit.edu

OK, I'm confused.

> From: Nina Pesochinsky <nina@earthnet.net>
>
> Vince is right.? Those are the big changes and they result in the?
> changes in tango.
>

Vince and Nina agree - except that I get the impression that the factors listed by Vince as causes for change are approved of by Vince but not by Nina. I agree with Nina. I come from a time and place that is totally different to the one we live in today. Was it better? I know I shouldn't say it but?- oh yeah, it was better.

And then we have:
?

> From: David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com>
>
> The best tango dancers are indeed very elegant.? But I question how much of this
> is style,
> and how much is simply practical.??
>

Again there's agreement but disagreement. David thinks elegance is a by-product of functionality and good technique?while Trini thinks it's due to conciously adopting a good style. Again, I'm siding with the lady. David, just look at people?in their everyday lives; they function perfectly well; they don't bump into each other, they don't walk into walls or trip up and they even manage to walk hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm.?But they have none of the?elegance of a dancer.
?
Jack










Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 00:14:01 -0600
From: "Tango Society of Central Illinois" <tango.society@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: "Vince Bagusauskas" <vytis@hotmail.com>
Cc: patangos@yahoo.com, Tango-L <tango-l@mit.edu>
<cff24c340811242214s5bf5e013if4ad0f3ba5b1c6d2@mail.gmail.com>

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 3:09 PM, Vince Bagusauskas <vytis@hotmail.com> wrote:

> I would add:
>
> Changes in culture in Argentina itself

Please be specific. Tango social dance culture has had incredibly
consistency over time.

> Tango spreading across the world to non-Argentinean cultures

Affects part of Argentine tango culture that caters to tourists, much
less so that part of tango culture that attracts porten~os.

> A younger audience who don't dance to grandmas music (a quote from real
> Argentineans)

How many of these are there? Maybe the ones who don't dance tango,
instead dance salsa. Even nuevo dancers in or from Buenos Aires dance
mostly to traditional (30s-50s) tango music.

> -whether reinterpretation of the classics
> -nuevo

Danced mainly in Villa Malcolm, Practica X.

> Women wanting to lead
> Gay tango

Yes, in gay milongas (La Marshal the only one to persist). Same sex
partners or sex reversed partners are almost non-existent in Buenos
Aires outside gay milongas.

Most of these changes in tango are occurring outside Argentina, where
dancers modify tango to their own cultural norms. At some point of
change, it is no longer Argentine tango.

Ron


> -----Original Message-----
> From: tango-l-bounces@mit.edu [mailto:tango-l-bounces@mit.edu] On Behalf Of
> Trini y Sean (PATangoS)
> Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 5:13 AM
> To: Tango-L
> Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
>
> So what has prompted tango to evolve in the past? Women's fashion changes.
> Changes in the music. Space limitations. Changes in teaching methods.
>





Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 18:01:38 +1100
From: "Vince Bagusauskas" <vytis@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: "'Tango Society of Central Illinois'" <tango.society@gmail.com>
Cc: patangos@yahoo.com, 'Tango-L' <tango-l@mit.edu>



-----Original Message-----



From: Tango Society of Central Illinois [mailto:tango.society@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 5:14 PM
To: Vince Bagusauskas
Cc: patangos@yahoo.com; Tango-L
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 3:09 PM, Vince Bagusauskas <vytis@hotmail.com>
wrote:

> I would add:
>
> Changes in culture in Argentina itself

>Please be specific. Tango social dance culture has had incredibly

consistency over time.


Disagree. Fact the culture of Argentina has changed, therefore that will
have an influence on how tango is danced.



> Tango spreading across the world to non-Argentinean cultures

>Affects part of Argentine tango culture that caters to tourists, much

less so that part of tango culture that attracts porten~os.

Not all tango dancers are tourists and/or have been to BA. Therefore how
tango is danced in that culture is a reflection of that culture.


> A younger audience who don't dance to grandmas music (a quote from real
> Argentineans)

>How many of these are there? Maybe the ones who don't dance tango,


I have spoken to young Argentininas who have danced tango since they are
babies (virtually) and go to many milongas in BA and see how the youngers
dance, dress and behave.


