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June 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by Un Milonguero Mejicano.

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discusion Sisteron 2006 hiver

discusion Sisteron 2006 hiver
Originally uploaded by guzelilayda.

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Sitges 2005

Sitges 2005
Originally uploaded by guzelilayda.

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June 22, 2006

Tango Revival in Argentina Spurs Sales of High Heels, Fishnets

June 21 (Bloomberg)-- Tango is undergoing a renaissance in Argentina, land of its birth, as dancers from Europe to Asia flock to the South American country to learn the steps and try out the new ``milongas,'' or dance halls.

Sales of fishnet stockings, high-heeled shoes and slit- thigh skirts are soaring as a new generation discovers the art of romantic dancing. The capital's tango radio station has quadrupled listeners in four years.

``I used to ice skate and play the flute,'' said Louise David, a 24-year-old Parisian ready to start a night of tango in stiletto-heeled shoes at a Buenos Aires club. ``Tango combines both: the art of movement and the art of music.'' David gave up her job as a musician to move to Argentina three months ago.

Surging interest in tango has led to a doubling in the number of Buenos Aires milongas in the past year. Ariel Crocitta, 30, the owner of shoemaker Darcos Magic Shoes, has tripled his staff to 40 in three years to meet demand for shoes with ankle straps and special soles that allow dancers to pirouette and slide with minimal resistance.

``There has been an explosion of tango in the past years, in Argentina and abroad,'' said Crocitta, whose workshop is a few blocks from Avenida Corrientes, the downtown avenue that was once home to the smoke-filled cafes and dance halls where aficionados gathered to listen to singers such as Carlos Gardel and Edmundo Rivero. ``We get orders from dozens of countries.''

Appalled and Seduced

Nowadays, tango clubs can be found from the fashionable residential suburb of Palermo to the city's older quarters of La Boca and San Telmo, where tango evolved from the music of immigrants arriving from Europe and Africa in the second half of the 19th century.

``In that melting pot of cultures, tango is born,'' El Viejo Almacen, a tango nightspot converted from a San Telmo corner store, says on its Web site. ``Its first lyrics and dance steps appall -- and at the same time seduce -- the prudish Portenos.''

The Portenos, or citizens of Buenos Aires, overcame their inhibitions, and tango soon became the epitome of the city's culture and nightlife.

Tango began to become known in Europe about 1910. In the 1920s, its international fame was cemented when Gardel toured Latin America, the U.S. and Europe, and starred in several films, said Alejandro Martino, 50, a researcher and member of the National Academy of Tango in Buenos Aires.

Worldwide Tours

More recently, tango dancing troupes have helped revive tango's popularity through worldwide tours of shows such as ``Tango Argentino'' and ``Forever Tango.''

In Argentina, tango fell out of favor with young Argentines from the 1960s to 1990s, when they preferred U.S. and European styles of music, and left tango to their parents and grandparents.

Now, there's a revival of interest from youngsters in their teens and 20s, and a new style of electronic tango is breaking the mold of music traditionally played with violins, piano and accordion.

Carla Quintana, a 23-year-old psychology student, says she dances tango every weekend.

``Since I started learning tango, I can't stop,'' Quintana said before stepping onto the floor at the La Viruta dancehall in Palermo. ``Tango is 100 percent Argentine and means passion. I totally identify with it.''

In the past five years, the average age of listeners to Radio La2X4, a Buenos Aires radio station dedicated to tango, has dropped to 35 from about 50, said Luis Tarantino, one of the station's reporters. In the same period, the number of listeners quadrupled.

``The radio has grown because young people are discovering that tango is a valid alternative,'' said Tarantino, 49. ``Tango has an identity and personality that is very much its own.''

Close Contact

Unlike modern dances, where partners often don't touch each other, tango requires close physical contact. The man guides his partner with his hand pressed against her back, alternating flowing moves across the floor with abrupt changes of direction. Sometimes the woman bends back, hanging in his arms, and at other times, she hooks a foot around one of his legs. Dancers maintain stern expressions and rarely look at each other.

``Tango has a very special communion with your partner which is amazing,'' said David, who is hoping to become a professional tango dancer.

Skilled dancers have little time for beginners who may get in their way, said Horacio Godoy, who runs La Viruta. Students need three or four classes before they can take the floor at his milonga.

``Tango is like driving: If you don't know how to drive and you stop the car, you will cause trouble for others,'' Godoy, 34, said. ``Tango needs permanent movement.''

