Archive for August, 2006

Milonga with El Flaco Dany

Posted in Dance on August 31st, 2006

I never got to dance with him socially, but during his classes, I danced with him quite a lot because he used me to demonstrate the steps to Jean-Michel. He never said much, I think the word I heard the most often from him was “non”, and he said it with a big smile on his face. He said that when he was not satisfied with what Jean-Michel did – because JM’s move was not elegant, because JM was not doing exactly the same thing as he wanted, because JM lost the rhythm of the steps, or JM didn’t put the steps at the right time of the music. So everytime JM got a “non”, I got 20 secs with El Flaco Dany. Ah… forgot to mention, we were at his “milonga con traspie” classes.

JM suggested to take his class. I didn’t know him before though I heard about him and I saw him in Paris once or twice. JM took some classes with him before in Paris and he said El Flaco Dany has some nice and socially usable steps for milonga. So we went to his milonga classes at Escuela Argentina de Tango. The first 2 classes we took were not crowded, so we got a good amount of time from him. The steps he gave him was tough, few days later we saw the same sequence of steps in one of his performance in Salon Canning. So JM got many “non” and I got many “20 secs” dances during that 2 classes.

During the class I got no “non” from El Flaco Dany. Actually besides that many “20 secs”, I had no “concrete” stuff like a bag of steps or some useful advices in my hand when I left the classroom. However, I got experience – wonderful experience dancing with El Flaco Dany. I called it “magic”.

It was “magic” because I couldn’t describe or figure out what exactly happened when he leaded. He leaded me a sequence of steps that I had never done before, without knowing how and having no time to wonder what was going on, my body already reacted and made the steps. Then these “what happened”, “how did he do that” questions reached my brain afterwards. Usually after few times I can figure out how was the lead, and then I can describe it to my partner and help him to figure out how to do that. But after so many times the same steps with El Flaco Dany, I still couldn’t figure out how he made that happened. There was a point I told JM, “don’t ask me what happened and how he leads that, I just don’t know, I even don’t know how my body reacted to it”. That’s why it’s magic – he made you do something, you did it without understanding. That moment, the brain was not involved.

Trying to recall the moment I danced with El Flaco Dany, I think his lead is the most economical I have ever experienced. In terms of signals, his lead is just right or maybe is the minimum that the follower needs, for sure there’s no waste, no excess. In terms of timing, there’s no time for the brain, no time to have the idea of thinking or doubt, it’s either you do it or you miss it. In terms of his movement, he’s calm and elegant like a gentleman walking on the street even though he’s dancing milonga. And more, he’s old but he’s very fast.

I just wonder, how long does it take to reach this kind of stage…