>instead dance salsa. Even nuevo dancers in or from Buenos Aires dance

mostly to traditional (30s-50s) tango music.

But not in all cultures! See above.


> -whether reinterpretation of the classics
> -nuevo

>Danced mainly in Villa Malcolm, Practica X.

Your point? This would never have been done in the Golden Age. So the
influence of this will have an impact.


> Women wanting to lead
> Gay tango

>Yes, in gay milongas (La Marshal the only one to persist). Same sex

partners or sex reversed partners are almost non-existent in Buenos
Aires outside gay milongas.

So? Happens a lot in other cultures.


>Most of these changes in tango are occurring outside Argentina, where

dancers modify tango to their own cultural norms. At some point of
change, it is no longer Argentine tango.


Your desire is that real Argentinian Tango must be rooted in the Golden Age.
The point of this post is has tango evolved?






Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 04:06:33 -0700
From: Nina Pesochinsky <nina@earthnet.net>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: <tango-l@mit.edu>

If other cultures insist on taking credit for transforming and
evolving tango, they should stop calling it "Argentine" and call it
something else instead, like "no longer Argentine tango", or
something like that.

The ballroom dancers that took tango, cleaned it up and made it their
own at least had the decency to be honest about it and gave it its
own name - American or European tango, instead of claiming that it
continues to be Argentine tango, only new and improved.

Maybe Argentine tango can be distinguished in all of its
manifestations by labeling the version - do you dance Argentine tango
1.0 (tango antiguo) or 10.1 (never been to Argentina ) version? :)

Nina


At 12:01 AM 11/25/2008, Vince Bagusauskas wrote:


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Tango Society of Central Illinois [mailto:tango.society@gmail.com]
>Sent: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 5:14 PM
>To: Vince Bagusauskas
>Cc: patangos@yahoo.com; Tango-L
>Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
>
>On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 3:09 PM, Vince Bagusauskas <vytis@hotmail.com>
>wrote:
> > I would add:
> >
> > Changes in culture in Argentina itself
>
> >Please be specific. Tango social dance culture has had incredibly
>consistency over time.
>
>
>Disagree. Fact the culture of Argentina has changed, therefore that will
>have an influence on how tango is danced.
>
>
>
> > Tango spreading across the world to non-Argentinean cultures
>
> >Affects part of Argentine tango culture that caters to tourists, much
>less so that part of tango culture that attracts porten~os.
>
>Not all tango dancers are tourists and/or have been to BA. Therefore how
>tango is danced in that culture is a reflection of that culture.
>
>
> > A younger audience who don't dance to grandmas music (a quote from real
> > Argentineans)
>
> >How many of these are there? Maybe the ones who don't dance tango,
>
>
>I have spoken to young Argentininas who have danced tango since they are
>babies (virtually) and go to many milongas in BA and see how the youngers
>dance, dress and behave.
>
>
> >instead dance salsa. Even nuevo dancers in or from Buenos Aires dance
>mostly to traditional (30s-50s) tango music.
>
>But not in all cultures! See above.
>
>
> > -whether reinterpretation of the classics
> > -nuevo
>
> >Danced mainly in Villa Malcolm, Practica X.
>
>Your point? This would never have been done in the Golden Age. So the
>influence of this will have an impact.
>
>
> > Women wanting to lead
> > Gay tango
>
> >Yes, in gay milongas (La Marshal the only one to persist). Same sex
>partners or sex reversed partners are almost non-existent in Buenos
>Aires outside gay milongas.
>
>So? Happens a lot in other cultures.
>
>
> >Most of these changes in tango are occurring outside Argentina, where
>dancers modify tango to their own cultural norms. At some point of
>change, it is no longer Argentine tango.
>
>
>Your desire is that real Argentinian Tango must be rooted in the Golden Age.
>The point of this post is has tango evolved?
>






Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 10:30:15 -0600
From: Barbara Garvey <barbara@tangobar-productions.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: Nina Pesochinsky <nina@earthnet.net>
Cc: tango-l@mit.edu

