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May 28, 2009

Eugenia Parrilla Interview, Part 2


Continuation of interview with Eugenia Parrilla, Chicago 2006

B: It seems like what you were saying is that what fascinates you about the milongas is the closeness of the people even though they’re strangers, and the connections and that sort of thing. But when you went to study with Mauricio Castro and Fabian Salas you found something different and you call it the movement.

E: The freedom of the movement.

B: As opposed to what?

E: The opposite of the intimacy, of the intimacy from the contact. And this appeared to me to be a contrast, but now I think that both have to go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other, because the dance… the freedom in the dance… without entering into the depth in the connection with the other, and from something spiritual that carries you to the music, is an empty dance. Movement for movement's sake and nothing more for me seems difficult to provoke a sensation in the other. To me it has to go to the depths to be able really get into what the music is saying.

B: Mm hmm. That’s very interesting because you tried tango in the milongas and you liked the idea of the intimacy, the closeness, that age isn’t important. And then you went to study with Salas and Castro and you were fascinated by the movement. And now it seems like you’re at a stage where you think that the two things need to be integrated.

E: In my eyes the two can’t be separated.

B: For example, let’s take the show you guys did yesterday. Do you see yourself dancing in this way that you’re saying you think it should be? And how do you see the other couples that danced with regards to the freedom of movement and the intimacy?

E: Well, I’m not sure how I see myself. In reality, I attempt. I attempt to unite both things that for me have… they’re connected to the music and to each other. To be able to reach that state. It’s like yoga. You reach a spiritual state to be able to go into the depths of a sensation. Because the music doesn’t consist of just the rhythm. It has… life, sadness, happiness.

B: So you, for example, when you were dancing yesterday, you felt like… Well, a show is a little different, right? But when you talk about that you mean…

E: It’s really not different because we improvise, so you have to go to that. I think in reality in both types of dancing you have to go to that. Whether it’s choreography or improvisation. But since the improvisation is completely spontaneous, I think it’s very important to reach that state. It seems to me that tango is in a process at the moment. It’s in a process of integration. And if that integration doesn’t occur, for me it will be lost. Because already, all the people are crazy about the tango that’s more free, more new. But for me it’s not about doing the craziest moves you can, but instead being able to integrate the two things because otherwise in the end, it’s like, for me, what happens to me is I reach a point where I stop watching because… the movement by itself is empty.

B: It's empty. And it tires.

E: And it tires. Because it becomes, well, I don’t know. You don’t know what they did ... if it was a sacada ... it’s like ... well, it’s all the same. But if it goes along with the music, and if you’re like another instrument in the music and you can connect with the other person intimately, it seems to me that that is when it becomes interesting. I believe that’s the point the couples hope to reach. I think that this is in process with the young people. Also, it seems that it is a question of being open or a matter of taste. [inaudible] Because they’re not interested in doing a tango that’s more free, more new.

To be continued.

Posted by joegrohens at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)


Originally uploaded by micmac71

They are not even in the embrace and already it is tango. (Dancers: Donato & Carolina.)

Check out this photographer's Flickr account. He has many great tango photos.

Posted by joegrohens at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by marinochka!

Nice shot! I love the torsion in her upper body as she crosses forward. To me this is a classic tango look. Look how close they stay towards each other in the shoulders, despite her stepping forward between them. Excellent posture for both. I wonder who they are.

Posted by joegrohens at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2009

Interview with Eugenia Parrilla, Part 1

Interview with Eugenia Parrilla. Chicago, August 2006. Interviewed by Beatriz Dujovne and Joe Grohens and then transcribed and translated from video tape.

Eugenia: I was born in the Province of San Luis. When I was 18 I moved to La Plata which is about one hour from Buenos Aires. I studied Plastic Arts in La Plata. I would go to "colegio" in the morning, and in the afternoon all day long go to the art school, so it was a little tiring. It was like I never had time left to, I don’t know, be with your friends, or do other things.

Beatriz: Did you study dance in La Plata?

Eugenia: No, I studied dance before going to La Plata. I started studying when I was young. I started, first, because they don’t accept you so young in Fine Arts, I started around the age of 6, then I continued and around. And then I started from age 12 to age 16 en Fine Arts.