One of the city's tango schools is run by Mora Godoy, 34, who performed in the ``Tango por Dos'' and ``Tanguera'' shows in Europe, Asia and America.

``I've seen an outstanding interest in tango by young people and tourists,'' said Godoy, who is no relation of Horacio at La Viruta. ``Tango allows embrace and a closer relationship with your partner. That's something young people don't find in discos.''

To contact the reporter on this story:
Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at
Last Updated: June 21, 2006 00:05 EDT

Posted by joegrohens at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2006

Orquesta Tipica - a Film by Nicolas Ente

Watch this trailer. It's great, an indie documentary featuring the contemporary tango band "Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro". There are some great scenes in here, like where crowd on the street chants to police "Let them play" while a middle-aged man pleads "We want tango, not cumbia that rots kids minds".

Quotes from the band members:

  • "Back in April, we got together with a bass, and a bandoneon player. So we said, since we are three, let's find a violinist and make a quartet. Within a month we went from 4 to 12 members."

  • "Trying to assemble an orquestra tipica back then was already really huge."

  • (The director) "They thought they were a garage band. With the Orquesta, I follow a dogma. The orchestra always comes first."

  • From the producer's description
    Twelve guys looking like punk rockers pushing a piano down the street. Their sound is elaborate but raw. Their music is politically committed while historically linked to counterculture; still, it is part of a genre more than a hundred years old. This is their story. This is Buenos Aires 2006.


    Posted by joegrohens at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

    June 11, 2006

    Eva Norvind

    Eva_Norvind_2.jpg norvind2-9935.jpg

    The controversial actress, film director, and dominatrix/sex therapist Eva Norvind died of drowning May 15, 2006 off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.

    According to the Tango-E-Vita website, Norvind had been making a movie about the tango in Argentina, called: Gavito, su vida y su tango.

    "I have danced the tango for a long time. The main subject of the film is on my teacher, Carlos Gavito, who finishes dying". She started it in may 2005 and hoped to finish it 2006. (Note: Gavito died in June 2005.)


    Posted by joegrohens at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

    June 10, 2006

    Writings of Miguel Angel Pla

    I recently came across a couple of essays on tango by Miguel Angel Pla, an Argentine physician who has become a tango teacher and seems to have a North American base in Vancouver.

    Pla is articulate and thoughtful. Short descriptions from two of his essays appear below.


    Pla's essay "Tango and Marginalisation", from a 1993 conference on "Social Marginalisation" in Buenos Aires, talks about the subcultural nature of tango, beginning with its origins among disenfranchised immigrants of the Rio de la Plata region and seen still in the marginalisation of tango culture in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

    [T]ango could be defined as a mirror of man and his environment. In this mirror the individual discovers his own shabbiness, his defects, or simply sees his feelings reflected in his expression. Add to this the rebellious nature of some of its lyrics, and it is easy to see why the guardians of main-stream culture want to BREAK THE MIRROR - that is to say, do away with tango.


    Pla's more recent article, "Tango Roots and Codes", is a collection of pithy and opinionated reflections on tango learning and customs and values of the dance.


  • There is only one embrace. Again it is confusing when some people talk about Salon style and refer to it as a dance done in an open embrace. This is a misunderstanding and quite inaccurate and unfortunately again the problem with the enthusiastic tangueros attempting to ‘help’ when they really have no idea what they are talking about. In Salon style Tango the physical embrace is fluid, sometimes extremely close and sometimes with some space depending on the needs of the couple.

  • Northern Hemisphere countries have a large tradition with Ballroom Dancing. Because of that, it has become very easy to transfer the same ideas to other dances. That's why students and teachers like to speak about levels: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. This is not proper for Tango. In Tango we learn in layers which should not be labeled as levels.

  • The most difficult thing about dancing Tango are Tango FUNDAMENTALS. The difference between a very good dancer and another who is not very good is: Tango FUNDAMENTALS. One more time 'It's not WHAT you do but HOW you do it'. If it was necessary to use only one word to define Tango this word would be: ELEGANCE. So if there's no ELEGANCE there's no Tango.

  • It is unwise and actually quite ugly to attempt to do embellishments with only a little knowledge of Tango since it is not possible yet to know what beauty is and what it isn't. If FUNDAMENTALS are lacking it's possible to see in very new dancers (habitually ladies) and even some others who are not so new, UN-EMBELLISHMENTS instead (for instance, front boleos done incorrectly in forward ochos) and it's really lamentable.

