Notes

                              Through TangoE14’s weekly email  we offer some suggestions to                                                 ‘Keep Tango alive inside you’:

16th December 2020

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9th December 2020

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,

Hi Everyone,

                      One of the statements often made about Argentine Tango, real tango,

is that it is like a conversation, a dialogue between the couple. For that to occur there 

has to be real connection and communication between the two.

            Michael has taken the trouble to give us his thoughts on the subject:

        ” I was thinking about the question of tango dancing being a ‘conversation’ and 

had already begun to think that the conversation is not two-way but three-way….. 

with the music. Then last night I was reading an essay about Anthony Powell’s
Dance to the Music of Time – which I love. It starts from a famous painting in the 

Wallace Collection of four people of different ages dancing in a circle while Old Father 

Time and a child sit in the corner and play the music. The author said:
A dance, such as is performed by the four seasons in Poussin’s picture, to the melody 

supplied by the old gentleman in one corner and the infant in the other, depends on 

the maintenance of its harmony and the subordination of the participants’ inner 

feelings and reflections to their role in the dance. If the narrator can be considered at 

once the infant and the greybeard [who play the music] he is calling the tune in the 

literal sense, but at the same time he is in thrall to the flux and continuity of movement 

that he is creating. He cannot, so to speak, stop playing and give us an improvisation 

of his own, while the dancers stand about. The dance may be spontaneous but it is 

also collective and interdependent; no individual taking part can halt or step outside it.

         ” In fact this seems to me truer and safer when we dance to recorded music,
because it is always the same every time we play it whereas live musicians play every 

number slightly differently – a little here – a little there – and we must dance the same 

number to a slightly different rhythm each time. If they slow down or speed up or 

syncopate even a little so must we. As evidence of when this does NOT work we have 

all danced to live bands who were used to playing to audiences who were listening in 

their seats and therefore suddenly jazzed it up undanceably or simply went off for six 

minutes enjoying themselves regardless of our exhaustion.


         ” Then – in conformity with my lifetime practice of contradicting myself –
I realised that tango is actually a dance where you can ignore the music for a while. 

We stop and repeat something that didn’t work or we stop and do ornaments or lead 

the lady to do a slow rondee or sink down with our leg or her leg beautifully extended 

while the musicians play on.Then we slip ourselves back into their beat when we want 



  1.         ” It reminded me a little of the old days driving a car when you could turn the 

engine off and keep rolling…… it was fun to see how far we got compared to last time..

.. trying to save petrol. I think perhaps tango is like that where we sometimes disengage 

from the music and go on a roll of our own until we feel like engaging again. The same 

thing happens in West Coast Swing where either or both partners stand ready to go with
the appropriate beat but improvise blues moves for as long as the leader wants to do it 

himself or permits his follower to do it. But the followers have free choice over their 

moves and improvise as they will. The leader’s only control is how long he permits it. 

In quickstep it happens with a ‘pepperpot’ and in waltz you can do it in an oversway,

but in tango we do it a lot. “  

                      

            Well, there are some interesting views and ideas there, not all relevant.

I can accept that the ‘conversation’ could possibly be three way, but often the

musicians are not necessarily watching the dancers. Also, Tango orchestras almost

always play an arranged score. The individual musicians have little opportunity to

improvise in the same way that Jazz musicians do. So for most purposes the

‘dialogue’ is between the couple in the context of the music.

No two times dancing to the same piece need ever be the same, and particularly

in social dancing the specific environment/surrounding dancers is constantly

changing.

The ‘culture’ of Social Argentine Tango really encourages and allows you to

improvise to a level not normally seen in other dances, so much so that the level

of attention given to each other does enable a ‘dialogue’ to take place.

            We will be very pleased to have more feedback, observations and thoughts

 from other readers. 

                   In the meantime keep up your interest in Argentine Tango music by

at least listening to it regularly. When you listen, or watch videos of tango dancing,

pay full attention to what is happening with the music, the instruments, and the 

dancers so that you catch the various flavours and nuances – like being a wine

taster.

This week, our Tango suggestions.  

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often

  ‘Cachivache Orkesta’  are sometimes described as Tango Punk, or another variant of Tango Nuevo.

That they are excellent tango musicians is not in doubt. You can easily find videos of them playing,and many well known dancers dancing to them – just search for  ‘Cachivache Orkesta’. Saturday 12th December online concert.

[ ‘Cachivache’ can mean junk, but in popular Latin American slang ‘Cachivaches’ means one’s personal bits and pieces, including junk jewellry. ]

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Rhythm, breathing, and walking.

When you are out walking try experimenting with the relationship and awareness between walking and breathing. If any of these exercises makes you faint or dizzy then stop doing them.

Regular, full stride walking. Try and keep the same speed for all of this first set: 

– L breathe in and out on each step, R in and out, L in and out, R in and out. Repeat. ie like panting or breathing quickly

– L breathe out, R breathe in, L breathe out, R breathe in. Repeat. ie one step per breath in or out.

– L breathe out, R continue breathing out (or hold), L breathe in, R continue breathing in (or hold). Repeat.  ie two steps per breath in or out.

– Can you do 3 steps per breath in or out ?

– Can you do 4 steps per breath in or out ?  

Now try combinations that are easily manageable for you; combining eg

-one step breathe in, one step hold breath, one step breathe out, one step hold breath, etc

– one step breathe in, 2 steps hold breath, one step breathe out, 2 steps hold breath.

Experiment with what you can comfortably manage, eg

2 steps breathing in; 3 or 4 or 5 steps holding breath; 1 or 2 steps breathing out; 2, 3, 4

or 5 steps holding breath.

How much of this can you manage while walking up a hill or stairs.

What effect does it have if you try this taking shorter and quicker steps?

Are you becoming aware of your heartbeat ?

Can you feel what speeds are comfortable and practical for you, and fit in the context of your favourite regular tangos? 

Does any of this apply to Tango Vals ?

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3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

Mervyn found this interesting link, which is part of an interesting 9 part series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKVg3ZB42-o&feature=youtu.be

Mysteries of Tango Part 5 – Los secretos del baile (The secrets of the dance).

Two of the the tangueros interviewed are  Juan Carlos Copes b.31 May 1931,

and Maria Nieves b.6 Sept 1934.

These are two of the most famous Tango ‘Missionaries’ that brought Argentine Tango back to world attention with the show ‘Tango Argentino’ in 1983. Look also at

Mysteries of Tango Part 9 – La conquista del mundo.

Wikipedia quotes:   ‘María Nieves offers a simple explanation for her success despite never having had a dancing lesson: “The first time I danced the tango, it entered my skin through my feet, passed from my skin to my blood and through my blood to my heart. It requires no acrobatics, you simply have to devote yourself to your heartbeat.”

Their story is told in the 2015 film ‘Un Tango Mas’ (Our last tango) which is available to watch online.

For other details see wikipedia or:

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/656/Juan-Carlos-Copes/

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/798/Maria-Nieves/

Juan Carlos Copes was inspired by Gene Kelly’s ‘Singing in the rain’ (1952)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swloMVFALXw

Two other famous ‘Tango Missionaries’ are Monica Romero and Omar Ocampo, Los Ocampo, who have taught many times at ‘TangoE14’. They met while working with the Juan Carlos Copes Tango Company, and later created and performed in many notable shows including Tango Bravo and Tango  Pasion.   https://www.losocampotango.net/about

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    This is some material from our 5th December ZOOM meeting:   

Shan enjoyed how Aoniken Quiroga and Giovanna Di Vincenzo dance to the Orchestra of Juan D’Arienzo, ‘Tu boca mintio’ (Your mouth lies) sung by Armando Laborde.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e1HBptdaws&feature=youtu.be

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2017.00600/full Frontiers in Neuroscience, ‘Music – Evoked emotions -Current studies’.

 

Mervyn found: Mysteries of Tango Part 5 – Los secretos del baile (The secrets of the dance).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKVg3ZB42-o&feature=youtu.be

[ Note: This is part of a very interesting series 1 – 9, in Spanish but with English subtitles.]

-1- Nace el tango cancion ( Birth of the tango song).

-2- Mito de Gardel (Myth of Gardel).

-3- Tango una musica prostibularia (Tango, music of the brothel).

-4- El sonido de las orquestas (The sound of the orchestras).

-5- Los secretos del baile (The secrets of the dance).

-6- Tango y politica (Tango and politics).

-7- Tango y poesia (Tango and poetry).

-8- La revolucion de Piazzola (The revolution of Piazzola).

-9- La conquista del mundo ( The conquest of the world). 

Look at ‘5’ and ‘9’ now, and we can look at the others later.  ]

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2nd December 2020

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,                                                                                                            Hi Everyone,                     

                    More sad news I’m afraid. John Herbert told me that Doreen passed away in July from Pancreatic cancer following a short illness. We will miss Doreen, and offer our sympathy and love to John.

                    Some other Tango activities are tentatively occuring , under careful conditions; such as Rachel Greenberg’s ‘La Divina’, and ‘Tanguito’.                                    We at ‘TangoE14’ are unable to do anything in our usual hall until January. However,   as we have indicated before, we could possibly do some free and impromptu dancing outdoors if those interested contact Tony by email, so we can make a safe and sensible plan.                                                                                                                                                                   In the meantime keep up your interest in Argentine Tango music by at least listening to it regularly. When you listen, or watch videos of tango dancing, pay full attention to what is happening with the music, the instruments, and the dancers so that you catch the various flavours and nuances – like being a wine taster.                  

This week, your Tango suggestions.  

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often

       Mariano Laplume, in his interesting zoom talk on Alfredo Gobbi last week,  made a clear distinction between what he described as the ‘Traditional’ tango orchestras and the more ‘Evolutionist’ orchestras. For example, Juan D’Arienzo and Francisco Canaro played with milongeros in mind, who would dance at popular dances (milongas). Their music had a regular beat, a regular rhythm. Incidentally, both D’Arienzo and Canaro put aside their instruments to conduct their orchestras from ‘outside’.                                          Although the ‘Evolutionist’ orchestras typically started off by playing for milongueros, they soon found themselves exploring the possibilities and complexities that Tango offered and allowed. Often the leaders of these more evolutionist orchestras, notably Alfredo Gobbi and Osvaldo Pugliese, conducted their orchestras from ‘within’ the orchestra as they were playing their own instruments at the same time. It is said that these musicians were more ‘in to’ the music, more savouring the music, than the ‘Traditional’ orchestras.                                                                                                                                 So now, choose some pieces to listen to by Juan D’Arienzo and Francisco Canaro. Then  see if you can find the same titles played by Alfredo Gobbi, Osvaldo Pugliese, or the Francini-Pontier orchestra.                                                                                                                   As you listen to them, try dancing on your own to them; or at least try to imagine how you might dance to them. What could you do ? Which do you prefer ?                                     Look up these musicians and their orchestras on https://www.todotango.com/english/artists

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Some more simple exercises to do while standing on one leg:

Try doing this without holding on to anything if you can , but it is still sensible to stand next to a bench or something completely firm to hold on to if necessary.                     Stand up straight, and have all your weight on one foot.                                                         If you can do this without holding on to anything , then also try holding your arms  in the approximate position they would be in with a partner.                                               With the knee relaxed, lift the free leg until the thigh is horizontal, and the lower leg is hanging vertically.                                                                                                                        Now, keeping the thigh completely still, rotate the whole of the free lower leg – First clockwise 8 times, then anticlockwise 8 times.                                                                            If you can control and point your foot a little bit while you are doing this, that is even better.

Similar to what you just did, keep the thigh completely still, but also the lower leg            (Tibia-Fibula bones) completely still, and this time just rotate your whole foot from the ankle; clockwise 8 times, then anticlockwise 8 times.

Now lower your thigh ( Femur bone ) so that it is suspended  at a 45 degree angle; ie half way between horizontal and vertical.                                                                              Keep your Thigh ( Femur ) completely still, and do the same exercises as above with your lower leg:                                                                                                                                       ie rotate the whole lower leg clockwise, then anticlockwise;                                                     then just rotate the foot.

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3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

There has been a lot of news and reporting lately about the life of Diego Maradona, 30/10/60-25/11/20, the famous Argentine footballer. His parents were of Guarani (Paraguayan Indian) and Italian heritage, and he grew up in a poor suburb of Buenos Aires. So it is easy to imagine that some of the ingredients that made him one of the very best football players ever, are the same ingedients that went into the development of the early, and then later the top Argentine Tango dancers. 

               Maradona is said to have had exceptional spatial and environmental awareness, as well as very good physical skills. He could understand clearly the overall situation he and his team were in, so that he was able to find instant, novel and unrehearsed solutions. But underlying that was, at least in the beginning, a solid foundation of both fitness, skills and technique training and practice, and absolute determination. 

            I also wonder about the native South American Indian, including Guarani,  approach to life, culture, problem solving, and ways of seeing and understanding things.                                                                                                                                                                Gauchos were and are excellent stockmen at least in part because they empathise with and understand the animals they deal with; as if the Gaucho and the animal are kindred beings.                                                                                                                            When I worked in the Peruvian Andes in the 1980s I noticed at markets the cloths layed out with hundreds of traditional medicines for all manner of ailments. Plants, rocks, seeds, fruits and so on. ‘If you have serious problems you need to buy abou 1-2 kilos of a particular cactus. You take it to a ‘Curandero’ (Medicine-man). He makes a special preparation of it. Then he, the Medicine-man, drinks it, and when he is ‘stoned’ he tells you what is wrong with you.

             All I am saying is that there are many ways of approaching a problem, or a desire, such as a desire to dance. Sometimes it may help to stop looking at the vertical cliff in front of you, of the mountain you wish to climb. Just walk round to the other side and there may well be an easier route to the summit.

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     In our Saturday  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting of 28th November:   

Mervyn found : ‘There is no ‘I’ in Tango.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-pCNlkO7E4

Hedy’s links; ‘Milonga para as Missoes’, danced by Maria Filali and Gianpiero Galdi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPquZDq2wzQ

and ‘Improvisation of slow milonguero style’, danced by Sara de Italia and Carlos Neuman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_JkjZNfabo&feature=youtu.be

Tony commented that in dancing very quick and short foot steps such as displayed in this Milonga, it can be helpful to think not so much about ‘stepping’, but imagining your body exists in it’s space, and your legs are ‘hanging’ (suspended) underneath your body; so you are simply drumming the floor in a relaxed manned with your feet. This only works for quick and very short steps that are directly under your body. 

 

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25th November 2020

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,                                                                                                           Hi Everyone,

                      ‘La lucha continua’  –  The struggle continues.

                  We continue with our interests and activities as best we can. Keep moderately fit, walk, and do a variety of simple exercises for a few minutes several times a day.                                                                                                                                                       Keep your body moving. Keep listening to tango music, and when you are watching a video of others dancing tango try and imagine yourself doing that.                             But on top of that it is worth reflecting about what Argentine Tango is and    what it means. To me there is another level, separate from just being a competent dancer, and being physically able to dance – it is an ability to connect with and to communicate with your partner. It is the ability to ‘listen’ to your partner with all   your senses.

This week, your Tango suggestions.  

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often

Edgardo Donato, b 14 April 1897 BsAs – d. 15 Feb 1963. Played violin with the orchestras of Jose Quevedo, Eduardo Arolas and Adolfo Carabelli, before forming his own orchestra in 1927. He recorded with Brunswick, Victor and Pampa. https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/101/Edgardo-Donato

Victor Buchino, b 14 Sept 1920 in San Miguel de Tucuman –                                              Played piano and formed an orchestra for the singer Edmundo Rivera. He recorded with Victor and TK. He also played with other singers ; Ranko Fugisawa, Libertad Lamarque, Juan Carlos Lamas and Susy Leiva. https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/887/Victor-Buchino

You can look up the singers or other artists on https://www.todotango.com/english/artists

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

            Today a couple of simple ideas to practice :                                                               Walking up stairs with co-ordinated breathing, and balancing on one leg.             You will need a) Stairs, preferibly a long flight;  and b) Two legs.

a) Stairs. When walking up stairs , try walking up two at a time. It is a bit more work, takes very slightly longer, and makes you want to take bigger and longer breaths.         As you take the first step up ( whether one or two steps of the stairs ) breathe out.   Then on the next step ( or two stairs ), breathe in.                                                              Keep going up the stairs, ( preferibly 2 at a time if you can manage it ), keeping this constant rhythm/co-ordination of step and breath.

If you only have a short flight of stairs, after 4 stairs,or any multiple of 4, you will have to come down and start again. Do not run down the stairs or jump down. That would ‘jar’ your joints.

Going up stairs can be gentle ‘compression’ of joints, but too much running down stairs or steep hills can be damaging. Keep doing this exercise until you start to feel a bit breathless.

Then try complete breathing out and in on every step.                                                       This is a useful aerobic exercise, but also helps you to see that you can have polyrhythms in your body of various step and breathing patterns.

b) Balancing on one leg. Can you balance on one leg while you put on or take off your shoes and socks/stockings ?  Do this next to something solid and safe that you can touch or hold on to if you start to lose your balance. Be careful !

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Mina and Giraldo – Corrientes –  have online classes, https://corrientessocialclub.co.uk Email < contact@corrientessocialclub.co.uk >

Raquel Greenberg Tango has online classes;   https://www.raquel-tango.com                     Email < info@raquel-tango.com >

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.         Email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com > for details.                                          Or check their website:  www.losocampotango.net 

 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

Famous Argentinian, Dr. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, 14 June 1928 – 9 October 1967, studied Medicine in Buenos Aires. Travelled widely in Latin America. See his book    ‘The motorcycle Diaries’, first published in 1993. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Motorcycle_Diaries_(book)                                              He was offended by the poverty he encountered, caused partly by the machinations of the USA and external business on the Latin American world he knew. An early example being the US and ‘United Fruit’ interference in Guatemala. He spent time in a Leper colony in Peru. They made for him a raft called ‘Mambo-Tango’ on which he travelled down the Amazon to Leticia , Columbia.                                                                                        After completing his degree he met and joined Fidel  Castro’s efforts to socialise Cuba. He was killed in Bolivia.                                                                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_Guevara

From wikipedia:  Years later, a declassified CIA ‘biographical and personality report’ dated 13 February 1958 made note of Guevara’s wide range of academic interests and intellect, describing him as “quite well read” while adding that “Che is fairly intellectual for a Latino.”  Which quite well sums up US and CIA arrogance.

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  From our Saturday afternoon  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting of 21st November:                                                                                                                                      Shan’s video:                                                                                                                           Catherine Boucher and David Gauthier dance Tango Nuevo to ‘Sentimientos’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ZtfAb_Ah0&feature=youtu.be

Hedy’s video: Orquesta Color Tango en concierto  ( Estilo Pugliese ). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBSHKqpIRO8

Mervyn’s video: The deep listening project – Visualising Music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS9mwJTLAxE&list=PLUnT7s2pQI2M_7_89FVobdgm_CdD3wBcq&index=53&t=9s

 

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18th November 2020

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,                                                                                                           Hi Everyone,

                      Gary recently told me the sad news that John Bartley passed away on Thursday 5th November. I have no other details, but we will miss him and his generous cake creations. We offer our respect and sympathy to his family and friends. John reached a good age and continued to engage with dancing as much as he could.

                  So we continue with our interests and activities as best we can. We can talk to friends and family by phone or internet. When we are out walking we can still chat to people we meet, as long as we maintain that distance apart; that 2 metres.

Of course we miss the embrace, but just seeing people, talking, sharing news and stories is healthy and affirming. Perhaps Anita will give us her latest baby picture. He puts a smile on my face anyway.

          There is no excuse for not keeping moderately fit, walking, and doing a variety of all your simple exercises for a few minutes several times a day.

          Many years ago, in some parts of the world, when people were obliged to keep their cars unused in a garage for 6 months, they would jack them up off the ground so that the tyres would not develop flat spots. They would turn the motors over a few times every week to keep the oil circulated to all the bearings.                                                          We need to keep ourselves ‘dance fit’ as much as reasonably possible so that when we do eventually start public social dancing again, we are ready to go….. and with a smile and lots of positive social energy.                                                                                                      So keep that body moving. Keep listening to tango music, and when you are watching a video of others dancing tango try and imagine yourself doing that.   

               On our       www.TangoE14.wordpress.com    Home page there are a couple of links where you can listen to Tango music for free.                                                                                  https://www.todotango.com/english/   is another good place to look.  

This week, your Tango suggestions.  

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often.

Alfredo Gobbi                                            https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/21/Alfredo-Gobbi  (Music)

Michael Lavocah and tango DJ Dag Stenvoll play and discuss tango by year.            Go to           https://soundcloud.com/user-342390385                                                               Or join          https://www.facebook.com/groups/tangoyear/

 

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Today let’s look at Changing speed within the Giro, or Grapevine.                                  For example, doing  Slow  –  Slow -Quick-Quick-   Slow.

Go back to the TangoE14 Newsletter of 11th October 2020 and revise the notes on Giro and grapevine exercises. You need to be able to do this neatly, precisely and at a constant speed, stepping in time with the music.

You should be able to complete a ‘grapevine’ of four steps :  ‘forward’-‘side’-‘back’-‘side’ moving around your stool (partner) completely, so that you have done one complete clockwise giro.                                                                                                                              You should also be able to start and stop a giro from any of those steps, (forward, side or back), be able to do as many or as few of these giro steps together as you want to, and to be able to change direction from clockwise to anticlockwise or vice-versa.

Now, in doing this ‘forward-side-back-side-forward’ sequence try speeding up (Quick-Quick) on the ‘back’ step and the ‘side’ step that comes immediately after it.

So your           ‘forward  –  side  –  back  –  side  –  forward’                                        becomes         ‘  slow       –  slow –  quick-quick  –   slow   ‘.

This is a fairly easy rhythm/step/sequence to find, but there are many other possibilities that you can try and see if they work for you. However, remember that we dance Tango together. We are connected; we are leading and following this together. 

It is a very bad habit for tango dancers to get into, to always do these two steps of the giro as Quick-Quick. The leader must clearly lead his musical intention whether he wants quick or not, and the follower must be paying full attention to that lead.

Where a couple are used to each other, a follower might do a ‘quick-quick’ at a point where the leader did not intend that. But in such a case the follower should be respectful of the music, the other dancers, the reality and dynamics of what is going on with the couple as well as those around them, and should pause sufficiently for the leader to ‘recover and catch up’. It is counterproductive and not enjoyable for a follower to repeatedly do this. That would imply that the follower is unable or unwilling to follow.

Changing speed momentarily also puts you physically in a different place in relation to the music. It feels very nice to dance with the music, so we need to be accustomed to not only speeding up when the music inspires us, but also be able to slow down, even to pause, to breathe, and to enjoy fully the experience of dancing together with another person. In other words we are always listening to and concentrating on each other and the music. We are not thinking about anything else.

This exercise needs to be done in couples. If you can only do it on your own, then try doing it in front of a mirror, and really concentrate on keeping your axes. Be aware that it is bad to repeatedly drill things incorrectly; so do try things, but don’t over-do them.            

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Recent exercise videos from Monica and Omar :

  https://youtu.be/rRxD6D5_uL4                 https://youtu.be/51ct3tbHOf4   

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.               If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >                    and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.                                                      They currently have lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.                           For details and to join please check their website: www.losocampotango.net 

 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

Alfredo Julio Floro Gobbi, ‘El violin romantico del tango’.                                             b.14 May 1912 (Paris, France), d. 21 May 1965 BsAs. https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/21/Alfredo-Gobbi  (Biography).

  Alfredo  Eusebio Gobbi Chiapapietra, ‘Gaucho Alegria’, and father of Alfredo Gobbi above.Singer, guitarist, entertainer and composer.                                                     b. 5 February 1877 (Paysandu, Uruguay), d. 25 January 1938 https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/500/Alfredo-Eusebio-Gobbi  (Biography). 

 Orlando Goñi ; real name Orlando Cayetano Gogni. Pianist, leader, friend and contemporary of Alfredo Gobbi. A bohemian who ‘burned out’.                                           b. 26 January 1914 (BsAs)  , d. 5 February 1945 (Uruguay) https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/725/Orlando-Goni/  (Biography)

 

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     Our Saturday afternoon  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meetings are currently at 4.30pm.   

This is some of our recent material: From 7th November:                                           Mervyn found this one about playing with and without emotion:             https://youtu.be/r6qizlvoyk0  

Shan chose 1) Cambell Millar and Ricardo Correa improvising to ‘Siempre me quedara’ by Bebe   https://youtu.be/C-iBW35bkTY                                                                                   and 2) Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing Tom Waits ‘Russian dance’ https://youtu.be/MAZQOeKnQIc

John’s link showing Mamie Sancy and Felipe Zarzar, dancing in close embrace throughout,   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LslfPMeoM9A                                 (Music: Mi Dolor, Alfredo De Angelis)

 From 14th November:  

Shan’s  ‘Soha – Mil Pasos’ with Maria Filali and Ozgur Karahan https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yu9oP0yMB4g

Paul’s ‘La Milonga de Buenos Aires’ with Yanina Quiñones and Neri Piliu. https://youtu.be/YFyTwSoAjyI

Mervyn’s  ‘Rodolfo Biagi and Alberto Amor – Mañana por la mañana'(1946).   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZBelSOQth4

and    ‘The Importance of Singing with Emotion’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORRdH9ZSUEg&list=PLUnT7s2pQI2M_7_89FVobdgm_CdD3wBcq&index=89&t=3s

 

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6th November 2020

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,

Hi Everyone,

                      Well, here we are again in a ‘Second Lockdown’. Annoying as it might be, we absolutely need to comply with Government guidelines of staying at home, and avoiding contact  with others. This is simply because it is the only effective way we have for contolling the spread of Covid-19. We can go out for walks or runs as long as we maintain our ‘social distancing’, so there is no excuse for not keeping moderately fit. Keeping ‘Tango’ fit does present a bit more of a challenge, especially for those who do not live with their tango partner. Nevertheless, if we continue to do a wide range of dance and fitness exercises, such as those we have looked at over the last eight months, then when decent dancing opportunities eventually turn up we should be ready to dance. General body and muscle tone, balance and dissociation are the main things we need to have, but doing a wide range of physical activities and skills is good.

              Tango fitness is more than just dancing regularly. It includes your own mental acculturation. It includes listening to the music, to the many varieties of  Argentine Tango music which have evolved and developed over the years. Listening, familiarizing, and internally being with the music, so you are comfortable to play in that zone. Listen to Argentine Tango music, and there is a lot of it, while you do housework or drive or whatever, will help you to feel comfortable and familiar with it.  

               On our       www.TangoE14.wordpress.com    Home page there are a couple of links where you can listen to Tango music for free.   https://www.todotango.com/english/   is another good place to look.                            Then, watching videos of tango dancers can also be very useful. Can you see precisely what they are doing and how. Much of it may be incomprehensible at first, but try and appreciate what they are doing and how good they are at fitting it to the music. 

      If you have ideas or opinions on what TangoE14 should or should not be doing, we are always pleased to hear from you.

      One little project we are considering is to prepare a short video of TangoE14 dancers dancing in a variety of outdoor locations around the E14 area. We do not need large crowds for this, and can video one or two couples at a time. If you are interested in joining in please let Tony know. 

 

This week, your Tango suggestions.  

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often.

Michael Lavocah and tango DJ Dag Stenvoll play and discuss tango by year.            Go to           https://soundcloud.com/user-342390385                                                               Or join          https://www.facebook.com/groups/tangoyear/

Mariano Laplume, ‘Tango Music Coach’, is doing more of his online or facebook talks. Contact  Maral & Mariano <info@maralmariano.com> :                                                       Sat 7th November, 2pm (UK time): Francini – Pontier Orchestras.                                      Sat 14th November; Tango Music Fundamentals 1, Rhythmic Base Elements. COST 12 Euros.                                                                                                                                                 Sat 21st November; Tango Music Fundamentals 2, Expressive Elements. COST 12 Euros, or 20 Euros for both.                                                                                                              Sat 28th November, 2pm : Alfredo Gobbi and Orchestra

Christine and Adrian of Westcourt Tango invite you to listen to the programme they did about Tango on Jivebeat Radio, hosted by Graham G on Saturday 31st October, 22.30-00.00 . Go to   https://jivebeat.dance  and click the right link.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Following on from recent exercises, and last weeks videos from Monica and Omar,[   https://youtu.be/rRxD6D5_uL4                 https://youtu.be/51ct3tbHOf4   ]

Let’s now look at two simple concepts,  Amague and Ocho Cortado:

Amagar – verb, to threaten. In sport and tango, to feint or to do a dummy move.
Amago, ‘I do a feint’. Amague– noun m, threat. In tango a feint or dummy. See
also Rebote, a bounce or rebound. 

 Rebote – noun m, bounce, rebound. May be similar in tango sometimes to an Amague.

Ocho cortado – ‘cut ocho’.  

Let us start standing with your partner in your usual attentive embrace, say Leader’s weight on right and Follower’s weight on left foot.  Start to invite and accompany your partner to move to the leader’s left.                                                                                              It is important for both the leader and the follower to feel exactly where they are.        At the point where you both start to put your weight down, leader’s L foot/follower’s R foot , you reverse direction. You effectively ‘bounce’ back to where you were.

You have not, in this move, transferred all of your weight onto your Leader’s L, or Follower’s R,  but just put sufficient weight onto it to be able to bounce back to where you were. Note that you also momentarily took the weight off your weight bearing foot/leg; not completely, just say most of it, before replacing it back to 100%.

In a simple amague you can just come back to parallel standing, upright embrace, with feet together, weight still on the same foot ( Leader’s R ) that you started.

You have now done a simple amague to the leader’s left.

Now try the similar move to the right.

Now try a simple amague with the leader going forward with the left foot, and then rebounding back.

 Now try a simple amague with the leader going forward with the right foot, and then rebounding back.  

     –   try a simple amague with the leader going backward with the left foot, and then rebounding back.  

     –   try a simple amague with the leader going backward with the right foot, and then rebounding back.  

So a simple amague should be possible in any direction.

Now you know what to do, try doing this move to a  Quick-Quick-Slow  rhythm,

 [ StepReplace weight on standing foot-Bring feet back together ]

If you do not have a partner, just try doing this on your own but imagining you are the leader, and imagining your partner.

Take small steps, say about 20-30 centimetres.

Keep your posture upright, and have slightly relaxed/soft knees, but definitely not very bent knees.

Aim to land/bounce on the front of your foot, but at the same time keep your feet close to the floor.

Leaders: Don’t lift your heels well off the ground, just enough to clear the floor but being ready for instant stability.

Followers can lift their heels a little more if they are comfortable doing so; but  lifting the heel a lot can be counterproductive unless the follower is doing more elaborate decoration as in a performance.

If doing this on your own, just do it a few times, enough to familiarise your body with the idea, but not so much that you start to hard wire bad habits on your own. 

This movement is about connection, not choreography.

Ocho Cortado. Here is a little sequence for a couple; a simple Ocho Cortado:         Couple walking together in comfortable embrace with good connection.                   Leader forward L; Follower back R, but then straight into the first Amague/bounce/change of direction.                                                                                  Leader steps back with L; a full stride so his L is now behind his R in a back step.

But in leading the Follower to take a full stride forward step, the Leader dissociates his upper torso to lead the Follower  to step outside the Leader/to the Leader’s Right side, with her Right foot.

Then the leader pivots on his left foot and starts to step with his right foot to his right side. Ideally as he moves his right leg, he should bring it back to the ‘collect’ position, pivot on the front of his left foot, and then step to his right side with his right foot.

BUT his step to the side with his Right is another (the second) Amague/a Bounce. 

Meanwhile, the follower has been led from the first Amague/bounce to step forward with her Right.

Then, pivoting a quarter turn on her right foot, the Follower  takes a side step with her Left, which is turned into the second Amague/bounce.                                                        The follower brings her left foot back together with her right, in a cross.

As the leader leads the follower to rebound to her cross, he collects his R to his left.

This is usually a quick movement, but not necessarily.                                                        The couple end facing each other, Leader feet together, Follower in a cross.

The leading of the second Amague back to a cross ( Follower Left over Right ) is subtle.     You can learn it as a bit of useful choreography.                                                                    But it is worth experimenting and understanding how this actually works.

One common mistake is for the follower to swing her leg and cross behind. 

Some of the main reasons why this happens is if the follower is absolutely upright, or has made up her mind to do that, or if she is leaning back slightly. But if the leader can keep the follower very slightly tilted /leaning forward on the front of her feet, then the Leader can much more easily lead the follower to cross L in front of R.

As well as that, Dissociation and the natural body communication and empathy of both partners in their dissociation moves, is extremely important.

So without getting too complicated, just try experimenting with the exercises above, and see when you need to dissociate to ensure the cross you want, or to get the opposite cross, or to make sure your partner does not cross.

