Archive for 2006

Dancing on Late D’Arienzo and Pugliese (Reply to Isaac on The Making of a Tanda)

Posted in Dance, Music on December 1st, 2006

Isaac, I agree with you. The first song is very important. In most cases, it has to be famous or familiar to most of the dancers. Even if it’s not a familiar song, it has to sound “attractive”, otherwise dancers won’t try to dance on it. Personally I prefer a rather up-beat and lively song to start a tanda, that can give energy to the dancers. Sometimes even though I am tired, when I hear a great milonga or tango, I just can’t stand sitting aside and I can always find energy to dance that song. I think that happens not only to me but also to many people.

Your discussion with Cacho and Rosana was interesting. JM and I didn’t discuss that with them but last year when we were in Bs.As., we came across the same topic. Cacho showed us his way of dancing to late D’Arienzo. I don’t remember I danced late D’Arienzo with him, but I danced Pugliese with him once. His approach to both music is pretty much the same – his movement is rather slow, with some obvious pause, and the movement is full of intensity.

I agree with what Rosana said. Like it or not, young people only know how to express Pugliese with big movements because that is the only way they learn from their teachers and see from tango performers. Frankly, I don’t remember I saw any rather salon or even milonguero style performance dancing on Pugliese, except Gavito. And Javier is no exception. So new generation dancers have no model to learn from. When I look back my tango learning path, not counting Cacho and Rosana, no teachers dance Pugliese without big and expressive movement, and then of course no teachers can teach me dancing Pugliese in another way.

There is one thing I want to raise here. Cacho, or the old milonguero’s way of dancing Pugliese and late D’Arienzo is full of intensity. They’re not only dancing with their feet, but with their body. In fact, from my experience, there’s not much happening with the feet, but a lot happening between the embrace and the body. They use their body to express that intense feeling. I must say, if one never dances milongeuro or close embrace style, it’s almost not possible to get that, because I think it is something unique to this particular dance style. I’m not saying that it won’t work in salon or nuevo style, it’s just that other styles have more freedom to play with steps and figures and the body expression seems to be not as obviously important as in milonguero style. These dancers already have lots to play with the music, so they tend to forget about their body expression. While when dancing milonguero style, we’re so close to our partner. Besides the fact that there’re less possibility in the dance in terms of figures or steps. Our body is such an effective and powerful media to express and share our musicality with the partner, if we don’t use it, what a waste! Of course in this way there’re not much to see for the 3rd party, but there’re lots to feel between the dancers.

By watching at how old D’Arienzo conducted his orchestra, one should be able to understand what intensity means.