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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Códigos de la milonga #9 - La pista

Scenario 26
Imagine the scene at a milonga. The music has started, couples have begun to dance. You’ve just made eye contact with your next partner, with whom you haven’t danced for a while. Choose the most suitable behavior:
  1. The man rushes across the dance-floor to embrace his partner, narrowly missing a couple already dancing.
  2. You’re both on the dance-floor. Before taking up the embrace, you greet your partner and ask how they are, what they’ve been up to, etc.
  3. You meet your partner and make your way straight onto the dance-floor. The other dancers will accommodate you both.
  4. You meet your partner, find a safe gap in the lane of dancers, perhaps making eye contact with the couple approaching and then you merge quickly into the flow.
The correct answer isn’t rocket-science, particularly for most of us who have driver’s licences. (Option 4, in case you were unsure) Yet, it’s surprising how often people forget to consider their fellow dancers. Jan, of Tango Chamuyo provides some useful insights in La pista sagrada (the sacred dancefloor).
And while I’m on the topic of respect for other dancers, in Tango & Chaos in BsAs, Rick McGarrey shares excellent practical advice (replete with graphics) on the challenging skill of navigation. If you are a pusher, a dawdler, or simply see yourself as a free spirit on the pista, this is essential reading!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Esta noche de luna

What affects the way you dance a tango at any one time? Probably, there are countless influences, some may be conscious (your dance partner, the physical environment, the preceding music, the energy of the milonga, etc.). I suspect that there are yet more influences lurking in the subconscious.

What of the tango music itself? Different parts may speak to you. At times, you may find the singer is demanding your attention, whereas previously you were responding to the piano. A knowledge of the lyrics, or at least the theme, of the tango will also play its part and enrich your response. Each time you dance to that same piece it will be a different experience . Isn’t that one of the joys of tango?

I was delighted to find the beautiful translation of one of my favourite romantic tangos Esta noche de luna on Derrick del Pilar’s website. Read, listen and be transported!

Now how might you dance to this gorgeous music? The following clips show very different interpretations of the very same tango played by Carlos Di Sarli’s orchestra with the superb voice of Roberto Rufino . These dancers are all performing for an audience, some may have choreographed their dance and include very impressive manoeuvres, others are improvising and dancing in an understated manner, suited for the salon, with a focus on dancing to the feeling. What I found especially interesting was their musicality, their choices of how to respond and what to respond to in the music.


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