Beatriz: Did Fine Arts include ballet too?

Eugenia: Yes, but it’s a complete school. Fine Arts offers drawing, piano, French, jazz…

Beatriz: And this is the one that demanded a lot?

Eugenia: Exactly, because it’s the type of school you’re there all day, from, 7 in the morning until 6, 7 in the evening, more or less.

J: So at what point did you start dancing tango?

E: When I lived in La Plata, I used to go to a café. It’s a long story. First, they called me because I studied. First I studied industrial design, and everything about industrial design, visual arts, music, and what else… Well, plastic arts that are all in the same university. It was a very big university. And so, there… oh, and film too. And I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to do things involving theater and film. And since I had some friends that were making a short film, some here and some there, they called me to play a role in a short film. And when they starting filming the short film, one of the cameramen gave tango classes, he danced it. And so one day I ran into him on the street and he asked me what I was up to and just by chance I had that day off and he invited me to a tango class and I went and… it was like a game, really. I didn’t get hooked. I went that day and that was it.

Well, later what happened is some time passed, like a year, and it’s because, you know… And I would go to the café where you generally take textbooks and each person reads what they want. And that day there wasn’t, the café wasn’t there, there was a milonga. And I stayed there watching the milonga and I liked it a lot. So there was an old man there and I got close to him and asked him if he could teach me and he was the one that takes care of the universidad! And he gave classes where I studied in the carpenter’s workshop. And it was neat, because where they would make all the designs out of cut wood, it was a carpenter’s workshop with machines. They would make some space and everyone that wanted to would go in their free time and dance in the university. And so, there I started to learn, and on my birthday a friend invited me to go to a milonga in Buenos Aires, and I loved it! And each time, I was more hooked.

J: Which milonga?

E: La Viruta

B: Do you go to the milongas now?

E: Yes. Not a lot, but yes. Sometimes I go more and sometimes not.

B: La Viruta in Buenos Aires. You were around what age? 20?

E: Let’s see, in ’98.

B: ’98, yes. That was your first exposure? That was your first contact with tango where you really got hooked, and liked it?

E: Yes, yes. But I only used to go once a week because I lived in La Plata.

B: And in La Plata there wasn’t tango like there was in Buenos Aires?

E: No, no. But all the same I went and danced and that was it and then…

B: And when did the tango itch really start getting to you?

E: Well, after a year I said okay, I’m going to the coast, I’m going to work and save money so I can keep studying and taking classes. So I moved to Buenos Aires. So I went and I worked a lot. It was funny because I was working a lot to be able to keep studying and taking classes. When I arrived to Buenos Aires I moved with a friend and it was hard but we arrived. We rented a house, but we were ripped off. I had to start working. And then with work and taking classes it was very difficult.

B: We’re talking about tango classes now, right?

E: Yes, yes. But I also kept going to the University. But since they ripped us off and we had to spend a lot of money, well, it was a mess.... So, I had to work a lot and take very few classes.

B: And whom did you take classes from?

E: At first I took around 10 classes with Horacio Godoy.

J: At La Viruta?

E: No no, in the Estudio de Mora [Godoy]. With Horacio. Yes. And then I met… I went to a class with a friend who was friends with Fabian Salas. And Mauricio Castro was there also, since he gave Fabian’s classes when Fabian wasn’t there. And so… I loved it. I loved it because it felt like it was more like dance (la danza).

At first in the milonga I loved the idea that the people didn’t know each other, but they were acting like they did. It’s very special. And the contact with the other person, they’re so close, I loved it. And the older men with the younger girls, it seemed like they were in love when in reality they weren’t. Well, it was very special. And then I got hooked on the idea of the movements being more free. Almost like the movements were like a dance (una danza).

(to be continued)

Posted by joegrohens at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2009

History of Tango

The definitive article on the origins of tango:

Tango - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia

Posted by joegrohens at 11:43 AM

Why are Americans so...

My daughter emailed me this.

Go to google. Type in "why are americans so"

See what it suggests.

Posted by joegrohens at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)