Learning to Dance

•Wednesday, 13 January 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Some Thoughts from Chicho Frumboli

•Monday, 19 October 2015 • 1 Comment

Back in August Chicho Frumboli posted a fascinating statement on his Facebook page. It’s certainly food for thought.

Note: Facebook autotranslates the original Spanish text, which results in a somewhat garbled, clumsy version. I’ve taken the liberty of tidying this up somewhat (with the occasional reference to a Spanish dictionary); any errors are, of course, mine. (And if you do spot any, do let me know!)

Just a thought…
Buenos Aires always gives me mixed feelings… Sometimes it’s pure love, at other times I hate it…

Perhaps that’s because it’s so important to me.

It seems that after so many years of dancing and teaching, tango dancers of my generation are becoming “milongueros nuevos”. 🙂

My thoughts and feelings are, how much I miss the milonga… how I miss Almagro, the Parakultural Centre in Chacabuco [centre of Buenos Aires underground culture in 1980s-early 1990s, now home of Salon Canning], Arlequines, La Viru in its Golden Age.

This was a time when aesthetics weren’t so important.. a time when we were learning to dance, and we told ourselves that true authenticity lay in discovering our own dance.

Then we learned to dance through our own efforts, our only teachers being a mirror and our own judgment.

Then it was creativity, study and exploration which kept our motivation alive.

I believe that the rise of fashions in tango was inevitable.

There are countless “maestros” and a ridiculous number of “professionals”, which is a double-edged sword.

It is good because in the end there are more people who can dance tango, and this clearly that it is not going to disappear. But on the other hand, quality and quantity don’t often go together.

Today I regret that there was never an academy that brought together, at least in terms of the basic concepts, the key techniques, instead of this focus on the visual aesthetics associated with a particular style.

Tango is at a gateway. We can pass through it and discover something really great… but only if we want to.

It’s difficult to understand why we have this “dance factory” for competitions.

What happened to tango…? To dancing? Having fun… seduction… playfulness… creativity…?

That’s what I learned, and still learn by watching the great dancers, whatever their style.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been in tango for so long that this is such an important part of me… wanting a utopia in which tango is as true as it’s always been.

Today belonging seems to be the important thing… If everyone dances in the same way they feel safe and important. To be “someone”, whether they call themselves dancers or teachers, puts them in a privileged position. That’s wrong.

I see it a lot in those who dress up as tangueros, Argentines and foreigners. It’s funny… or sad, depending on how you look at it.

Hence my love and my hatred.

Because I see that, after more than 20 years of tango, it is getting more difficult every day to teach. Or to dance.

Teaching people to dance… phew! The struggle gets more desperate every day.

So here are my questions:

Why teach styles? Because this limits our bodies, arms, backs, feet and necks. Why is it necessary to dress up as a “tango professional”? Why the same suits, the same dresses, the same make-up? Why teach musicality?

Why do they speak so much bullshit?

Why aren’t they really teaching people to dance?

I mean to truly dance… With all the possibilities of the dance… form, techniques, with all the freedom our dance has.

Don’t be cardboard cut-outs, guys. It’s very cold and empty.

You won’t find tango by chasing a prize, or money, or fame.

The Tango is within us… as it’s always been.

Let’s go on pushing forward. This is just beginning.

Wild 2: Wings

•Thursday, 2 April 2015 • Leave a Comment

Letters For Friends

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Original photograph taken in St Ives, 31 December 2014.

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Why Men Won’t Dance…

•Friday, 13 February 2015 • 3 Comments

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An interesting article by Nikolas Lloyd, clearly a dancer himself. A few quotes:

To dance well, one needs good health, poise, co-ordination, stamina, strength, athleticism, rhythm, balance, suppleness, speed, an ability to predict and react to the movements of others (especially for partnered dancing), and style...

One lady… told me that her mother had forbidden her to marry a good dancer, because such a man would “be trouble”...

It is well recognised that women are more choosy about sexual partners. Natural selection has armed women with dance to improve their powers of choice. Natural selection has also equipped men with a useful fear of this weapon. That’s why men won’t dance.

But do read the whole article here.

Heart, Have No Pity…

•Wednesday, 13 August 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Heart, have no pity on this house of bone:
Shake it with dancing, break it down with joy.
No man holds mortgage on it; it is your own;
To give, to sell at auction, to destroy.
When you are blind to moonlight on the bed,
When you are deaf to gravel on the pane,
Shall quavering caution from this house instead
Cluck forth at summer mischief in the lane?
All that delightful youth forbears to spend
Molestful age inherits, and the ground
Will have us; therefore, while we’re young, my friend —
The Latin’s vulgar, but the advice is sound.
Youth, have no pity; leave no farthing here
For age to invest in compromise and fear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay — Sonnet 29 from Fatal Interview.

Photograph taken at El Quinto, March 2013.

Nostalgia

•Monday, 23 June 2014 • Leave a Comment

“As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.”

—  Billy Collins, from Nostalgia. You can hear the full poem here.

I Love Tango

•Saturday, 31 May 2014 • Leave a Comment

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I love the way she softens into my embrace on the dancefloor. I love the way she matches my opening breath as we move together into the first step. I love the way the rigid concepts of ‘lead’ and ‘follow’ become inextricably entwined and tango becomes our hearts’ conversation. I love the way we listen to our bodies through the music. I love the way she holds a moment longer when the music stops. I love the damp curl of hair on her forehead and the salt taste of a small kiss still on my lips as I drive home.

 
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