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3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

More orchestras:

Enrique Francini ( b. 14 Jan 1916 San Fernando, BsAs, d. 27 Aug 1978 BsAs ), played violin in many orchestras including Juan Ehlert, Miguel Calo,Astor Piazzola, Horacio Salgan and his own. He is well known for the ‘Orchestra Francini-Pontier’. https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/66/Enrique-Francini                             Note the article  ‘Pontier chatting…’

Armando Pontier ( b. 29 Aug 1917 Zarate, BsAs, d. 25 Dec 1983 BsAs ), played bandoneon with Miguel Calo and his own Orchestra, as well as in the ‘Orchestra Francini-Pontier’.                               https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/51/Armando-Pontier

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     Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting will be this Saturday afternoon, 7th Novemberat 4.30pm.   

Last week John and Paul made some interesting comparisons between ‘Tango IQ’; (Are you sociable? How do you react when things go wrong ?) and Air crew training and assessment. (Are you  results oriented or people oriented ?). “Be kind to one another”.

Mervyn found ‘Zen tango’ – Ricardo Vidort says ‘Find your own tango’. There is no single ‘right’ way.

John’s link showing a relatively simple and measured dance:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqqJdVWY6o0                                                             with Ines Muzzopappa & Hernan Prieto. (Nueve Puntos,  Carlos Di Sarli).

 

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20th October

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,

Hi Everyone,

                       Where to now ? Where to go, what to do, what is the future of Tango?

How will Social Tango emerge or re-establish itself when we eventually start to

come out of this Covid-19 pandemic ?

          It appears that the landlord of TangoE14’s traditional venue is not keen on 

re-opening the venue just yet, particularly in the light of recent increases in infection. 

However, I do believe that with careful management, maintaining distancing, wearing 

masks and controlling attendance numbers, it ought to be possible at some point, as

restrictions lift, to have some sort of Practice/Class that is very low risk and 

appropriate. So we continue to wait to see what is possible.

         One of the questions we ask ourselves is ‘What is the purpose of TangoE14 ?

What are we trying to do ?’ I will answer with a few points:

– We want to help others to discover and enjoy Argentine Tango as a social dance.

– To understand what makes it such a special social dance, and see how it differs

from other dances, and where there is overlapping.

– To understand how our bodies work as dancers, and how we can control and

enjoy our movement, especially as dancers.

– To find the best possible connection with our partners.

– To learn both how to follow and to lead.

– Learning how to dance and enjoy Argentine Tango is not something that can be

fully achieved with a short course or a couple of expensive private classes. You

have to do it, hear it, absorb it, be it and live it over a long period of time. 

Preferably by dancing socially at least a couple of times a week, and taking classes 

sometimes as suits your inclination.

– You could just come to TangoE14 once a week. But we recommend that you go

to other milongas and classes as well, so we are part of your tango journey, and 

when you come to us you can share your experiences and ideas and thereby help

all of us in growing our understanding and skills.

– Argentine Tango is a global cultural heritage of mankind, it is not an exclusive

patented franchise.

– We also through our visiting teachers and classes, through our newsletters and 

website try to help all our members to improve their knowledge and understanding 

of Argentine Tango.

      If you have ideas or opinions on what TangoE14 should or should not be 

doing, we are always pleased to hear from you.

    On Sunday 11th October Shan and Tony visited Mike Cushman’s Practica at 

Wimbledon. We enjoyed the opportunity to dance, and could see how a thinly 

populated dance, where people wear masks, and do not change partners can work. 

There were just 6 couples. It was rather the opposite of a crowded milonga, but it 

was great just to dance.

     Ray Batchelor is also asking if ‘Queer Tango’ should change anything to 

adapt to a new future. If you have any ideas for him go to

https://queertangobook.org/queer-tango-futures-what-should-queer-tango-be-like-in-the-future/   

          

This week, your Tango suggestions.  

 

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often.

In response to our request for you to tell us what you found,

Rosa sent us this link if you go on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/814493972288207/permalink/946349715769298/?sfnsn=scwspmo&extid=a&d=n&vh= 

Or if you don’t do Facebook, look for

Cuarentango-You tube

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apRyMwNP6F0

This last one which I found is about 90 minutes of music which you don’t need to watch (there is nothing to watch) but is selections by Tango DJs that you could listen to whilst doing exercises or housework or something else.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Some exercises need you to be able to pivot easily in smooth dance shoes on a smooth floor, or in socks on a linoleum floor. Just be careful that your arrangement is not soslippery or friction free that you fall over  !  

Pablo Nievas often made the point that the floor is our friend. We need to have contact with the floor and use it. There must be some friction. No friction is disastrous.

In recent weeks we have looked at OCHO and GIRO  exercises in some detail.

If you can do them with a partner that is good, but doing them on your own is still very useful, particularly with regards to being aware of and in control of your own balance, momentum, and body awareness.

Go over these exercises regularly, and include walking, grapevines, and walking turns as well.

Do them with tango music playing. 

Try stopping and starting at any point.

Try some of the movements at different speeds:

– Very slow (one step to as many beats as you like. Really drag it out, but being ready for the next step precisely when you want to come back in to the music).

– Slow (one step to two beats).

– Normal (one step to a beat ).

– Quick (in half a beat; can you do two steps in one beat).

– A bit quicker (in a third of a beat; can you do three steps in one beat).

– Even quicker ( in a quarter of a beat; can you do four little steps in one beat).

So, play, mess around. What can you do? What can you get away with without losing control, or losing the music.

Don’t worry about mistakes. Try again. If it doesn’t work, leave it; maybe try again tomorrow.

Please do not hurt yourself.

So with those basic ocho and giro movements, plus stopping and starting at various points, or changing direction at specific points, or changing speed, we can devise all sorts of fancy movements. 

Over the coming weeks we will look at a few of the more obvious examples; such as 

‘Ocho Cortado’, ‘Voleos’, and Giros with a ‘Quick, Quick’ movement.

What can you discover ?

*****          *****          *****

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.               If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com > .           They currently have lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For details please check their website:  www.losocampotango.net 

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3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

Some Argentinians celebrated 17th October as ‘Loyalty Day’ to remember the large demonstrations demanding the liberation of Juan Peron in 1945.

Further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalty_Day_(Argentina)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1946_Argentine_general_election

And if you ever wonder about US intervention read:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruille_Braden

Spruille Braden, a US businessman, held several brief but important ambassadorships in Colombia (1939-42), Cuba (1942), and Argentina for four months in 1945. He encouraged opposition to Argentina’s President Edelmiro Julian Farrell and Juan Peron; but Peron exploited this intervention with the slogan “Braden or Peron ?”  Braden accused Peron of being pro-Axis, anti-United Nations, working against ‘Allied’ interests in South America, and massive violations of human rights. On the other hand Peron gave Women the vote, tried to improve conditions for many working class people, and asserted Argentine’s right to run it’s own affairs, but the balance of payments and economy deteriorated.

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     Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting will be this Saturday afternoon, 24th Octoberat 4 pm.      

Our most recent conversations included ‘Trance and dance’. Dance, like running and exercise, can cause the production of Endorphins, which can reduce pain and may create euphoria. The word endorphin literally means ‘endogenous morphine’. Then if you trust your partner a follower can go into a sort of trance. So some moves such as a ‘Volcada’ can be especially enjoyable.                                                                                      ‘What is love?’ – ‘A physiological trance state that is temporary?’ – ‘Not a unitary thing?’  “Agape and Eros ?” – ‘What sort of love are we talking about ?’ – ‘Attachment, attunement, attraction?’ – ‘Empathy, sense of oneness, allowing our inner world to resonate with another’.

Mervyn mentioned a book ‘Whats love got to do with it’ by Thomas Scheff.  http://scheff.faculty.soc.ucsb.edu/main.php?id=29.html

 

Professor Thomas Scheff, defining love: meet Argentina’s top tango stars aged 82 and 90.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVUjAHm548c&feature=youtu.be

 

If anyone else has any observations or thoughts about Tango they would like to shareyou can contact us, by phone , email or zoom.

 

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11th October

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

Have a look for some of the less well known Tango Orchestras and musicians of different eras.  Tell us about what you find, and what you like and don’t like.

You all know the big names of the main well known orchestras. If you look them up you might find the names of the musicians that played with them. See how many of those musicians also set up their own orchestras.

Hedy sent this link about Blanquita, a 95 year old milonguera in Buenos Aires:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akRfHi3-2w4&feature=push-sd&attr_tag=6wZTu-SDcllBpi2N%3A6

I found this link with two couples in a 2018 Tango World Championship. The first couple, Julian Sanchez and Bruna Estellita from Argentina, fall over in their performance but remarkably get quickly up and carry on.  The second couple from Italy are Simone Facchini and Gioia Abballe.                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45k_4UUHgTk

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Some exercises need you to be able to pivot easily in smooth dance shoes on a smooth floor, or in socks on a linoleum floor. Just be careful that your arrangement is not so slippery or friction free that you fall over  !  You can see from the video above that we do not want to fall over.                                                                                                           Pablo Nievas often made the point that the floor is our friend. We need to have contact with the floor and use it. There must be some friction. No friction is disastrous.

GIRO – exercises

Giro is the Spanish word for a turn. ‘Girar’ is the verb to turn; So I could say ‘(Yo) giro’ meaning: I turn, noting that you can omit the pronoun ‘I’ in Spanish.

In Tango a ‘Giro’ usually refers to a specific way of turning around your partner which we will discuss here. However giro is a general term and it is valid to do a giro around your partner simply by walking continuously forwards or continuously backwards if that is what is led.                                                                                                                          But here we are considering the generally understood concept of a ‘grapevine’ style of giro. Of stepping ‘forward-side-back-side-forward’ around your partner whilst always looking at your partner, trying to keep your upper body towards your partner but dissociating from the hips down.

These exercises follow on from last week’s ‘ocho’ exercises.

‘Grapevine’ exercise in a straight line:

Find a hallway or path where you can walk forward in a straight line for several steps; at least six paces, without any obstacles. Preferibly with a smooth floor.

1/ Stand facing the direction you intend to travel.

2/ Turn your head to your right 90 degrees, and keep looking in this direction all the time.

3/ Take a step forward with your right foot.

4/ Transfer your weight onto your right foot. Collect left to right, and pivot on the ball of your right foot 90 degrees clockwise.

5/ Step to your left side with your left foot, but maintaining your straight line of travel. All the time you are looking at the right side of your hall or path.

6/ Collect your right foot to your left, but do not change weight onto your right foot.

7/ Pivot on the ball of your left foot (by dissociating your lower half) clockwise 90 degrees. Keep your feet together while pivoting for this exercise.

8/ Step backwards with your right foot. Note that you are still progressing ‘forward’ in your line of travel.

9/ Collect your left back to your right, without changing weight.

10/ Pivot 90 degrees anticlockwise on the ball of your right. (You should still be facing the right side of your hall/path).

11/ Step sideways with your left.

12/ Collect right to left, without changing weight.

13/ Pivot anticlockwise 90 degrees. Then step forward with your right.

14/ If you are outdoors, or have a long clear path with a smooth surface, then continue repeating the steps 3-13. Do them carefully and precisely to start with, then still trying to take clear and precise steps, collects, and pivots, try doing them a little bit quicker so you can do them comfortably to typical Tango walking beat, and then to half beat.

You should be doing a ‘grapevine’ of ‘Forward-Side-Back-Side-Forward-Side-Back-Side’, and so on.

15/  Now turn your head to your left. Start by stepping forward on your left foot, and continue doing the complete grapevine exercise, but facing the other side.

Giro exercise around a tall stool, or a broom:

Now we will do a grapevine around a suitable prop, such as a tall stool.                             If you have a tall narrow stool with four legs, that is ideal. A four legged chair will do.

If you can place the stool diagonally on a line on the floor that may help your orientation.

1/ Stand close to one corner facing the centre of the stool, Feet together.                       Have your weight forward on the front of the feet/balls of both feet.                           Relax knees slightly with a very slight bend but without lowering your body or reducing height more than a hint.

3/ Transfer your weight onto one foot. Lets say Left foot.

4/ Rotate your hips and legs  45 degrees (an eighth of a turn) to your left (ie anticlockwise). You should be pivoting on the ball of your left foot. Your vertical axis at this moment is through the ball of your left foot.                                                                  Your upper body, your shoulders, chest and head should still be facing the centre of the stool.                                                                                                                                                    In other words, you have ‘dissociated’ ( moved independently ) the lower part of your body, from your hips down.

5/ With your free foot ( in this case your right foot ) take a medium step ‘forward’ to your left.                                                                                                                                           For the purpose of this exercise we are aiming for the next corner (leg) of the stool.   We are starting to walk around the stool.

6/ When you have stepped with your right and put your foot down, then move onto that foot.  In other words, then transfer all your weight onto your right foot.

7/ Collect your left to your right, but do not put any weight onto it.

8/ Rotate your hips 180 degrees clockwise.                                                                              You should be pivoting on the ball of your right foot.                                                    Momentarily you will have the toes of both feet slightly out from that foot of the stool, so that the foot of the stool is momentarily opposite the small space between your feet. But you continue pivoting a wee bit more so that you can take a side step directly opposite that side of the stool.                                                                                                   Your head and upper body are always focused on your partner (the centre of the stool).

9/ Now step ‘side’ to your left, with your left foot.                                                              There is a brief moment in passing when you have your weight on both feet, your feet are apart, and your whole body head to toes is facing your partner (the centre of the stool).

10/ When you have stepped and put your foot down, then move onto that foot. In other words, transfer all your weight onto your left foot.

11/ Collect your right to your left, but do not put any weight onto it.

12/ Rotate your lower body ( hips and legs ) 180 degrees clockwise.                                Your vertical ‘axis’ has changed, and you are now pivoting on the ball of your left foot.

13/ When you have fully pivoted , step ‘backwards’ with your right foot, moving across the ‘third side’ of your stool/chair.                                                                                                 If you have dissociated well, your head and upper body should still be facing your partner (the centre of the stool).

14/ Collect left foot to right foot. Keeping weight on your right.

15/ It should now be easy for you to take a ‘side’ step with your left.

You should have completed a ‘grapevine’ of four steps :  ‘forward’-‘side’-‘back’-‘side’ moving around your stool (partner) completely, so that you have done one complete clockwise giro.

16/ Now do a similar process to create an anticlockwise giro. Start with a forward step, moving your Left foot across to your right, and travelling around your stool in an  anticlockwise direction. Work it out.

17/ Practice steps 1-16 of the Giro above. Do it carefully and precisely, being sure and comfortable with your dissociation and your own balance.                                                Try not to rely on your  partner (stool) for balance or support.                                            Develop awareness of your axes and how they change from moment to moment.         Do a few repeat giros one after another.                                                                          Change direction and do a few the other way.                                                                          Do your giro steps slowly and confidently so you know exactly where you are at any moment.                                                                                                                                            Do your giro steps to a slow steady tango/walking beat.

18/ Try stopping at certain points in the giro. There are obvious clear ‘landmarks’ when  you are on one axis or the other when you could stop or change direction. But there are other less clear places where you can vary your movements, such as the moment you are with legs apart on both feet.

19/ So try doing your giro exercise while listening to tango music, and see where you can change direction comfortably and with music. You can mix in forward and back ochos as well. Often in dancing we can easily finish a giro with an ocho.                          So a simple practical sequence could be 5 giro steps ‘F-S-B-S-F’ followed by a change of direction to do a Forward step in the other direction.                                                             In this case the last Forward of the ‘Giro’ is in fact the first half of a complete ‘Forward Ocho’.

With such exercises, when they are new, do not labour them to the point of serious discomfort.

Some of the difficulties can arise from trying to dissociate, and from keeping your axis and balance.

20/ If you have a partner to exercise with, try doing these above exercises in pairs.

Try different holds; Follower’s hands on leader’s shoulders or chest; firm connection hand to hand, or hands to elbows; ‘open’ tango embrace;  ‘close’ tango embrace;  no touching at all just eye contact and having a clear posture/frame/and intention of movement.

Try either with ‘leader’ just supporting follower and being the centre that the follower ‘orbits around. Then alternatively, try both doing the same movements together, so that you orbit around each other.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

You don’t have to get too bogged down in this . Just look at it quickly and get an overview.

From last week’s homework did anyone discover this Wikipedia page ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heads_of_state_of_Argentina#Argentine_Republic_(1861%E2%80%93present)  

Summarising the last 90 years using this information we see this:

1853-The Argentine Constitution was adopted.

1861- Following the battle of Pavon, Bartolome Mitre became the first President of a unified Argentine Republic.

From then there was a more or less uninterrupted line of constitutional presidents until 1930.

12/10/28-6/9/30 Hipolito Yrigoyen-UCR (Union Civica Radical)-by free indirect election.

6/9/30-20/2/32 Jose Felix Uriburu-Military-took power by Coup.

20/2/32-20/2/38 Agustin Pedro Justo-PDN-by election fraud and banning opposition.

20/2/38-27/6/42 Roberto Maria Ortiz-UCR-election fraud.

3/7/40-4/6/43 Ramon Castillo-UCR-deputy and successor to Ortiz.

4/6/43-7/6/43 Arturo Rawson-M-by Coup.

7/6/43-9/3/44 Pedro Pablo Ramirez-M-Coup.

25/2/44-4/6/46 Edelmiro Julian Farrell-M- Vice President successor to Ramirez.

( Declared war on Axis powers 27/3/45).

4/6/46-4/6/52 Juan Peron-Labour-Free indirect election.

4/6/52-19/9/55 Juan Peron-Peronist-Free direct election. First election to allow women to vote.

20/9/55-13/11/55 Eduardo Louardi-Military-Coup.

13/11/55-1/5/58 Pedro Eugenio Aramburu-M-Coup.

1/5/58-29/3/62 Arturo Frondini-UCR-Indirect election; Peronism barred.

29/3/62-12/10/63 Jose Maria Guido-UCR-Coup which claimed to be procedurally justified.

12/10/63-28/6/66 Arturo Umberto Illia-UCR-Indirect election; Peronism barred.

28/6/66-29/6/66 A Junta (Ruling committee) of Commanders-Military-Coup.

29/6/66-8/6/70 Juan Carlos Ongania-M-Coup.

8/6/70-18/6/70 Junta-M-Coup.

18/6/70-23/3/71 Roberto M. Levingston-Appointed then ousted by Junta.

23/3/71-26/3/71 Junta-M.

26/3/71-25/5/73 Alejandro Agustin Lanusse. Appointed by Junta, then called for elections.                                                                                                                                      Lifted ban on Peronism.

25/5/73-13/7/73 Hector Jose Campora-Peronist. Free direct election, then annulled the ban that remained specifically over Juan Peron; then resigned.

13/7/73-12/10/73 Raul Alberto Lastiri-Peronist- Exercised executive power as President of  Chamber of Deputies.

12/10/73-1/7/74 Juan Peron-Peronist. Free direct election. Died in office.

1/7/74-24/3/76 Isabel Martinez de Peron-Peronist. As Vice President assumed Presidency.

24/3/76-29/3/76 Junta-M. Coup. Start of ‘National Reorganisation Process’.

29/3/76-29/3/81 Jorge Rafael Videla-MPresident of Junta.

29/3/81-21/11/81 Roberto Eduardo Viola-M. Appointed by Videla.

21/11/81-11/12/81 Horacio Tomas Liendo-M Acting President during Viola suspension.

11/12/81-22/12/81 Carlos Lacoste-M. Interim.

22/12/81-18/6/82 Leopoldo Galtieri-M. Appointed by Junta.

18/6/81-1/7/82 Alfredo Oscar Saint Jean-M. Appointed by Junta.

1/7/82-10/12/83 Reynaldo Bignone-M. Appointed by Junta. End of ‘National Reorganisation

Process’. Called for elections.

10/12/83-8/7/89 Raul Alfonsin-UCR (Radical Civic Union). Free indirect elections.

8/7/89-10/12/99 Carlos Menem-PJ (Justicialist Party, a branch of Peronism). First term by free indirect elections. Reduced Presidential term from 6 to 4 years.                      Second term by free direct elections.

10/12/99-20/12/01 Fernando De la Rua-UCR. Free direct election. Economic crisis, resigned.

20/12/01-22/12/01 Ramon Puerta. Provisional.

22/12/01-30/12/01 Adolfo Rodrigues Saa. Elected by Congress for 3 months. Resigned.

30/12/01-2/1/02 Eduardo Camaño. As President of Chamber of Deputies he became Acting President.

2/1/02-25/5/03 Eduardo Duhalde-PJ. Elected by Congress to complete De la Rua’s term.

25/5/03-10/12/07 Nestor Kirchner-PJ. Free direct election.

Note that Menem withdrew allowing Kirchner to win.

10/12/07-10/12/15 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Free direct elections.

10/12/15-10/12/19 Mauricio Macri- PRO ( Republican Proposal-centre right ). Free direct election.

10/12/19- (present) Alberto Fernandez-PJ. Free direct elections.

There has often been the taking of power in Argentina by force, or the force of the military behind coups and other arrangements. It is often said by Latin American historians that the Armed Forces in these countries see it their duty to protect the country not only from the enemy without, but also the enemy within. So they see it as their obligation to take over if things do not appear to be going well from their perspective.

Fascism, as developed by Mussolini (1883-1945) in Italy, which influenced many totalitarian leaders including Hitler and Franco, must also have had some influence on many Argentinian politicians and leaders. The simple concept behind Fascism is strength through unity, but somehow it also easily slid toward  the justification of the use of any means, fair or foul, to diminish one’s competitors.

Is this relevant to Tango ? If we take the all encompassing view that Argentine Tango is a Cultural Phenomenon coming principally from Argentina and Uruguay, then many significant local behavioural tendencies are bound to show up as part of the cultural baggage accompanying it. I am not trying to be critical of Argentina. One can also claim that culture and society in Britain is marked by the ‘Class system’, by ‘elitism’, ‘snobbishness’ and many divisions in society.                                                                       What I am saying is that there are elements of Fascism and intolerant behaviour in Argentina. But it is not a necessary ingredient of Argentine Tango, even if some individuals exhibit difficult tendencies.

The music, the dancing and the culture of Argentine Tango is very big. Each person can find in it what they see, what relates to them, and what they enjoy.

It is worth remembering the range of sensibilities shown. Osvaldo Pugliese had Communist views, other musicians tended to Favour ‘Axis’ countries in World War Two. But I suspect that most musicians in Argentina thought more about the music

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At our last ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting conversations included discussion about the ‘Cabeceo’, asking for a dance, and the importance of touch.

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1st October

Hola Tangueros y Amigos, This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

Last week we gave a list of 20 of the more recent tango orchestras or musicians.

Were you able to look any of them up on the internet ?

Did you find any you liked, or disliked ?

Have you found others that you would like to tell us about? 

‘Il Faut’ tango duo, Flavio Romanelli and Marcos Martignano visited TangoE14 in 2014. The link to part of their presentation ‘Deep inside Tango’ can be found on the video page of our  TangoE14.wordpress.com  website.

For contrast, here is a Russian interpretation of Piazzolla’s ‘Libertango’ played by the Moscow City Symphony ‘Russian Philharmonic’.  Dancers; Inna Svechnikova and Dmitry Chernysh, ( a very ‘Ballroom style show tango’). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdhTodxH7Gw

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Some exercises need you to be able to pivot easily in smooth dance shoes on a smooth floor, or in socks on a linoleum floor. Just be careful that your arrangement is not so slippery or friction free that you fall over  !

Ochos – exercises.  

Ocho is Spanish for the number eight, so we are doing ‘figure 8’ movements with our feet neatly and precisely.                                                                                                      It is worthwhile for both leaders and followers to do these exercises even though to start with it is mainly followers that will be doing most ocho movements.                        By also doing these exercises the leaders will develop a better sensitivity for what they may be trying to lead, and secondly, as their tango develops they will be more able to perform some of the more complex moves.

You will need a table, bench or ballet barre about waist height, and a smooth floor.

1/ Stand facing your bench (barre). Stand up straight, feet parallel ( or very slightly ‘turned out’ so that your ankles are just touching, and the balls of the fronts of the feet are 1-5 cm apart ).                                                                                                                         Rest the tips of your fingers of both hands on the bench in front of you in a relaxed way so that your forearms are comfortably in front of you. You should not be gripping the bench, but keep your fingers in the same place on the bench. This will help you to dissociate your lower body, and help you to keep your balance.                                             [ A wide ‘turnout’ as practised in ballet is mostly counterproductive in Tango. However the ability to be able to rotate your feet horizontally can be useful, but is not essential. ]

2/ Have your weight forward on the front of the feet/balls of both feet.                        Relax knees slightly with a very slight bend but without lowering your body or reducing height more than a hint.

3/ Transfer your weight onto one foot. Lets say Left foot.

4/ Rotate your hips and legs  90 degrees ( a quarter of a turn ) to your left ( ie anticlockwise ). You should be pivoting on the ball of your left foot. Your vertical axis at this moment is through the ball of your left foot.                                                                 Your upper body, your shoulders, chest and head should still be facing the bench.

In other words, you have ‘dissociated’ ( moved independently ) the lower part of your body, from your hips down.

5/ With your free foot ( in this case your right foot ) take a medium step ‘forward’ to your left. For the purpose of this exercise the step must be parallel to your ‘barre’, and should be not too big or too small; say about 30 – 50 centimetres.

6/ When you have stepped and put your foot down, then move onto that foot. In other words, transfer all your weight onto your right foot.

7/ Collect your left to your right, but do not put any weight onto it.

8/ Rotate your lower body ( hips and legs ) 180 degrees clockwise. You should be aware that your vertical ‘axis’ has changed, and you are now pivoting on the ball of your right foot.

9/ Now step ‘forward’ to your right with your left foot; just like [ 5/ ] above , but in the other direction.

10/ When you have stepped and put your foot down, then move onto that foot. In other words, transfer all your weight onto your left foot.

11/ Collect your right to your left, but do not put any weight onto it.

12/ Rotate your lower body ( hips and legs ) 180 degrees anticlockwise.   You should be aware that your vertical ‘axis’ has changed, and you are now pivoting on the ball of your left foot.

13/  Repeat sequences   4/ – 12/   a few times to make sure you are comfortable and confident in what you are doing.

You have now done ‘Forward Ochos’ / ‘Ochos Adelante’.

To do ‘Forward Ochos’ you are essentially stepping ‘forward’ across the front of yourself.

14/ Try not to move your hands from side to side along the bench. If you find you are moving your hands a lot, then try taking shorter steps.

15/ Try starting and stopping on either side; ie pivoting either on your left or your right foot.

16/  Now try a similar exercise, but this time pivoting ‘backwards’ so that the free foot steps ‘backwards’ behind the supporting foot.

You should now be doing ‘Back Ochos’ / ‘Ochos Atras’.

17/  So practise doing Forward Ochos and Backward Ochos from time to time, and get completely comfortable with doing them.                                                                              With such exercises, when they are new, do not labour them to the point of serious discomfort.                                                                                                                                   Some of the difficulties can arise from trying to dissociate, and from keeping your axis and balance.

18/ Do a few Forward Ochos, then change to doing Backward Ochos. Try stopping and changing on either leg.

19/ If you have a partner to exercise with, try doing these above exercises in pairs.

Stand facing each other with your hands in front of you, the same as if you were touching the bench. But this time the ‘leader’s’ hands are palms up. The ‘follower’s’ hands are palms down. Just touch fingers, and allow the follower to do the ocho exercises.

20/ Is it possible for the leader to control or guide the follower’s movement ?                     [ Yes. It is possible. ]

Try reversing roles.                                                                                                                        Try different holds; Follower’s hands on leader’s shoulders or chest; firm connection hand to hand, or hands to elbows; ‘open’ tango embrace;  ‘close’ tango embrace;  or no touching at all just eye contact and having a clear posture/frame/and intention of movement.

We will take these exercises a bit further next week.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge. 

HOMEWORK

From 1945 to 1985, make a list of the Leaders and governments of Argentina. 

If you can, say whether they had any affect on the dancing and development of Tango in Argentina.

I will expand on this from next week, but will be pleased to hear from you what you discover.

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From last week’s ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group Mervyn shared this link:-

‘Tango Dancing: How to connect with anyone, with Pepa Palazon’, at ‘Tango Space’ with Pablo Rodriguez.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-FKERx4efI&feature=youtu.be

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24th September

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,

                       Tango events are very sparse at present, and likely to be even rarer in the near future. I understand that under the latest regulations events such as dance practices should be limited to only 15 people.                                                                               However, even under these circumstances I have been approached by a couple of ladies that would like to find a partner for an occasional Tango dance. So any gentlemen that need a partner to go to a ‘CoVid regulation compliant’ event, let me know. At the moment numbers attending events are rather limited. Masks must be worn, and contact details must be given. Also couples are not changing partners.

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions:                                                                                1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

Last week we noted that Gustavo Naveira said Tango Nuevo was not a style. It is simply just what has happened to Tango since the 1980s.

So lets look at a couple of tango dancers that are often labelled as ‘Tango Nuevo’ and see what they brought to the party:

Norberto ‘El Pulpo’ Esbres (1966-2014). His nickname ‘El Pulpo’ means Octopus and describes the intricate but delicately smooth intertwining leg movements which he developed to a new high and complex level. Starting with Ganchos, Enganches and Trapping Sacadas, he used suspension to develop fluidity and control to create ever more complex new variations. His movements are often described as ‘Pulpeadas’.

Norberto ‘Pulpo’ Esbrez, Technique & Art of Pulpo (demo V371-373) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VBynriW-Pk                                                             There are many more videos of him dancing and demonstrating on youtube if you just follow what pops up.

Or American teachers Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks ‘Tango 101 Linked ganchos, El Pulpo style’ 2014.                                                                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRUSZnYJV2Y

Quite different is German Landeira, a very precise young dancer whose tango is informed by his approach to ‘Biomechanics Applied to Movement’.                              He was our guest teacher at TangoE14 in November 2019. Here he is dancing at Salon Canning in BsAs with Kei Hasagawa to La Cantina from Miguel Calo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1IkpzskEoo

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

These exercises need you to be able to pivot easily in smooth dance shoes on a smooth floor, or in socks on a linoleum floor. Just be careful that your arrangement is not so slippery or friction free that you fall over  !!

Carrying on from last week’s exercises we will look at one of the possibilities of pivoting momentarily on both feet, before creating the  ‘Aguja’ (needle). I am not sure if Pablo Veron created or developed or improved on this move, but he certainly taught it. I assume it is something that would be considered part of ‘Tango Nuevo [ a new development post 1980 ], although logically something akin to this could have happened naturally much earlier.

[ Before you start this exercise you might like to warm up doing the exercises we outlined last week.]

1/ Stand up straight, feet parallel and quite close together, but not touching; about 2-6 centimetres apart.  Have your weight forward on the front of the feet/balls of both feet.

Be sure of your vertical axis, and that at floor level your axis is between your feet.

Relax knees slightly with a very slight bend but without lowering your body or reducing height more than a hint.

2/ Leading with head, chest, hips, legs and then feet, rotate clockwise.

At first keeping your weight on the front (balls) of your feet.

As you rotate clockwise, lift the heel of your right foot high enough so that it passes comfortably over the top of the left foot.

As this is happening you are  you are gradually transferring your weight onto your left foot.

Assuming you started with feet parallel, by the time you have rotated 90 degrees the heel of your right foot should have lifted so that it passes over the toes of your left foot; when rotating clockwise.

3/ You continue to pivot with most of your weight on the ball of your left foot. By the time you have rotated 180 degrees (half a turn) your right foot could now come to a position where the sole of the foot is more or less vertical.

By now you should have almost no weight on it.

4/ Keep pivoting clockwise. By the time you have completed about three quarters of a turn (270 degrees) you will first notice that to keep the toe of your right foot on the ground that you have to have the toe of the foot clearly pointed down, (Aguja).            You will also realise that if you keep pivoting on your left foot, then the right foot must come off the ground.

At which point a decoration/lapiz etc is appropriate.

You might then stop turning, or carry on with another turn.

5/ Try doing this anticlockwise on the other feet.

6/ Being extremely careful and considerate of yourself, your own physical ability, your surroundings/furniture/environment/and other people, try experimenting and seeing what works for you.

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.

If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >                and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.                                                               They currently have lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

For details please check their website:  www.losocampotango.net 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

What orchestras and musicians can you find that you like, which can be described as ‘Tango Nuevo’ ?

Some well known established favourites include Piazzolla, Pugliese, and Gotan.          But let’s see if we can discover any new ones we like or find interesting. Just search for these, and if you get a strange result, the add the word ‘tango’ :

Cachivache

Los Tauras quinteto

Orquesta Utopica

Pasaje Noruega

Joel Tortul (pianist)

Julian Peralta

Mariano Gonzalez Calo

Juan Seren

Lionel Capitano

Agustin Guerrero quinteto

Ezequiel Diz, cancion el serrucho

Gato Maula Project- Milonga del enganado

La biaba orquesta de tango

La maquina invisible- Milonga de mis amores

Trio Tessa-Ramirez-Cicerchia

Juan Iriarte (singer)

Tango Mutante

Sexteto Murgier

TaxxiTangoXXI (France)

Silbando XL Orchestra

Let us know what you think.

