Want to be able to dance confidently and feel comfortable in traditional milongas of Buenos Aires?
Our bootcamp-style social tango classes develop your musicality, connection, technique & improvisation, as well as your confidence with milonga etiquette.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tango your life - the doco

The trailer of Chan Park's film Tango your life shows tantalising clips of our favourite Buenos Aires milongas with lots of familiar faces.

It's now an entry in the ArcLight Documentary Film Festival where the 10 entries with the most "likes" will be accepted into the festival. So visit this Youtube link, enjoy and vote. 

Asi se baile el tango! 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Too much musicality?

Does that sound sacrilegious? Is it hard to imagine? Can you conceive of situations where too much focus on the music might ruin the social dance?

Finding this concept difficult? That's not at all surprising.

For some years, we and others who love social tango, have been critical of the emphasis which some dancers and teachers place on "doing steps", even mini-choreographies, at the expense of the music and the other dancers at a milonga. We are not alone in the belief that the social dance-floor of the milonga is not the place for dancers to act out their aspirations for the stage - their flamboyant and erratic movements interfering with the flow of the dance-floor. Besides, any experienced dancer will tell you that dancing with someone who is struggling with fancy steps is no fun at all. Connection and musicality are far more enjoyable.

Yet some recent experiences in Europe illustrated to us that the social dance experience may also be compromised by dancers trying excessively to interpret the music. Dare we say that some try to play - perhaps a touch  too cleverly -  with the minutiae of the music.

So, what could be wrong with trying to do justice to the music? Nothing at all. Dancing is a physical and emotional response to music. But it seems that when the intellect gets too involved in this process, the social dance suffers.

A joy in tango is dancing with a partner and being carried away with the phrasing, rhythms, melodies and interplay of instruments in that great treasure-trove of music. However, like most things in life, this can be taken to an extreme. Trying to represent each and every nuance, syncopation and off-beat contained in a piece brings with it the danger of a stilted dance experience - for the couple and for those around them on the dance-floor. The dance is then in danger of becoming an intellectual, interpretive exercise. One can simply try too hard to be musical.

Milongueros such as Osvaldo Centena and the late, great Ricardo Vidort are just two examples of playful and fluid musicality on the social dance-floor. It's pretty safe to say that they danced what their bodies felt in the music. As a result, their dance is a fluid and comfortable experience. (Pat speaks from personal experience of dancing with El Oso).

So, returning to the initial question. Sadly, in some respects, too much musicality in the dance is indeed possible. The intellect should not dominate the dance, whether it's by over-analysis of the music, or attempts to reproduce certain "steps". Anything resulting in a stilted and contrived dance, will be in conflict with social tango.

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