As an unrepentent traditionalist, I have only a small bone to pick with
Nina. I don't think that a trip
to Argentina makes or breaks the ability and/or desire to dance real
tango. I know several couples who dance
traditional tango beautifully who have never been to BsAs. (Students of
ours who have been thoroly
brainwashed :-) (Well, I've always wanted to be called arrogant!) It
takes more than tourism to
make the distinction -- or the choice.
Abrazos,
Barbara

Nina Pesochinsky wrote:

>Maybe Argentine tango can be distinguished in all of its
>manifestations by labeling the version - do you dance Argentine tango
>1.0 (tango antiguo) or 10.1 (never been to Argentina ) version? :)
>
>Nina
>
>
>








Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 21:57:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Jack Dylan <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Barbara,

I'd like to agree with you but, if the couples haven't been to Argentina,
how can they actually KNOW what real tango is? I'm sure you do know
couples who dance?traditional tango beautifully without visiting Argentina
but I suspect it's because they like you and they like the way you dance
and teach and, yes, maybe they're also a little brainwashed :-). But I've
found that people like this, especially when your influence is no longer
around, can be easily swayed to try out the next fad that passes through
town.?This doesn't seem to happen to those who have made the trip to BsAs.

Jack



> From: Barbara Garvey <barbara@tangobar-productions.com>
>?I don't think that a trip
> to Argentina makes or breaks the ability and/or desire to dance real
> tango. >










Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 14:12:44 +0800
From: "Clif Davis" <clif@clifdavis.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Speaking only for myself, I am not sure why I would want to spend the 2 or 3
thousand dollars to go somewhere and possibly not get to dance at all. I
mean, with all the rules that need to be followed and all the sitting around
that needs to be done in order to "learn" at the feet of the masters, I am
not sure I have the time or the money that is required. Not to mention the
patience to sit there and see people who may or may not be dancing the way I
want to. Add to that the elite snobbery that seems to prevail in most of the
venues. I think I will pass.

With the seemingly prevailing attitude of the "true" Tango folks that exist,
I wonder how this dance got where it is now.
It truly reminds me of the old martial arts world when you weren't
recognized as a "true" martial artist if you weren't taking or hadn't gotten
your rank from one of the "true" masters. Funny thing is, after retiring
from martial arts for 20 years and returning, it is still the same kicks and
punches I did all those many years ago.

I think to much time is spent on what is "thought" about the dance as
opposed to dancing it.
If we think about the true beginnings of the dance, it was danced by punks
who wanted to have the coolest moves and teach their girls how to attract
more men. Then we have the "old masters" who invented their own styles. If
there is only one "true" style, who's is it. All of the old names and
"master teachers" who did their own thing.

It is no different than Mas Oyama going up into the mountains and coming
back after 5 years with a new style of Karate.

Hey, lets have a contest. Everyone who thinks they have the answer to "the
best tango", post your video and let's see how it works for you.

Just a thought.
Clif






Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 23:34:45 +1100
From: "Vince Bagusauskas" <vytis@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: "'Jack Dylan'" <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>, "'Tango-L'"

Are there any Argentines living and breathing tango on BA posting here and
giving their own impressions of tango in their city?



-----Original Message-----



Sent: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 4:57 PM
To: Tango-L
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Barbara,

I'd like to agree with you but, if the couples haven't been to Argentina,






Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 09:33:21 -0800 (PST)
From: "Trini y Sean (PATangoS)" <patangos@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Someone asked that I post a youtube video of Miguel and Milena.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSFkVrTJ_Ig&NR=1

That first opening walk to the cross. Isn't that what we think about when "tango" pops in our heads? If we want to share with someone quintessential tango, isn't this it?

Get too far away from this idea, and it isn't Argentine tango. What I'm saying is that there is a definite concept of tango, despite people saying that Argentine tango could be anything. It's not.

At some point, a version of Argentine tango became Finnish tango. A version of Argentine tango became International Ballroom tango. It's quite possible that a version of Argentine tango is becoming another type of tango, a separate branch on the evolutionary chain. Or could it be evolving in a direct line?

In Simon Collier's book Tango!, he talks about the "evolutionary" branch of music (De Caro, Di Sarli, Troilo, Pugliese), the Avant-Garde (Piazzola, Salgan), and traditional branch (Canaro, D'Arienzo, Biagi). Would a milonga be complete without both the evolutionary and the traditional branch of music? Of course, not.