*****          *****          *****

Our ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group is currently on Saturdays at 4pm.

From last week-

Mervyn’s link  ‘Asado with Pedro Sanchez’ (bringing more emotionality into the dance).{The word ‘asado’ literally means a roast or in Argentina sharing a barbecue together.} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A024X8LO-2o&feature=youtu.be

We also discussed if followers should close their eyes.

Paul’s ‘Walking in close embrace’  https://youtu.be/wscFg1zFYoc

John suggested this book:  ‘Tango: A History of obsession’ by Virginia Gift.

Shan mentioned Mike Cushman’s milonga at Wimbledon. John mentioned Raquel Greenberg’s practica, and Los Angelitos’ practica.

*****          *****          *****

17th September

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

Look at some famous Argentine Tango dancers, and see how they interpret the music? 

Pablo Veron ( b 1971 ) is often held up as one of the very best Tango Dancers .           ‘The newspaper Liberty of Paris called him “the best dancer in the world”, and Time Out affirmed “Pablo Veron has the feet of God”. https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/1683/Pablo-Veron/                          He is a top level,highly trained and successful Argentinian dancer and choreographer who has appeared in famous musical shows. He starred in Sally Potter’s film ‘The Tango Lesson’. He tours and teaches all around the world, and is quite expensive.

One of his famous quotes is ” you have to learn to dance on your own before you can dance with a partner “.

I choose to disagree with that, particularly as regards ‘Argentine Tango. If we say that Tango is a ‘conversation’, a communication between two people, then to have a meaningful conversation both people have to understand and feel how and when to respond to their partner. This requires developing the skill of listening. Being an ace solo performer does not guarantee you have those skills. Being a brilliant public speaker or actor does not necessarily make you a good listener.

The old milonguero men that just danced with other men for a couple of years, until they were allowed to dance with a woman developed a sense of what was going on with their partners body and movements. Nowadays many men and women like to experience both leading and following to develop their awareness of the physical conversation going on. That skill, that awareness takes time to develop and become embedded in the whole person. It is perfectly reasonable for ordinary mortals to have a verbal conversation, or a physical one within their abilities.

Of course, if we improve our dance skills then we might take our dancing to higher levels, but that does not invalidate the real art of communication and of listening.

Pablo Veron en Sunderland 1988

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=you-tube+Pablo+Veron&docid=607997984381210125&mid=6A94530833D477B971826A94530833D477B97182&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Pablo and Teresa Cunha perform ‘Tanguera’, 1994

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0KTw_W2ciU

Pablo dancing a milonga, ‘Orillero’, in Belgium 1999.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMihb9zD2bk

Sally Potter ( b. 1949 )is an internationally renowned filmmaker, with award winning films such as ‘Orlando’, and most famously in the tango world, ‘The Tango Lesson’. Clearly she is an excellent filmmaker, but her London background and the quote ‘we need to kind of duck and weave as filmmakers, go with the flow, go where the harvest is’ seems to point to a degree of opportunism in the creation of her Tango film. It is an excellent film, and worth watching, but it is of limited value in helping anyone else on their ‘ tango journey ‘.        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Potter

Tango Nuevo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuevo_tango                                                                   ….Though widely referred to as a tango style outside Argentina, Tango Nuevo is not considered a style…. by the founders…… It refers only to the method of analysis and teaching developed through the application of the principles of dance kinesiology to Argentine Tango.

In 2009, Gustavo Naveira published an essay in ‘New Tango’ stating: “There is great confusion on the question of the way of dancing the tango: call it technique, form or style. The term Tango Nuevo is used to refer to a style of dancing, which is an error. In reality Tango Nuevo is everything that has happened with the tango since the 1980s. It is not a question of a style…   ”         The words Tango Nuevo express what is happening with tango dancing in general; namely that it is evolving.”        ……Therefore….all styles of tango which have now been influenced  by the analysis of the dance are all tangonuevo….

Other famous practitioners include Norberto ‘El Pulpo’ Esbres, Sebastian Arce and Pablo Veron.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

What do we need to do to lead a giro ?

We need to give a clear indication of exactly where we want the follower to step. If we were leading a simple ocho we might want the follower to step from side to side in front of the leader, more or less at right angles to the leader. The ocho could be done by the follower pivoting and stepping forward or backward.

We can then experiment with trying to lead the follower to pivot a little more, so that the follower could either start to come closer to the leader , or move around the leader to one side or the other.

If we lead the follower to turn a little less, the follower will start to move slightly away from the leader. So both of us need to develop the understanding of how much turning or pivoting is appropriate at any moment.

More on giros and ochos later, but now let’s look at some exercises relating to giros:

These exercises need you to be able to pivot easily in smooth dance shoes on a smooth floor, or in socks on a linoleum floor. Just be careful that your arrangement is not so slippery or friction free that you fall over  !!

1/ Stand up straight, lift head and chest with confidence but not exaggerated.            Have weight forward on the front of the feet/balls of feet. Relax knees slightly with a very slight bend but without lowering your body or reducing height more than a hint. Transfer your weight onto one foot (side) or the other. Be aware of where you are, and  be in control of where you are.

2/ With weight on the front of one foot, eg left, keeping a vertical posture and a vertical axis, dissociate with your chest and head, and rotate your upper body (head and chest) a few degrees to the left (anticlockwise). Then allow the rest of your body to catch up. Repeat that a few times until you have pivoted a full turn (360 degrees).

Now try on the right foot, and turning to the right.

3/ Now try going on on the left foot but dissociating and pivoting to the right.

And going on the right foot but dissociating and pivoting to the left.

4/ Just try ‘decorating’ with the free foot. With your weight on your left foot, ‘draw’ an imaginary circle with your right toe. In Tango we call this a ‘Lapiz’ or pencil. Move your right toe forward along the floor, out and round in a circle, and then back to the ‘collect’ position (feet together, but not changing weight unless you specifically want to).

5/ Continuing with 4/, try repeating the lapiz movement a few times, and see if you can discover that you can use the angular momentum of the lapiz to help you to pivot.

If you want to play with this you can find that moving the right foot in a clockwise lapiz that starts forward-out and round-and collecting from behind will help you turn clockwise.                                                                                                                               Whereas moving the right foot in an anticlockwise lapiz back-out and round-and collecting from the front will help you pivot anticlockwise.                                      Similarly try the same doing forward or backward lapiz with your left foot.

6/ So now you have two tools to help you pivot: Dissociation and Lapiz. Just play with these ideas and see how much you can turn using one or the other, or both things together.

Can you manage a quarter of a turn, a half a turn, three quarters, a full turn, or even more ?

Don’t worry if you can’t manage very much. Just practice and be comfortable in what you can do.

Next week we will build on the above to look at some ideas relating to the ‘aguja’ (needle).

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.

If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >

and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.

They currently have lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

For details please check their website:

 www.losocampotango.net 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Have a look at the film ‘The Tango Lesson’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tango_Lesson

Have a read of Kapka Kassabova’s book ‘Twelve Minutes of Love: a tango story’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapka_Kassabova

The New Zealand Listener wrote that ‘Kassabova’s poetry explores exile, disconnection and loss; her novels and travel writing are rich in insight, conjuring unsettling worlds. She brings these elements together in this exhilarating account of tango’s addictive character. With a neat twist, she ultimately exposes its illusions, locating its place in a journey that is both personal and universal.’….

Sally Potter and Kapka Kassabova are both professionals who chose to exploit their tango experiences to further their careers. There is no criticism implied in that. Simply a reminder to everyone else that whatever one puts in to tango, or gets from it, is up to you. You can always learn from others, but your experiences are your own. Don’t feel intimidated by the famous and the experts. Just enjoy at your own pace, and continue to grow.

*****          *****          *****

ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Groups are currently on Saturdays at  4pm.

From last week  Mervyn’s link to the Richmond milonga is :https://photos.app.goo.gl/pDk8DvqDFy6QU5sA8

Mervyn’s link of Carlos Gavito:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOMqsPO6muM&list=PLUnT7s2pQI2M_7_89FVobdgm_CdD3wBcq&index=22&t=0s

Andy’s links, ‘Un Tal Gavito 1 – Tango lessons’:  https://youtu.be/kShMz5AZa7s

and Juan Carlos Copes : https://youtu.be/ZO9P8rHUX7A Juan Carlos Copes

And from Anita:

Quote from Christine Denniston: pp 191-192 “Tango is different from another social dance I have experienced. Choreographically it offers wider and richer possibilities. And on the emotional level it offers an investigation of the nature of human relationships, of the meaning of intimacy, and of what it is to be human and a social creature in a world that if often lonely and isolating. The great choreographic possibilities of Tango spring from the intimate connection between the two people dancing it.

My dear friends who learned to dance in the Golden Age might raise an eyebrow to hear me say that. They would prefer to say, ‘Improvisando’, where I might say, ‘A meditation performed by two who become one, united at the heart, seeking stillness through motion.’ They would say, ‘Manteniando la relacion entre los dos cuerpos’ (maintaining the relationship between two bodies), where I would say, ‘Keeping the hears perfectly united at all times.’ But they would also say, quietly, so as not to be overheard and perhaps misunderstood, that dancing Tango is like being in love for three minutes.”

A Quote by Kapka Kassabova: p. 53 “We get lost, or rather we realise we’ve been walking in the wrong direction. But being lost in central Buenos Aires is a ritual that every visitor must go through. And anyway, just walking down the endless Avenida Corrientes with its flashy billboards of spectacles and cabarets, its giant, lit-up late-night cafes with names like El Opera, fills me with a cosmopolitan thrill. It’s a feeling at once happy and sad, past and present. It’s a feeling we shall call tanguidad. Some experts say that tango goes far beyond the music and the dance. There are tango feelings, tango language, tango places and even tango people. You don’t have to know tango in order to experience  the world in a tango way. That’s tanguidad.”

The Rule Of Six: Your Questions, Answered
Read in HuffPost UK: https://apple.news/AsB-oAWuZQz-bYmJq7HXB0w

Government guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities

*****          *****          *****

10th September

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

How did some famous Argentine Tango dancers listen to and interpret the music?This week have a look at Walter Suquia and Ayelen Sanchez dancing to ‘A Evaristo Carriego’, played by the Solo Tango Orquesta in 2014.       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl9ES7LUjwc

Their ‘Show Tango’ is of a very high standard. It is very polished and well choreographed.  This couple are great performers. They have appeared in shows all over the world. Their dancing is exciting and interesting to watch, but could also be intimidating, or set unrealistic goals for ordinary social dancers.                                  Ayelen and Walter have both danced since childhood, and together since 2007 in Argentina and all over the world. They both had solid dance formation, including in ballet, contemporary and Argentinian folk dance. They work with many top tango companies, festivals and shows in Buenos Aires and around the world.

This ‘Show Tango’  obviously incorporates very many things that this couple learnt as young trained performers, and they have kept learning from earlier Tango maestros. They use ideas, moves and tricks learned over the evolution of Tango; including Salon, Milonguero and Nuevo. The big question is, do they capture the essence of what Argentine Tango is ?

Last week we watched Carlos Gavito and Marcela Duran dancing to ‘A Evaristo Carriego’ in 1998.      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tir5_m6E4lc

Here is another famous old Milonguero, Puppy Castello, 1936-2007. https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/508/Confessions-by-Puppy-Castello/                                                                                                                                            You can find videos of him on Youtube. Here are a couple:Birthday dance of Pupi Castello and Graciela Gonzalez, Diciembre del 2005 – Salon Canning, BsAs. Dancing to Osvaldo Pugliese’s ‘Flor de Tango’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcSfsBQDmjE

Pupi Castello with Luciana Valle at Club Sunderland, late 1990’s. Dancing to Osvaldo Pugliese’s ‘Gallo ciego’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kss3vPOqJ8

When you watch a few videos of various milongueros you start to see that they have  moves that they do quite often. In Pupy’s case you may see for example                           (a) him walking forward doing repeated sacadas into her forward ochos, or                   (b) him leading her to do continuous giro steps around him, while he pivots on one foot and planeos constantly with his other foot.

Can you do that ? Next time you have the opportunity give it a try, and if it doesn’t  work, just think about what you need to do to make it work.                                     Also consider the parts of the music where you would use certain moves. 

We can see that Argentine Tango is continually evolving. The old milongueros like Carlos and Pupy just learnt by dancing in the milongas. They were not trained dancers. Nowadays we have the benefit of expert dance technicians to help us realise the underlying techniques of everything we do, and also therefore expand our range of possible movements. But just remember, most high level Ballet dancers, and Show dancers start to suffer physically as they get older. We Social Tango Dancers are survivors. We want to continue to enjoy Tango, and to give pleasure to our partners as long as we possibly can. Enjoy the connection, the physical dialogue, and the interpretation of the music. To us Argentine Tango is not a competition. We can all continue to find ways to improve at our own pace, and to bring joy to others as well as ourselves.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

What do we mean by the ‘Cross system’ of walking ?

If a couple face each other, the leader steps forward with the left foot and the follower steps back with the right foot, then they are walking simply in the ‘Parallel System’.

But, if one of the couple ( usually the leader ) changes leg so that as the leader steps forward with the left foot, the follower steps back with the left foot as well ( ie. you are both walking on the same leg rather than opposite legs ), then you are in the ‘Cross system’.

How can we get into and out of ‘Cross system’ ?

How can a leader change which leg he is stepping on without the follower also changing leg ?

There are lots of ways. One simple way when walking is to unobtrusively ‘collect’ the leaders feet together, change weight and continue on the other leg. At the same time he must give the lead or impression to the follower that they are not stopping , and the follower just continues walking in a smooth and measured manner. Or to put it another way: The leader invites the follower to move, the follower moves, and then the leader accompanies the follower. So it is important when the leader is changing leg for the follower to be already committed to move whatever leg the leader wants, and not just do a leg change with the leader.

Once we are in the cross system we can then walk forwards, backwards or sideways,(roughly but not quite) as we might have done in the parallel system. We also have the option of walking outside to the left, outside to the right, or ‘weaving’ in and out/from one side to the other of our partner.

Another option is pivoting our partner on one foot so that we can lead ochos and giros, which we can talk about more next week.

From these simple steps, walking ( parallel or cross systems ), there are almost infinite possibilities for improvisation.

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.

If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >

and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.

They currently have lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

For details please check their website:

 www.losocampotango.net 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Who was Evaristo Carriego (1883-1912) ?

He was an Argentinian poet whose short life was written about by Jorge Luis Borges.  He was an important influence on the writing of tango lyrics. The homage to him, the famous instrumental tango “A Evaristo Carriego” was written by Eduardo Rovira, and recorded by the Orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese in 1969.                                                   These links will give you a little flavour of his life and circumstances :

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/1225/Evaristo-Carriego

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/583/Evaristo-Carriego-a-poet-for-the-outskirts/

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/509/Cuarteto-Del-Centenario/

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/547/El-Barrio-de-las-Latas-legends-about-tangos-and-sainetes/

  

Who was Jorge Luis Borges  (1899-1986)  ?  

Born in Buenos Aires to an educated middle class family, he lived in Switzerland and Europe from 1914-1921. He came to international attention as a writer in 1961 when he shared the ‘Formentor prize – Prix International’ with Samuel Beckett. The fact that Spanish Dictator Franco banned further awards from being held on Spanish territory gives a clue to where Borges’ thoughts lay. Borges declared himself to be an ‘Ultraist’, which meant being opposed to the ‘Modernists’. He was opposed to Communism, Nazism, and Peronism. He belittled nationalism and racism, yet criticised the abolition of slavery in the US. He was principally an imaginative writer with a broad and varied output.

Perhaps his early writings, including his ‘History of Tango’ and ‘Evaristo Carriego’, may have arguably and selectively contributed to jingoistic and sentimental views found among some tango afficionados.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Luis_Borges

*****          *****          *****

ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group is currently on Saturday afternoons at 4pm.

Last week continuing the discussion ‘Tango is what happens between the steps’, Mervynshowed this link about Carlos Gavito:        https://youtu.be/ciNwjfmzQVw

And John L, this one of Carlitos Espinoza and Pamela Aracena, dancing to Canaro’s ‘Condena’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddkMQ3y0eAQ                                           He also mentioned other non-tango dance films which deal with dancers experiences including: ‘Strictly ballroom’  and  ‘Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School’.

*****          *****          *****

3rd September

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

How did some famous Argentine Tango dancers listen to and interpret the music?

– Carlos Gavito and Marcela Duran dancing to ‘A Evaristo Carriego’, played by ‘The Boston Pops and the Forever Tango Orchestra’ in 1998.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tir5_m6E4lc

Here they are again in 2001 dancing firstly a milonga, Los Angelitos ‘Cancion de Ausencia’, and then ‘A Evaristo Carriego’:                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrsQvq89PR4

Carlos and Maria Plazaola, also dancing to ‘A Evariso Carriego’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPEJEfBumaU

 You can clearly see that each time Carlos dances to this piece it is not exactly the same. In 1995 when he joined ‘Forever Tango’ he made it clear to the producers of that show that he did not do ‘choreography’, and yet the producers were very glad to have him.  He was dancing the feeling. One of the most famous quotes attributed to him is    ‘Tango is what happens between the steps’.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Connection; being able to move together. This is something you have to practise with a partner. If you are on your own you might try in front of a mirror, but you will be missing the act of connection, and there are many things you cannot do, notably anything that involves you being on the same leg as your partner.                               Facing each other, with a clear but light hold, even just a fingertip touch, change weight together. With feet close together, move both of your weights from one side to the other.                                                                                                                                        Now try taking a single step together. Leader forward and follower back. Try on either foot.                                                                                                                                                    Try a step to the side together. Collect ( ie. bring your feet together ). Now take another step; it can be forward, backwards, sideways, reversing what you have just done – any simple pattern you like. You can move together to a simple rhythm, and navigate.

All of that is sometimes called the ‘Parallel system’ of walking. You move one leg, and your partner moves the one opposite.                                                                                  When we both move the same leg, eg. if the leader walks forward with the left foot and the follower steps back also with the left foot we are in the ‘Cross system’ of walking.

More on this later.

We can also pivot ourselves on one foot.                                                                                   We can do this for a variety of reasons including turning and creating ‘ochos’.

Looking at Carlos Gavito dancing we can see that he often uses a ‘carpa’ (tent) position, where the couple are really out of axis, leaning markedly towards each other. This requires a strong back and core, and it is not recommended to hold these positions for very long. However, without exaggerating the position, it is a useful place for some ‘Tango Nuevo’* moves such as a volcada.

How do you get into that position ? One way is simply to hold you partner on one foot, and carefully move a little bit further away from her. This might be easier if at the same time you are moving around her.

An alternative method sometimes taught by Gavito is to lead the lady to do a small back ocho while he mirrors her and does the same. This is easy to understand, but hard to do. The result is that your feet can have moved slightly apart, creating the ‘carpa’.

[ * The meaning of ‘Tango Nuevo’ is debated, but for today I simply mean moves which evolved relatively later in the development of Argentine Tango. ]

 

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.

If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >

and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.

 

 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Carlos Eduardo Gavito ,(1942-2005) started dancing at age 14. In 1974 he started work with Juan Carlos Copes, mentioned below. Although his wife Helen qualified from the Scottish Royal Ballet School she was not invited to join Gavito in 1995 in the show ‘Forever Tango’ as the director only wanted Argentinians. He also taught on several occasions in London including ‘Tango the Argentino Way at the London Welsh Centre’, and at Tango Festivals. The show ‘Forever Tango’ has continued for many years with different dancers.

Juan Carlos Copes ( b. 1931-  ) is one of the most famous Argentinian Tango dancers.  https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/656/Juan-Carlos-Copes/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Carlos_Copes

Here is a link to a trailer for the 2015 film about Juan Carlos Copes and Maria Nieves called ‘Un tango mas’ ( re-titled ‘Our last tango’ in English ). The whole film is recommended for anyone interested in Tango.                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCVZ6Ux0dHA  

Also have a look at the details of ‘Tango Argentino’, the show that is credited with the resurgence of interest in Tango from the 1980s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tango_Argentino_(musical)

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  Our  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group is on Saturday afternoon at 4pm.

Current discussion includes the relationship between music, emotion, communication  and language. Are different feelings elicited by Salon, Milonguero and Nuevo Tango?Discussing the quote: ‘ Tango is what happens between the steps ‘.

What are other Tango groups up to ? Bruno’s group is allowing up to 10 couples, but you have to stay with same partner.

Shan gave this video link of some exercises using tango moves. It is simple and done by a man.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kcyQwiLLIz

To help one’s understanding of Tango music Mervyn recommends: ‘Music map of Cara Sucia’   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khg_9HwKLWs  made by Murat Erdemsel.

 

John’s selection relating to milonguero, salon and nuevo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBDEgmHe3pw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh2Apc0Xg-s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjXEKqAgMJU

And this video contrasting Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes’ ‘Nuevo’ in 2007 with their ‘Salon’ in 2013:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbsBg-Ek57o

 

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Anita notes the following advice from the British Dance Council from July.
https://www.britishdancecouncil.info/uploads/DCMS%5B8194%5D.pdf

So far we are yet to have a clear indication of what may become possible in our Hall, but as soon as they know they will tell us.

 

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27th August

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music often. 

But today lets listen to how Klezmer musicians took up Tango.

Michael G. contributes these notes linking Klezmer and Russian  music to Tango, and found lots of material on Youtube.
If you only have time for one,  try:  ‘Tango klezmer project El Choclo’                            to get a feel for the difference in sound.

Or:
‘Tangissimo (klezmer tango)’ – some youngsters on a church hall platform.              ‘Tango klezmer (jassidic tango)’ – two men on a platform in the street,
(jassidic is more often spelt hassidic but that’s what it said).
‘Budapest klezmer band – Menyasszonytanc’
‘Shpil du Fidl, shpil’ (a really good example of how Yiddish is just
German spoken by East European Jews who didn’t know German);
and the very beautiful
‘Rivkele – Rebeka Yiddish tango’

Klezmer comes from East European folk music but developed and became commercialised when Jews went elsewhere. It went on having a vibrant life in the 1920s and 30s when Jews spoke Yiddish more widely, but people began to experiment and it came out of its ghetto. It has become more niche nostalgia now that Yiddish has almost died out as a language for everyday use.

Michael says his feeling is: “Klezmer isn’t a source of tango or the other way round, but klezmer performance bands have loved playing tango ever since tango came to Europe and got fashionable in the ’20s. The Budapest item above seems to me an example of a klezmer band which stopped playing Yiddish music and played tango for one of its items. The accordion/bandoneon element is in both, but klezmer is fiddle music whereas tango isn’t fiddle music. Moreover klezmer never goes posh. You can do tango elegantly in white tie and tails, but klezmer is always folk – like Irish fiddle music. Though that comparison doesn’t go far as both tango and klezmer are absolutely not fuelled by alcohol.
Klezmer also has the same two modes of feeling that tango has – slow and heartbroken, or helterskelter – but milonga never gets hysterical, and tango is always controlled. Whereas the fast mode in klezmer gets faster and faster and faster and faster and then two final notes Bang Bang and everyone psychologically collapses on the floor.
The Jewish tradition did not do man/woman partner dancing – or any couple  dancing. The men all danced as a group and the women as another group – think ‘Hava Nagila’. Slower then faster, then much faster, but all holding hands in a circle.                           One might say tango is dancing with or without music whereas klezmer is music with or without dancing.

The classics that lots of English non-Jewish people would know come from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. The villagers marching to the wedding, followed by ‘Is This The Little Boy I Carried’ (Sunrise, Sunset). Then the dance where the men have bottles on their heads (very calm and stately), and then the whole marriage party dancing before the Cossacks come and break it up by smashing everything. Google ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and they will all be there. Which reminds us that klezmer music is in fact from Russia so has lots in common with Russian music. “

Then there is Igor Moiseyev, 1906-2007, acclaimed choreographer of Character Dance. Born in Kiev, but lived in Paris until he was 8 (ie. 1914). Did he see any Tango ?              He graduated from the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet School in 1924.                                      Molotov ( yes, that one ) put him in charge of a dance company which became known as the Moiseyev Ballet. He received many Russian awards, and also in 2001 the ‘UNESCO Mozart Medal’ for outstanding contribution to world music culture.

From all this, Tony takes the view that while both Russians and Eastern European Jews enjoyed, reproduced and took on ‘Argentine Tango’ they only partly understood it in the context of their own cultures. I do not believe they had a major input into the development of ‘Argentine Tango’.

Of course, if you disagree or wish to add other information, your feedback is always welcome.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Walking is one of the best exercises, and Tango is often referred to as the walking dance. But at the same time you can exercise your mind, and develop your innate connection between these simple movements and the playing of and with the music. You can use a portable music player, or just as good is to play the clear tangos you like in your mind. Count slowly as you walk, 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8., counting only with each step of your left foot. Repeat four times. Now do it counting only with each step of your right foot. Now do it counting twice as fast, so you are counting steps with both your right and left. Same again, but starting on the other foot.                                                   Easy, just like meditation.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

You have seen above in section 1/ how  some Russian and Eastern European musicians and dancers adopted Tango.

Have you any stories or research you would like to share ?

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Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group will be on 29th August, at 4 pm.

Current discussion includes differences between ‘Salon, Milonguero, and Nuevo’ tango.                                                                                                                             Other areas talk of links made in Paris to various cultures, movements ( including art and politics) and nationalities.

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20th August

Further to discussion around the ideas of listening to the music and finding that ideal connection, Mervyn mentioned the concept of ‘surrender’ in Tango, and then showed us this short talk by conductor Daniel Barenboim on ‘ Listening to music ‘.https://youtu.be/LCKZDSIHV80

John Lee and Anita both recommended a book by Chan Park,                                     ‘Tango Zen: Walking dance meditation.’

John started a discussion about the difference between ‘Salon, Milonguero, and Nuevo’ tango.

Graham said that when in BsAs he asked if a move was ‘Nuevo’ and was told ‘it is just Tango’.

Shan is working on links made in Paris between Russian artists and Tango, which I have

included further down under ‘History (3)’.

Shan also mentioned another different area of connection with Russia and Eastern Europe.

The influence of Jewish emigres from Eastern Europe, the Ukraine and Kletzmer music on

Tango.

 

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            When Igor Outkine and Sarah Harrison ( Mazaika ) busked and played a variety

of music outside at the Cutty Sark it included classical, Eastern European and Pop.

On request they played a small number of Tangos which it was possible to dance to, wearing

face masks, and keeping well away from others.  They might possibly repeat this if

circumstances allow.

           In that whole area there could be a hundred or more people, but in small groups

spaced out. In other words, it would be possible to keep more than two metres away from

others almost all the time. The main exception being passing other people in the

Greenwich Foot Tunnel, so face masks are useful.

            The Docklands Light Rail usually is only lightly populated at present. So keeping

apart from others on the DLR is not difficult.

Facemasks are mandatory on Public Transport.

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This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day. Today lets listen to some early

Argentinian Tango Orchestras that went to Paris. And then see how that was

taken to Japan.

From 1920 – 1926  Baron Tsunayoshi (‘Tsunami’) Megata (1896  – 1968) spent six

years in Paris, notably in the cabaret ‘El Garron’. He was enchanted by, and carefully

learned Tango. On his return to Japan he taught it to others.

He took records made in Paris, so his students at that time assumed that Tango came

from Paris.  Music taken by him included the orchestras of

Manuel Pizarro, Genaro Esposito and Bianco-Bachicha.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/1133/Bianco-Bachicha  

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/637/Genaro-Esposito

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/558/Manuel-Pizarro 

https://www.todotango.com/deutsch/geschichte/bericht/107/El-tango-en-Japon/  

Luis Alposta, an Argentinian physician and songwriter wrote this tribute:

‘A lo Megata’. Music by Edmundo Rivero.

1987 recording by the Orquesta Jose Colangelo; singer Ikuo Abo.

https://www.todotango.com/english/music/song/1060/A-lo-Megata/

‘Yira Yira’. Music and words by Enrique Santos Discepolo.

1951 recording by the Orquesta Tipica Tokyo, conducted by Shimpei Hayakawa. 

Sung beautifully by Ranko Fujisawa (1925-2013), wife of conductor.

Note that she did not speak Spanish !

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/851/Ranko-Fujisawa  

Also read this article about her:

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/293/Fujisawa-Teatime-with-Ranko-Fujisawa/

 

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

 

Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is

definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything

you reasonably can, and better still to music.

Get out of the house, breathe fresh air, and walk for a couple of hours, keeping a

sensible distance from others, but close enough so they can see you smile.

And when you are at home, just in socks, on the linoleum or smooth floor, and

with a bench to provide a minimal support, remember and practice your ‘ochos’,

forwards and backwards, dissociation, posture and axis.

Do that for a few minutes at least every day.

One of the ‘tango rules’ that is often quoted is the habit of always ‘collecting’ 

your feet together in passing. So when we walk forwards or backwards we

‘brush’ our ankles as closely together as practical without actually touching.

We do the same when we take an ‘L’ shaped step. So that for example in the

second leader’s step in the ‘Salida’, the step could be broken into two parts.

Firstly, the left foot is brought back to the point where the ankles of both feet

are almost touching, then the left foot moves out to the left. This is just one

movement: back-together-side. The point is that when the feet are together

the dancer is on an axis. We say ‘we move through our axis’. So when we

are just walking it is a good habit to get into.

But, this all works well when we are not moving too fast, and not turning.

So try doing a walking turn walking slowly. You should be able to ‘collect’

your feet on every occasion your ankles pass. What happens when we

speed up a bit. It is harder to do, or we might fall over trying !

The problem is to do with what an engineer or physicist might call

‘conservation of angular momentum’. If you try pivoting on one leg with your

arms out, and while you are turning you bring your arms in towards your

centre, you will speed up. You can slow down again by extending your arms

back out again ( which is what dancers and ice skaters often do ).

The same principle applies to your legs. If you are turning, pivoting on one

foot, and the other leg is out, once you bring it in to be close to the axis,

then you will speed up. The obvious way to slow down is to move that

free leg out again. That may also help your stability. Most social tango

dancers will probably not develop the physical skill to do this perfectly

at high speed. So, the simple advice is to cheat or fudge it as elegantly

as you can, and noone will know. There are times such as this when

it doesn’t hurt to bend the rules a we bit.

 

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

How was Tango seen and taken up by different people from different cultures ?

Tango was seen by some as a crazy new art form, or an excuse to be daring.

The word ‘Tango’ evokes a wide range of responses and ideas.

Tango seems to be strongly associated with new ways of thinking about art, music, behaviour and society. It also seems to be both simultaneously linked to ideas and forces of revolution, innovation and change on one hand, yet linked to thinking and groups that are fascist or extremist on the other. Does Tango precede warfare ? Is Tango good or bad ? Is it sad or happy ? Perhaps, as Barenboim suggests, music, and in our case ‘Tango’, is both none and all these emotions at once.

Shan found interesting links made in Paris between Russian artists and Tango. She says:

                 ‘ Here is some information and links about the history of tango in Russia.

Tango first came to Russia brought by Russian artists and dancers who had been exposed

to it in Paris between 1906 and 1913.  At that time Paris was the artistic capital of the world

and attracted bohemian types from everywhere. Tango was very popular but was seen as

shocking and as such attracted the attention of artists.

Russian artists in Paris during that time absorbed tango into their work so that it became

a new type of art. Diaghilev founder of Ballet Russes used tango music by Stravinsky .

( Google – ‘Stravinsky Tango’. How close does he get to Argentine Tango ? )

Malevich did a painting called ‘The Argentine Polka’.

Larionov did a public art mixed media performance in Russia where he walked around with

a painted face and when asked what he was doing said ” a tango of course”.

Leon Bakst became a designer of tango costumes.

Natalie Goncharova took part in a radical Art film with the poet Mayakovsky called ‘Drama

in the Futurist cabaret’-  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bDAc0LHD8kw&t=47s

Vladimir Kamensky produced a futurist concrete poem entitled ‘Tango with Cows’.

( You could Google ‘Tango with cows’, and realise their thinking was somewhere else. )

( If you google ‘Tango Noir and Putin’ you reach information claiming links between

Russia’s Kleptocracy and the ‘Far right in the West’. )

Ilse Kremer produced a tango film called Le dernier Tango (which means ‘The Last Tango

…..’  with the theme tune sung by Yvette Guilbert…music from Angel Vidoldo.

Although many of these artists returned to Russia some remained and some returned

to Paris in 1917.

For many years in Russia tango was associated with the bourgeoisie and didnt re-emerge

in Russia until the late 1920s this time not associated with the avant garde but as a socially

aceptable dance form. Here are a couple of links to music of the period, along with some

nice period photographs.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3mtAfVJ6irg

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1uI0v9E8e5o

Again it fell out of fashion until the present century . I havent found anything special about this except a comment from a man whose life was utterly changed when he fell in love with the tango. His name is Gennady Gabrielan and he says” this music changes your soul”.  Nice quote.’

