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)

    May 25, 2006

    Ricardo Vidort RIP - 1929-2006




    Ricardo Vidort was a lifelong tango dancer from Buenos Aires, so-called "milonguero," one of the few of his milieu to travel to Europe and the U.S. in recent years to teach. He died of cancer Sunday, May 21, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    I never met him, but I spent a lot of time lately studying these videos (taken by James Freed, Tango Video Project) of Ricardo Vidort dancing to "Poema" and "Charamusca" at last year's Denver Memorial Day Festival (May 2005). The images above are taken from the "Poema" video.

    Some links:

    Posted by joegrohens at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

    October 17, 2005

    Turkish Twilight


    Friends of local tango dancer Melih Sener (back row center) gathered at Rebecca's (front row right, supine) to wish him a fond farewell. Melih, whose name means "angelic" in Turkish, blessed the Champaign-Urbana tango scene for many years with his infectious creativity and passion for the dance. He moves to a new job in NYC this month.

    And what a party!

    Posted by joegrohens at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

    July 26, 2005

    Tango Pain (By Indigo Frank)

    If you must get an injury or more
    let it be of the tanguero cause
    For it is better to be burned by the rope
    of this sentimental cause
    than by those easily overlooked
    elements (but impure)
    Confound yourself with a compound of
    hurting yourself worse with a castigada, if you are fit
    So later, from the dark bed, you may not watch the
    comedic resolutions, the lost vals,
    and bite your tongue hard,
    so you have further excuse not to refuse an alluvious dance.
    Cortinas like platelets will clear the floor, only in your mind,
    rest, young sore.
    Caminata en la orilla del mundo
    Your bruised toes and traversed psyche are media vuelta
    The worst accident was to rush that song!
    For those of you who intend your hurt, quebradas on the bottomless floor, keep breaking for all a basic step might do:
    what hurts you may also heal you, with its milonguera cause, for:
    Is it about persistence?
    Nada, no comprendo, they are alternatives.
    To learn to move counterclockwise, to isolate the hips
    down, not completely unlike a chilled belly dancer,
    to bear shame, and sweat the unspeakable...and yet to learn to walk!
    Alternatives, tango nicked and tango talked.
    To dance at even the mistake a gate would notice, for some milonga sacrifice,
    some open embrace.

    Posted by indigo at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

    June 29, 2005

    Misha in St. Petersburg

    Michael Goro from Chicago writes from St. Petersburg:

    I am going to London tomorrow. There I meet Sarah and we are coming back together on the 23rd. Russia is good, crazy as usual. I got into a swing of tango stuff unexpectedly for myself. I went to check out a local milongoa. I danced with Elvira (yes, this is really her name, not the one who is a queen of the dark though) who started a tango scene here in St. Petersburg about six years ago. She constantly brings some good dancers like Gavito and Paulo Veron. Any way she immediately booked me to do a workshop, performance with her and make an appearance on television. It was a lot of fun. She put together the hall show to the live music at a pretty small salon with some historic significance. I did four songs with her. It was nice, a very high-energy audience. Started off very formal and ended up with every body getting drunk (typical for Russia).


    For some background on the place where Misha was dancing, see this earlier article: Tango Noticias: article - Argentine Tango, Russian Style

    Posted by joegrohens at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

    January 02, 2005

    Torito's web site

    Rob "Torito" Nuijten of Amsterdam publishes a very interesting, and attractively designed, web site for tango in Netherlands. Links of interest:

    From browsing his "Tango agenda" just now, I learned of the death of Jose Libertella, cited below.

    On a lighter note, Torito reports on a great tango video clip ( "Uniquely Spikey".) from a TV commercial of the Singapore travel industry. (Requires QuickTime).

    Fun: Webmovie commercial spotted: Dancing Tango for Singapore. Bold man with lady in selfmade SM bra. (Who are they, do you know?)

    One must note that Torito takes some very nice tango photographs, as I have mentioned previously.

    Posted by joegrohens at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

    Jose Libertella R.I.P

    Many of us from Urbana and Purdue saw the great bandoneonist Jose Libertello leading the Sexteto Mayor in concert with Tango Pasión in Chicago last year (October 2003).

    The fueye has taken its last breath in his hands.

    From Torito's website:

    A great loss. Jose Libertella (Sexteto Mayor) dies in Paris, on wednesday Dec 8, at the age of 71, while on tour with Tango Pasión. The maestro has been flown back to Buenos Aires. Jose Libertella in Torquato Tasso, BsAs, in December 2002. Photo © Rob Nuijten, Amsterdam (Torito.nl)

    Posted by joegrohens at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

    December 31, 2004

    Yulia Sighting

    Have you ever wondered what happened to that tango dancer from Springfield, IL, Yulia Kriskovets?

    She has moved to Washington, DC, and has become a tango DJ there. She usually goes to the Ann Arbor festivals, so some Illinoisans may be able to catch up with her there. Yulia can be reached at kriskovets@yahoo.com

    Yulia is a recent addition to the list of DJs in Washington DC. She started dancing tango in Illinois, where the closest milonga was more than 1.5 hours away. Coming from this background, Yulia appreciates the diversity in our local community. When DJ-ing, Yulia offers a mixture of Golden Age and Old Guard tango music to keep dancers on the floor, making them easily forget the time they should have headed for home hours before. In dancing, Yulia values musicality and emotional connection. Also, Milonga de Suenos is where Yulia Dj-ed her first time and we are happy to have her talent blossom before us!

    PostScript - January 2005: Just after the New Year, Yulia rejoined her tango friends in Champaign-Urbana for an evening at the Cowboy Monkey tango night, on the same day that she deposited her thesis at University of Illinois Springfield. We had an ice storm that night, but Yulia drove back safely.