What about the Avant-Garde music? I believe that that is where nuevo comes in. If you watch Pulpo, Naviera, Salas, Chicho, etc, isn't this what they're dancing to? It might have taken a bit of a detour (dancing to non-tango music) to get there, but they are dancing to Piazzola.

The use of non-tango music is what I think will be a passing fancy. It's a temporary thing that could be used to help people figure out how to dance to Piazzola and Salgon. In the same way, Susana Miller uses Brazilian music to help beginners dance traditional tango. I've seen Piazzola being played at milongas recently, and it looks alright. Years ago, I would cringe looking at the dance floor when Piazzola was played. Now, looking at the those dancing to Piazzola, the dance fits the music.

Trini de Pittsburgh












Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 15:33:40 -0700
From: David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-l <tango-l@mit.edu>


It appears to me that some on the list would have us believe that tango was born in the Golden Age and always had the set of
attributes that we now associate with tango. We walk around small, look elegant, are musical, keep our head and eyes up etc. One
of the interesting things about Petroleo, and indeed all of the first, or second, or third ... generation tango dancers is that many
probably danced in a way that any number on this list would find objectionable and call "not Argentine". I suggest that posters
reflect on this 'ere they post remarks too critical of their fellow dancers and the way that they dance. It can be insulting to
those of us who chose not, or are simply unable, to dance like your favorite Porteno.


Yours in dance,
but perhaps not in YOUR dance,

David

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Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 09:57:23 +1100
From: Myk Dowling <politas@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Trini (PATangoS) wrote:

>
> At some point, a version of Argentine tango became Finnish tango. A
> version of Argentine tango became International Ballroom tango. It's
> quite possible that a version of Argentine tango is becoming another
> type of tango, a separate branch on the evolutionary chain. Or could
> it be evolving in a direct line?

Except that now, there is less separation. Finnish and International
Ballroom Tango diversified because there was a lack of regular
communication to maintain the form (and probably a fair dose of
Imperialist arrogance). But the modern "Argentine Tango" dance is shared
around the world. I doubt there are many people dancing Tango who aren't
at most one or two removes from teaching in Argentina. (ie, their
teacher or themselves have learned from someone who has studied in
Argentina)

But on the other hand, there are masses of Tango tourists going to BsAs
every year, dancing in the milongas and doing classes. Surely
occasionally, the locals will pick up something they like from a
tourist, or while travelling overseas? Only occasionally, I'm sure, but
there has to be some impact.

If so, then there ceases to be any absolute "purity" of Argentine Tango
in Argentina itself, and it becomes a world dance. But I think Buenos
Aires will remain the "Tango Mecca" for a long time to come.

Myk
in Canberra





Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 20:35:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Jack Dylan <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Trini,

Thank you, thank you - absolutely magnificent! And did you notice
how almost all the YouTube comments were in Spanish?

I saw Miguel Zotto in BsAs a few years ago. The audience, mostly
Argentine, went crazy. Miguel is a true tango icon.

Jack



> From: Trini y Sean (PATangoS) <patangos@yahoo.com>
>
> Someone asked that I post a youtube video of Miguel and Milena.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSFkVrTJ_Ig&NR=1
>










Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 03:58:44 +0000
From: Jay Rabe <jayrabe@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: "tango-l@mit.edu" <tango-l@mit.edu>


I witnessed a reaction similar to what Jack described when Miguel performed at a milonga in BsAs. You'd have thought he was a rock star or something. Frankly I couldn't quite understand it. His dancing always seems a little too cutesy and clever for my taste. But he is a genuinely warm and personable fellow, and that may be the explanation - he is loved for who he is more than for his dancing.

J



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Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 06:29:51 -0600
From: "Lois Donnay" <donnay@donnay.net>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Well, I am currently in Buenos Aires, and am seeing more and more "tango" performances in the milonga that have less and less Argentine tango in them, and more "Dancing with the Stars". Completely choreoghraphed, lots of lifts, less musicality - but the crowd loves it!

Monkey see, monkee do - Are these the moves we will be emulating in the future?

Buenos Aires has changed a lot since my first trip 10 years ago. Fashions, manners, body types - and these are people who are not surrounded by tourists all the time, as tango dancers are.