  • It is very sad to observe ‘quite good dancers' PRETENDING that they are dancing for themselves when they are really SHOWING-OFF all the time; and what's worse: ALWAYS. [...] One of the biggest problems is that this behavior then becomes a 'model' for the new dancers. [...] I have been told sometimes from a few of my Tango friends: 'This is our style'! NO, this is your LACK of style or your lack of knowledge!

  • DRAMA and COMEDY are the two faces of THEATRE. And it was like that since Theatre was born in the Golden Century of Pericles in Greece. In the Theatre actors and actresses PERFORM. Here we are with a very interesting association: We can also perform a Tango, but either in a Theatre or in a movie, NOT on a dance-floor, NOT in a 'Milonga'. [...] SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO LIVE THEIR DREAMS OF BEING GREAT PERFORMERS AT THE MILONGA. The biggest problem is that unfortunately they don't know that they are as they are. [...] While dancing a Tango we are sharing a strong feeling with our partner; this has nothing to do with an audience.

  • Somebody said, 'After an hour class you should practice for three hours' and I would like to add: in Tango it takes longer because after the three hours of practicing ALONE, we should apply this with our partners. I'm firmly convinced that if somebody were to do that for only three months then that student will become the most experienced person in a huge area.

  • [On music for dancing] I haven't mentioned Carlos Gardel, our most representative Tango figure in the world from 'The Old Guard', nor Astor Piazzolla, another Tango emblematic figure, nor Horacio Salgán, probably the most talented Tango piano player that has ever existed. The three of them are on a 'pedestal' for us and for the rest of the people in the world ('tangueros' or not) who love music. For us they are in the same category as musicians who are the most recognized musicians in the whole history. But their music is NOT for dancing. Each one of them on different occasions when asked the same question have given the same answer: 'I DON'T PLAY (for Gardel, sing) FOR DANCERS'. So why the hell do so many people insist in dancing Tangos by Piazzolla, Gardel or Salgán. AT LEAST THEY SHOULD RESPECT THE MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THESE GENIUSES over their own knowledge. To not do so is simply either ignorance or possibly instead an expression of arrogance since it appears that their opinion is more important than Salgan, Gardel, or Piazzolla’s opinions.

  • There are several reasons why ladies should not ask men to dance. First, there are usually more ladies than men. If there are twice the number of ladies and they all asked men to dance, then the men would never get a chance to sit down nor would they have time to go to the restroom, stop for a drink etc. Secondly, socially speaking, a lady could say 'no' and it is accepted but if a man says no they are considered rude. And thirdly, there are no social dances, traditionally, in which ladies invite men to dance.

  • How can a ‘tanguero’ look elegant wearing an oversized T-shirt that is not tucked in? And what about wearing hats while dancing? Isn’t the polite action to remove your hat when you enter a room? It’s bad enough to leave it on .... but to dance with it on? Again, people have been watching too many movies. In the traditional Tango salons of Buenos Aires you NEVER see ‘tangueros’ wearing hats while dancing. This is for Hollywood or perhaps Carnival.

  • When the trunk of a tree is quite bent, it is because in the early stages of it’s growth it wasn’t well staked. What can we do then? NOTHING or perhaps just feel regret about this situation. It's similar for people. The best food for a baby is mother’s milk. The most distinguished chefs, cooks, nutritionists and scientific professionals cannot create or prepare anything better. The food we receive during our first period of life is the foundation that determines our future. [...] Inside each one of the tangueros exist: 1- A PERFORMER and 2- A TEACHER. We can see at the Milongas this phenomenon all the time.[...]Generally, when 'new teachers are born' they take aim at the base of the pyramid ... the beginners. This is often not the best decision ... and possibly a serious mistake. If you want to teach: this is a legal and noble feeling. Go ahead! But begin teaching either professionals or advanced students, but not beginners ... please! If you believe you are not prepared to teach advanced students YOU SHOULD NOT teach. [...] 'Somebody has to teach', 'I love Tango', 'I need to do something for a living', 'I don’t have a job', 'I WANT TO HELP' are not good enough reasons to start teaching. You need to answer the question: 'Do you want to help yourself or do you want to help others?' And be honest with yourself. So, who should teach then? Answer: The one who if he doesn't teach would die but if he does teach doesn't kill (at least doesn't damage others).

  • Posted by joegrohens at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)