 

13th August

Firstly some feedback:

From Dennis and Jacqy – ‘ still trying to avoid this virus. Only seeing close friends and

family and trying to keep 2m away from them. I can do a zoom meeting on Saturday.

All I have done for Tango is watch a couple of Los Ocampos zoom meetings.

There are a lot of irresponsible people who do not care if they spread the virus, and

I intend to avoid any situation where I would be forced close to them. We are not

using any form of public transport. Trying to practice Argentine Tango apart severly

limits the number of figures to the point where it is not worthwhile. I am waiting to

see if a vaccine is effective, so that will not be known until next summer at the earliest.

The outlook looks bleak for all forms of couple dancing away from the home.

Hope you also avoid the virus.’

From Genevieve – ‘ I would so like to attend but am out then. Thank you for what you are offering.’

And from George regarding our hall – ‘ The landlord is doing some modifications to make it more compliant. Give me a ring in September.’

We note that Raquel Greenberg and Tanguito are starting to offer restriced/pre-booked classes and practicas. See their sites for their details.

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Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting will be this Saturday afternoon,  15th August, at 4 pm.    Note slightly later time.                                                  So, if you feel like joining us, email Tony   apblane@gmail.com

Last week

-Tony talked about Dr. Peter Lovatt’s book,’The Dance Cure’. It is an easy and enjoyable read.

On the one hand, if you are a dancer you either know this stuff already or feel it in your bones. But on the other, if you need clear and referenced material to convince others, this is a very good start. One delightful quote from the American author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes shows the essence of dance as the intersection of the past and the future, the now.     “…. dance is sacred. It is a prayer for the future, a remembrance of the past and a joyful exclamation of thanks for the present.”

-Mervyn talked about finding the ideal connecton, and showed us this video from the documentary by Chan Park, “Tango your life”:                           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKbSplowjRw&t=55s

-Shan talked about Baron Tsunayoshi Megata who singlehandedly introduced tango to Japan in the late 1920s. As a young man he was either a political exile or was in Paris for health reasons but he stayed for six years and fell in love with the tango . He attended a club called El Garron where Argentinian bands like Esposito, Pizarro, Gardel and Canaro played live. Here is Esposito playing                            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jyz_IdYXMz0                                                                              Then on his return to Japan he opened up a tango academy where he taught free of charge. It is said he taught the aristocracy. I imagine that given the strict codes governing manners and touching in public that it was very shocking to begin with.         I came across a lovely Japanese tango tune from the 1930s. Here it is https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb91k68Ch5c                                                              However it grew to such an extent that by the 1950s there were more than 50 Japanese tango orchestras, one even touring in Argentina. To commemorate his role in introducing tango to Japan an Argentinian physician wrote a tango piece called ‘A Lo Megata’ as a tribute. Here it is, sung by Edmundo Rivero     https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zcBRS3m1Xbs                                                                Today Tango is well known in Japan. There are milongas every day, and Japan has produced world champions in tango.

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            Anyone interested in our occasional ‘Social Distancing Tango’ outdoors, or being told of other random or impromptu dance opportunities should send me an email with your phone number, so I can give you the relevant details.

            We do not encourage anyone to break the law or to take risks. Anything you choose to do is at your own risk.

            Last week Igor Outkine and Sarah Harrison ( Mazaika ) busked and played a variety of music outside at the Cutty Sark. It included classical, Eastern European and Pop.

On request they played a small number of Tangos which we were able to dance to, wearing face masks. As you can see from the photo below there was plenty of room to dance around the musicians without coming close to them or anyone else. In the whole area there was maybe a hundred or more people, but in small groups spaced out. In other words, it was possible to keep more than two metres away from others almost all the time. The main exception being passing other people in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, so face masks are useful.

            The Docklands Light Rail usually is only lightly populated at present. So keeping apart from others on the DLR is not difficult.  Facemasks are mandatory on Public Transport.

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This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day. Today lets listen to a few more

of the early Tango Orchestras that travelled between Buenos Aires and Paris.

Agesilao Ferrazzano, 1897-1980.

Violinist, leader and composer. Born in Buenos Aires, and played with many

famous early Tango musicians including Roberto Firpo. In 1925 he went to

Paris with Francisco and Rafael Canaro, and that year became a founding

member of the ‘Orquesta Tipica Victor’.  The ‘Ferrazano-Pollero Orchestra

appeared at the ‘Cabaret Folies Bergere in Buenos Aires’. In 1927 he returned

to Paris, Europe, and spent a lot of time in Italy. He died in Lebanon in 1980.

You can listen to his 1927 recording of ‘Cuando tu me quieras’ ( When you

would love me ), which he co-wrote with Julio Pollero.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/463/Agesilao-Ferrazzano  

Rafael Canaro, 1890-1972.

Bass player, leader and composer. Born in Uruguay, but grew up in Buenos Aires where

as a Paper Boy, he contributed to the family budget. The seven boys were very musical.

In 1925 he accompanied his famous brother, Francisco Canaro, on an orchestral tour to

Paris, and later to New York. At this time Rafael played the Double Bass and the musical

Saw. In 1926 he returned to Paris leading his own orchestra, and stayed there until 1939.

At the outbreak of war he returned to Bs As. He was known as the Argentine Tango

Ambassador to Europe.

His most famous composition is ‘Sentimiento Gaucho’, 1924,

 ( Music by Rafael and Francisco Canaro, words by Juan Andres Caruso ).

There are many versions and recordings. Here you can find the

1924 recording of Carlos Gardel singing, 1972 Florindo Sassone’s orchestral interpretation,

and an early video of Ada Falcon singing it.

https://www.todotango.com/english/music/song/607/Sentimiento-gaucho/

 Manuel Pizarro, 1895-1982. 

Bandoneonist, leader and composer.

Read this link – Pizarro remembers his beginnings:

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/226/Pizarro-Remembers-his-beginnings-in-tango/

And his memories of Paris.

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/231/Pizarro-His-memories-of-Paris-and-Europe/

Note that you can follow futher links from these articles to ,for example, listen to some

original recordings.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is

definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything

you reasonably can, and better still to music.

Get out of the house, breathe fresh air, and walk for a couple of hours, keeping a

sensible distance from others, but close enough so they can see you smile.

And when you are at home, just in socks, on the linoleum or smooth floor, and

with a bench to provide a minimal support, remember and practice your ‘ochos’,

forwards and backwards, dissociation, posture and axis.

Do that for a few minutes at least every day.

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.               If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >                 and ask to be notified directly when they will happen. You can  register  for the lessons on the web; www.losocampotango.net

                             

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Here is an interesting story indicating that the Argentine Navy took 1000 copies of the sheet music of ‘La Morocha’ and distributed them around the world in 1906.

https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/379/From-La-morocha-to-El-Garron-Tango-conquers-Paris/  

 Also from reading the notes about the musicians in section (1) above you can see that some of them had the motivation to try and teach the people in the Old World how Tango music should be played.

 

 

*****     *****     *****

6th August  

                     We would still like a bit more feedback on your thoughts about the way Tango and Social Dancing could operate in the coming months, especially from some of our older members that we have not heard from for a while

Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting will be this Saturday afternoon, 8th August, at 3 pm. If you feel like a friendy discussion and exchange of ideas do join us. It is free. We ask participants to research a Tango topic of their own choice, then to talk about what they have learned for just two minutes. After that everyone can ask questions, or add their own comments. We usually manage four or five topics in a session. So, if you feel like joining us, email Tony   apblane@gmail.com and he will give you the code details.

          Last week we discussed some interesting material  on the development of

Tango in Paris and London. This is mentioned below under (3) History.

Anita talked about the general benefits of dance, particularly Argentine Tango,

to sufferers of Parkinsons disease.

https://www.communitydance.org.uk/DB/animated-library/tango-and-parkinsons-the-view-from-the-dance-floor?ed=29971

Tony, who is reading ‘The Dance Cure’ by Dr Peter Lovatt, will add more to the discussion of the benefits of dance this coming Saturday.

           *****          *****          *****

            Anyone interested in our occasional ‘Social Distancing Tango’ outdoors,

which so far has been in the area of Canary Wharf should send me an email with

your phone number, so I can give you the relevant details.

           *****          *****          *****

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day. Today lets listen to

early Orquestas Tipicas Criollos playing early 2×4 tangos  and early milongas.

How does this music compare with that found in Parisian and London dance

venues at that time?

 

 

Vicente Greco 1888-1924, and his Orquesta Tipica Criollo play

1911 ‘El Incendio’ ( The fire ), by Arturo De Bassi.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/341/Vicente-Greco

Genaro Esposito 1886-1944                      

1913  Recuerdos de Zambonini

1924  El Rey del cabaret,  Music: Enrique Delfino,  Words: Manuel Romero.

Singer: Urquiri

The first  four lines are:

Era un mozo bacán y arrogante,———He was an arrogant young sugar daddy,
bien peinado al Coty y con gomina,—–Well groomed with hair oil,
por el cual se trenzaban las—————By means of which he strung along the                                                                                      minas,——————————————-girls,
mendigando una frase de amor.———Begging an expression of love.

1937  Mi pobre Corazon, Music and Words by Juan Giliberti and Genaro Esposito,

Singer: F. Merel.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/637/Genaro-Esposito

Juan Maglio  1881-1934

1913  El Cabure. Music: Arturo De Bassi, Words: Roberto Cavol.

1928  Pobre Gringo. Music: Antonio Scatasso, Words: Juan Andres Caruso/Alberto Vaccarezza.

[ Poor Gringo alone and sad, who has come to America with his baggage of illusion. ]

Singer: Ernesto Fama.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/25/Juan-Maglio

 

 Roberto Firpo  1884-1969

1917 El Moro. Music: Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano. Words: Juan Maria Gutierrez.

Singers: Carlos Gardel and Jose Razzano. Recording by Max Glucksman.

1942 ‘Z Club’. Music: A. Rosendo.

1946 Chamberguito de los Gauchos (Milonga). Music: Pascual Carabillo.

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/19/Roberto-Firpo

 

Pedro Laurenz 1902-1972

1938 Milonga compadre

1944 Milonga de mis amores

https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/info/22/Pedro-Laurenz

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is

definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything

you reasonably can, and better still to music.

Get out of the house, breathe fresh air, and walk for a couple of hours, keeping a

sensible distance from others, but close enough so they can see you smile.

And when you are at home, just in socks, on the linoleum or smooth floor, and

with a bench to provide a minimal support, remember and practice your ‘ochos’,

forwards and backwards, dissociation, posture and axis.

Do that for a couple of minutes at least every day.

Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.

If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com >

and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.

Their next ZOOM is on Thursday:

LOSOCAMPO online by ZOOM this Thursday 6th August 2020 at 8pm UK.

Every Thursday in August.

Tango Technique Lesson class  #8. No partner needed. This week lots of TRASPIES.

 Meeting 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUufuGvrz0pHNymOv1LK5ieyoUYLWmWJYYk

ID de reunión: 81398716368

password: losocampo

Foot work, Pivots, Leg flexibility and relaxation focusing on Balance, Dissociation, Rhythm,

Structure, Posture , Embellishments and new movements to improve your TANGO.

Have ready a stick or cane, a chair, a scarf or piece of fabric and a balloon,

You can enter 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

Please share with Friends. thank you.

Your voluntary donation will be very much appreciated and gratefully received.

www.paypal.me/losocampo

You can  register also for the lessons in our web;

www.losocampotango.net

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

 

Shan tells us:

To summarise my talk it was about tango coming to London around 1910. It is said it was brought over from Paris by returning tourists. By 1911 classes were being offered in Oxford Street and Bond Street and tea dances were held in places like Selfridges and the Savoy so it clearly wasnt the seedy bohemian gay version being danced in Paris.

It was so popular that there was even a shoe polish sold to buff up your tango shoes. Newspapers covered the tango, reporting on its effect on society. Viscount Haldane in The House of Lords claimed the tango was preventing young men from enlisting. Ray Batchelor found a cartoon of a suffragette being arrested by a policeman in which the caption suggests she is doing the tango with him.

Tango fashion was radical in that it allowed women greater freedom to move and trousers were acceptable.

If you search for Leon Bakst costumes for Hullo Tango you will see how radical they were.

‘Hullo Tango’ was a musical cashing in on the widespread awareness and popularity of the tango. You can hear the star Ethel Levey singing My tango girl on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KFyWXxDWD8&list=WL&index=2&t=0s

[ Tony comments that ‘to my ear the flavour of this music sounds closer to English Music Hall music than to Argentine Tango, but I am interested in what other people think.’ ]

The next link below has illustrations about tango moves of the 1910s and a couple of videos.

This clip also mentions that the Russian Tsar Nicholas ordered a demonstration after an incident concerning two soldiers dancing it. 

Although the Pope banned tango in Italy in 1913 that ban was rescinded in 1914.

https://www.libraryofdance.org/dances/early-tango/

 [ Tony’s main observation is their emphasis on learning steps, rather than  as we do now try and concentrate on achieving good connection. It is also worth reminding ourselves that North American and

European ballroom dancing and teaching, including Ballroom Tango, developed a culture of ‘Expert

professional teachers’ who taught steps as a business model. That business model was reinforced by

syllabuses prescribing the only correct way, levels such as ‘beginner, bronze, silver, gold’ and by competitions. Whereas Argentine Tango is a ‘Free’ dance, not controlled by anyone. ]

The next clip, written by Christine Dennison, is about the history of tango, especially in the UK.


http://www.history-of-tango.com/couple-dance.html

 

 

*****     *****     *****

29th July

Our next  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meeting will be this Saturday afternoon.
If you feel like a friendy discussion and exchange of ideas do join us. It is free.
We ask participants to research a Tango topic of their own choice, then to talk about
what they have learned for just two minutes. After that everyone can ask questions, or
add their own comments. We usually manage four or five topics.
So if you feel like joining us email Tony      apblane@gmail.com 
and he will give you the details.
 
 
           *****          *****          *****
 
 
            Anyone interested in our occasional ‘Social Distancing Tango’ outdoors, which so far
has been in the area of Canary Wharf should send me an email with your phone number, so I
can give you the relevant details. The numbers of us are small; four last time. We wear facemasks
and dance well apart without touching. It’s a bit of a challenge. Legally I understand we can have
a group of up to 6 people, but where we go there is space for another separate group of 6,
dancing to the same music. In each group, when we dance it is one couple at a time.
 
 
           *****          *****          *****
 
 
This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.
 
1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day. Today lets listen to Candombe and Milonga.
Look for and listen to various versions of famous tunes and some others
not so famous:
 
‘Azabache’ 
Note that you can also click to see the words (in Spanish) as you are listening.
1) 2016 recording of Romina Balestrino singing with her group.
2) 1942 recording of Raul Beron singing with Miguel Calo’s Orchestra.
 
Azabache is jet black amber from trees of the jurassic age. It can be found in the northern coast of Spain in the Asturias region.
It has long been a popular jewellery item. It is believed to have protective magic and removes negative energy.
 
 
‘Baldosa floja’ 
Have a look at the words as well.
1) 1957 recording of Argentino Ledesma singing with Jorge Dragone’s Orchestra.
2) Video of Soledad Villemil singing ‘Baldosa floja’.
 
Notice that this was composed (quite late) in 1957.  Music by Julio Bocazzi and 
Florindo Sassone, with lyrics by Dante Gilardoni.
You are probably familiar with Sassone’s more romantic orchestral version of
 ‘Bahia Blanca’ written by Carlos Di Sarli.
 
 
‘Bronce’
1946 recording of Trio Pintin Castellanos, made in Montevideo.
Sounds like he may have been influenced by the Urugayan Candombe musicians.
 
 
‘La Puñalada’   
also by Pintin Castellanos
 
 
 
 
 
2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
 
Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is
definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything
you reasonably can, and better still to music. 
Get out of the house, breathe fresh air, and walk for a couple of hours, keeping a
sensible distance from others, but close enough so they can see you smile.
And when you are at home, just in socks, on the linoleum or smooth floor, and
with a bench to provide a minimal support, remember and practice your ‘ochos’,
forwards and backwards, dissociation, posture and axis.
Do that for a couple of minutes at least every day. 
 
 
 
Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM. 
If you wish to join them email   Monica Romero < losocampos@gmail.com > 
and ask to be notified directly when they will happen. 
Their next ZOOM is on Thursday:
 
 

LOSOCAMPO online by ZOOM this Thursday 30th July 2020 at 8pm UK.

 

Hola amigos. A NEW Tango Technique Lesson class  #7. No partner needed.
 
To experience TANGO is to amplify your senses.
Each class develops gradually Tango Exercises from fundamentals to a more complex level. 
Specific exercises and training tools will stimulate your body:
 
Foot work, Pivots, Leg flexibility and relaxation focusing on Balance, Dissociation, Rhythm,
Structure, Posture , Embellishments and new movements to improve your TANGO.
Have ready a stick or cane, a chair, a scarf or piece of fabric and a balloon, 
 
Join Los Ocampo on Zoom

ID de reunión: 8762252193

Código de acceso: exercise#7

 
You can enter 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.
 
Please share with Friends. thank you.
 
Your voluntary donation will be very much appreciated and gratefully received.

www.paypal.me/losocampo

You can  register also for the lessons in our web;

 

 
 
 
3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
 
Juan Peron 1895 –  1974
 
Juan Peron was President of Argentina from June 1946 to September 1955 when 
he was overthrown in a coup.
He was exiled in Spain and returned as President from October 1973 to July 1974.
His third wife, Maria Estela Martinez, known as Isabel Peron, elected as his
Vice President, succeeded him.
Juan Peron was involved in planning the overthrow of Hipolito Yrigoyen’s 
(some would say quite good) government in the early 1930s.
In 1939 he went to Italy to study mountain warfare, and studied Mussolini’s fascism.
He concluded ‘social democracy’ (ie advocating intervention to promote social justice)
could be a viable alternative to ‘liberal (western) democracy’. He returned to Argentina
in 1941.
In 1943 Peron was involved in the coup which deposed the elected Ramon Castillo.
Under the administration of General Pedro Ramirez, Peron formed strong alliances
with Trade Unions. It appears that favours would be granted in return for loyalty.
Following the 1944 San Juan earthquake, Peron became very popular for his relief work.
It was at this time that he met his second wife, Eva Duarte (‘Evita’).
In the lead up to the 1946 election the US Ambassador denounced Peron as having 
fascist ties. There was an unusual uniting of extreme right and left opposition.
But Peron said “The choice is between voting for US (control) or me”. Peron won.
His stated goal in June 1946 was social justice and economic independence.
From 1946 – 1955 wages and conditions for workers improved considerably.
But US policymakers, fearing losing commercial control, restricted and hampered growth.
Peron refused to join the ‘General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade’ and the ‘International
Monetary Fund’.
The major downside was the dramatic growth in Import values but decline in Export 
revenue, resulting in the erosion of all the surpluses earned before 1948.
 
Opposition to Peron came first from the intelligentsia and middle class, including for 
example the writer Jorge Luis Borges.  Osvaldo Pugliese, the Tango pianist and
communist, is said to have been locked into a sinking boat by the Peron regime until
rescued at the last minute.
The Buenos Aires Ramos Mejia General Hospital basement was a routine torture centre. 
Peron’s regime often resorted to violence, as have some other Argentinian regimes.
 
 
Eva Peron   ( Maria Eva Duarte ) 1919 – 1952
Eva may well have been a significant influence in getting the vote for Argentinian women
in 1947, and that  probably helped Peron to a second term.
She established the Eva Peron Foundation in 1948, which assisted in her husband’s 
social policies. This was stopped by the next government.
 
 
Homero Manzi  1907 – 1951
composed many Tango songs including ‘Milonga Sentimental’ 1933,
sung here by Carlos Gardel:
 
He also did these two Milongas which I have never heard.
Does anyone have this music or a link to them being played ?
 
‘Versos de un payador al General Juan Peron’
Verses from a minstrel to General Juan Peron.
Just to translate the second verse –
Pardon me (Mr) President, but I have the certainty
That to praise your greatness is to translate many minds.
You struggled for the people clearing away the weeds,
And the criollo who always weighs up justice and nobly
Knows that you were valiant on the side of your poor.
 
 
  ‘Versos de un payador a la Señora Eva Peron’
    Just a couple of lines from the 4th verse-    
He is the principle verb, and you the principal moderator.
He is the point of the spear, you are the point of love. 
 
Is this just grovelling obsequieousness, or very clever irony ?
Spanish, like English, can have various interpretations.
 
 
*****     *****     *****

19th July

Hi Everyone,
                    We know from the Mailchimp data that plenty of you open our newsletter, and presumably read at least a bit of it. So what I am asking today is for a little more feedback, especially from those we don’t hear from much.
         What are your thoughts on the topic of Tango, questions, ideas, or suggestions ?
              
 
A few more thoughts and questions on  ‘Protocols of behaviour at Tango’ and other close
embrace social dance activities from Michael.
How would ‘TangoE14’ operate in it’s normal venue ?
1/ At the moment our hall is closed for all activities.
The manager says he will tell us of any change to this.
2/ I have looked at some of the guidance material on partial opening of spaces for sport
or gyms. It seems that it is expected that every venue/facility would need to be
thoroughly cleaned and all surfaces disinfected both before and after any activity.
If this ruling was to be applied strictly and literally, then I think it would be impractical
for us to adhere to. We already do spend a lot of time preparing beforehand and clearing
and cleaning up after our event. However if these guidelines are aproached in a practical
manner, and if the hall is able to ensure cleanliness of all touched surfaces beforehand
then we could probably manage, as long as the rental does not increase.
3/ Dancers should all wear face masks at all times in the hall, except when eating or
drinking. This is principally for other people’s protection, not the wearer, but it also shows
that everyone is taking the Covid-19 problem seriously.
4/ It is probably sensible to limit the number of different partners one dances with.
Because we are only a small group, rarely more than 30, then statistically the chances
of transmission are small, but the possibility does exist.
And of course, some couples may decide to only dance with each other.
5/ Anyone who feels unwell, or is the partner of that person, should stay at home and
not attend for the recommended isolation period, two weeks.
6/ If we limit numbers to say 24 people, who would have to register in advance, then
the hall is large enough for couples to stay at least one and a half metres away from
other couples.
 
Michael also makes the observation that the only people that would come are those
who are reasonably confident that they should not get Covid-19 if they take sensible 
precautions. Those who are worried would not come. It is sensible for older people,
and those with other health issues to be cautious.
 
 
 
           *****          *****          *****
 
 
This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.
 
1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.
Look for and listen to various versions of famous tunes and some others
not so famous:
 
‘Asi se baila el tango’
1942 recording sung by Alberto Castillo with the orchestra of Ricardo Tanturi,
plus this silly but amusing video compilation of a variety of dancers including
Rudolph Valentino:
 
 
‘Aquel Tapado de Armiño    ( ‘That ermine coat’ ).
Video of this melodramatic song , sung by Hugo del Carril and Sabina Olmos.
Now having seen this video you might realise how there can be hundreds of
tangos you may not need to know.
 
‘Araca’
I had never heard of the ‘Orquesta Miguel Villasboas’.
This recording appears to have been made on a London label in Montevideo,
and guessing around late 20s or 30s ? It does not appear in the catalogue entitled
‘Encyclopaedia of Tango’.
 
 
‘Arlette’Alberto Amor sings with Rodolfo Biagi’s Orchestra in1943.
 
 
‘Armonioso y tanguero’
Baffa-Berlingieri Orquestra, 1969.
 
 
 
2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
 
We can have the same rhythm with our arms as our legs when walking;
or we can create a different rhythm with our arms, shoulders or torso, or hands and fingers.
Just try snapping or moving your fingers to a different rhythm to your walking.
That’s you creating a polyrhythm. 
 
 
Further to last week’s links regarding the benefits of dance for everyone, and the special benefits to people with neurological degeneration such as Parkinson’s disease, Dr Peter Lovatt says there are three particular benefits: Social, interacting with others; Physical, improving breathing, heart rate, circulation, muscle tone, and raising the whole level of body fitness and ability; and Cognitive, learning, processing and remembering both physical and conceptual information.                                                                                        Physical activity slows the processes of aging, memory loss and reduction of problem solving ability.
 
Tony F. says dance is 15% more valuable than jogging in slowing the ageing process
because it involves the brain as well as body.
 
 
Of course, we at TangoE14 believe that Argentinian Tango, with it’s emphasis on excellent physical communication is probably the best form of dancing one can do.
However, in our current Covid-19 sensitive circumstances, even line dancing is
a good thing. And if you can do that, why not try ‘Socially Distanced Tango’
outdoors with a small group of friends. It is a challenge !
 

 
 
 
3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
 
Perceptions of History depend on who is recounting it, and what their cultural framework is.
Recently I thought it would be interesting to see if there is any surviving record of Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492 to the ‘New World’. The nearest we can get is an account, apparently taken from Columbus’ original log, by Bartolome de las Casas in 1530. Some interesting perspectives arise. Columbus deliberately underestimated the distance he travelled to reduce
the concern of the crew. When they eventually landed and ‘took posession of the land’ in the name of the king of Spain they carried banners with emblems and initials inscribed that they deemed important. Their framework of thought and view of themselves and the world was clearly much more religious than scientific. Although they did make constant observations and deductions about sightings of birds and vegetable material.
         The Spanish Catholic view of god, humanity and the world in the Sixteenth Century was obviously very important to the way the culture of the Spanish Americas developed.
It was quite different to the cultures that spread later with British, French and other imperial or business interests.
         One particular aspect of Spanish culture that concerns us is their love and appreciation of music. Spanish stringed instruments have been for a long time famous for their quality, and the skill of the musicians who play them. Of course European music has a wide and rich variety, but especially noteworthy must be European Court music and dance, music of ceremony and religion. Then we get to the point of literacy, of writing words for poetry, song and prose, and the writing of music. Once we write it down that is a fixed ‘recording’.
That is seen as the way the composer intended, and may or may not inhibit variation.
 
         The American Native tribes had and have a powerful musical culture. Notable is their variety of wind, percussion and scraping instruments. Many different cultural, ceremonial and religious activities occured with musical accompaniment. Processions, walking to music, are particularly important, and to my eyes are a significant ingredient in Carnival processions. The forms of recording information such as the Quipu ( sequences of knotted
cords ) have not been adecuately deciphered.
         The ‘Third Council of Lima’, 1581-83 is seen as enlightened from some perspectives because it produced a trilingual catechism in Quechua, Aymara and Latin. The purpose of this was the evangelisation of the natives, and their treatment as ‘Free men’. Lima was the capital of the Vice-Royalty of Peru, (ie all of South America except Brazil).
However on the negative side the Third Council also ordered the burning of all Quipus
on the grounds that they were used to record offerings to non-Christian gods, and were
therefore idolatrous objects. So we do not know precisely how to interpret a Quipu, or
if  they helped in any way to record music, dance, procedure or ceremony.
 
 
         The Africans, brought as slaves to the Americas, carried no physical luggage, or written records but inside them they did carry their musical and rhythmical cultures. So given the opportunity they soon recovered and developed their musical heritage, especially creating and using percussion and scraping instruments.
 
          There are at least four significant areas where there has been a fusion of
European, plus Native American, plus African culture and music:
a) The Gulf of Mexico/Louisiana, many rhythms including Jazz.
b) Carribbean, many rhythms including Salsa.
b) Brazil, many rhythms including Samba.
c) Argentina and Uruguay, many rhythms including Tango.
 
          As we have already discussed over recent weeks, the history of Argentina,
immigration, recording technology, world history and many other factors, have all
played a part in shaping dance history, and the dance at the centre of our attention,
Argentine Tango.
          But different people with different skills and backgrounds will recount these
stories in different ways, and with different emphases.
          So we look forward to hearing accounts from the perspectives of Musicians,
Historians,  Dancers, and anyone wishing to contribute relevant ideas and
information.
 
From  Tony Lane   and   Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14

*****     *****     *****

12th July

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
                     I always look forward to hearing from TangoE14 people, their ideas, suggestions,
news and questions.
 
              In our  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group on Sunday 12th July we had some
very interesting material.
Mervyn showed us this link of Dr Patricia Mckinley talking about the physical and
psychological health benefits of Argentine Tango :
 
Shan talked about the Russians in Paris from 1906 to 1913, the link between Tango and Art, and how Tango impacted their Art.                                            Diaghilev was living in Paris at that time, organising Art shows and setting up his dance company the Ballet Russe,  which brought dancers, musicians and artists over from Russia. These included Leon Bakst, a costume designer. He designed tango costumes, including one for a tango show put on at the London Hippodrome, Leicester Square, in        1913 called ‘Hullo’.
Stravinsky, who was eventually buried side by side with Diaghilev in Venice, created tango music for a dance performance in a show called L’Histoire d’un
Soldat, and much later tango music in 1940.                                                  
Other well known people in Paris included Nijinsky, dancer and lover of Diaghilev.
Natalie Goncharova (artist and costume designer) and her artist partner, Larionov,  who she married 55 years after she met him.                                         
She designed tango costumes, acted in a tango Art film with her husband, and performed a Tango artwork in Russia.
The Russian artist Kazimir Malevich, who visited Paris in 1912, made several famous paintings
of tango dancers including a number of interesting impressionist works; many titled ‘Argentine Polka’.
Tango was the rage on the dance floors in the city. The dance was seen as embodying radical chic, sexual        emancipation and ethical iconoclasm.
It seems likely that Diaghilev would have visited The Magic City, a gay dance haunt where the tango was danced.                                                                                However that was not the only tango venue in Paris. The febrile atmosphere in Paris in 1913 ended abruptly with the outbreak of World War One.
Many artists returned to Russia or went to other cities.
 
Shan’s links (see also further down under ‘History’) :
 
‘Magic City’ ballroom 1910.
 
Costume for ‘Hullo Tango’ 1913.
 
Stravinsky: L’Histoire du Soldat Suite – Tango-Valse-Rag
 
Malevich paintings including ‘Argentine Polka’ !
 
 
Paul raised the question of future ‘Protocols of behaviour at Tango’ and other close embrace
dance events. He pointed out that Mina and Giraldo have raised this question with their group,
and it is something that we also need to discuss and start to decide what our guidelines for
behaviour at our events and activities should be. Some ideas include-
– Use of face masks.
– How to manage ‘Distancing’ in a social dance.  Actually, at our usual venue with the space
available, and with about a dozen couples, it should be possible for couples to dance whilst
still maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres between couples.
– Do you choose a ‘bubble’ or small group of partners with whom you will dance exclusively,
 and no-one else ?
– How many partners can you safely dance with ?
– Any other relevant points we should consider ?
 
We will have a break from our  ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group meetings for a few
weeks as several members are travelling or have other committments.
 
 
           *****          *****          *****
 
 
This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.
 
1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.
Look for and listen to various versions of famous tunes:
 
‘El Choclo’, was written by Angel Villoldo, probably around 1898. He also wrote words for it, although probably the most famous words were written later by Enrique Santos Discepolo. 
 
This link takes you to Tita Merello singing to the Orchestra of Francisco Canaro, 1954.
 
 
Louis Armstrong’s ‘Kiss of fire’.
 
Juan Carlos Copez and Lisa Minelli dance in BsAs
 
Astor Pizzola’s ‘El choclo’.
 
‘El Entrerriano’ composed in 1897 by Anselmo Rosendo Mendizabal, who usually signed his name A.Rosendo.
 [ Note that the Spanish custom for a person’s surname was to first  write the father’s surname, then the mother’s surname. Often, for brevity, or following the English custom, the last name, the mother’s surname, was omitted.]
 
 
‘El Cabure’, composed by Arturo De Bassi:
Cuarteto Juan Maglio 1913
Lorenzo Barbero Orchestra 1950-54
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
 
As you are walking, or running, or walking up stairs notice how your breathing
relates to your movement. Do you take one breath in on one step, and a breath
out on the next step? Or can you take two, or three, or four steps to one breath
in ? Breathing is another rhythm which can synchronise with other movement,
such as walking, but can be paused. We can take a longer slower breath, we
can momentarily hold our breath, or breathe more quickly. 
We also can have the same rhythm with our arms as our legs when walking;
or we could create a different rhythm with our arms, or hands, or fingers.
As you walk around just experiment with the music you can imagine in your
head, and see how you might interpret different aspects of that music with
your whole being.
 
 
 
 
 
3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
 
Shan provided this link:
 
 
Just scroll down to see their view of early Tango history. Also click through their other headings ‘About’-‘History’-‘Tango’
and ‘About’-‘The dances’-‘Tango’, then click on the video of Mirko Gozzoli and Edita  Daniute (Dancesport.RU). You will see an impressive display of “International/Competition/Performance” style Tango which is very far removed from ‘Social Argentine Tango’.
 