Loisa
Minneapolis, Minnesota

----- Original Message -----



Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2008 00:04:33 +1100
From: "Vince Bagusauskas" <vytis@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Splitters!

(with apologies to the "Life of Brian")

-----Original Message-----



Sent: Friday, 28 November 2008 11:30 PM
To: Tango-L
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves

Well, I am currently in Buenos Aires, and am seeing more and more "tango"
performances in the milonga that have less and less Argentine tango in them,
and more "Dancing with the Stars". Completely choreoghraphed, lots of lifts,
less musicality - but the crowd loves it!

Monkey see, monkee do - Are these the moves we will be emulating in the
future?

Buenos Aires has changed a lot since my first trip 10 years ago. Fashions,
manners, body types - and these are people who are not surrounded by
tourists all the time, as tango dancers are.

Loisa
Minneapolis, Minnesota






Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 08:05:49 EST
From: Crrtango@aol.com
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: TANGO-L@mit.edu

Lois Wrote:

"Well, I am currently in Buenos Aires, and am seeing more and more "tango"
performances in the milonga that have less and less Argentine tango in them, and
more "Dancing with the Stars"."

Are you referring to the general style of the dancing at the milonga or just
the performances? Last time I was there (eight months ago) I noticed that
crowds and styles varied from night to night, even at the same location,
according to who was the DJ/sponsor.

Cheers,
Charles


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Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 23:36:51 GMT
From: "larrynla@juno.com" <larrynla@juno.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-L@mit.edu

Lois Donnay wrote -----> I am currently in Buenos Aires, and am seeing
more and more "tango" performances in the milonga that have less and
less Argentine tango in them, and more "Dancing with the Stars".
Completely choreoghraphed, lots of lifts, less musicality
______________________________
It sounds to me as if you are confusing performances with social
dancing. Of course performers are going to do fancy stuff you couldn't
safely do in the middle of social dancing in the often quite crowded
popular milongas.

Lots of people outside Argentina seem to believe that "true
milongueros" only do social dancing. Actually it's only recently that
professional dancers trained in ballet, jazz dance, and so on came to
dominate tango shows. Look at videos of movies and shows filmed in the
30s through 50s and you'll see people like El Cachafaz and Antonio
Todaro performing.

For that matter you can still see "real authentic tango dancers" of
advanced years perform. Only not on the stage to a paying audience.
Wait till the very last hour of almost any milonga, when over half of
the attendees have gone home and the floor opens up. You may well see
some aged couple take the floor who you have not noticed earlier
because they blended so smoothly into the flow of the dance. And do
the most amazing stuff - some of it which pro dancers in their twenties
might struggle to do. Or who take mental notes and incorporate the
older couples' moves into their stage shows.

Also you will see these milongueros and milongueras breaking the rules
that they themselves may teach in classes - because many of the rules
are there to protect other people on tight floors, but unneeded in a
performance.

Another misconception about milongueros is that they always dance
socially in some solemn, super-serious way. Some of them have a sense
of humor and a playful approach to dancing that only people who have
mastered the dance can match. To stereotype them as saints or clones
or robotic copies of each other is to deny them of their humanity, and
under the cover of respect commit the worst disrespect.

Just as disrespectful is to stereotype milongueros and milongueras as
having minds closed to change. Some are stick-in-the-muds, of course.
But some of them have a lively interest in anything new. Most they may
(and probably rightly) dismiss for any of several reasons. But they
may also try out innovations and (rarely) even add some to their
repertoire.
______________________________
Another confusion of performance with social dance comes from many of
the people in this and other tango discussion forums. This is to
describe "tango nuevo" as being a certain way from observing (likely
just a few) performances live or on videos.

This is really foolish. I've had the chance to observe closely (among
others) Fabian Salas and "Chicho" Frumboli when they are dancing
socially. On tight dance floors they commit none of the "nuevo crimes"
ascribed to them. And if they do show moves they modify them to suit
the tightness of the floor, and the music being played.


