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July 18, 2007

Interview w. Milena Plebs

(Click to Enlarge)
Amazing Interview Article:
{ via dekay.org }
By Laura Falcoff

“It would be good for tango to continue evolving, so that it could stay alive and avoid crystallization of forms,” says Milena Plebs, who, as dancer, choreographer and also as a qualified observer, is interested in how this dance shows itself and changes.

Her view is particularly appreciated in a milieu that recognizes her as the great renovator of the tango dance scene alongisde Miguel Angel Zotto, starting with the creation of the Tango x 2 company – which they shared until 1997.

 ¿How do you think the development of the tango dance is possible? Along what tracks?

 I am thinking of how I can do it, or how I can get others do to it through what I write. Wishing tango to keep on evolving, to foster new forms, is not a fanciful wish. What usually happens is that when something new crops up, it soon crystallizes and you can see clones repeating the same sequences, dancing couples who copy each other, perhaps to different music but with the same forms. This is why I am especially interested in improvisation.

 In what way?

 By increasing the value of improvisation as a unique moment from which new forms can arise.

What’s your opinion of the tango you see at milongas and the tango you see on stage? Let’s leave aside tango at dance houses, which perhaps is not worth mentioning.

Just like it’s not worth mentioning championships, either. As to the question, I think, firstly, that instructors should take a longer time and more effort to explore the many possibilities each dance instance opens up. Tango is made up of certain elements, certain steps, which can be combined in different forms. Students, and dancers in general –some people know about this, but very few- should be taught that the end of each step leaves the door open to different possibilities.

And to those countless possible combinations which your proposal aims at.

Usually, dancers are taught blocks of sequences which become very difficult to break up later. You will see dancers, both at milongas and on stage, who, when starting a sequence, do not stop until they end it. That sequence may be formed by, let’s say, ten steps, and each of them gives you the chance to break up the sequence with maybe two or three different alternatives. A more active approach should be taken when learning to dance tango, rather than a passive one, taking what the instructor gives me or what I copy from a video. Improvisation is an action in the present continuous, choreography is in the past.

Could you expand on this idea?

Choreography is present the moment you create it with your partner during rehearsals, when you are searching for steps. Once it becomes settled and is repeated, it is no longer present, it is past.

Do you consider, then, that improvisation could, or should, be taken on stage?

I do not have an answer to that today. I only speak about things I think about; let debate take place among everybody. What I can say is that dancers who prepare their choreographies must take pains so that their creation will not look too automatic, too fixed…too boring. A very basic and obvious piece of advice to prevent this is to keep your mark, to have the man keep marking movements on stage because the dynamics that arise from this are totally different. I think it’s all about looking for the way to shorten distances between choreography dancing and spontaneous dancing. I’m not saying that you should do away with choreography, but that it should preserve the freshness and organic spirit of improvised dancing.

Regarding dance show concepts, have you seen anything interesting lately?

I liked some parts of Natalia Games and Gabriel Angió’s show, those in which they really achieve a fusion between tango and hip-hop, and they don’t do this always so I believe they should research some more. And at the Festival Cambalache 2006 I saw an interesting piece by the female dancer –I believe she was Swedish- with Ezequiel Farfaro, based on one of her ideas; the starting point was a meeting between tango on the one hand and contemporary and theatre dancing on the other. There were moments when they succeeded in giving a new meaning to the tango embrace; it seems to me that there is a lot to explore there, even with a broken embrace.

Posted by joegrohens at July 18, 2007 12:26 AM


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