I will specifically mention a couple of the obvious abberations:-
 
1) The embrace used here is closed at the hip, and leaning away from each other in the upper body. This was first noted in the early Viennese Waltz in the 1800s. Later it was enthusiastically
taken up by formulaic, prescriptive, competition ballroom dancers. It is said that this form of
connection allowed some dancers to engage in frottage.
The embrace used in Argentine Tango is much more vertical and slightly ‘A’ frame, so that the
couple may be touching at the chest in close embrace, but rarely or never touching at the waist.
Even if apart at the chest, they are still very slightly leaning towards each other. Their feet are a
little bit further apart than their bodies.
This means the weight of both partners is on the front of their feet, and each person can maintain
their own balance. It also means that when a step is taken it is easier to pivot on the front of the
foot. It is extremely unusual to do or lead a ‘heel turn’ in Argentine Tango.
It also reduces considerably the possibility of standing on your partner’s foot.
And most importantly, the correct embrace, posture and connection between partners in Argentine
Tango allows the most freedom of movement and improvisation.
 
2) The ‘Head Snap’, beloved by Competition dancers, was invented by a man called Freddy Camp,
I understand in the 1930s. [ Any reliable reference would be welcomed. ]  Although it is possible
to lead and follow this move, it is mostly taught and executed in a choreographed (false) way
which often ends up indicating poor genuine connection between the dancers. It also appears
to have encouraged the habit of looking away from your partner. In Argentine Tango we should
be looking at each other and paying full attention to each other all the time.
 
 
This Delta dance link is more relevant to North American and European Ballroom or Show Tango, which is different to Argentine Tango.                              It is worth remembering that European and North American Ballroom Dancing came to be dominated by                        cultures of ‘Show performances’, of ‘Competitions’, and of ‘prescribed moves and positions’ as laid out by
International Dance Bodies and Commercial Dance schools. Some of the people concerned were more                    interested in creating business monopolies than free and inclusive social interaction.
Genuine ‘Argentine Tango’ evolved and continues to evolve. It is a ‘Free’ dance not owned,
copyrighted, or dictated by anyone. The actual physical dialogue and communication
between the couple in Argentine Tango, of really finding each other and dancing together,
is the essence of it, not artificial choreography.
 UNESCO included Argentine and Uruguayan Tango on it’s representative            list of ‘The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ in 2009.
 
 
 
Last week we raised questions about the role and place of women in Argentine Tango, in Argentine society, in European and Latin society in 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
 
Your feedback, thoughts and questions are appreciated.
 
 
 
From  Tony Lane   and   Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14

*****     *****     *****

 

5th July

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
                   
 
 At our ZOOM TangoE14 Discussion Group on 5th July.
topics raised included 1) Anita’s Psychological and emotional effects of
Tango. How and why people connect and dance the way they do. Learning and developing
tango skills, neural connections, hugs, game playing and conversations.  2) Andy on singer
Ada Falcon. 3) Mervyn on pianist, orchestra leader and perfectionist, Carlos Di Sarli.
4) and Shan on Tango in Paris  1907-1913, noting it was seen as lascivious. The artist
couple Sonia and Robert Delauney developed the concept of ‘Orphism’, using colours and
patterns to create the impression of movement and music. See Sonia’s painting
‘Le Bal Bullier’, which shows couples in tango  embrace.
 
Here are Shan’s links:
Ragtime was all the rage in Paris between 1907 and 1914 and several dances were popular
using syncopated rhythms, such as The Grizzly Bear. Two of the major dance venues of the
time were Magic City, where Sodoms grandsons ! danced
and Le Bal Bullier
 
               So you see Tango takes us into all sorts of interesting places.
 
 
This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.
 
1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day; listen to Tango singers.
 
Carlos Gardel, 11Dec 1890 – 24 June 1935.
Alfredo Le Pera, 4June 1900 – 24 June 1935.
 
Carlos Gardel is legendary. He is the classic singer of Argentine Tangos who sadly was killed in a
plane crash in Medellin, Colombia, in 1935. There is a useful summary of his life on Wikipedia, and
a lot more information on Todotango.
Alfredo Le Pera deserves much more acknowledgement. He not only died on the same plane as
Gardel, but wrote the scripts for five Gardel films 1933-35. Le Pera wrote the lyrics and Gardel the
music for many compositions including ‘El dia que me quieras’, ‘ Mi Buenos Aires Querido’,                                          ‘Por una cabeza’, ‘Volver’, and the Vals ‘Amores de Estudiante’.
 
Look up the words in Spanish, and the English translation of ‘El dia que me quieras’. In my view
an exceptionally romantic song in Spanish.
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Gardel                                                                                                                      https://www.todotango.com/english/gardel/

 
 
 
Azucena Maizani, 17 Nov 1902 – 15 Jan 1970, was a composer, songwriter and singer.
Carlos Gardel sang and recorded some of her songs.
Here is a link to her singing one of her own compositions ‘Pero yo se’.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
 
Particularly be aware of your balance,
your core, your posture, and weight changes from one foot to the other, and also
changes of weight on one foot or between feet. 
Can you control where on each foot your weight is ?
Do this simple exercise: standing upright, rolling your weight onto the front of your
feet, lift your heels 2 – 4 millimetres off the floor, then roll back on to your heels. Do
this 20 times. Then do it in reverse.
We want to be automatically aware of how our weight is distributed on one or both 
feet without thinking about it.
 
 
 
3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
 
Today lets think about the role and place of women in Argentine Tango ?
 
We would like some feedback, thoughts and questions from you all.
Were women just prized possessions as wives for men ?
Or were men the prized breadwinners for the women ?
How were women perceived by men of different social levels in Argentine, Latin, and 
world culture at different periods from 1850s to now.
How did women perceive men over this time ? 
How did women perceive themselves ?
To what extent could they take control of their own destiny ?
Who is really in charge in Latin culture, men or women ?
 
Popular or communal dancing in an open area of ground, in the street, in a ‘Conventillo’, 
in a brothel, in a community space, in a dance hall, in a sophisticated club; many different
spaces create different environments for dancing and interacting.
Then there are the ranges of people, of men and of women; different backgrounds, 
cultures, languages, habits, customs, dress, wealth, confidence, desperation and need.
Is anyone really controlling all this ?
Presumably some men and some women see opportunities and take advantage of them.
As new developments occur; immigration, musical developments, recording, economic
changes; some people adapt or take advantage of the new opportunities.
 
There are many stories of women in the late 1800s and 1900s who left Europe, UK,
Greece, the Middle East to travel across the world, sometimes to a pre-arranged match,
and sometimes not. Sometimes taken advantage of by unscrupulous agents. Sometimes
managing to determine their own course.
 Azucena Maizani,  mentioned above, is one of the ladies of Argentina that made a
career and name for herself, but it wasn’t easy. 
 
 
 
Comments and feedback welcomed.
 
 
From  Tony Lane   and   Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14
 
 
*****     *****     *****

28th June

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
                   
This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.
 
1/  Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.
 
Adolfo Carabelli, b 1893 – d 1947. Born in San Fernando, which is now part of Greater Buenos Aires, he studied piano, composition, harmony and counterpoint, with an exclusively classical orientation. He was an acknowledged virtuoso by age 15, so was advised to go to Italy. By age 20 he graduated as
Master of Composition, but then he returned to Argentina because of the First World War.
       ‘In 1917 while he was a member of the Trio Argentina which performed classical music, he got acquainted with the pianist Lipoff ( who arrived in BsAs as accompanist of the dancer Anna Pavlova ) and after this encounter his career underwent a substantial twist.’
 
 
He played Jazz. See ‘Carabelli Jazz Band, La chica del autobus, Foxtrot, BsAs 1926’:
 
         For his Tango recordings just search for Adolfo Carabelli Tango, Adolfo Carabelli Orchestra, or Orquesta Tipica Victor recordings.
 
        His orchestra played on newly establishing radio stations, and later he wrote scores for films. In 1926 he was hired by Victor as Artistic Director, and formed their Orchestra which played Jazz or Tango. This coincided with a significant improvement in recording technology. To start with
there were more Jazz recordings, but by the 1930s tango became stronger. Carabelli was not mentioned on the ‘Orquesta Tipica Victor’ (OTV) label, neither were the other amazing musical maestros who played with him. Read the links and see how many names you can recognise.
 
 
       A few weeks back I was wondering about the non inclusion of drums in Tango orchestras.
It would appear that Carabelli, playing both Jazz and Tango for Victor, had a clear concept of what Jazz and Tango were. Tango appears to have inclined towards the more formal or drawing room classical use of instruments, but stretching the use and way these instruments were played.
 
        Your thoughts or observations are always welcome.
 
 
 
Eduardo Armani, 1898 – 1970, Violinist and composer.
 
 
 
 
…..Just two more well educated and trained musicians of Italian heritage.
 
 
 
 
2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
 
Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is
definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything
you reasonably can, and better still to music.
There are loads of exercise videos available on the internet if you need to be guided. 
 
 
Los Ocampo, Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, are doing lessons on ZOOM.  Email < losocampos@gmail.com > 
and ask to be notified directly when they will happen.
 
 
 
 
3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
 
Let us look at the significant role of Italian migrants on the development of Argentine Tango.
It is very easy to notice the vast numbers of Italian names amongst the musicians and composers
of Tango, and just wonder if it should be called Italian Tango ? 
Clearly the ‘Cooking pot’ that was, and is, Argentina had a huge influence on what became
Argentine Tango, but there is no denying that the sheer size of the Italian input, coupled with
their musical talents, and the period of history in which it happened made the unmistakeable
sounds of classic or ‘Golden Age’ Tango.
 
After independence conflicts continued:
            In 1818 independent Argentina was not a precisely or geographically defined country.
Some Argentine leaders had ambitions to control neighbouring areas such as Uruguay and
Paraguay. The areas further south in the ‘Southern Cone’ were not so easily or immediately
controlled. There was competition with Chile, as well as resistance by local ‘Indian’ tribes.
Some leaders such as Adolfo Alsina Maza (b.January 4, 1829 –d. December 29, 1877) tried
stopping Mapuche cattle raids with trenches 10 metres wide across the pampas, but also
apparently wanted more peaceful settlements with the natives. According to Wikipedia,
after Alsina’s death, by contrast, Julio Argentino Roca believed that the only solution against
the Indian threat was to extinguish, subdue or expel them.
 

 Article 25 of the 1853 Argentine Constitution reads:

 ‘The Federal Government will encourage European immigration…..’

The Preamble of the Constitution dictates a number of goals (justice, peace, defence,

welfare and liberty) that apply “to all men in the world who wish to dwell on Argentine soil”.

But clearly that did not apply equally to people of American native or African background.

This is a clear indication that the Argentine Government preferred to develop a more

‘European’ population, and diminish the influence of other peoples and cultures.

 
Italian and Spanish Immigration
 
European immigration in the 19th century (mainly Italian and Spanish), focused on 
colonization, sponsored by the government, sometimes on lands conquered from the 
native inhabitants by the ‘Conquest of the Desert’ in the last quarter of the century. 
 
This immigration wave made Argentina the country with the second-largest number of
immigrants, with 6.6 million, second only to the United States with 27 million at the time.
 
The majority of immigrants, since the 19th century, came from Europe, mostly from Italy and Spain. Also notable were Jewish immigrants, giving 
Argentina the highest Jewish population in Latin America, and the 7th in the world.
The total population of Argentina rose from 4 million in 1895 to 7.9 million in 1914, and to 15.8 million in 1947.                                                                            Between 1861-1920 the country was settled by 1.5 million Spaniards and 3.8 million Italians, although not all remained.
 
 
I would like also to suggest that although financially of limited means, most immigrants were motivated to better their lot. At that time musical education was an important part of society, and far from being just poor uneducated 
labourers, many immigrants carried wonderful resources and abilities.
So the Tango that evolved has both an original/tribal/sensual/primitive feel as well as an amazing level of sophistication.
 
 
 
From  Tony Lane   and   Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14
 

*****     *****     *****

21st June

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,  Hi Everyone,

There are a couple of starters for ‘Social Distancing Tango’ outdoors, so if you want to join
this activity let me know your phone number, then I can give you a ring and confirm details.
We obviously can’t have large numbers, and it lacks the joy of the physical connection. But it is an interesting challenge, and a chance to experiment with some ideas that might possibly feed back into your proper tango.                                                                                  One of the difficulties is establishing a connection just visually, looking at and paying full attention to your partner’s chest, arms, and face. At the same time being precisely
aware of the space or floor you have to dance on: Is there an edge you or your partner could fall off ? Is there a drink can, bottle or plastic bag to slip on ? Are there other people moving into ‘your’ space ? Then there is the music; are we both listening to it in the same way ? Another big problem is that when you are dancing two metres apart you both would need to take enormous steps to complete a giro round each other in four steps. So the best remedy is to accept that you can’t, and compensate for that however you can. You can still try and lead a ‘back, side, forward, side-giro style series of moves’, and you might even sometimes be able to do compatible opposite or equivalent moves. But typically the follower, and the leader, have their own physical body momentum, and it is extremely hard to stop your partner or yourself exactly where, in space and time, that you want them. Similarly for pauses, changes of direction, holding on an axis, and so on. So, obviously we need to improve our own balance and control of our momentum, and our precise attention to our partner. Then , of course, as things invariably do not go exactly to plan, we have to improve our abilities to ‘make things up and return to our partner’ as if that was what we always intended.
One suitable day might be Wednesday 24th June.
That date is also the Peruvian festival of ‘Inti Raymi’ ( Literal translation ‘sun festival’ ). In
the southern hemisphere this is a day or two after the shortest day, and the festival is to ‘tether the sun’ to stop it sinking any lower, and thus prove that the Inca Emperor is indeed the Sun God.
Before the Spanish conquest the Inca empire extended through the Andean region from present day Columbia to Argentina. Some of their customs and culture included the use of ‘Bolas’ for catching animals and as weapons, Quipu or knotted strings as a way of recording or remembering information, chewing coca and making coca ‘tea’, portable drums, flutes and pan pipes and their music, and the habit of ‘messengers’ travelling long distances on foot to carry news and ideas.
Do challenge me if you think I am talking rubbish, but I am convinced that the precolumbian cultures were to some extent absorbed into and influence present day culture in Argentina including Tango.

We always look forward to hearing from TangoE14 people, their ideas, suggestions, news
or questions.

Mervyn is very kindly helping me set up ZOOM meetings for TangoE14.So if you want to join us, send me an email so I can give you the meeting codes. For the time being they will be short 40 minute discussions. The first topic is open: Members are invited to decide their own Tango related topic of interest, research it, and then at the ZOOM meeting talk for two minutes about what they have found. This is then followed by a few minutes of discussion, questions or observations by the others in the group.

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Edgardo Donato, b 1897 – d 1963. Born in BsAs of Italian parents, he had a good musical education. He
played the violin in orchestras including Jose Quevedo, Eduardo Arolas and Adolfo Carabelli. In 1927 he
formed his own orchestra and recorded from 1929 – 1961. He composed some well known tangos, most
notably ‘A Media Luz’.

Ricarardo Tanturi, b 1905 – d 1973, also born in BsAs of Italian parents. He played violin and piano, and
composed some Tangos. He studied and graduated in Dentistry. At University he was involved in student
bands. Later he played in clubs and for Radio. He formed his own orchestra in 1933. In 1939 the singer
Alberto Castillo (by day a gynecologist) joined Tanturi’s orchestra ‘Los Indios’ which worked out very well
for them both. After 1943 Enrique Campos and several others sang with Tanturi.

What can you find ? These two can be easily found on ‘Todotango.com/english’.

One thing is clear, both were well educated and trained musicians, and part of a successful middle class.

Try and find alternative recordings of a song or tune at different times, and see how the orchestras evolved.
Or compare with different orchestras playing the same tango, but different arrangements.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Unless there are pressing or practical reasons why you can’t, for most people it is
definitely worth doing a couple of hours of exercise each day. Move everything
you reasonably can.
There are loads of exercise videos available on the internet if you need to be guided.
Here are two more suggestions:
– NYC Ballet workout Volume 1. Just google that. It is free, and is over an hour.
Watch it and see how much you can safely and sensibly do. There is lots of good stuff
here which is relevant to us, as well as things which we do not need to do. Use your
own judgement of what is right and appropriate for you.
Whilst ballet dancers are supreme dancers and athletes, by the time they are getting into
their 40s most are starting to suffer joint and other physical problems. On the other hand
many Tangueros continue to enjoy and improve their Tango well into later life. So a sensible
individual appreciation of and responsibility for our own bodies is called for.
One simple example of something we do not really need in Tango is the extreme ‘Turnout’.
Keeping our feet parallel, whilst also being able to achieve a modest turnout is sufficient
for most of us.
– Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, has a number of exercise videos on You Tube.
He also featured last Friday on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

One name that features a lot is the impresario Max Glucksmann (1875-1946).

Read both the short Wikipedia entry which says he became the agent for Odeon Records and then
started his own ‘Discos Glucksmann’, and the material on http://www.todotango.com/english
( Max Glucksmann ).
Briefly: He was Jewish, born in Czernowitz (Ukraine) in 1875. In 1890 emigrated to Argentina.
Aged 20 he started work for a Photography business, Casa LePage, employing 3 people.
In 1908 he bought the company which then employed 150 people. According to an interview, in 1931
his business had 1500 employees, branches thoughout Argentina, as well as agencies in New York,
London and Paris, and 70 Cinemas. He almost had a monopoly of Tango at that time, notably
having controls of sheet music, and is credited with having ensured authors rights went to the
composers.
We often hear that many musicians played in cinemas for the silent movies, and then played
in various Tango Orchestras. You could say Max Glucksmann was orchestrating that overall
environment, but equally he was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of it.
On top of all that he organised very popoular Tango competitions ( Concursos ). The first was
in 1925 with Roberto Firpo as the ‘house’ orchestra. The first winner was Francisco Canaro.
Needless to say, Max helped many Artists to make their fortunes. He was there at the beginning
of both cinema and of recorded music.

Also look up the singer Alberto Castillo.

Last month we commented on the early development of recorded music and recording in
Buenos Aires. Apart from ‘Discos Glucksmann’ I have not yet found any clear evidence of any other
independent Argentinian recording enterprises. If anyone has anything to add, please let me know.
We do know that a lot of tango orquestras as well as other artists made thousands of recordings
in Buenos Aires and elsewhere on labels such as Odeon, Victor, Brunswick, Pathe, Electra, Svelt,
Orfeo, Music Hall, Philips, Splendid, Embassy, Stentor, Columbia, Serenata and others.
One question is: To what extent were these companies just branches of other European, US and
other foreign enterprises, and to what extent were they autonomous, locally owned or controlled
in BsAs. Were there ever actually any independent Buenos Aires or Montevideo recording studios?
Has anyone seen a recording by ‘Max Glucksmann’ or any other BsAs name without a ‘Parent’
company name ( eg Odeon, etc ) on the label ?

-14th June

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
First of all, apologies to anyone who did not receive last week’s newsletter. There was
some sort of glitch which meant that there were notices sent to about 50 people which bounced back.
So if you did not get it, but want to read it, look on our TangoE14.wordpress.com site and you will
find the newsletters on the ‘Notes’ page.
So this week I will keep this newsletter brief and see if that helps.

There are a couple of starters for ‘Social Distancing Tango’ outdoors, so if you want to join
this activity let me know your phone number.

I always look forward to hearing from TangoE14 people, their ideas, suggestions, news
or questions.

Paul B. suggested we could do a ‘ZOOM’ interactive video/computer link up. Mervyn had
suggested this to me a few weeks ago, so I got a camera to go on my computer, and if he is still able
to help me through this we should be able to manage it. If anyone is interested in a ‘TangoE14’
online discussion using ZOOM, then please let me know. Also say what times would be most
appropriate for you ?

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Have a look for some recordings by Horacio Salgan, b1916-d2016. He played Piano with the
orchestra of Roberto Firpo before forming his own in 1944. He recorded between 1950 and 1987.
So Salgan covers a long period of tango evolution.

You may remember me playing ‘ Una noche de garufa ‘ ( A foggy/drizzly night ) by
‘ Los Tubatango ‘. Some people like it and some don’t. Note that if you look online for them you will
probably first get a whole CD collection entitled ‘ Una noche de garufa ‘ , which does have that
particular track amongst others. Anyway, the original tune was composed by Eduardo Arolas in 1909
just by memory, and it was Francisco Canaro that helped him write it down.
Here is a link to a recording made in 1913 by ‘ Rondalla del Gaucho Relampago ‘,
( A group called ‘Serenade of the lightning gaucho’ ) :
https://www.todotango.com/musica/tema/20/Una-noche-de-garufa/

Try and find alternative recordings of a song or tune by the same orchestra, but at different times, and
see how the orchestras evolved. Or compare with different orchestras playing the same tango, but
different arrangements.

If all else fails, just go to the links to Tango radio at the bottom of our Home page and listen to whatever turns up.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

There are loads of exercise videos available on the internet if you need to be guided.

Or you can make up your own exercises. You need to do at least an hour or two each day
of a variety of movements.
Go for walks, run, walk up stairs, swing your arms, do dissociation exercises, wake your
body up, work up a sweat, even a bit of gardening or DIY.
Do things which make you breathe a bit harder, and your heart beat a bit faster.
Push yourself a bit, but be sure to know your own limits.

On your own, stand up and try moving and dancing simply to the Tango music you have available.
Be relaxed but maintain a good posture and frame. Move sometimes rhythmically, using the
rhythms that suit you and that you can ride on. Vary your speed and size of movement. Use
movements or even just weight changes to accentuate points in the music. Can you walk
forwards or backwards and cross and control whether you change weight or not ?
When the music tells you, move melodically and gracefully. Adjust your breathing to suit.
Just savour the music with your whole body and mind together, and play.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Visitors to Buenos Aires often comment on the ‘Belle epoque’ elegant buildings in the centre, which
are in marked contrast to the Corrugated Iron buildings in the poorer ‘Barrios’ (neighbourhoods).

‘ Belle epoque ‘ according to Wikipedia, the beautiful age, or the golden age between 1871 (the end
of the Franco-Prussian war), and 1914, the start of WW2. In Argentina it probably lasted a bit longer,
maybe until the Great Depression of 1929.

In this period there were many aspiring middle and lower class families, many but not all immigrants,
that worked hard not only to make a living, but also to learn musical instruments and to develop their
musical skills. When you read about the lives and interactions of Tango personalities in this period
would you call them Middle class or Lower class? I suspect that such definitions are unreliable. Many
people had hopes and aspirations. Many worked very hard, and the circumstances could permit
success, but there were many pitfalls, and a lot failed. But I think the classification of Tango at this
time as being principally from poor areas is not entirely correct; certainly not by 1910.

If you haven’t already found it, here is a link to more information about Vicente Greco:
https://www.todotango.com/english/artists/biography/687/Vicente-Greco/

History
On Wikipedia there is a very useful ‘List of heads of state of Argentina’:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heads_of_state_of_Argentina
You don’t need to study it in great detail, but have a quick scroll down and you will get an impression.

You can see the continuous change, and pushing and pulling of influences reflected in the changes
to leadership. Many only served short terms.
One point supporting the idea of Military Takeovers in Latin America is the philosophy amongst
many military people that it is their duty to not only protect the country from the enemy without,
but also from the enemy within the country.
Sometimes Military and other governments are run by ‘Juntas’, which is a committee of several
members, and who do not necessarily all agree. I have heard it said by some Latin Americans
that at the time of the Falklands War Margaret Thatcher’s British government had more authoritarian
( or ‘wartime’ ) power than General Galtieri had in Argentina. That is probably debatable, but the
point is that these things are not clear cut.

Argentina had and has resources and many other features of interest, including strategic values,
and is part of global forces including national interests, cultural interests, economic interests,
explotation or conservation, people or capital, military or civilian, order or chaos, and individuals’
struggles to make and enjoy their lives.
I recently wondered whether Argentina’s problems are their own making, or the result of other
people’s interference. Not a simple situation, but Argentina hopefully has a reasonable wish to
take responsibility for itself within a global context.

Your thoughts are always welcome.

-7th June

Last week an awkward question was raised : Is the fact that Tango Orchestras don’t have drums a result
of Fascist/Racist preferences ?

Hedy responded
‘ Whether that’s the reason or not, I do not know – I would hope not – but I don’t miss them…’

Michael and Tony in conversation decided – Drums are not necessary in a Tango orchestra. The other
instruments between them are perfectly capable of providing both basic rhythm and melody. The
manner and techniques of playing the stringed instruments, such as plucking, or using the bow in a
percussive or stroking way can clearly create the marked rhythms and structures used in Tango
( 4 x 4 , 2 x 4, 3-3-2 ) as well as lyrical, melodic, flowing and long drawn out sounds.
Remember how ‘Il Faut’ tango guitar duo, Flavio Romanelli and Marcos Martignano showed just
how much Tango and musical variation you can get from only two guitars when they visited. See our Video page.

Mariano Laplume, http://www.maralmariano.com/ or look for his Tango music coach group on
Facebook, has very useful knowledge contributions on Tango music which are worth listening to.

The drum question hints at awkward places in Argentine and Tango history which I will not labour
here but there are various camps of interpretation of Tango History. Some say that the origins of
Tango are principally from its various European components, while others including myself see
that the original ingredients include a broad range of influences or raw ingredients including both
African and Native American. But Candombe is not Tango. Neither is Habanera, Viennese Waltz,
Polka, or Traditional European Folk dances. Tango is something different, something new, and a
unique creation from Argentina from 1880s to 1920s, and which is still evolving. But given
the original ‘Sopa Criollo’ ( soup with whatever you have to hand ), some original ingredients have
been filtered out ( edited, censored, replaced, substituted, forgotten, improved, refined, modifed,
purified, developed ). So I am still interested on hearing other thoughts on when drums fell away
from Tango music. Were they just the boosters to get the rocket off the ground, and just not
needed in Tango orbit ?

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Try and find recordings of the same song or tune by the same orchestra, but at different times, and
see how the orchestras evolved.
For example:
Juan D’Arienzo – La Cumparsita 1928, singer Carlos Dante.
– ” 1928, singer Raquel Notar.
– ” 1937, pianist Rodolfo Biagi.
– ” 1943, pianist Fulvio Salamanca.
– ” 1951, “
– ” 1963.
– ” 1971.
Juan D’Arienzo – Gran Hotel Victoria 1935, ’48, ’66.
Juan D’Arienzo – A Media Luz 1963.
Juan D’Arienzo – El Amanacer 1966.

Then compare with different orchestras playing the same tango, but a different arrangement,
such as:
Anibal Troilo – La Cumparsita 1943, ’51, ’52, ’55, ’63, ’68.
-El Entrerriano 1944, ’52.

Francisco Canaro – La Cumparsita 1927, ++, (1959 his Quinteto Pirincho ),and1961.
– Gran Hotel Victoria 1955, singer Tita Merello.
– El Entrerriano 1961 ( his Quinteto Pirincho ).

Roberto Firpo – El Entrerriano 1940 ( Quartet )
– A Media Luz 1927, ’34.
– La Cumparsita 1928, ’37.
– El Amanecer 1928, ’38.

I am not even sure if you will all be able to find all these, depending on your equipment etc. Don’t
worry if you can’t specifically find these ones. But do try to find different recordings at different dates
for the same orchestra, and then compare orchestras to see how some orchestras evolved more
than others. Just notice and appreciate the different arrangements and the different ways the
instruments are used, and imagine to yourself how you might dance to it.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Hedy has given us this link to watch. You can really appreciate the simple but clear and precise
interpretation of the music by Ariadna Naveira and her partner Fernando.
Has anyone got an ‘app’ that can identify specifically the music ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VWqv1BY8L4

So continuing the idea from last week, on your own, stand up and try moving and dancing simply,
being relaxed but maintaining a good posture and frame. Move sometimes rhythmically, using the
rhythms that suit you and that you can ride on, vary your speed with, or accentuate points with.
Then, when the music tells you, move melodically and gracefully. Adjust your breathing to suit,
and just savour the music with your whole body and mind together.
Just play.

Don’t forget to keep fit every day. Go for walks, run, walk up stairs, swing your arms, wake your
body up, work up a sweat, do things which make you breathe a bit harder, and your heart beat
a bit faster. But be sure to know your own limits.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Today lets look at some early personalities of Tango.
Go to Wikipedia and Look up Francisco Canaro, Ada Falcon, and Vicente Greco.

Francisco Canaro, 1888-1964, started playing Tango with Vicente Greco. He became a very prolific
and prosperous artist. With his orchestras and groups made thousands of recordings. He also helped
many singers. There was a legendary love attachment to Ada Falcon, which is reflected in some of her
songs.

Ada Falcon, 1905-2002. Between 1930 and 1942 she recorded over 200 songs, but in 1942 became
a recluse, and later a nun.

Vicente Greco, 1888-1924, led the first Orquesta Tipica Criollo, and composed several famous Tangos.
If you go to his Wikipedia page there is a link to this very early recording:
‘Don Juan’ – Piece by Ernesto Ponzio played by the , Orquesta Típica Criolla led by Vicente Greco,
Buenos Aires, 1910.
What observations do you have about this music and the way it is played ? Of course, recording
quality was not as good then as it became later.
On the same page is a link to an early recording of ‘Rodriguez Peña’ played by Francisco Canaro.

And if you are still in the mood for Tango melodrama, Hedy forwarded this link about ‘Gricel’:
https://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/113/Gricel/

-1st June

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,

Further to the idea of ‘Social Distancing Tango’, we are just pausing that possibility until we can
understand clearly Government adjustments to recommendations and regulations. A few people have shown
a bit of interest, so if anyone feels like joining us sometime, then send me an email. Realistically this can only
work with very small numbers.

Shan wonders if Tango Line Dancing might be an option ? If you google ‘Argentine Tango Line
Dance’ several videos come up. To be realistic, this is not the Argentine Tango that we at ‘TangoE14’ are trying
to encourage. Our whole point is to be able to find that connection with your partner and be able to dance
together. However, in the current environment of Social Distancing, Line dancing is a useful form of exercise,
and movement to music which can be Tango of sorts. The major disadvantage of this is becoming extremely
familiar with a short repetitive repertoire that could end up being a bad behavioural habit in real Argentine
Tango. We need to be totally tuned in to our partner and the music so that we can respond and or improvise appropriately. If anyone is interested in experimenting with Line Dancing formats, then let me know, and I will
suggest who else you could work with. The second part of the problem is that you would have to find a suitable venue. At the moment, the community hall we use is closed for all the activities that happen there, so is not
available.

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

In Argentina, from the mid 20s on, people could listen to the radio, and would hear music. A lot of it was
Tango. So the awareness of Tango music, the differences, the similarities, the sound-scapes, the moods,
the words of songs, the whole culture of Tango and how it related to the realities of everyday life was
automatically instilled in the people around the Rio de la Plata, especially Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
So if they went out to dance their minds and ‘souls’ were already affected or infected with Tango. They
believed it and lived it.
We in London in 2020 have a totally different sound and music environment, so we have to go out of our
way a little bit to listen to good Argentine Tango music. But it is worth it. You don’t become a connoisseur
of wines by going on the occasional binge and downing a couple of bottles of red. Sometimes a glass
here or there is most enjoyable. But it is also worth paying a bit more attention. Look at it, smell the
fragrance, take a small sip, what does it do in the mouth, how does it affect the palate, and so on. If we
were tasting a lot we might even spit it out again instead of swallowing. So, we could just have Tango as
background music if we are doing something else, but sometimes it is worth paying a bit more attention
to what is going on. Can we recognise the instruments? Can we recognise the different treatments being
given to each instrument by their musicians? Can we capture or sense a particular soundscape? Does
that soundscape evoke in you any sort of feeling?

Listen again to the Orchestras of Julio De Caro, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla.

Julio de Caro (1899-1980) played a ‘Stroh’ violin, and recorded from 1926 to 1953. He was experimental
and influenced Pugliese (1905-1995) and Piazzola (1921-1992). The later two had great respect for each
other. You can actually find a video of them playing together in 1989 in Amsterdam. Look for :
Youtube Astor Piazzolla & Osvaldo Pugliese together 1989.
Pugliese wanted to make popular music for dancers, but Piazzola wanted his music for listening.

Michael Lavocah’s ‘Tango Masters: Osvaldo Pugliese’, http://www.milongapress.com is recommended.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Exercises.

In section 1/ above we talked about listening attentively to the music. We should also really try to
feel the music, and feel what we might do. So even if you are just on your own, barefoot, or in socks,
or on the kitchen floor, stand up like you mean to dance Tango, and let yourself do what you feel like
doing. Of course you have, as always, to pay full attention to your surroundings. You don’t want to
knock that saucepan off the stove, or break anything ! But you have some space around you, even if
it is not much. You can feel the music and the way it is being played. Does it invite you to take bold
steps, or tentative ones, long steps or short, pause, breathe in, hold, breathe out, slow or very slow,
quick or double quick, pretend to step or rebound, cross or uncross, pivot on one foot, decorate, or
whatever else you can think of. Just play. Nobody else need watch.