Larry de Los Angeles
http://shapechangers.wordpress.com



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Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 18:57:00 EST
From: Crrtango@aol.com
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: TANGO-L@mit.edu


In a message dated 11/28/08 3:39:39 PM, larrynla@juno.com writes:

> ?I've had the chance to observe closely (among
> others) Fabian Salas and "Chicho" Frumboli when they are dancing
> socially.? On tight dance floors they commit none of the "nuevo crimes"
> ascribed to them.? And if they do show moves they modify them to suit
> the tightness of the floor, and the music being played.
>

So have I for a number of years now and that was not the case ten years ago
for Chicho and many others. If there was any open space at all he would be
flying around the room passing people, dodging in and out, spinning like a washing
machine. A lot of these people have mellowed over the years, but were not
always that way.

Cheers,
Charles





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Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2008 00:56:10 GMT
From: "larrynla@juno.com" <larrynla@juno.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-L@mit.edu

Charles wrote -----> [Observing Chicho] for a number of years now ...
ten years ago. If there was any open space at all he would be flying
around the room passing people, dodging in and out, spinning like a
washing machine.
______________________________
My observations were in 2003 and 2004. I saw none of what you
describe. Maybe he was on a sugar high when you saw him!

Or maybe he knew better and acted the asshole. I don't know or care.
I've seen the same careless behavior by plenty of people who were not
remotely nuevo dancers.

Here are a couple of dancers often labeled "nuevo" who are performing
for an audience, but illustrating (whether they meant to or not) how to
dance compactly yet with poetry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTGg5D2Tlsc

To my ear they beautifully interpreted the slow nostalgic music
("Poema"?). They stayed in a tight embrace the entire dance, only
loosening up two or three times. They made good use of pauses,
flirting with tiny little foot flourishes, changes of direction, rock
steps, and the like. I think only once or twice did anyone's feet move
very far from the "shadow" of the embrace. When the woman did boleos
or amagues they were to the front and close to her body.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-5Bxtck3Uw

Pretty much the same as the first couple. This, incidentally, is
Chicho in 2003, during the two years on which he visited L.A. a half
dozen times and during which I took several lessons from him. He went
to milongas about a dozen times during those two years which I
attended.


Larry de Los Angeles
http://shapechangers.wordpress.com



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Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 20:57:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Jack Dylan <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-L@mit.edu

> From: "larrynla@juno.com" <larrynla@juno.com>
>
> http://www.youtube..com/watch?v=a-5Bxtck3Uw
>
>? This, incidentally, is
> Chicho in 2003, during the two years on which he visited L.A. a half
> dozen times and during which I took several lessons from him.? He went
> to milongas about a dozen times during those two years which I
> attended.

I must admit, I've never understood the attraction of Chicho's dancing,
particularly in the video posted by Larry. I mean - 11 Back Sacadas
in 2 minutes? That's one every 12 seconds. I think this is an improvised
performance and Chicho just ran out of ideas. And it takes more than?
a white suit, white shoes?and a beautiful ballroom to make a guy elegant.
?
Btw, this is just my opinion on his dancing; Chicho might well be a great
teacher and choreographer. I don't know. Or maybe I'm just still thinking
about the great Miguel Zotto video that was recently posted.
?
Jack











Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 15:46:21 GMT
From: "larrynla@juno.com" <larrynla@juno.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-L@mit.edu

Jack Dylan writes ---> this is ... my opinion [only] on his dancing; Chicho
might well be a great teacher and choreographer.

I found him a middling teacher (of course he MIGHT have improved since
2003/4). A lady friend took one class and said never again. His
focus, she said, was just on the men's part and totally ignored
women's.

I think he's a brilliant choreographer, but obviously his stuff is not
to everyone's taste. And his choreography depends on his partner. His
current one seems a bit limited, but that might be because she does not
assert herself. What he did with Eugenia Parilla I loved, but I
suspect she pushed to get in neat stuff that showcased her, as in the
following video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyZq6sOLI0g
I'm a fan of nuevo tango and have taken a lot of classes in it, but
some people have greatly exagerated its importance today and in the
future. I think it ultimately will have a definite but only a small
part in the continued evolution of tango.

The most important contribution to tango that Naveira and Salas
provided is a way to look at traditional tango less as complex steps
and more as simple movements which could be combined in different ways.
But they aren't the only ones who contributed to this movement toward
deconstruction (destruction + reconstruction).