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

    December 30, 2004

    Junior Cervila

    Read Jackie Wong's interview with Brazilian dancer, actor and filmmaker Antonio Cervila Junior, who was seen in Carlos Saura's Tango and figured prominently in the final dance sequence.

    Junior: You can dance tango to EVERYTHING. Well, I can because I want to. Piazzolla is a genius. Great to dance, but traditionalists don't like him. So they don't want to dance to his music. Then of course, it becomes impossible. The only possible things are the ones that you believe.

    I came from Copacabana and would turn tango into salsa, mixing the two dances. I loved it. And then turn Milonga into Merengue. Anyway, I don't like to say that I am right and traditionalists are wrong because there is no right or wrong. It is only what you really feel. And everybody agrees that tango is a feeling. So, if you don't feel Piazzolla, don't do it. But shut up and let other people be happy.

    In the forties Julio De Caro was considered too modern and people from that time used to say that the real tango were the old ones from 1910. So the question is not what is tango, but WHEN. A 40's tango was not tango for a 1910's dancer. So a 2000's tango will never be tango for a 60's dancer. And it's not a physical age, but where in the timeline you place your head. There are teenagers that are more traditional then older people.

    [...]Tango is so stuck in one place. I think tango can give much more than it is giving. Tangueros only have to realize that everything is changing. We can't dance exactly like in the 40's because we are not in the 40's. The world has changed and so has changed people. If a tanguero is very traditional and thinks that everybody has to dance like in the 40's ONLY, I think that he should not use TV or cellular phones. He has to live like on those days. My choreography is modern. My dance at the milonga is calm and subtle: introspective. My productions try to bring young people to tango.

    I became intrigued by Junior back in 1999 when Alberto and Valorie brought to town a CD music compilation that Junior had made. I don't know if the CD was ever published; it may have been just a pre-release version. It was called "Tangos Instrumentales para Bailar," but Carlota and I always referred to it as "The Junior CD" (as in "oh, that tune was on the Junior CD!"), and it influenced our tango listening at an early stage.

    Here is the playlist.

    Tangos Instrumentales para Bailar
    1. Cafe Dominguez - Angel D'Agostino
    2. Gallo Ciego - Osvaldo Pugliese
    3. Nochero Soy - Osvaldo Pugliese
    4. Bahia Blanca - Carlos Di Sarli
    5. El Pollo Riccardo - Leopoldo Federico
    6. El Andariego - Osvaldo Pugliese
    7. Racing Club - Angel D'Agostino
    8. Inspiracion - Annibal Troilo
    9. Recuerdo - Horacio Salgan
    10. Comme Il Faut - Carlos di Sarli
    11. Fuego Artificiales - Armando Pontier
    12. Boedo - Francini / Pontier
    13. Shusheta - Horacio Salgan
    14. Cuando Llora La Milonga - Alfredo Di Angelis
    15. El Internado - Los Solistas de D'Arienzo
    16. El Chamuyo - Domingo Federico
    17. El Rey del Compas - Juan D'Arienzo
    18. El Cencerro - Juan D'Arienzo
    19. Ataniche - Roberto Firpo
    20. Sabado Ingles - Roberto Firpo

    And now there is his very exciting show Latin Dance Carnival. Not just anyone can put together a dance review like this one! This guy is deeply talented and intellectually very interesting. View the 2002 show video and 2004 show slideshow.

    Posted by joegrohens at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

    December 27, 2004

    Bajofondo Tango Club

    Pirineos Sur, Festival Internacional de las Culturas

    July 10, 2004 Lanuzza, Spain (Pyrennees)- The international culture festival "El Festival Pirineos Sur" included the first live performance of Bajofondo Tango Club, with Adriana Varela, Javier Casalla y Cristóbal Repetto.

    Read here for some interesting Background on some Bajofondo members. Reading this you quickly realize that these musicians do not think they are producing "tango" music. They are trying to create something new, that integrates tango, rock, electronica. I love the creativity and intertextuality of this music. In the song "Corazon", for instance, they sample Polaco Goyenache "senors, senoras...." I get goosebumps.

    To quote keyboardist Luciano Supervielle:

    - The fact is that I do hip hop. The things that serve me as the tango are those that I can associate with my genre. As in all work of experimentation, there are things that stay of side. But the tango and the hip hop share a dance origin, then there are many things that one knows that can be associated. Anyhow, if I do a contribution to some evolution it is to that of the hip hop or of the electronic music, not to that of the tango. The new tango is going to arise from a type that is tanguero, that he dedicates ten hours per day to doing tango. And if it approaches the electronic music, it will do it from the tango. I am of another side. { from }

    J.Campo says the same thing in a different interview:

    I think it's clear that this is not tango in a traditional sense. It's electronic music with a Tango flavor. We tried to mix both genres and we got something totally new. We'll wait and see how the public reacts. { from }

    Anyway, one of these days, a tanguero musician will weigh in with some contemporary sounds, and then we'll have music for a milonga. On the other hand, Adriana Varela is one of the outstanding singers of tango argentino. The sound of her voice on Perfume and Mi Corazon definitely infuse these tracks with tango weight.

    Watch a video of Bajofondo Tango Club in Performance: Bajofondo Tango Club - Sadler's Wells - June 2004

    Sample Bajofondo tracks at Tangostore.com.

    More links:

    a Wifiblanes.com weblog » Bajo Fondo Tango Club en La Paloma(review of show in La Paloma)

    MensTennisForums.com - Music (interview with Campo)

    Posted by joegrohens at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)