We have had Pablo Rodriguez as a visiting teacher. Pablo and Anne run ‘Tango Space’ and you can
see many good teaching videos by them on youtube. Here’s a couple more from them:

Tango ochos: Mindset shifts for easier ochos (for leaders & followers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3MNiQlRqhQ&feature=emb_rel_end

Tango at-home practice: 3 individual Exercises (Balance, Posture & Decorations)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whaIlFgt8MQ

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.

Today lets look at a bit more history of Argentina.
Go to Wikipedia: ‘Economic history of Argentina’, and note the phrase ‘The Argentine paradox’.
Argentina achieved advanced development in the early Twentieth Century. By 1913 it was the world’s 10th
wealthiest state on a per capita basis. From 1860 to 1930 the exploitation of the rich Pampas lands really
helped growth. But since 1930 many things have gone downhill.
The most recent IMF ( International Monetary Fund ) estimates of GDP ( Gross Domestic Product )
per capita ( probably all wrong now because of Corona-virus, but I’ll tell you anyway ) put Quatar top with
$138,000, USA 10th with 67,000, UK 27th with 48,000, Spain 30th with 43,000, Italy 33rd with 41,000,
Uruguay 61st with 24,000, China 67th with 20,000, and Argentina 69th with $19,000. Don’t take these
figures too seriously they have many flaws, but it does indicate that Argentina has declined economically
a lot.
Why ?
Default: Argentina has defaulted on it’s international debt nine times in it’s history. By comparison Spain,
over a longer period, has defaulted many more times.
Hyperinflation: Between 1935 and 1955 the value of Argentinian currency fell to one tenth of it’s 1935 value.
Between 1955 and 1975 the value of Argentinian currency fell to one hundredth of it’s 1955 value.
Between 1975 and 1995 the value of Argentinian currency fell to one ten thousand millionth of it’s 1975 value.
Import Substitution: From 1930s to ’70s there were policies to encourage Import Substitution to achieve
industrial self sufficiency, and less emphasis on Agriculture and Exports.
Political instability: For most of the 70 years from 1860 – 1930 Argentina had stable and democratic
government. In 1929 the world suffered the ‘Great Depression’. On 6th September 1930 the Argentinian
‘September Revolution’ of General Jose Uriburu overthrew the democratic government of Hipolito Yrigoyen
without major opposition. Uriburu banned political parties, suspended elections and the 1853 constitution,
and proposed that Argentina be reorganised along Corporatist and Fascist lines.
We could go off on all sorts of tangents here, but I will mention some of the confused thinking in early
Italian Fascist ideas eg: supporting the idea of universal suffrage for men and women, but wanting to ban all
opposition parties ! [ You can all have the vote, but you can only vote for the Government approved party ,
and a similar idea regarding Trade Unions ].
Wikipedia defines – Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial
power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy
which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during
World War I, before spreading to other European countries. Opposed to liberalism, Marxism, and anarchism,
fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Do you believe in the conspiracy theories that Argentina, and Latin America have been seriously undermined
by the actions of the USA, UK and other powers ? Or are Argentinians perfectly capable of messing things up
for themselves ?

We saw a few weeks ago how the formation of Argentina occurred against a backdrop of ‘Federalist’ versus
‘Unionist’ ideas. There are many competing forces in Argentinian society. It has quite a number of different ethnic, racial and cultural groups. The land was not evenly distributed, and there is a significant group of wealthy and powerful estate owners and caudillos. There are strongly held but differing ideologies, notably between
some trade unions and others, between trade unions and corporatists or nationalists or military leaders.

But many countries have diverse components. Some are embroiled in civil wars or conflicts, others appear to
muddle along.

A simple question without a simple answer: Is the fact that Tango Orchestras don’t have drums a result
of Fascist/Racist preferences ?
Why is it so difficult to find details and archives of historical recording studios in Buenos Aires ?
Why, when the autonomous recording studios of Argentina were absorbed back into the US based
multinationals that owned them or took them over, did they destroy so much original material ?
Was that destruction US Corporatist Fascism at work or homegrown Argentinian vindictive Fascism ?
Any suggestions ?

I have probably disturbed a few people enough today, so I will leave it there for this week.
If anyone wishes to comment I will be pleased to hear from you.

***** ***** *****

‘We love you’, from LosOcampo in California.

Monica and Omar’s ‘Zamba’

https://youtu.be/0xUgklUlEKA

“Your contributions are truly helping us.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude from all the donations we have received.”
Paypal.me/losocampo

***** ***** *****

-25th May

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
I hope everyone had a good Bank Holiday Monday. We certainly needed the rest !
Actually, 25th May is also known as ‘ El Dia de la Revolucion de Mayo’ in Argentina. On this day
210 years ago, the ‘First Junta’ ( Council or Committee ) of Argentina was formed, essentially because
Napoleon had invaded Spain, and the people in the Vice-Royalty of the Rio de la Plata saw their chance
for independence.

This afternoon I was delighted to accidentally meet Margaret, of our performance group,
cycling along the Thames path. She is, and looks, very well.

I am always pleased to hear from TangoE14 people, their news, ideas, suggestions or questions.
It is also worth noting that some Tango groups and clubs continue putting material online. Thanks Mervyn for
forwarding material from ‘Tango Garden’: Mariano Laplume talking about the music of the ‘Big Four’ orchestras.
On 23rd May he talked about Juan D’Arienzo, and on 30th will be about Osvaldo Pugliese. Maral & Mariano <info@maralmariano.com>

In response to the idea of ‘Social Distancing Tango’, Hedy didn’t like the idea. A couple of others
are interested. Antanina and I continue to experiment occasionally, so if anyone feels like joining us at Canary
Wharf or somewhere suitable, then send me an email. Realistically this can only work with very small numbers.
It is quite challenging, and as Michael observed, really makes you focus, firstly on establishing your connection
by eye. Secondly makes you think about your own balance/posture/axis/and control of your momentum. Thirdly
and importantly, because you don’t have such a good lead and follow connection, it makes you reconsider your options. Well ! what now ? She went in completely the opposite direction to what I intended. How can I carry on ? Can I get it to work the way I wanted next time ? Perhaps as a leader I have to follow her a bit more. Perhaps
as a follower I have to pay greater attention, not assume anything, and be in control of where my body is and my momentum. Maybe try it a bit slower or more carefully or precisely ?

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Listen again to the Orchestras of Juan D’Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi.

Biagi was the pianist for several orchestras including Miguel Orlando, Juan Maglio, Juan Guido, and Juan Canaro. He played with Juan D’Arienzo 1935 – 38, before starting his own orchestra in 1938.
Michael Lavocah in his Tango Masters book on Juan D’Arienzo,( http://www.milongapress.com ) tells the story of how
Juan D’Arienzo was used to coming later in the evening after his orchestra had already been playing for a while. Biagi, his pianist had a faster and more rhythmic style, but when D’Arienzo arrived and conducted his orchestra
more slowly the audience objected and told them to play as they had played earlier that same evening. D’Arienzo learned from that, and from then on Juan D’Arienzo became ‘El Rey del compass’ ( The king of the beat ).

In a typical Tango ‘Orquesta Tipica’ there are no drums. Yet these groups with violins, double bass, piano and bandoneons keep the beat without percussion instruments. How do they do it ? The Piano and Double Bass
can be used very well to keep the beat, but the other instruments are capable of being played in a variety of
ways. For example Mariano Laplume explains that D’Arienzo used Bandoneons to create a rapid ‘Repique’
like a rapid drum rhythm.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Exercises.
Keep practising what we have done so far, what you remember from class, and whatever exercises you have picked up from other sources that are relevant.
Dance exercises are not something you do once, but something you do almost every day, even while waiting in the
supermarket queue.

A Simple Exercise useful for Candombe and Milonga;

Stand up straight, but being comfortable not tense; weight slightly more over the front of your feet.
Practice stepping in place without lifting your free foot more than a few millimetres off the ground;
basically changing weight.
Try a slow steady rhythm.
Try a faster rhythm, twice the speed of the slow one.
Try a syncopated rhythm ( eg two quick steps then a pause ).
Try without music, then try to a Candombe-Milonga piece of music.

Now this time take a very short step forward ( only 2 or 3 inches ) with your Right foot and transfer all your weight onto your R.
Bring Left foot forward , ‘Collect’ together with R, and transfer all your weight onto your L.
Take ( the same length ) short step backwards with your Right foot and transfer all your weight onto your R.
Bring Left foot back and ‘Collect’ together with R, and transfer all your weight onto your L.

Same idea; but start forward with your L foot.

Now, doing it backwards, starting R;
then doing it backwards, starting L.

As soon as you have got the basic idea of these steps, then start to think of them in a different way.
Think a bit more about moving your body; about your body being the centre of your rhythm,
and your feet are simply the percussive bits hanging off the ends of your legs.
If your legs are hanging from your body, and you move your body, then your legs have to move to a new place.
Wherever you are,your legs will be underneath you. { Magic ! }

So try all of these firstly slowly, then more quickly.
Without music, then with music..
Can you do some slow, and then continue with quick ( twice the speed ) rhythm.
Can you manage a syncopated rhythm ?

When done with a partner these simple rhythmic movements,involving change of direction, and change of
rhythm, are generally easier in close embrace to ensure good connection within the couple.

The following material comes from Mina and Giraldo, who run ‘Corrientes Social Club’
<contact@corrientessocialclub.co.uk>

Milonga-Candombe Class with Mina and Giraldo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgXT8B2rDZ0
1/- Basic Candombe step: Step forward and ball change; step back and ball change.
2/- Side Crossed step, going forwards, and going backwards.
3/- Crossed step, going forwards, and going backwards.
4/- La Vueltica: A turn for the follower. Starting with a back step, this is essentially a walking turn.
When done in a couple the leader walks backwards, they let go their embrace, and the follower does a walking turn.
Music – ‘Candombe’ Francisco Canaro, 1943.

“La vida es una milonga” Playground action with Mina and Giraldo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2wrQzbZLg4&feature=youtu.be

Siga El Baile, CANDOMBE, TANGO´S BLACK GRANDFATHER with Mina and Giraldo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDhyZZI3Ejg&feature=youtu.be

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
When did Argentine Tango start , and where ?

I am basically of the view that Argentine Tango does not have a simple linear history, but there are many lines
of development coming from different sources which sometimes meet, cross, join, separate and go their own
way for a while, before meeting or rejoining.

Last week we started a little discussion whether ‘Tango’ was born in the Brothels of Buenos Aires,
and Montevideo. Tango, or its precursor, was definitely danced in some brothels that had the space
and facility, but there were many other places, spaces and opportunities for this fusion of music, dance,
people, cultures, ideas, and popular and acceptable behaviour.

Some more words to note:
Academias or Pirigundines : Dance halls or places where music was played and people went to dance,
where women were available to dance or would dance with men for payment, including by ticket.
Tango : A place, even as simple as an area of bare ground on the edge of town, where people would gather
to dance ‘Tangos’.
Tango : Drums sometimes called ‘Tango’ by some Africans.
Compadre : Meanings cover the spectrum from sacred to profane. In polite usage Compadre is a ‘Godfather’,
an honoured and responsible role in Christian society. Compadre also means a very close friend, with whom
one shares life’s adventures. It can also mean co-parent and can refer to men who share the same woman.
Compadrito : ‘ito’ is a diminutive addition which literally means ‘little’ and can imply affection. As in ‘my little
best friend’. But it has also acquired a sarcastic meaning of a bully, thug or gangster.

Let us remember how people made music and responded to it in ordinary communities in the 1880s.
Lots of people did play instruments, especially cheaper and more portable ones. Maybe a flute, banjo or guitar.
Native Americans had lots of wind instruments, and both the Natives and Africans were good at producing and
playing drums. Most people can sing, whistle, hum, clap, snap their fingers, or make noises with improvised
instruments such as paper and comb. One can be sure that people would appreciate a good musician, but
they were not too bothered by the absence of professionals. They would create music as best they could using
whatever came to hand. But I can imagine in these situations that when the drums played, they were often the
driving or dominant force of the rhythms that moved the people to dance.

One can also imagine that any new person arriving that was competent with an instrument, maybe a Spanish
immigrant with a guitar, an Italian or Eastern European with a violin or bandoneon, would be very popular,
and would shape the direction that the music evolved. But tango Music and Tango dance are two distinct
things, yet they evolved together. So the new musicians also had to adapt to the ‘Proto-Tango’ culture.

The Music and Dancing that occurred in Buenos Aires, and anywhere else in the late 1800s was principally
the product of the cultures and people that came together in that place, and what they came up with. There
must always be, to some extent, invisible cultural directives, religious or ceremonial music and established
habits that allow a particular music culture to exist. In addition there is the handing on of written music to those
that can read and play it,. Compared to today, people in the 1870s were not swamped by mass media generated ‘fashions’ of music. They were free to play, mix with new people, and improvise or invent new music and
dance as their new circumstances allowed.

The earliest sort of ‘recorded music’ that could have been reproduced widely would have been things like a
Music-box, or a Barrel Organ, or a Pianola. Therefore people dancing in a street to a Barrel Organ is likely to
have occurred in BsAs, although it seems likely that such a group then would have been mainly or only men.

When did recorded music start ?

Thomas Edison and his team invented a Wax cylinder recording method, patented 1878. It wasn’t really wax,
but a sort of metallic soap. This 2009 video shows how they were made:
Edison Museum Wax Cylinder Recording Session
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Wax+cylinder+recordings+of+Tango&&view=detail&mid=A21B2143F23B86029E48A21B2143F23B86029E48&rvsmid=E09B917BC7A1B560EE3CE09B917BC7A1B560EE3C&FORM=VDQVAP

Edison also patented the idea of recording discs. Another American, Emile Berliner developed discs which could be played on a ‘gramophone’ and sold them from 1889 in Europe. In 1901 his company became the ‘Victor talking machine company’. In 1919 Edison’s Disc Patent expired, but the production of Discs had already surpassed cylinders by about 1910.
In Berlin 1893, a Swedish inventor, Carl Lindstrom’s company made gramophones, then records. It progressed to
holding Odeon Records, Parlophone (UK), Okeh (US), Fonotipia (Italy) and other companies.
It appears that ‘Victor’ and ‘Odeon’ made about 90% of records in BsAs between 1900 and 1950.

More later.

***** ***** *****

‘We love you’, from LosOcampo in California.

Exercise 1: Some rebounds:
https://youtu.be/MeUQ_PQsam8

Exercise 2: Alternative cross basic with sacada.
https://youtu.be/T8RUT3bDAnE

“Your contributions are truly helping us.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude from all the donations we have received.”
Paypal.me/losocampo

***** ***** *****

If you want to refer back to material we have already sent out in these newsletters , we are putting it on our ‘Notes’ page of the ‘TangoE14.wordpress.com’ website.

***** ***** *****

Anyway, here’s wishing you all
‘Salud, Dinero y Amor’
Health, Prosperity and Love,

From Tony Lane and Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14

apblane@gmail.com
020 7538 3852

Attachments area
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Milonga-Candombe Class with Mina and Giraldo

Preview YouTube video “La vida es una milonga” Playground action with Mina and Giraldo.

Preview YouTube video Siga El Baile, CANDOMBE, TANGO´S BLACK GRANDFATHER with Mina and Giraldo.

Preview YouTube video Edison Museum Wax Cylinder Recording Session (HD)

Preview YouTube video Los Ocampo en tu casa

Preview YouTube video “Losocampo en tu casa” Exercise #2

-17th May

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
Last week’s newsletter was a bit too long and too many Mbytes, so a few people could not get it.
Shan said ‘ Bloody Nora,Tony !’ So I will keep this one a bit shorter.
Somebody else said the size of type was a bit small to read, so I hope this one is OK.

Tony is always pleased to hear from TangoE14 people, their news, ideas, suggestions or questions.

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.
Candombe and Milonga.
Last week we gave a link to a painting by Martin Boneo of ‘Rosas watching a Candomble celebration in 1845’.
This week we suggest you look at Wikipedia – Candombe.
There are typically at least three drums in a Candombe set; big, medium and small. There can be more drums, there can be other instruments, but the three different drums are the core. Their rhythms can join or be separate. When you dance to Candombe you are one with the music. You can dance to any of the rhythms being played, or even create your own dance rhythm with your body and feet that fits in with the group. Candombe was a group dance, not a partner dance.
This link/site gives an account of Candombe and Milonga:
http://www.verytangostore.com/tango-milonga.html ( ps: Tony does not 100% agree with everything on this site, but it is useful. Just keep an open mind when information varies .)

Search for ‘Candombe Eleggua Montevideo’.
Search for ‘Alberto Castillo,Candombero, ‘Siga el Baile’, with the orchestra of A. Condercuri in 1953.
This is not an early recording but it helps imagine the link between Candombe and Milonga.

So now, listening to that last piece, just try dancing on your own in a limited space to that music. Take small steps. Find a beat, and just step or walk to it.
Can you find off beats, or irregular, or syncopated beats to step to.
Your heart beat is ‘ Ba-dum Ba-dum Ba-dum’.
Can you find anything like that in this music ?
Can you step to match that: slow-quick slow-quick slow-quick ?
Can you do a Samba style walk; a short step forward on one foot ( slow ), then an ‘amague’ ( dummy/ feint /bounce ) to the side with the other foot. The amague foot takes all your weight, the other foot has no weight, but only momentarily, and then you ‘bounce’ back to weight on the first foot; ( ie quick, quick ).
So: Fwd L ( slow ), bounce to side with R and then weight instantly back to L ( quick quick ); Fwd R, Bounce L; Fwd L, Bounce R; keep going repeating that for a bit to the music.

Just listen and familiarise yourselves with Argentinian and Uruguayan Candombe and Milonga music.

We will do a bit more work on Milonga next week.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Exercises.
Keep revising and practising what we have done so far, what you remember from class, and whatever exercises you have picked up from other sources that are relevant.
We need to be comfortable in our bodies and able to be fully aware of where we are at any moment. We
should not have to be thinking consciously about it, but develop a level of fitness, balance and coordination
that allows us to change direction, rhythm or intensity of movement at will, and appropriately to our environment, our partner and the music.
Dance exercises are not something you do once, but something you do almost every day .

Here’s an easy one:
Comfortable simple clothes that do not restrict movement.
Bare feet or just socks.
Stand at right angle next to a bench or something you can lightly touch with fingers of one hand to help balance.
Arms out slightly each side, hands about waist level or higher.
Stand up straight, look straight ahead, knees relaxed but not bent and definitely not locked.
Feet together with a very slight ‘Tango’ turnout, or no turnout.
Weight on fronts of feet.
Transfer all your weight onto leg closest to your bench ( eg.L ), but leave other foot ( eg.R ) just touching floor with no weight.
Lift R thigh so it is now horizontal,but let the lower R leg hang down vertically.
Keeping everything else still, rotate the whole lower R leg ( below the knee ) say 8 times clockwise;
then 8 times anticlockwise.
Now, while holding the R thigh still horizontal, keep the R lower leg still while it is hanging down, and just rotate your R foot below the ankle, say 8 times clockwise;
then 8 times anticlockwise.
Now turn around and do the exercise with the other leg and foot.

Now lower your raised thigh to a point where your foot is only about 15-20 centimetres off the floor.
Then repeat the exercises above, ie. firstly rotating the whole leg below the knee, then just the foot.
And of course, we do the exercises on each side.

Now you can do this, can you do it without holding or touching anything for balance ?
Do it sometimes without, and sometimes with music.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango, Culture, History and general knowledge.
When did Argentine Tango start , and where ?

I am basically of the view that Argentine Tango does not have a simple linear history, but there are many lines of development coming from different sources which sometimes meet, cross, join, separate and go their own way for a while, before meeting or rejoining.
Some people make the bold statement that ‘Tango was born in the Brothels of Buenos Aires’.
But Christine Denniston says:
“There is a cliché that Tango was born in the brothels of Buenos Aires. However, a more likely explanation is that the brothels were where people of the upper and middle classes first encountered it. Members of Argentina’s literary classes – the people who are most likely to leave written evidence – did not mix socially with members of the lower, immigrant classes except in brothels.”

In previous weeks we have looked at some aspects of the history of Argentina, and some of the dances leading up to Tango. But that is not Tango. What happened that created ‘Tango’ ? Where was the laboratory and what were the ingredients that created this new ‘dynamite’.

As a side note, Alfred Nobel ( 1833-1896 ) did not invent Nitroglycerine. It was too unstable to be used safely,
and any disturbance would set it off. But he discovered by mixing it with other stuff ( like clay ) he could make a
product that was very useful, especially in mining. Hence ‘Dynamite’ 1867, and ‘Gelignite’ 1875.

Our laboratories for Tango surely must include the Brothels and Conventillos of Buenos Aires, and possibly
Montevideo, as well as all the other social meeting places where dancing occurred. The most explosive ingredients: the Gauchos, the Immigrants, the Prostitutes and the Musicians.

Last week we noted :
– Gaucho : migratory horsemen/stockmen, usually mestizo ( mixed race, often Native American and African ); mostly illiterate they grew up developing a natural empathetic understanding of horses,cattle, wild animals and humans. They had excellent hunting skills. Many of them, in spite of, or perhaps because of, being illiterate had excellent memories, skills with words and songs, and with creating music on guitar or whatever was to hand. Some became ‘Payadores’, wandering minstrels.
The Caudillos ( Land owners ) were totally dependent on the Gauchos to not only do the stock and land work necessary, but also to form significant units of soldiers or cavalry. Gauchos were considered to be brave but unruly, or even nomadic outlaws.

I will add that being natural stockmen, Gauchos were not only very fit and strong, but developed a natural physical empathy and understanding of the animal they were manipulating. To understand what I mean watch a good NZ shearing demonstration. A good shearer does not fight the sheep but works with it and skilfully moves every part of the animal in such a way that the sheep seems to magically go to the next ( correct ) position of the process:
Golden shears, shear speed 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P9uND0QG9A

Another view comes from Harry Redner’s four visions of ‘Ethical life’:1/ Civic ethics ( ancient Greek ), 2/ Duty ( eg with Confucianism ),3/ Honour ( various groups of military societies especially horsemen ), 4/ Morality ( an ethic of love, conscience, sin and repentance ). It seems that the Gauchos fit more appropriately into the ‘Honour’ group with ‘no self respect independent of the respect of others’. Tend to violence, duels, dismissive of law, and often the product of frontier herding societies.

Gauchos were not just in Argentina, but Southern Brazil. Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Conventillos : Tenement houses, or boarding houses, in BsAs in 1880s often quite rudimentary corrugated iron buildings. At the peak in 1887 there were 2835 conventillos in BsAs, for the most part overcrowded.
Prostibulos : Brothels. Could have been run by anyone. Probably would have required some complicity with BsAs authorities.
Zwi Migdal : A Jewish organised crime group founded in Poland and operating mainly in Argentina brought women under pretext to Argentina where they were forced into prostitution. Originally it was legally registered as ‘Varsovia (Warsaw) Jewish Mutual Aid Society’. In 1927 it was renamed Zwi Migdal in recognition of one of the founders: Luis Zwi Migdal. In the 1920s at its peak they controlled 2000 brothels with 4000 women in Argentina, and more in other countries.

Let us imagine some scenarios in a time before mass recorded music, except perhaps a Barrel Organ or a Pianola, when many people just created their own music from a stock of popular well known material :
a) 1860s – 1870s.
A strong forceful Gaucho and a poor, frightened young Polish woman who has no choice but to do whatever the man asks. Her first basic survival strategy is to be limp and allow herself to be manipulated so she is just a rag-doll for him to play with.
There is a variant of Tango called ‘Tango-Apache’, which shows up more in France, where the man quite violently throws the woman around.
Is violence towards women part of the culture of Argentina or South America ? That is a big question, and we can’t answer it here. Personally I noted quite a spectrum of attitudes from reverence of women, especially the mother figure right through to ‘Amor Serrano-The more he beats me, the more he loves me’. { PhD thesis anyone ? }

In social spaces including Conventillos and Prostibulos in BsAs there are more men than women. The first main group of men in this situation wanting companionship, entertainment, amusement, dancing, or a warm embrace, or sex are probably mainly Gauchos. So they set the tone and style of behaviour. The new immigrants see this, and for want of anything better, they imitate this behaviour.

b) 1870s – 1910s
Same physical environment as (a) but now the predominant number of males are immigrants, especially Italian. They have observed some of the ways of dancing exhibited by the Gauchos, and to some extent they try to imitate that. They may also see other slightly more formal ‘Criollo’ dancing such as Vals Criollo. But they also have their own ideas of what couple dancing can be, such as Viennese Waltz or Polca or some of the new Ragtime (USA) styles. So they improvise, invent and improve what they do, especially so that it is more enjoyable for their partners.
Some women who survived (a) learned to ‘play’, to respond, even to ‘duel’ with or assume a more equal role with their partners. Consequently other ordinary women coming to Tango later were emboldened to also take a more active role in the dance.

Such processes are unlikely to be ‘one off’ events, but a cumulative learning cycle.

Reliable accounts of all this are hard to find.
If anyone has relatives that emigrated to Argentina between 1850 and 1920, and wrote letters home describing what they encountered should look to see if they have useful historical material,

***** ***** *****

‘We love you’, from LosOcampo in California.
Very appropriately for this week, here are two of Omar’s videos of ‘Gauchos around the world’:
1) They call ‘Mudanzas’; I would call Zapateo or fancy foot work, like the thing that most of us don’t do very well in a Chacarera.
https://youtu.be/w_7oRV_5ddM
2)’Boleadoras’.
https://youtu.be/M54txZTY0SM

“Your contributions are truly helping us.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude from all the donations we have received.”
Paypal.me/losocampo

***** ***** *****

If you want to refer back to material we have already sent out in these newsletters , we are putting it on our ‘Notes’ page of the ‘TangoE14.wordpress.com’ website.

***** ***** *****

Anyway, here’s wishing you all
‘Salud, Dinero y Amor’
Health, Prosperity and Love,

From Tony Lane and Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14

apblane@gmail.com
020 7538 3852

Attachments area
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Golden Shears ‘Shear Speed’ 2012 – ‘Awesome’ – WATCH IN ‘HD’ SETTING

Preview YouTube video Omar Ocampo & Gauchos around the World “Mudanzas” video #1

Preview YouTube video Omar Ocampo Gauchos around the World video#2

-11th May

Hola Tangueros y Amigos,
Hi Everyone,
First of all Anita says ‘Thanks very much for the Baby Shower contributions’. I sent on to her £260 collected from several people which
will help towards the costs of stuff for baby Claude. Others have given directly to Anita. I am told he is very good, making nice noises, and doing
what new babies do. Anita and Jean-Claude are very happy.

Secondly, this is quite a long newsletter, so please have a quick glance through before you delete it in case there is anything you like.
My apologies for it being a bit late.

The last time I danced with several other members of TangoE14 was our performance group practice on 14th March. That’s 7 weeks ago !
I’m starting to wonder what Argentinians felt when Tango gatherings were banned years ago by military regimes. Some people just stopped, others
just danced at home or clandestinely.

But here we are in a completely new situation brought about by a global pandemic. Globalisation has probably contributed significantly to
the creation of the problem. Yet modern technology and it’s global application, especially the internet, can also help us.

So ‘TangoE14’, whilst physically shutdown, still tries to provide encouragement for Tangueros in other ways.
Tony is always pleased to hear from TangoE14 people, their news, ideas, suggestions or questions.

This week’s TangoE14 suggestions.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Let us look for two Orchestras-
Ricardo Tanturi, born 17 January 1905 BsAs, died 24 January 1973 BsAs. He played violin and piano, and formed his orchestra in 1933.
He recorded between 1937 and 1965 on Odeon, Victor and HR.

Ciriaco Ortiz, b. 2 Aug 1908 in Cordoba, d. 9July 1970 BsAs. A famous bandoneonista who played with many well known orchestras.
He had his own which recorded between 1931 and 1953 on Victor. Anibal Troilo was another bandoneonista who played in Ciriacos
orchestras in the early 30s.

Singers to look up this week –
Carlos Gardel,
Alberto Castillo, who sang with Ricardo Tanturi and other orchestras, was also a medical doctor.

Last week we talked a lot about Tango Vals, and encouraged you to think about the structure and rhythm of Vals, even when you are just going for a walk.
Tanturi recorded Vals and Milongas as well as Tangos. So listen to all three types and make sure you can tell the difference. Can you recognise in Tangos,
by Tanturi or any other orchestras, similar little bits, or phrases or ingredients sneaking from one genre to another; ie bits of Milonga or Vals popping up in
Tango ?
Some artists, including Picasso, could draw a simple line that indicated a figure, but then add a simple detail which somehow makes one think the whole
picture is a lot more detailed than it actually is. One picture I think of is a ‘Don Quixote’ figure on horseback going away from the viewer. It is incredibly simple,
but on the upturned hoof of the horse Picasso has touched the nails of the horseshoe. This brings the horses hoof into focus, and makes the mind imagine
all the other details, which are not actually there. In a way, some Tango orchestras manage something of this nature, and they might use ‘tricks’ and ‘colours’
and ‘brush strokes’ from Tango, Vals or Milonga to suit their purpose.
This also implies that each person can hear a piece of music differently.
If we were dancing ‘as if we the dancers were part of the orchestra’, and were free to add our own variations or improvisations, then we would need to be
listening to and feeling the music as closely as possible, as well as being ‘100% in tune’ with our partner and our surroundings. Then we could take
advantage of any microscopic opportunity which arose.
If you can play music to yourself whilst out walking, then do, and try subtly and gently to adapt your walking and breathing to that music.
If you don’t have such a device, then listen attentively at home, and then when you go for a walk, see how much of the rhythm and phrasing you can recreate
in your mind, using your walking to help establish a basal rhythm.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.

Exercises.
Revision of what we have done so far.
Dance exercises are not something you do once, but something you do almost every day .
Please go back and go through the suggestions we have given you so far over the previous 6 weeks.
Simple exercises such as ‘Dissociation’, Lapiz, finding your axis, awareness of walking and breathing,
and basic ballet exercises simplified for Tango require regular work.
When you do something once you may or may not be able to manage it well or comfortably and easily,
but as you repeat it over days and years you not only develop the muscles you use, but even more
importantly you grow the nerve connections that help you to control and coordinate these movements.
A young child only needs to do something a few times and it grows these connections. Older people
are still capable of growing new nerve connections, it just takes longer, and requires more repetitions.
Some people call this ‘Muscle memory’.

Try doing your exercises silently in your own time, and again to music which you choose.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango.

Last week we noted some events of global significance: Revolutions in the USA, France and Latin America; the formation of new countries
like Argentina, Uruguay, Chile (‘the southern cone’); new international business opportunities; railways; meat works and refrigerated shipping.
Yet some things carried on as before; the large estates on the pampas ( say roughly in a radius of about 3-400 miles of Buenos Aires ) were not
rapidly broken into smaller units for new settlers.

Some new words:
– Caudillo : ‘Strong-man’, wealthy, powerful rural elite, long established, criollo owner of large estate. Often rejected ‘Unitarianism’ and ‘Market
liberalism’ as a threat to existing power structure.
– Unitarianist : political preference in early 19th Century Argentina for a unitary state with the centralised government based in Buenos Aires.
– Federalist ; political preference in early 19th Century Argentina for a Federation of autonomous provinces.
– Gaucho : migratory horsemen/stockmen, usually mestizo ( mixed race, often Native American and African ); mostly illiterate they grew up
developing a natural empathetic understanding of horses,cattle, wild animals and humans. They had excellent hunting skills. One traditional
native hunting tool which they used to great effect were the ‘Bolas’ ( Boleadoras ). These were small balls of rock on strings about 3 feet long.
The free ends of the strings were tied together. By twirling the set of Bolas and throwing them correctly, the whole device would travel through
the air like rotating helicopter blades. When they hit their target, eg; a rhea, or a calf or a foal, it would wrap around the animal making it easy
to catch. The word ‘Boleo’ in Tango comes from this. The Gauchos were also skilled in using their knife, ‘Facon’. Many of them, in spite of,
or perhaps because of, being illiterate had excellent memories, skills with words and songs, and with creating music on guitar or whatever
was to hand. Some became ‘Payadores’, wandering minstrels, who would also compete in ‘Payadas’, competitive improvised singing duels.
The Caudillos were totally dependent on the Gauchos to not only do the stock and land work necessary, but also to form significant units of
soldiers or cavalry. They were considered to be brave but unruly, or even nomadic outlaws.

Look up Juan Manuel de Rosas on Wikipedia. Useful reading to get an idea of what was going on at that time.
Born 1793.
Governor of Buenos Aires 1829-1832.
1831 created Argentinian Confederation.
Led ‘Desert Campaign 1833-34’ against indigenous people of Patagonia.
He became a totalitarian dictator, but eventually was exiled to Britain in 1852 where he died in 1877.

Or just look at this painting by Martin Boneo of Rosas watching a Candomble celebration in 1845:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Manuel_de_Rosas#/media/File:Candombe_federal,_época_de_Rosas.jpg
We will look at Candomble ( Candombe ) and Milonga a bit more next week.

