July 31, 2008
I love the double iteration of the women's lockstep. You can see why it's a popular step, why it has become a custom, why people who dance tango like to use it.
Tango Therapy Conference
Tango Therapy radio feature from PRI (Public Radio International) reports on the recent tango therapy conference in Rosario, Argentina.
Psychologists and physical therapists believe learning to tango can help people suffering from Alzheimers, Parkinson’s Disease, and depression. Richard Reynolds finds out more at the first International Conference on Tango Therapy.
According to the report, one study found that Tango interventions for Parkinson's were equal or superior to Waltz, Foxtrot and T'ai Chi. Another study found that Tango alleviates depression - which, the journalist notes, is "ironic, since tango lyrics are always sad." Research into tango therapy is just getting started.
My partner Carlota works in a health food store. She said that after the report was on the radio, customers came into the store asking where they could learn tango.
July 24, 2008
Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
Leonardo Da Vinci
This phenomenon can be found in the world of tango dancing.
July 16, 2008
This Is Your Art
I remember a class with Gavito where he stopped the class right in the middle of our practicing some sequence he had shown. He cut the music, and ordered us to stop right there. Then he said something like, "Look, I'm not joking here. You want to be in this class, do the work. Be serious. I'm an artist, and tango is my art. I'm a painter, only I paint with my feet. This, right here, this is a dance floor. When you come onto this floor, whether you like it or not, you are a dancer. You are an artist. This is your art. Act like it. Or don't come onto this floor."
I'm paraphrasing from distant memory ... now about 10 years ago. But I remember the mood in the studio that afternoon, while he was talking. You could hear a pin drop. That guy could lay down some heavy vibes. He got very steamed up sometimes with frustration during teaching. He'd blow his top, then five minutes later he would go around apologizing.
Jeff Allen's interview with Gavito (In "Quickstart to Tango" 1998) quotes Gavito as saying something very similar to what he said in our class that day.
A student would say "We are not dancers". Listen lady, from the moment you step a foot, you are a dancer. That's a dance floor. If you don't feel like that, then get the hell out of here! Because if you want to put your foot there, you are insulting me, if you say your problems. Because that's a dance floor. That is not a shop, a market, a cafe, a restaurant. That's a dance floor. So from the moment you decide to put on a pair of shoes and come and put a foot there YOU ARE A DANCER. I'M GOING TO TREAT YOU LIKE A DANCER!!! And I want the same response. I want you to be a dancer!!
July 15, 2008
The Role of the Dance Artist in Society
The artist should belong to his society, yet without feeling that he has to conform to it. He must see life fully, and then say what he feels about it. Then, although he belongs to his society, he changes it, presenting it with fresh feelings, fresh ideas. Art should be a reflection and a comment on contemporary life.
-- Anna Sokolow, "The Modern Dance: Seven Statements of Belief"
July 11, 2008
X. and I were chatting about the previous night's milonga. She brought up the subject of dancing with the eyes closed.
"I used to think people closed their eyes to help them get into the dancing better," she said. (Probably even better when they keep their mouth open as well. - editor)
"Now I think it's so they can imagine they are dancing with someone else," said X.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate. There plant eyes.
July 10, 2008
Ezequiel & Eugenia at TangoCamp 2008
This photo is an excellent opportunity to study important details of technique and posture.
I notice, for example, that Eugenia's body weight is evenly split between front and back legs, she has both toes opened out slightly, her back knee is completely stretched, her spine is vertical, she has a twisting orientation toward's Ezequiel's center, and her arms are lengthened and relaxed looking. Eugenia's left arm reaches all the way across Ezequiel's back, and her left elbow and shoulder are released enough that her arm comes back behind the plane of her back. Her shoulders are level.
Ezequiel gives the gancho with his outside leg, generating considerable spinal twist so that he can remain facing her. His outside arm (left) is lengthened forward to allow Eugenia's arm to stay comfortably in front of her right shoulder (rather than pulling her arm toward him more). Ezequiel's standing foot is pointed at a 90° angle away from the line between Eugenia's feet. And his shoulder's are turned towards Eugenia so much that they are also in this same 90° angle to her line. His right arm reaches across her back. One thing that doesn't look right to me is that his gancho appears to be hooking the front thigh of her trailing leg. Wouldn't it be more normal to hook underneath her forward leg? I mean, if he is really hooking the leg. I suppose he is just throwing a boleo between her legs.
I assume that this is a counter-clockwise turn, and I would call it step 1 of the turn, since she is stepping forward with her left leg. He could have done a back sacada (more typical) during her forward step, but instead it's a gancho.
This looks like a difficult move. I wonder what happens next.