Some people in this and other tango forums have identified a nuevo
style of dancing and listed aspects of it. Among those is a distant
embrace which gives more freedom for the dancers to do fancy stuff.
But this is true for most show dance routines, and was around long
before Naveira and Salas started their deconstruction efforts. Most of
the traveling teachers I and many other learned from in the early 90s
were professional dancers from shows such as "Forever Tango" and "Tango
por Dos" who taught this embrace.

For that matter, a number of social dance teachers from Argentina teach
a distant embrace. One couple I took classes from in the early 90s,
for instance, spoke contempuously of the "belly bumper" (their words)
embrace, associating it with vulgar street dancers.

Some of the "steps" associated with tango nuevo also have been around
for a long time before its advent. The volcada, for instance, is just
a fashionably newer name for the extreme lean, which has been around
for a long time as part of several traditional show and social figures
such as the carousel.

Other movements associated with nuevo are natural extensions of
traditional figures. The colgada, for instance, is what you get when
you do a parada where the woman does a half back-ocho before she's
stopped. But the man leads her to continue her spin beyond 180 degrees
to 270, 360, or even several complete turns.

(Larry briskly brushes his hands together and mutters dismissively
"So much for nuevo.")


Larry de Los Angeles
http://shapechangers.wordpress.com



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Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 10:22:43 -0600
From: "Tango Society of Central Illinois" <tango.society@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] How tango evolves
To: tango-L@mit.edu
<cff24c340811300822t67439b2fu3cb8de5db5f7b654@mail.gmail.com>

On Sun, Nov 30, 2008 at 9:46 AM, larrynla@juno.com <larrynla@juno.com> wrote:

> I'm a fan of nuevo tango and have taken a lot of classes in it, but
> some people have greatly exagerated its importance today and in the
> future. I think it ultimately will have a definite but only a small
> part in the continued evolution of tango.
>

Larry,

Let's hope you're right about this. Right now it seems that nuevo
defines tango in some tango communities or events in the US, where the
tango from which nuevo evolved is no longer recognizable.

> The most important contribution to tango that Naveira and Salas
> provided is a way to look at traditional tango less as complex steps
> and more as simple movements which could be combined in different ways.
> But they aren't the only ones who contributed to this movement toward
> deconstruction (destruction + reconstruction).


Go talk to the milongueros. They were dancing simple movements and
recombining them before Naveira and Salas were born, and still are
today. The difference is that, unlike many nuevo dancers, milongueros
take floor traffic and the music into account when they do it.

> Some of the "steps" associated with tango nuevo also have been around
> for a long time before its advent. The volcada, for instance, is just
> a fashionably newer name for the extreme lean, which has been around
> for a long time as part of several traditional show and social figures
> such as the carousel.

The difference is that the lean in social tango is rarely used and the
woman does not gvet displaced from her position (i.e., take a step)
while off axis. By the way, a good calesita, if used, does not pull a
woman off her axis, it only rotates her on her axis.

>
> Other movements associated with nuevo are natural extensions of
> traditional figures. The colgada, for instance, is what you get when
> you do a parada where the woman does a half back-ocho before she's
> stopped. But the man leads her to continue her spin beyond 180 degrees
> to 270, 360, or even several complete turns.

One almost never sees a parada coming out of a back ocho in the
milongas of Buenos Aires. It is usually danced by someone who looks
uncomfortable on the dance floor. This isn't social tango; it is stage
tango.

I see a lot of people grasping at straws to justify nuevo as a close
evolutionary descendant of social tango. Tango evolved in part from
several European dances (apparently polka, mazurka, waltz, if one
believes the tango historians) and if one looks hard enough, one can
probably find some steps they share, but this doesn't mean that tango
is polka or mazurka or European waltz. Likewise, one could find
similar steps in tango and foxtrot and quickstep, and these probably
share no evolutionary relationship. In some ways (e.g., complete
separation of partners, underarm turns) nuevo has borrowed movements
not used in tango. It is a hybrid. (In nature hybrids are sterile and
produce no offspring.) It deserves its own niche, where it does not
compete for resources with tango.

Ron





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