Article 25 of the 1853 Argentine Constitution says ; ” The Federal Government will encourage European immigration….”
The wave of Immigrants to Argentina in the late 19th century, at 6.6 million was only second to the US with 27m.
By 1869 11% of Argentina, and 50% of Buenos Aires was new immigrants.
The first census of BsAs in 1869 counted 172,787, including 88,126 foreigners. Of those 44,233 were Italian and 14,609 Spanish.
With only about 19,000 urban dwellings there was a lot of overcrowding.

A few more words:
Conventillos : Tenement house, or boarding house, in BsAs in 1880s often quite rudimentary corrugated iron buildings.
At the peak in 1887 there were 2835 conventillos in BsAs, for the most part overcrowded.
Fiebre Amarilla : BsAs Yellow Fever epidemics in 1852,1858,1870 and 1871. The last one killed 8% of Porteños ( inhabitants of BsAs ).
Dances were prohibited, and a third of the inhabitants left the city. Only poor black people in the worst slums were actually prevented by
the army from leaving ! The disease was probably brought by soldiers returning from war with Paraguay; it is mosquito borne. BsAs was
poorly developed at that time, lacked clean drinking water, had many debris filled ditches, and has warm humid summers.
The Matanza ( the word means slaughter ) River was heavily polluted from works producing dried and salted meat. BsAs also suffered
Colera outbreaks in 1867 and 1868. In 1869 an English engineer , John Bateman, proposed projects of running water, sewers and drains,
and started work in 1873.
Prostibulo : Brothel. Some people state that the Tango was born in the brothels of BsAs. Whilst there is no doubt they played an
important part, I believe the overall picture is much broader.
Zwi Migdal : A Jewish organised crime group founded in Poland and operating mainly in Argentina brought women under pretext to Argentina
where they were forced into prostitution.Originally it was legally registered as ‘Varsovia ( Warsaw ) Jewish Mutual Aid Society’. But in 1927 the
Polish envoy filed an official complaint regarding the use of Warsaw in the name. It was renamed Zwi Migdal in recognition of one of the
founders: Luis Zwi Migdal. In the 1920s at its peak they controlled 2000 brothels with 4000 women in Argentina, and more in a number of other
countries. Raquel Liberman, a former prostitute who was treated badly, collaborated with police resulting in 108 convictions in 1930.
Hotel de Inmigrantes : The purpose built Hotel for Immigrants was built 1906-1911. It ceased operation in 1953 and is now a museum.
It could accommodate up to 4000 people. New migrants were given a few days free accommodation and help to find employment.
Immigrants with contagious diseases, invalids, or those over 60 were denied entry.

If a new immigrant wanted land they would have to go further afield, for example to the ‘Welsh’ settlements of Trelew and Rawson in Chubut
province, Patagonia. Those settlers with more permanent ambitions more likely took their families from the outset.
Buenos Aires and the area around the Rio de la Plata needed labour, and lots of it for construction, meat works etc. Quite a significant portion
of emigrants just came to work for a season, or until they saved some money so that they could return home and start a business or build a house.
But it is absolutely true that there was a significant imbalance in the population around 1900 of there being many more men than women in BsAs.

***** ***** *****

If you want to refer back to material we have already sent out in these newsletters , we are putting it on our ‘Notes’ page of the ‘TangoE14.wordpress.com’ website.

***** ***** *****

Anyway, here’s wishing you all
‘Salud, Dinero y Amor’
Health, Prosperity and Love,

From Tony Lane and Anita van de Watering,
TangoE14

apblane@gmail.com
020 7538 3852

Oh, and three other contributions:

1/ From Los Ocampo:
Hola amigos. Please could you share in your web and facebook our Exercise #3 We apreciate so much your support. We are in california,
sacramento…very well ..we no come back argentina because my country (border) is closed..we will stay until july for sure…
Please be in touch and don t forget us..we love you
LosOcampo

Your contributions are truly helping us.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude from all the donations we have received.”
Paypal.me/losocampo

Enviado desde mi iPhone
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video LosOcampo “Tango en tu casa”..exercise #3

LosOcampo “Tango en tu casa”..exercise #3

2/ ‘Social Distancing Tango’.

Antanina asked Tony and David to experiment with ‘Social Distancing Tango’.
It is quite tricky, and you have to keep 2 metres apart all the time.
You really have to focus on your partner to understand what they want, or what they are doing, or trying to get you to do.
Anyway, here we are at Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf having a go recently. Can you spot the deliberate mistake ?
What do our members think ? Is this a good idea or a bad idea ?
Are we setting a bad example , or taking unnecessary risks ?
We respect the opinions of our group, and would like to hear from you.

3/ Michael passed on this delightful little video of ‘Finger Tango Dancing’;
Attachments area
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video LosOcampo “Tango en tu casa”..exercise #3

-2nd May                                                                                                                                            ‘ La lucha continua ‘ – The struggle continues on many levels.                                              ‘TangoE14’, while not physically operating because of the COVID-19 shutdown, still tries to provide relief for Tangueros in other ways.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

Rosa sent us this link for Donato Racciatti.
https://youtu.be/SLxeh0sG7Do Thankyou Rosa.
I had not heard of him before, so had to look him up.
He was born 18 October 1918 in Guilmi, Chieta, Italy and died 27 May 2000 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He played Bandoneon with the orchestras of Felix Laurenz and Pedro Casella before forming his own orchestra in 1946, and recorded between 1946 and 1980.

Last week in our culture and history bit we gave some background to some of the events that led up to the formation of Argentina, and noted the word ‘Criollo’. We need to develop some appreciation of what that word means in the context and culture of Spanish America, Argentina, Uruguay, Buenos Aires and Tango.

We are trying to get a handle on ‘Argentine Tango’, the music, the dance, the culture. Why is it different to other partner dances? How did it evolve? Where did it come from?

Tony’s view is that it is a fusion of material, ( flavours ) from Indigenous South American, African and European cultural ingredients.

It is commonly recognised there are three ‘bits’ of Argentine Tango that most people accept as going together or being related in some way:
Tango, Vals and Milonga.
There are other bits that might also be included such as Candombe, Folk Dancing and Canyengue, but we will leave these aside for the moment.

Today lets jump to Europe in about 1800, and look at the Viennese Waltz, and some of the things that happened with that.

This week’s suggestions to look up on the internet and to find music to listen to :
– Viennese waltz:
3/4 time; Approximately 180 beats per minute (ie 3 beats to a bar or measure, and 60 measures per minute).Waltz is also called 3/4 time.
By comparison ‘English’ or ‘Slow Waltz’ is approximately half that speed with about 90 bpm, but still called 3/4 time.
Viennese Waltz emerged in Germany and Austria in the latter part of the 18th century.
It was revolutionary and scandalous at the time because it was the first European dance where a couple danced together in a close embrace.
Some people , including both Protestants and Catholics all around the world objected to it, while others gleefully took it up.
It was popular in large dance halls in Vienna from 1807.
It very naturally spread around the world including to Spanish America.
Listen to some popular Viennese Waltz music, and look at people dancing it.

– Vals Criollo:
What can you find ?

– Vals Peruano:

Search for: ‘Vals Criollo Ciudad de Lima’
and try
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DuMzl5ZHrE
Listen to some of the music, and see how people dance to it.

– Tango Vals:
You should be able to find lots of Tango Vals dance videos and Music tracks.
But here’s one to start you off
Tango Vals by Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa in “Salon Canning” Milonga in August of 2005, in honor of Puppy Castello
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJS7UYeBbE

Listen to Vals played by early Tango Orchestras like Francisco Canaro, and then to later interpretations by Osvaldo Pugliese.
Notice the degree to which the musicians stretch the music at times -slow it down and then speed it up again.

When you are listening to Tango Vals, really try and get into the feel of the music. Try and feel that you are one of the musicians; you are part of the group. Try tapping or drumming along with your fingers.
Keep listening and doing that.
Now try just tapping on some of the beats, and missing out others. Some beats you might emphasize; others just gently mark out.
So you might try : 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
1 – – 1 – – 1 2 – 1 2 –
1 – 3 1 – 3 1 – – 1 2 –
Can you manage this: 1&2&3&1 – –
Don’t get too bogged down, but just mess around and see what you can do with your fingers.
Now try standing up and marking those rhythms with your feet. Don’t take big steps, take very little steps with your feet pretty much directly under your body.

Now look at the videos of the different manifestations of Vals all again and try and see what differences you notice and hear in the way people dance, and in the music between Viennese Waltz and these others?

Tony notices ( and feel free to argue with him ) several differences:
– The European music is more precise, mathematically measured; whereas the Criollo and Tango music can be more ‘organic’, ( flexible, able to be stretched
or compressed, able to be played with, messed about with ).
– European and other musicians that play from reading music tend to be less flexible. Whereas those that are really comfortable with their instruments can
‘jam’ or ‘jazz’ or mess around more freely, They understand the feel and general direction of the music, and are at liberty to add extra quick notes, miss out
notes or beats, or make a note last for a few beats if the instrument allows it. I suspect that often the European musicians were more formally trained, while the ‘Criollo’ musicians were free to put their own feelings into it.
– As a simplification I will say the embrace in the Viennese Waltz evolved into more of a ‘V’ shape, with the couple physically touching at the waist or hip level,
and leaning away from each other in the upper body.
By comparison the Tango Vals particularly, and to some extent the Vals Criollo, has an ‘A’ shaped frame. The couple are closer at the chest than at the waist level.This has two advantages. It gives much less opportunity for unseemly contact, and less likelihood of standing on each other’s feet. It also allows both partners more freedom to move their legs and feet independently. That then means that the couple have to develop a reasonable sense of where their partner is, what their partner is doing, and what each one can do to be ‘in tune’ with each other.
– So I consider that the Vals Criollo and Tango Vals dancers have a similar connection and feel for the music as the musicians, which allows them to more freely interpret the music with simple steps, double or triple steps, and syncopated steps.

If you disagree, or have any other observations or comments on this , Tony would be pleased to hear from you.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
Exercises.

Walking. Tango is sometimes called the walking dance
Go for a nice long walk every day.
Take nice confident strides, and allow your arms to swing naturally.
When the right leg goes forward the left arm swings forward.
When you step forward with your left leg, then the right arm swings forward.
Lift your head and look straight ahead where you are going.
Just allow your arms to swing comfortably without forcing them, and as you do so feel that your chest, your upper torso, is also rotating slightly forward with your arm. This is the start of ‘dissociation’ of your upper body. Don’t force it. Just be aware of it. Allow your backbones to
rotate very slightly with your upper torso as you walk and swing your arms gently.

As you walk along count steps , 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Now, Without changing speed, change your counting system: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3

Now also adjust your breathing. Do what works for you and feels comfortable for you.
You might take 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 steps to breathe in, and the same number to breathe out.
Does your walking and/or breathing rhythms match with any music ? Maybe , maybe not.

Try a few quick double time steps, and then back to your original walking.

Try taking a full step on one leg ( eg Left ), then half a step with the other leg ( Right ) so you just ‘close your feet together’.
Change weight immediately/quickly onto your Right and step forward again on your Left.
So now try walking L, R, L&L, R, L, R&R
It is very useful in Tango to be comfortable with the actual practice of ‘Changing Leg’.

Some important ideas include:
– Knowing exactly where not only your body, but also your partner’s body is at any moment in time and in the music.
– Knowing exactly where your and your partner’s weight is; on the left foot, the right foot, both feet , what proportion or percentage of weight is
on each foot. Is the weight on the front of the foot or the heel, or the whole foot?
– Understanding our connection to each other so that we can lead and follow naturally and comfortably without having to think what the move should be.

Now when you are walking, try walking steadily to a basic underlying Tango Vals rhythm.
( If you have an iphone or something with earphones and can listen to Tango vals while you walk, that’s great. But if not just try imagining that regular
rhythm in your head. )
So now see what else you can try.
Can you do three very quick little steps that match the 1 2 3 ? Can you do 6: 1 2 3 1 2 3 ?
What about just 2 quick little steps and a tiny pause : 1 2 – 1 2 – ? or 1 2 – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 2 – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – ?
Or 1 – 3 1 – 3 1 ?
Just have a go and see what you can manage.

Can you do a nice slow ‘Basic Salida’ [ 8 steps *** ] to 8 lots of 123; ie: 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – – 1 – –
You could count that 1 – – 2 – – 3 – – 4 – – 5 – – 6 – – 7 – – 8 – –
So if the Tango Vals is playing at about 180 bpm, and you only step on the first beat of every three, then you are actually only dancing at 60 bpm,
which is one step per second; pretty easy. So if it is easy, you should be able to find the music to do that absolutely precisely, on the music.
Often Tango Vals is a bit faster than Viennese Waltz, but not necessarily so.

[ *** ‘Basic Salida’ is a rectangle in 8 steps, very briefly, in case anyone needs reminding :
Starting from feet together
1/ Man ( leader ) back on R.
2/ ML collect back to R, then L to L side.
3/ MR collect side to L, then R forward.
4/ ML forward a full stride,passing ( collecting ) R as you go.
5/ MR forward only to point of collecting with L; feet now together. Lady in a cross if the Man has led it. ( We will talk about leading a cross another time ).
6/ ML forward.
7/ MR forward, collecting with R in passing, then out to R.
8/ ML collect side to R.
Note a) Here in this Basic Salida the Lady’s ( follower’s ) steps are simply the compatible opposite to the Leader. b) Although these steps vary in shape , size and ease, we must be able to do them all at the same speed with precision. Then we need to learn to vary the speed of our steps , quickly or slowly, even pausing. Some at regular speed, some quick, some slow, or pausing in a dynamic way. Then, even though our steps are simple we make them interesting, we make Tango. ]

OK, can you do a neat Salida in perfect Tango Vals time, dancing only on the ‘1’ ? Can you add in a bit of simple walking. Can you add a run ( a Corrida ) of two quick steps, or 3, or 4 or 6, or any number you like, and recover from that, maybe using a short pause, or maybe just going straight to ‘slow’.

If you know how to lead ochos, and have a partner, can you lead them slowly or quickly when you want to ?
And if you can do that can you lead giros with steps of different speeds ?
Once you can do these basic things you should be able to enjoy dancing musically to Tango Vals.
And, if you can do that it will really help your Tango.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango.

Last week we noted that the Vice Royalty of La Plata ended in 1810, so we will take it that Argentina started about then. It was not all plain sailing though and there were many forces at work.
Just remember that lots was happening all over the world. Here are just a few things I picked, but you can probably find lots more:
1765-1783 American ( US ) Revolution aided by France.
1776 US Declaration of independence, 4th July.
1789 start of French revolutionary wars.
1791-1804 Haitian Revolution. Self liberated slaves effectively defeat Napoleon !
1800 Napoleon ‘regains’ Louisiana from Spain.
1803 France ‘sells’ Louisiana to US for $15 million, for over 800,000 square miles.
1805 Naval Battle of Trafalgar. Britain beats combined navies of France and Spain.
1815 Battle of Waterloo. Britain and Prussia beat Napoleon/France.
1815-1914 “Pax Britannica”. A period of relative peace brought about by Britain’s global naval security, which allowed trade and business to prosper in many parts of the world.
1823 Monroe Doctrine ( US ) which opposed European Colonialism in the Americas. Asserted that the ‘New World’ and the ‘Old World’ were distinctly separate spheres of influence.
These last two items above tended to give British and US business interests ( some might call it Western Neo-Colonialism ) an advantage in all of the Americas, including Argentina, but they did not have it all to themselves.
1825 UK is one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Argentina.
1861-1865 US civil war, over enslavement.

Why did the Spanish Empire fail ? Well on some levels it was quite successful; It Lasted from 1500s to 1800s. Perhaps Historically the rise and fall of Empires speeds up over time. The Egyptian Pharaohs lasted for thousands of years, the Soviet Empire only about 70 years. Given the huge size of the Spanish Empire, the distances, the terrains, the oceans and the technology of the time, it wasn’t a bad effort. However many historians say that it was afflicted by a dissolute and incompetent ruling class which led to favour seeking and corruption. In spite of having incredible wealth generated, notably by the mines of Potosi (in Bolivia), Spain still ran into debt. Spain defaulted on debts many times , including in 1557,1560,1575,1596,1607, 1627,1647 and 1653.
Spain and Portugal united in 1580 but separated in 1640. Spain imposed heavy and onerous taxes on its citizens, which encouraged many to leave and go to the new world for a freer ‘Criollo’ life. But the habits of beaurocracy and corruption seemed to go with them into the new world.

The exploitation of land under Spanish control was dominated by the awarding of ‘Encomiendas’, or very large estates. Large estates are still quite a feature in Argentina. Two hundred years ago a large pastoral holding would have cattle grazing, almost wild, across the Pampas. The cowboys, Gauchos, would catch one and kill it, then skin it. Before the days of refrigeration the only valuable product was the hide, which could be salted, dried, and sold,. So the gauchos could cook up as much of the meat as they wanted and leave the rest for the vultures. Hides and leather were important natural products and trade items of the vast pampas grasslands spreading out from Buenos Aires.

Alert businessmen soon saw the opportunities created by all the meat going to waste.

1865 Belgian engineer George Giebert partnered with Justus von Liebig ( German Scientist, lived 1803 – 1873 ) to form the Liebig ‘s Extract of Meat Company
( LEMCO ). It was set up in Uruguay in a town which became ‘Fray Bentos’. Fray Bentos was very famous for tinned corned beef. Liebig was awarded the ‘Albert medal’ for scientific contributions in 1869 by the UK. The company later became famous for ‘OXO’ cubes.

The Vestey Brothers, originally butchers from Liverpool, amassed a fortune. In 1895 they opened a cold store in London. They started by buying game birds in S.America and shipping them to the UK.. They moved into beef trading, ranches, meat processing factories, shipping ( Blue star line ), the ‘Dewhurst’ chain of butchers in UK. Later to avoid UK income tax they moved to Buenos Aires. Their ‘Union International’ went into receivership in 1995.

Does any of this have anything to do with Tango ?
Well, we are looking at some of the important ingredients, and the economic development of Argentina is a significant stage setting.

More next week.

-25th April 2020                                                                                                                       Anita and her partner are very happy and busy with their new baby Claude, born on 15th April.

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

This week’s suggestions to look up on Wikipedia ;
The orchestras of
– Juan Maglio ( ‘Pacho’ ), b 18 Nov 1880 BsAs, d 14 July 1934. Bandoneonista and composer, he recorded hundreds of tracks between 1926 and 1934.
As well as mainly Tango and some Vals, he also recorded Polkas, Pasodobles, Rancheras, Zambas and Foxtrots. In 1929 a 15 year old Anibal Troilo
played Bandoneon in Pacho’s orchestra.

– Rodolfo Biagi, b 14 March 1906 BsAs, d 24 Sept 1969. He played piano with several orchestras including Juan Maglio and Juan D’Arienzo, before
forming his own orchestra in 1938.

By now you are starting to see that from early days there was a lot of movement of musicians and styles and ideas around the tango music making world, especially in Buenos Aires. So if you listen to a particular orchestra that recorded over many years you will hear that their style changes over time, and the musicians and singers change too.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
Exercises.

Some important ideas include:
– Knowing exactly where not only your body, but also your partner’s body is at any moment in time and in the music.
– Knowing exactly where your and your partner’s weight is; on the left foot, the right foot, both feet , what proportion or percentage of weight is
on each foot. Is the weight on the front of the foot or the heel, or the whole foot?
– Understanding our connection to each other so that we can lead and follow naturally and comfortably without having to think what the move should be.

Can you remember how to lead and follow an ‘ocho’ ?
Do you remember that we could stop an ocho with a ‘parada’ ( a stop ).
Having got to that point the leader can place the followers weight over the forward foot, and could then pivot the follower on that front foot, so that the back foot
could be moved in an arc ( part circle ) to either side.
Or,the leader could place the followers weight over the back foot, allow the follower to pivot on the back foot, and move the followers front foot in an arc. This could be assisted by a ‘barrida’ ( sweeping movement by one foot of the leader ) or just simply led by invitation to move.

Francis suggested this excellent link: http://www.tangology101.com and go to ‘Classes’ – ‘Sacada to her back cross with an Alteration.’
Or go directly to the same place : http://www.tangology101.com/main.cfm/categoryname/Tango%20Classes/id/7

Watch this and observe how useful it is to change where the follower’s weight is, to be able to pivot her and change her direction of movement.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango.

Argentine Tango didn’t just develop anywhere. It developed in the area around Buenos Aires, Montevideo and the River Plate.
Argentina and Uruguay are relatively young countries.
Human history doesn’t have a clear starting point. There is always something that came before which created the conditions to allow something to happen.

A recommended book is ‘A History of Latin America’ by George Pendle.

‘Fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue’…. and discovered America for Spain. Also introduced European
diseases which killed a large proportion of the indigenous populations. Some figures say 95% in some areas.
1492 was also the year that Catholic Spain ( Castile and Aragon ) drove out the Moors ( Muslims ) and expelled Jews.
1494, 7th June, Treaty of Tordesillas, signed by Spain and Portugal, dividing new territories between them, basically because they were the
upholders and disseminators of the true Catholic faith. A line was drawn on the map of the world as it was understood then. It ran straight
down the Atlantic, cutting South America near the mouth of the Amazon.
Consequently Spain had all of the Americas except Brazil. Portugal had all of the rest of the world and Brazil.
Spain set up two Vice-Royalties: Mexico ( North America ) and Peru ( South America ) in the 1500s.
To be a Vice-Rey ( Vice King ) or even to hold high office, you had to be born in Spain. After hundreds of years people in Spanish America
with Spanish ancestry, Criollos, started to agitate for more rights and power sharing.

1550-1551, the Valladolid debate was the first recorded moral debate in European history to discuss the rights of indigenous people by
their conquerors. Were natives ‘Free’ or ‘Guilty of unacceptable crimes such as sacrifice or cannibalism and therefore subject to
enslavement?’ The result accepted the conversion of native Americans in Spanish America to catholicism, and the more or less
general integration between the Spanish and locals. That integration included religion, music, commerce and culture generally.
So after 300 years Criollo culture and music is undoubtedly an amalgamation of ideas and influences.
Africans were not afforded the same respect as ‘Free’ human beings and were transported to the Americas as slaves, especially Brazil
and the Caribbean.

After the Protestant Reformation in Europe many other European states started to take more interest in the riches of the world.
This included England, Holland, France, Denmark and others. Their early adventurers were seen as pirates by the Spanish.
But over the years they evolved more into traders and colonisers. The Spanish sought to keep monopoly control over trade
within their empire, but the ‘Free Trade’ nations ( Pirates ) sought to do everything they could to tap into the Spanish controlled
wealth and resources.

The Viceroyalty of the River Plate was a late subdivision from the Viceroyalty of Peru, and only lasted from 1776 – 1810.
It included parts of what we now call Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. It endured many competing forces
for independence, civil war, and competition for control, as well as from outside interests.

The population of Buenos Aires (BsAs) in 1810 , according to Wikipedia, included 22,793 whites, 9615 Africans, and 150 indigenous.
By 1914 BsAs population was 1,582,000.
By 2020 Greater BsAs has over 15 million, of which less than 1% are said to be Afro-Argentines.

In 1813 children of slaves were declared to be ‘Free’. Slavery was abolished in Argentina in 1853, but not BsAs until it joined the Argentine Confederation
in 1861, and then it was completely abolished.

It is said that Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, President 1868 – 1874, and his supporters, sought to get rid of black people from Argentina.
Several factors aided this policy: Cessation of importing slaves; Encouragement of black people into the army to fight such as in wars of independence and the war of the Triple Alliance where many died; Disease epidemics including Yellow Fever and Cholera; Intermarriage; and encouragement of white settlers especially from Italy.

The Paraguayan War between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, 1864 – 1870, was disastrous
for Paraguay which lost a lot of its territory and a large portion of its male population. Some Brazilian Triple Alliance fighters were
ex slaves who were offered freedom and/or land.

Business interests from the UK, US and other countries grew in the latter part of the 1800s. The rail network in 1860 was 9.8km;
by 1890 it was 9,397 km, and by 1920 was 47,000 km. In 1877 the steamer ‘Frigorifique’ carried the first shipment of frozen meat from Argentina across the Atlantic to France. Argentina was set to become a very prosperous and modern country.

More next time.

If you want to refer back to material we have already sent out in these newsletters , we are putting it on our ‘Notes’ page of the ‘TangoE14.wordpress.com’ website.

***** ***** *****

IN MEMORIAM

KIETH NICOL, husband of dancer and teacher Jan Nicol, died recently with Coronavirus.
Jan writes : I thought that I would send you the date and time of the cremation –
– Thursday 30th April, 9.50 am.
It’s a direct cremation so no service, celebration or people. It’s what Kieth wanted, he said that if it was good enough for David Bowie, it was good enough for him !
However, I’m contacting as many tango folk as I can to suggest that they might like to play some tango music around that time so we can all feel connected…..
He loved so much tango music – tango, waltz and milonga that anything you love would be appropriate – he did particularly like Poema ( his vintage ) though if
that’s a help in the decision making.

I am sure all at TangoE14, and all those throughout the London Tango and wider communities that knew them both offer their heartfelt condolences to Jan.

***** ***** *****

LOS OCAMPO news

Les mandamos para que compartan en el portal de internet el “unidos tango festival “ que se esta transmitiendo 24 horas hast el 24 de abril. Hemos grabado all una clase de canyengue!!

4 Attachments

This material is still available on : http://www.dancershape.com

***** ***** *****

-17th April 2020

1/ Listen to Argentine Tango music every day.

This week’s suggestions to look up on Wikipedia ;
The orchestras of
– Osvaldo Fresedo, b 5 May 1897- d 15 Nov 1984. He had the longest recording career in Tango, from 1925 – 1980.
His style was polished, refined and elegant. It later became known as part of the ‘Guardia Nueva’ { New Guard }.
Some call it ‘Palm Court’ tango.
– Gotan Project, formed 1999 in Paris; Neotango, Tango electronico. Includes Eduardo Makaroff from Buenos Aires, b 4th April 1954;
Philippe Cohen Solal from France, and Christoph Muller from Switzerland, b 1967 Germany.
In Buenos Aires there was a local slang called ‘lunfardo’ in which syllables were reversed to confuse outsiders. So Tan-go becomes Gotan.

2/ Keep fit and able to dance Argentine Tango.
Exercises.
– Lapiz { pencil } , Axis, use of ‘Angular Momentum’ and Dissociation to execute turns.
At home this may be more easily done wearing socks not shoes, on a smooth wooden or linoleum floor.
Start with feet together. You can lightly touch a bench with one hand, { ‘Ballet barre’ }, or something solid, if that helps.
A/ Stand up straight with your weight on the front of your left foot; knees slightly relaxed ie not locked but very very slightly bent, ie almost straight.
Keep your right leg almost straight but relaxed.                                                                     Draw a circle on the floor with your right big toe, keeping your heel off the floor but without making any effort to lift the heel. Keep your Right leg almost straight but relaxed as you do this. You should be able to draw a small circle with your free foot/leg without moving out of balance on your supporting leg. Don’t lower yourself by bending your supporting leg.
Firstly, move your right foot slightly forward, then out and around in a clockwise circle, coming back to the point where you started, with your feet together.
Do this a few times continuously.
Now reverse the movement. Starting by moving your foot slightly back, move your foot in an anticlockwise circle, trying to ‘draw’ a circle with your big toe.
Bring your feet together. Standing up straight. Shift your weight onto your right foot.
Now do the ‘lapiz’ exercises on the other side, ie with your left foot.
B/ Try doing the exercises in ‘A’ above , but this time bending your supporting leg a little so you can draw a bigger circle.
If that is painful or very uncomfortable, then don’t do it.
If you can lower sufficiently to create a large circle you can create a ‘planeo’ { a plane-ing movement }.
C/ Now try doing ‘A’ again, but with more precision, perfect axis, and balance. Keep your weight on the front of your supporting {left} foot so that you can pivot easily on that foot alone.                                                                                                                                                     Do two clockwise lapiz movements with your right foot and on the second lapiz allow
yourself to pivot clockwise a quarter of a turn.                                                                             If you can do a quarter turn , try half a turn.
{ Experiment: If you do anticlockwise lapiz movements with the right foot, that will induce an anticlockwise movement of the whole body. }
Having difficulty ?
Let’s try a different method.
D/ Stand up straight with your weight on the front of your left foot; knees slightly relaxed ie not locked but very very slightly bent.
Knees together, ankles together, right leg not bent, almost straight, absolutely no weight on the right foot.
We want to be able to pivot just on the front { the ball } of the left foot.
Now try dissociating your upper body clockwise,{ ie turning your chest } as much as you can comfortably do.                                                                                                                         Now try allowing your lower body including your legs to catch up with that turn.
It doesn’t matter if you only turn a few degrees to start with. Just get the feel of turning     {keeping a vertical axis but twisting} your upper body, and then letting your feet catch up.
So here you have two tools to help you pivot. ‘Dissociation’ and ‘Angular momentum’ created by a lapiz.
Experiment.Try using both of these tools together.
Now try just one method or the other, and see how it feels to you. Do not overwork these exercises, but do a few now and again when convenient, and build up your body’s recognition and understanding of these movements.

3/ Develop your interest around Argentine Tango.

If you search online for example for Osvaldo Fresedo‘s music, you might find one of his very famous pieces: ‘Vida mia’, and then see many different dancers’ interpretations.

Dancers:
Carlos Gavito { 27April 1942-1July 2005 } was a famous Argentinean milonguero. He taught for a while in London including at ‘Tango the Argentino way’ at the London Welsh Centre before being invited to join the touring stage show ‘Forever Tango’ by another
famous Tanguero, Juan Carlos Copes in 1995.
Carlos Gavito returned to London several times and taught occasionally at festivals and events, including at ‘The Welsh Centre’.
One striking characteristic of his dance is his extreme ‘Apilada’ { leaning } embrace. It is not generally recommended as it is very hard on the ladies back. She must have a very strong core.
Carlos Gavito and Maria Plazaola dance to Carlos Di Sarli’s ‘El Ingeniero’ at the London Welsh Centre in 2003 :
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Tango+at+the+London+Welsh+Centre&&view=detail&mid=CBB37333279E5889E260CBB37333279E5889E260&&amp;

So you might as well also look up Juan Carlos Copes { b 31May1931- last heard of believed to be teaching in Beijing }.
He was involved in two very famous shows that reminded the world how special Argentine Tango is; ‘Tango Argentino’ from 1983, and ‘Forever Tango’ 1995 in Europe.  His partner was Maria Nieves Rego, and there is a biographical account of their stormy career in the film ‘Un Tango Mas’ { ‘Our Last Tango’ } 2015.

Those two shows, ‘Tango Argentino’ and ‘Forever Tango’, with some extra help from other shows, had a huge impact around the world exciting and encouraging people to take up Argentine Tango. On seeing such a show the first impression was ‘that was the way to do it’.
It was dramatic and precisely choreographed. However, those new converts that stuck with it for more than a year or so eventually realised that there is a huge difference between Stage Tango and Social Tango. There is also a major difference between ‘Ballroom Tango’ and ‘Social Argentine Tango’.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Here at ‘TangoE14’ we try to develop our abilities to have a sensitive physical and considerate { ie not rough } ‘conversation’ or sensible or reasonable interaction within a couple, within the music, and within the constraints of where we are and those around us.

————————-

-13th April 2020

The other day an unplanned opportunity arose. Tony was standing in the supermarket queue. It was a very long queue, made even longer by the two metre social distancing rule. So thought, ‘ what can I do to while away the time?’ The answer was simple. ‘ I have room to do quite a lot of our Tango body awareness, balance and dissociation exercises’. Nobody took any notice. They were either on their phones or chatting to their partner. So try and treat new circumstances as new opportunities for what we can do, rather than focus on what we can’t do.

Since TangoE14 is suspended for the time being, each week we are suggesting a few things to help
‘ Grow and develop the spirit of Argentine Tango inside us ‘.

1 /- Listen to Tango music every day.                                                                                       This week’s homework is to look up and listen to:                                                                   Astor Piazzola, b 1921, d 1992. Played bandoneon with other orchestras before forming his own in 1944. After that he recorded with different studios including Odeon, TK, Allegro, Disc Jockey, Antar-Telefunken and Music Hall. His early recordings were more traditional and typical Golden Age tango, but evolved into more ‘Tango Nuevo’ style. He said his later music was not aimed at dancers, but many determined and adventurous dancers took this as a challenge and found ways to enjoy and interpret his music through dance.                                                                                                                                               Julio De Caro, b 1899, d 1980. He played violin with other orchestras before forming his own orchestra in 1924. He recorded between 1926 and 1953 on Victor, Brunswick, Odeon and Pathe. Although he was of an earlier age, his music had an experimental edge.

