6203  There is nothing nuevo under the sun.

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Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 14:15:21 -0500
From: "Nussbaum, Martin" <mnussbau@law.nyc.gov>
Subject: [Tango-L] There is nothing nuevo under the sun.
To: <tango-l@mit.edu>
<DDA0C1BA83D32D45ACB965BA82FD81C703FAD51F@LAWMNEXV2.LAW.LOCAL>


Defining the term "Nuevo tango" is essentially a meaningless exercise.
The only important thing to ask is, are they dancing tango well or not.
By dancing tango, I mean tango music. Of course, dancing in tango
elements as a base of movement and style to non-tango music, is fun, and
i do it, but it is not 'tango", in my opinion. Tango, primero, is the
music. Then, tango, the dance, has certain characteristics that enhance
the emotion expressed in the music, the embrace being the most
important, the communication of lead and follow, the improvisation. the
attitude, the elegance, and the line of dance in the ronda. Tango also
has an inherent structure in that there are only three steps, the open
step, the front cross step, the back cross step, and the order of these
steps in turns to the right and left as default modes. This was a
natural evolution from the asymmetrical nature of the embrace, closed on
one side, more open on the other. What the "nuevo" maestros did fifteen
or twenty years ago was to show how an understanding of the structural
elements leads to infinite leadable improvisation possibilities.
Everything else in tango dance is evolved from this structure. This
sounds rigid, and of course you can change the structure if you make
that clear in your lead. The structure is merely the alphabet you use to
improvise and create poetry in motion with a partner.
The best tango choreographies still retain the visual impact of
improvisation, to be interesting to the tango audience the movements
should appear to be "leadable" or be able to be duplicated on the dance
floor if one has the skills. Throughout tango's history, there were
always innovators pushing the boundaries of what was accepted by the
majority. Tango originated as a dance of the people, working class
people, not in some stone castle dance academy. There were no rules, no
ballroom type standards to dogmatically adhere to. It is an art form,
and like all art forms, is constantly evolving. There were always
dancers who imitate what they see on stage or in the milongas, and
experiment with it, exaggerate movements. Some experiments work and
influence the culture, some do not and are eventually discarded. As just
one example, the "modern" colgada is essentially an exaggeration of a
very old passing-over step, elongated into a spin, or two, or 200.
Through evolution of the art form some elements naturally are more
artistic or aesthetically pleasing than others. Some movements are more
elegant than others. Elegance is in the eye of the beholder. (I, for
one, am happy to see the near extinction of the kitschy shoe shine pants
wipe). When many people see something as elegant, it becomes more
desirable. And when that happens, those who have the most elegance, or
"art" will attract the most commercial attention and imitation. That is
the way the world works. Of course, we are each free to dance however we
wish, there are no tango police. If you are performing solo, do whatever
the heck you want, swing from the ceiling on ropes like monkeys to
Piazzola if you like and people are willing to pay to see you. But, in a
social setting, tango as a unique culture, as a lifestyle, really
shines, we must accommodate all and with a minimum of accidents and
crashes, the dancing should be proportionate to the space available, the
line of dance, your partner, and the music. This gives the culture its
charm. There is resistance to change in any art form. But an art form
either evolves or calcifies and dies. Tango is a living art form. It is
not preserved in a museum under a glass. There will be always people
experimenting with other dance form elements and bringing them into
tango. I used to fear this will dilute the tango to the point it is
unrecognizable. But I have faith that the essence of the tango is so
strong and unique and precious that eventually it is rediscovered and
returned to, as a wellspring of sustenance and inspiration again and
again. I observe that even the most radical trapeze artist young dancers
still want to know how to dance in a conservative, close, quiet, elegant
manner on the dance floor at some point in the night, with a special
partner. So their tango evolves in accordance with the seasons of their
life, and their emotional experiences, and this is where tango is
unique, for every emotion can be expressed in it, and we each have our
own individual expression of personality that is available to us in the
tango. And,as connecting with another human being on a deep level is
such a fundamental human need, the essence of the tango will continue to
attract us.






Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 19:58:56 +0000
From: Jay Rabe <jayrabe@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] There is nothing nuevo under the sun.
To: "tango-l@mit.edu" <tango-l@mit.edu>


If you see a couple dancing on YouTube, and let's suppose they are in close embrace, clearly well-connected with synchronous, smooth movements, dancing with elegant, upright posture, doing what we recognize as "tango steps", but you can't hear the music they're dancing to, and someone asked you what dance they were doing, would you not, regardless of the silence, answer that they were dancing tango? And you're going to try to convince me that if now you hear the music, and it happens to be modern music of some kind, that all of a sudden this makes it Not tango? Sounds absurd to me.

I love traditional tango music. There's no question in my mind that the typical rhythms and cadences of the music are responsible for the evolution of the familiar patterns and pauses that we use in dancing tango. But ultimately tango is about two people being together. While the music is important, "It's the connection ..."

IMO

J



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Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 19:47:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Jack Dylan <jackdylan007@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] There is nothing nuevo under the sun.
To: "tango-l@mit.edu" <tango-l@mit.edu>

Jay,

I guess my answer would be ... "well, it LOOKS like a Tango...." But I think I'd reserve
judgement until I heard the music. And isn't the same true of most other dances? Is a
Waltz really a Waltz if the music is not Waltz? I don't think so. In Ballroom dancing
they have a catch-all name for any dance that doesn't fit any of the standard dances.
They just call it a 'rhythm?dancing'.

Jack



> From: Jay Rabe <jayrabe@hotmail.com>
>
> If you see a couple dancing on YouTube, and let's suppose they are in close
> embrace, clearly well-connected with synchronous, smooth movements, dancing with
> elegant, upright posture, doing what we recognize as "tango steps", but you
> can't hear the music they're dancing to, and someone asked you what dance they
> were doing, would you not, regardless of the silence, answer that they were
> dancing tango?








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