By now we are starting to appreciate the interesting and exciting variety of Argentine Tango Music, as well as start to see it’s progression and development. But we must be careful not to think of it as a simple linear progression. There were many different streams or styles developing at the same time. Sometimes they influenced each other, and sometimes they parted or even rejoined again later. Of course, different people had different tastes or preferences, and had their favourite bands or orchestras.
A most important ingredient is ‘Milonga’, which we will talk about another time. But just to confuse you, the word ‘Milonga’ has two distinct meanings: a- a dance event. ‘ We are going to a Milonga tonight ‘. b- a specific type and style of dance to Milonga music which is generally quicker, simpler, and more rhythmic. The music characteristically has a regular but uneven beat, for example: ‘ Bomm Bomm Ba-dum, Bomm Bomm Ba-dum, Bomm Ba-dum Ba-dum Bomm Bomm’. Milonga is more successful and enjoyable when danced in a close embrace because the couple need a very very good connection between them to find the mutual understanding to move quickly together to the music, and to be able to change direction, size of step, dissociation and even rhythm together.
That leads to two other words describing the way couples dance together:                          a- Salon style which is generally more ‘open’, but can allow for flexibility to open or close the embrace/connection as required. This is generally favoured in Milongas where there is plenty of room.                                                                                                                                 b- Milonguero style, which is mainly in close embrace, and is typically favoured in more crowded Milongas

What are the main characteristics of Argentine Tango Music ?
Tony explains from his own dancer’s historical perspective.

a / USA

If you went back to the United States over a century or more ago you would see that there was a fusion of musical influences from Native North American, African and European cultures. That fusion produced all sorts of stuff including ‘Jazz’ and ‘Swing’ music.

Out of that came many dance forms, Ragtime, Charleston, Lindy-hop, Jive, Rock and Roll, and a lot of Ballroom and Latin dances.
Some North Americans saw a need and opportunity to teach people how to dance. By 1914 in the USA, Arthur Murray, aged 19,
was teaching ballroom dancing. There are now hundreds of Arthur Murray Dance studios around the world. They created ways of
formalising and standardising dances which was useful for novices. They even drew patterns of footwork on the floor, or on paper,
to show their paying students the right steps. In the UK and USA formal bodies arose such as the International Society of
Teachers of Dance {ISTD}, and the International Dance Teachers’ Association {IDTA} to promote their members and to define
standards.
Commercial dance schools favoured the ideas of specific steps and teachable ways of dancing appropriate to particular dances.
For example; Quickstep, Foxtrot and Waltz have, what are today, well known patterns or sequences that beginners are taught.
There is a syllabus, backed up by a progression of medals, bronze, silver and gold, and competitions. In many ways this was good,
but it also created hierarchies, vested business interests, and discouraged innovators.
However, not all of these dances are controlled by particular interests. For example, Lindy-hop has managed to stay a free dance.

b / Rio De La Plata

By comparison, over a similar period of time, or maybe longer, in the area around the River Plate which came to be Uruguay and
Argentina, there was another slightly different result. The fusion of musical influences from Native South American, African and
European cultures in that area produced, among other things, Tango.                                The Spanish American Criollo culture enjoyed music.
{ By ‘Criollo’ I mean people of Spanish descent born in the New World, who may or may not be Mestizo [mixed race] }.
Music, songs, dance and news were carried around the continent by ‘Payadores’ or Gaucho minstrels. They were also especially renowned for their abilities in improvisation of verse, music and dance. They often engaged in duels of wit and musicality.

Look at our videos page to see our very own ‘Payadores’.                                                             Duo: Flavio Romanelli and Marcos Martignano when they visited in 2014.

Or have a look at a very famous payador and contributor to early Tango:
Gabino Ezeiza & guitarra- El Tango Patagones- 1905                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOchX98rVnY

Many residents with musical appreciation in the Viceroyalty of Peru { Spanish South America }, and later the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata { 1776 – 1810 } were accustomed to Spanish and European classical and popular music of the times, from 1550 on, as well as indigenous music. South American native people have a wide and rich music making culture of their own. The enjoyment of music was widespread in the culture and the continent. Well known indigenous instruments include a variety of pan-pipes, flutes and drums; but stringed instruments especially the guitar and charango became popular and widespread.
A lot of indigenous music has rhythms recognisable in modern Tango, Milonga and even Tango Vals. Many of their dances involve processions and walking with rhythmic interuptions.                                                                                                                              Another major and obvious contribution to Tango comes from the music and dance brought by the African slaves.
Ref: ‘Argentina’s white lies, myths and the Tango 1700-1900′ by Rodreguez King-Dorset’, which may be available at Waterstones.
How does this relate to the way Argentine Tango is danced ?

1} The big thing here is ‘feeling’ the music, and letting that drive you.
2} But then we must have that ‘connection/communication/embrace/understanding/give and take/playfulness’ to tango together and in the company of those around us.
3} Yes, there is walking, stopping, runs, syncopations, changing direction, turns, ochos, rebounds, pretends, turns, technique, axis, and moves/steps/pasos ad infinitum , but none of that is Tango without 1} and 2}. So listen to lots of Tango music.
What is the difference between Argentine Tango and Ballroom Tango ?

Very briefly, Ballroom Tango is taught by showing and learning the leader’s steps and the follower’s steps separately, then putting them together. The emphasis is on being able to perform choreographic sequences, and hopefully navigate a dance floor.

The emphasis in Argentine Tango is on dancers, in couples, understanding their own movement and their partner’s movement.
It makes full use of our partner’s and our own senses to find the best possible connection and mutual understanding of where ‘the couple’ is physically and in the music. We still take advantage of learning choreographic pieces, but we aim to be able to vary them at will. Argentine Tango is arguably the most perfectly developed social partner dance where the couple truly dance together as one.

2 /- Keep fit; walk, move all parts of your body, balance and respond to the music.

Remember what we have done in class, and what we are suggesting each week.            This week:
A ‘Tendu’ type exercise appropriate for Tango:
Find a bench or something solid at home that can be used as your ‘Ballet barre’.
Stand at right angles to the barre and hold or touch it with one hand, arms gently out to either side.
Weight on the leg/foot closest to the barre. Feet almost parallel, minimal turnout. { ie not a wide turnout as in ballet }.
Keeping the free leg straight, touch the big toe of the free foot forward a short distance, short enough so that the movement is done without shifting your balance, or making you wobble.
Then bring the free foot back to the ‘collect’ position, feet together.
Now touch the free foot out to the side,
and return to collect.
Now touch the free foot back, taking care not to twist the foot,
and return to collect.

So now, to music:
Forward, Collect, Side, Collect, Back, Collect, Side, Collect.
Forward, Collect, Side, Collect, Back, Collect, Side, Collect.

Pivot, Twist on both feet, ‘Simple Enrosque’.
Feet parallel, about 5 – 15 centimetres apart.
Stand up straight, with knees relaxed but not bent. Arms in position of Tango embrace.
Turning on the balls of both feet, rotate clockwise 180 degrees { a half turn }. As you turn, lift the heel of the right foot
to allow it to pass over the left.
You should end up in a feet ‘Crossed’ position, right crossed over left, facing the opposite direction to your starting position.
Now rotate anticlockwise back to where you started.
Continue rotating anticlockwise, lifting the heel of your left as necessary.
You should end in a feet ‘Crossed’ position, left crossed over right.

Now experiment rotating a complete 360 degree turn clockwise, then anticlockwise, keeping both feet on the floor, but pivoting on the fronts of the feet.
Now try continuing your rotations beyond the cross by just pivoting on one foot. Allow the free foot to planeo or decorate.
This is helpful to develop your balance when you have a dynamic axis.
Look at other keep fit classes and exercises online. There’s plenty of stuff to do.
Here’s a good one if you fancy some ballet exercises: Ballet Barre 1 with Dutch National Ballet.
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Ballet+barre+1with+Dutch+National+Ballet&view
Or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL2sYcB4xhI
A “Balanchine” Class in the year of the Plague 2020 (John Clifford).
Pablo Veron once said ‘To be able to dance well with another person, first you have to be able to dance well on your own’.
Pablo is undoubtedly one of the top dancers of Argentine Tango in the world, and has appeared in films including ‘The Tango Lesson’ {1997}by Sally Potter., and shows including ‘Tango Argentino’.
However, I will challenge him a little bit on this point. Yes, it definitely is good to be able to dance well on your own.
Ballet, Contemporary and other dancers that have trained their bodies to a high level of control, flexibility, and discipline can become good Tango dancers, and may appear to be good show dancers. But Argentine Tango is a Social Dance.
It is a genuine interaction between the couple in the context of the music, as well as an interaction with the other dancers. In my view therefore, it is at least as important, if not even more important to find that real communication with your partner. To have the ability to have a real dialogue, to enjoy and savour moments together, and to play. They are different skills.
And don’t forget, many stage performing dancers have physical problems and have to stop dancing at some point, even sometimes before 40 years old, whereas Social Tango dancers continue well into their 80s.
Anyway, whatever you do, be careful and be sure it is appropriate for you, your age, ability, general fitness, and whether it is practical in your surroundings.
You don’t want to hurt yourself, or anyone else, or break anything !
If exercises hurt or cause troublesome discomfort or disorientation, then don’t do them.
3 /- Maintain interest in Argentine Tango, culture, history,
and all the different aspects of it.
Read about it, use the internet, look up orchestras, composers and singers mentioned above.
For dancers this week look up Pablo Veron and Gustavo Naveira.
See how different people understand and interpret Tango, and how they found their own Tango.

To be frank, some of the information on the internet about Argentine Tango is incomplete, especially older and more historical material, but it is a good start.

————————

-4th April 2020

1 /- Listen to Tango music every day.

What were the names of the four Tango Orchestras mentioned last week ?

Here’s a couple more :
Roberto Firpo, b 1884, d 1969, Recorded 1926 – 1959 about 1000 tracks, mostly with Odeon, a few with Victor. Not all tango.
Francisco Canaro, b 1888 ( Uruguay ), d 1964 BsAs. Recorded over 3000 tracks with Odeon 1926 – 1964. Not all tango.

What are the main characteristics of Argentine Tango Music ?

I will explain from my dancer’s perspective.
The music is usually described as ‘2 X 4’.
That is two lots of four: ‘ 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 ‘.
It is said to come from march music.
However we know that it is more complicated than that.
There are lots of half beats, quarter beats, third beats and off beats,
irregular and syncopated beats.

Incidentally, let’s challenge the name, ‘Argentine Tango’. Shouldn’t it really
be called ‘Uruguayan Tango’ or at least ‘ Tango del Rio de La Plata’ ?
And what about other musical styles: Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Vals
Peruano, and Vals Criollo?

Various musicians tried experimenting mixing march time, 1 2 3 4,
with Vals time, 123 123.
How about – 1 2 3 4 123 123 – 1 2 3 4 123 123 –
Yes it’s possible, and it does work, but it quickly becomes repetitive and a bit boring.

But someone came up with 1 2 3 4 123 1 2 – 1 2 3 4 123 1 2
Dum Dum Dum Dum da da da Dum Dum
Dum Dum Dum Dum da da da Dum Dum
[ Just try repeating that out loud to yourself a few times ]. Does that sound familiar ?

It is the most well known bit of ‘La Cumparsita’, probably the most famous tango in the world.

In 1916 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Gerardo Matos Rodriguez was a student of architecture and his father was a night club owner.
( His father’s surname Matos, mother’s surname Rodriguez , as per the Spanish custom ).
Gerardo Matos Rodriguez wrote ‘La Cumparsita’ to be music to accompany a student procession.
A comparsa is a procession, and a cumparsita is a little procession.
At the time the well known Argentinian band of Roberto Firpo was playing in Montevideo so Gerardo and friends asked Firpo to play it.
Firpo added a little more, notably from his own ‘ La Gaucha Manuela ‘ and ‘ Curda complete ‘.
According to Firpo, when his orchestra played it that evening the result was a divine moment.
Although Firpo recorded it in November 1916 it was not a massive hit.
Later, in 1924, Pascual Contursi wrote new words: ‘ Si supieras ‘, which became the more well known words to ‘ La Cumparsita ‘.
Carlos Gardel sang it, and lots of Orchestras have recorded it.
These words and music together are very melodramatic, and were hugely popular right through until the 1960s.

If you go to this site, which is also mentioned on the TangoE14 Home page, you can see the words of tango songs in Spanish and in English. https://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/

OK, so how do you dance to that ?

Look at it again:
1 2 3 4 123 1 2
You have a regular march or walking time, which could just be on the beat, 1 2 3 4 , or even every half beat, 1&2&3&4&.
Then you have to change speed and rhythm and do 123.
Then slow down again to 1 2 .
But it is not as simple as that.
In the changeover from one rhythm to the other there is probably a pause, a slight mismatch, a changing gear moment.
A moment in which you might catch your breath.
We need to be able to change speed, change rhythm, and change direction when we need, to interpret the music.
We can actually pause or stop, but it should not be a dead stop.
This is the moment for slow but dynamic connection, breathing together, paying perfect attention to each other, and anticipating or
savouring the next move as if it was a delicious morsel of food.
Also note that if you just stepped on the notes indicated, when you came to repeat the whole set again you would probably be
starting on the other foot.
{ Oh Dear !! }.
How can we deal with all that ?
You could just ignore the variations and stick to the march.
You could ignore the march and pretend it was all a waltz.
You could try and make it up as you go.
But what we are trying to do is to dance Tango – dancing together, to the music.
So first of all we have to be comfortable and confident in ourselves, in our own bodies, and know where we are, where our weight is,
and what the music is doing.
Then we have to establish a good connection. We will talk again another time about embrace.
But in the meantime you can check out Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes on the TangoE14.wordpress.com video page.
So before we even start to go anywhere we must be sure that we are paying full attention to each other, and therefore able to move
seamlessly together.

Then for this little piece, we could just do 4 regular full steps,
a very slight pause,
then three quick small steps,
another almost imperceptible pause,
and finish with 2 more regular full steps.

But there are in fact many possibilities in this which you can discover for yourself when you are dancing with a partner.
For example, instead of doing four steps to the first four beats, you could just do two slow steps; each step taking two beats. Then,
just one step for all of the 123 bit, and one more step for the last two beats. You have just walked slowly through the whole thing.
How lazy can you get ! But if you did this with excellent connection, including awareness of the subtle pauses, it could feel and be very nice.
Of course you can spice it up by changing from parallel walking to cross system walking, ochos, giros, sacadas and so on.
But the whole point of tango is doing it together, and if you can discover how to change speed, rhythm, direction, or pause
together then you are dancing Argentinian ( or Uruguayan ) Tango.

2 /- Keep fit; walk, move all parts of your body, balance and respond to the music.

Can you remember all the different exercises we have done in class ?
What did we suggest last week ?

Look at other keep fit classes and exercises online. There’s plenty of stuff to do.
But be careful and be sure it is appropriate for you, your age, ability, general fitness, and whether it is practical in your surroundings.
You don’t want to hurt yourself, or anyone else, or break anything !
Tony’s suggestions this week, adding on to last weeks exercises :
– ‘Rolling down and up again’.
Make sure you have plenty of space around you, you are not going to knock anything over, or hit any hanging lights etc.
Stand tall and upright with your feet parallel about 20 – 30 centimetres apart.
Reach up with both arms as high as you can, breathing in as you go up.
From this maximum reach, allow your arms to fall in a small arc, allow your body to collapse/bend/ roll slightly forward
( without falling over ), and allow your knees to bend a little.
As you are collapsing breathe out.
At the end of this collapsing arc your arms will be slightly behind you.
Now roll back up, taking a big breath in slowly, but as you do let your arms do a full one and a half circles, ending up reaching up as high as you can. Do this 10 or 20 times.
– ‘ Rising slightly on the front of your feet ‘.
Stand up straight with your feet parallel, and about 5 – 10 centimetres apart.
Without moving your feet, and continuing to stand up straight, slightly adjust your weight/body position so that your weight is forward over the front of both feet ( Not just the toes, but on all of the front of the feet including the front ball of the foot ), and although your heels are still touching the ground there should be no weight on your heels.
Now move your weight back onto your heels so that there is no weight on the front of your feet.

Now, without bending or distorting your body, and without moving your feet, but keeping a good upright posture, explore how far you can transfer your weight forward, or backwards or to one side without falling over.
This is very useful to help develop an acute awareness of where your body weight is, forward or back ? On one foot or the other?
Most of the time in Tango we want our weight forward, on one foot, or the other, or both feet, but not always. We shouldn’t have to think ‘where am I ?’, we should know automatically.

‘ Rolling through your feet ‘.
This time, with your weight forward over the front of both feet, allow your knees to move slightly forward so that your knees are above your toes. Lift your heels off the ground about 2 centimetres, and at the same time feel the fronts of your feet really pushing the ground. As you push off the ground with the fronts of your feet, lift your heels a little bit more , and start to straighten your legs / knees. With your legs straight roll back onto your heels. Make sure you are stable, and then repeat the exercise, moving your weight forward over your toes and lift your heels, and so on. Do this 10 – 20 times.
Now try doing the same exercise in reverse; ie lift your heels, roll weight forward onto toes, lower through the toes and roll back onto heels.

If these exercises hurt or cause troublesome discomfort or disorientation, then don’t do them.
3 /- Maintain interest in Argentine Tango,
culture, history, and all the different aspects of it. Read about it, use the internet, look up orchestras, composers and singers mentioned above. For dancers, try starting with Mingo and Esther Pugliese, Maria and Rodolfo Cieri, Miguel Angel Zotto, and Osvaldo Zotto.
See how different people understood and interpreted Tango, and how they found their own Tango. To be frank, some of the information on the internet about Argentine Tango is incomplete, especially older and more historical material, but it is a good start.

—————————-

-26th March 2020 

1 /- Listen to Tango music every day.
If you don’t have any CDs, don’t worry there’s loads on the internet.
You could search specifically for a known orchestra, or just listen to
http://www.ArgentineTangoRadio.com
http://tunein.com/radio/Tango-g3149/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lets start with those often known as ‘ The big four ‘.
Carlos Di Sarli recordings 1928 – 1958,
Juan D’Arienzo 1934 – 1975,
Anibal Troilo 1937 – 1971,
Osvaldo Pugliese 1939 – 1986.

What are your favourite Tango orchestras ?

2 /- Keep fit; walk, move all parts of your body, balance and respond to the music.

Can you remember all the different exercises we have done in class ?

What about standing with your feet about 50-60 centimetres apart, body vertical, arms outstretched on each side. Then, without moving your feet, and keeping your shoulders level (horizontal)rotate your chest to the right ( clockwise ), and then to the left                  (anticlockwise); allowing the arms to be relaxed and rotate to the right and then to the left. Continue repeating this, alternately to the right and to the left for at least 10 times. You need to be relaxed, not tense, when doing this. The purpose is to gently free up the horizontal turning ability of our backbone. DO NOT FORCE IT OR OVER-TURN. You can allow your arms to floppily wrap around yourself on each side.

Can you remember the next part of this? Interlace your fingers, form a circle using your arms and hands horizontally in front of you. Your chest/upper torso is part of this circle. Now, without distorting this ‘circle’, rotate your chest to the right and left . Keep looking at your hands. The purpose of this is to develop our ability to ‘dissociate’ ( move separately ) with our chest/upper torso, and to maintain our ‘frame’ Do this at least 10 times. Do not overdo it. Do not force your body to do more than is comfortable.

Then, almost the same again, but this time be very careful not to turn your hips. Now you should start to see that you can dissociate properly. Keep the lines of your hips and shoulders horizontal. ie, Do not bend or lean to one side.

Finally, almost the same again, but this time look straight ahead. Keep your hips and head facing forward, and only dissociate/rotate your chest and the frame of your arms.

If you can do this in front of a mirror that may help. Also getting your partner to hold your hips to stop you cheating may help you.
If these instructions are confusing, or do not help you to remember what we actually did in class, then don’t do it. Do not strain or hurt yourself.
3 /- Maintain interest in Argentine Tango,
culture, history, and all the different aspects of it. Read about it, use the internet, look up orchestras, musicians, and dancers. See how different people understood and interpreted Tango, and how they found their own Tango.

*****          *****          *****

LOCKDOWN

We understand that by the time the UK Government announced it’s policies including Social Isolation and Social Distancing to control Covid-19 Coronavirus on 23rd March 2020 all Argentine Tango Milongas and events in London had been cancelled.

– On 17th March 2020 we  CANCELLED  ALL  TANGOE14   activities, including classes, milongas and all performance group work until further notice.  This is due to the   COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.                                                                                          The hall we use, Saint John’s Community Centre, is closed for all activities.                           We will not reopen until the hall is available and we are confident that it is safe and appropriate for us to do so.

– Saturday 7th March 2020, Guest teacher Fay Laflin shared her “Secrets of great tango”. Fay says “Tango should be easy, effortless and enjoyable to dance. By looking at the finer details, we can make tiny adjustments, that make a big difference to our dance for ourselves and our partners”.

– Saturdays 1,8,15,22,29th February 2020, Tony gave a range of topics useful to the performance group and to our regular dancers including; Ganchos, Molinetes, Volcadas, Decorations, Corridas, Changes of speed and Rhythm, Traspie, Paradas, Barridas, Pausas, Listening to each other and to the music, simple steps for Milonga, and having Fun together.

– Saturday 25th January 2020, Guest Teacher Hernan Brusa took us through some simple moves that can be done to either Tango Rhythms or Tango Vals Rhythms. This was a very useful exercise in helping to develop musicality.

– Saturday 14th December 2019, ‘Los Ocampo’ worked with us on some interesting Tango Vals moves, before enjoying our Christmas Party together.

– Saturday    7th    December,  Tony continued from last weeks ideas. Breaking steps into their smallest components, eg Projection, Push, and Step. How to connect to understand subtle differences in intention. Then we took that a bit further into Musicality and how we can vary speed and rhythm of steps. Starting with ochos and progressing from there. Then applying these ideas in Tango and Vals.

– 23rd November, Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia were invited to work with us on improving ‘Ladies/Follower’s Technique, but not just for followers. What do Leaders need to improve too ? ‘ What they started on was the idea of three parts to a step, being: 1) Projection, 2) Push, and 3) Step. How to control the movement so that we are absolutely dancing each movement together. They finished with a simple but precise combination of a ‘Molinete’ followed by a ‘Giro Milonguero with Dip’.                                                                    Here is a link to watch them dancing in December 2018 at Domingo Tango Club’s Holiday Milonga. Music: En Un Beso La Visa – Carlos Di Sarli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woEnBMha3i8

– 9th November, German Landeira invited us into a ‘ Deeper working on the concept of connection. On open and closed embrace, and flexible embrace concepts. Work with figures that apply open, close, and flexible embrace, and use them in different music dynamics’.  German’s background and training includes Biomechanics Applied to Movement (BAM), which clearly gives him excellent balance and control.             You can see German dance on
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf6t7hssIKQ

– 26th October, Monica Romero and Omar Ocampo, ‘Los Ocampo’, gave a practical workshop on the theme of ‘Traspie’. We revised this on 2nd November.

– 19th  October,   we revised Fay Laflin’s material  ( from 5th October ) on ‘Essential Technique’ and then continue this theme by looking at various ways of understanding ourselves, our partners, our connection, and being able to tango.

-5th October 2019, Fay Laflin worked on ‘Essential Technique’. Fay  has worked with us several times, partnering Anthony Howell and Hernan Brusa, and has responded to many dancers’ problems. So here she helped us to explore the finer details and gave tiny tweeks to make our dance smoother, more fluid and effortless. We looked at how we use our feet and the floor, how to find correct posture, and body signals for a better lead and follow. This class was helpful to all levels, but those with more experience gained most.

-28th September 2019. From axes, pivoting, and Americanas, to discover some easy to find voleos and leg wraps.

–  21st September 2019. ‘Axis and pivoting’ looking at pivoting, ochos, giros, and some of the main variations of pivoting including enrosques.  How to improve our axes and our balance. Then work on voleos and enrosques.

-Friday 20th September was a day of Global Climate Strikes    to raise serious awareness of Global Warming. For over 10 years TangoE14 has used normal washable mugs for tea and coffee, and tried to avoid unnecessary waste. We thank all our members for helping washing and clearing up at the end of our event. You are all lovely people, and your positive attitude towards each other, and your respect of the Saint John’s Community Centre facilities is appreciated.

–  14th September 2019.

We looked at Paradas and some related ideas such as Barridas, Corridas, Cunitas and how to incorporate pauses, stops, starts and changes of speed and direction; connection and listening to each other and the music ? When are decorations appropriate ?

–  31st August 2019.

Hernan Brusa, ably assisted by Fay Laflin, showed us some different ways to listen to and interpret Tango Vals. This was followed by some moves which were essentially simple, but nevertheless challenging, which required great attention to the details of each movement, our connection, and the musicality possibilities. Hernan is a popular teacher, and the afternoon was very enjoyable.

– Friday 30th August 8 pm – 9 pm.                                                                                                      ‘Argentine Tango for Dummies’.                                                                                                       A free participatory performance at the ‘Bloom Festival’,                                                            Crossrail Gardens, Canary Wharf.

–  24th August 2019.

Walking exercises sound a bit boring to some people, but we should do them a lot. We need to control exactly where we are in time and space, with the music, and with our partner. Then we start to have a basis on which to build connection, musicality, and create our own elegant and precise tango. With that understanding and habit in our minds and bodies we can even start to play with decorations.

–  17th August 2019.

Working on Giros, turning and pivoting.

–  10th August 2019

All about Milonga, including listening to and understanding the music. Working on the connection required to really dance together. Simple options that do not require you to learn complicated sequences. How can you play together? How do you make changes together between ‘Milonga Lisa’      (smooth, regular and slower) and ‘Milonga Traspie’ (double time or quicker).

– 3rd August 2019.

A brief look at the musical structure of a classic Argentine Tango, specifically                       ‘A la gran muneca’.  Then revising the work done over the last two weeks :                             a) ‘Free leg and supporting leg’, particularly ‘Voleos’ and ‘Volcadas’, and                                 b) ‘Barridas, Paradas and Pasados’

-27th July 2019.

Responding to students requests we worked on ‘Barridas’,  ‘Paradas’ and ‘Pasados’. One of the characteristics of Argentine Tango is that you can stop or pause and do something else. You can play, but with style, still being connected, still feeling the music, still paying full attention to each other,  and still definitely dancing Tango.

– 20th July 2019.

Tony, working on a student request, led a class on ‘ The Free Leg and the Supporting Leg’. We did exercises to help identify and improve our axes and balance, and exercises to free up the free leg. We compared the movements of Voleos and Volcadas demonstrating the importance of our supporting leg, our axes, and our free leg.

– 13th July 2019.

Tony and Anita looked at the Musicality of Milonga, simple playful moves, and achieving that all important connection to do them.  With the right connection we can try changes of speed, direction, size and rhythm of our movements.

– 29th June 2019.

Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero , ‘Los Ocampo’, had us working on the ‘Musicality of Tango Vals’. They briefly talked about and demonstrated some of the differences  between Viennese Waltz, Vals Criollo, and Tango Vals.  The objective was to start to get a clearer appreciation of the musical flavour of Tango Vals, and therefore how we dance it.            They then gave us some interesting moves , variations of the ‘Americana’, that can be danced with different rhythmic emphasis.

– 13th October 2018

Michael Lavocah gave us an excellent and entertaining talk on his ‘Big Four Tango Orchestras of the Golden age’: Juan D’Arienzo, Carlos Di Sarli, Osvaldo Pugliese and Anibal Troilo. Taking time to just listen carefully to excerpts of several pieces from each orchestra we were guided through many of the major differences. All of this was woven together with stories of these orchestras and their personalities.                                  Michael has written books on Troilo, Pugliese and Di Sarli, and is currently writing about D’Arienzo. Go to our Home page Recommendations for Michael’s links.                              So if you missed the talk or would like to learn more, buy the books.

Very simply, D’Arienzo can be described as characteristically Rhythmic, Di Sarli more Melodic, Troilo more Lyrical, and Pugliese is Dramatic. Though of course all of these elements arise in each orchestra to some extent.

– Saturday 8th September 2018 we had a special event                                                                 “A  JOURNEY  THROUGH  TANGO”.    We took a journey through 100 years of Tango music and dance. Starting from Candombe, Canyengue, Milonga, Vals, Guardia Vieja, Guardia Nueva, Golden Age, to Tango Nuevo and some alternatives. We gave some brief explanations between ‘tandas’ ( sets of three tunes ).

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23rd August
For those that have the time, there was an interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30 am on Tuesday 21st August 2018, about ‘Polyrhythms’.
 
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4th August 2018
 
During August the over-riding theme was about connection, leading and following, understanding the movements and dynamics of not just our own bodies but our partners as well , and of course doing whatever we do to the music.
 
Some of the newer students have said they want to learn new steps.   I have said many times that our emphasis is on connection so that  we can respond continuously to each other, to the music, whilst being aware of everyone else around us. Nevertheless, we do cover lots of well known sequences or figures in different ways, to different rhythms, and see how we can change or adapt according to circumstances.
 
At the end of August we will have Hernan Brusa to look again at dancing to ‘Rhythmic’ and to ‘Melodic’ Tangos.
 “But wait !” , I hear you cry, “Most of the Golden Age Tangos we dance to have both Melodic and Rhythmic components in them anyway.”
This brings us back to the point of being clear where we are, where our partner is, and our connection.
 

We welcome discussion, ideas and questions from those attending Saturday afternoons at TangoE14.

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28th July
 
Over the coming month the over-riding theme will be about connection, leading        and following, understanding the movements and dynamics of not just our own bodies but our partners as well .                                                                                              Think about the meaning of ‘Proprioception’, ( In Spanish – Propiocepcion ), and then add your partner in to that as well !
 
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21st July
                                                                                                                                                               Talking about  ‘ Connection, Leading and Following’, many of our students recognize   how fundamentally important that is, and how we need to continually
work on improving it.  
 
———
 

14th July

The whole point of ‘TangoE14’ is to help everyone improve and enjoy their tango,         and to find that magical connection with whoever their partner is.
 
 

Graham offers some examples he found of tango danced with appealing charm, but        in a way that he thought social dancers could realistically aspire to, showing what a tremendous thing “simple” tango can be – with connection, lead and follow right at the heart of it.

Examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjOBovaoh44 a couple I don’t
know “Shastro and Maria” dancing “Alma del bandoneon”

Or here’s Noelia Hurtado and Carlitos Espinoza dancing “Ya no canta mas”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2frN86Polmg&t=15s

and here’s another couple dancing the same tune, again with some
satisfyingly simple elements we could emulate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cIiPmJQobI

more close embrace salon from Noelia y Carlitos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk17QTr7RW4

 
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23rd June
 
Guest Teachers, Omar Ocampo  and  Monica Romero ( ‘Los Ocampo’ ) gave a class on
‘ CANYENGUE ‘.
 
     Canyengue is generally regarded as an early form of Tango, as distinct
    from Milonga or Vals. It is a simpler form of Tango, but it has its own
    particular character or style. Some people enjoy dancing Canyengue
    for its own sake, while others appreciate what it brings to one’s
    understanding and personal development of  Tango.
 
Here is some more information on CANYENGUE if you have time :
 
1/’ The Canyengue is at the root of the tango. It goes back to the 1900s. It means “walk with
cadence” and comes from Africa. The dance is a sensual, rather upbeat performance.
 
2/ Rodolfo and Maria Cieri, from Buenos Aires, were famous exponents of Tango and of
Canyengue.  I saw them and had lessons with them in about 1996 or 7. Rodolfo died
in 2000, before posting video recordings on You-tube became the norm.
Here is a clear video of Maria dancing a Canyengue entitled ‘Charamusca’ with Nahuel Barsi:
 
 
3/ Note the clothes they wore. In the late 1800s through to the early 1900s fashionable ladies 
 often wore a bustle, which was a supporting undergarment to keep the back of the skirt from
 dragging.
 
4/ There are some recordings of Rodolfo and Maria which are not as clear, such as:

‘El chamuyo’        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1aP7nb39zs

and
‘Carmencita’ – Rodolfo & Maria – “estilos de aqui y de alla”.
 
5/ And for fun,see what Hollywood made of it.
 
Rudolph Valentino dancing tango in the 1921 film
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (original music has been changed). Francisco Canaro first playing “El Castigo”, then “Hotel Victoria”, finally “Invierno.
 
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16th June

Guest Teachers, Omar Ocampo  and  Monica Romero ( ‘Los Ocampo’ )                gave a class entitled  ‘Milonga coming from Candombe’. We had a short introduction to Candombe, but the main part of the class was on Milonga          showing how Candombe informs both the music and the dancing of Milonga.  

 
 
Please note that we are using the word ‘Milonga’ in two separate contexts with two separate meanings.
Argentine Tango is generally considered to comprise three main strands or ingredients of social Tango: ‘Milonga’, ‘Vals’, and ‘Tango’.
So here we have a class on ‘Milonga’.
But the word ‘Milonga’ also means a general social dance.
So the class ( 1 – 3 pm ) on ‘Milonga’ was followed by a ‘Milonga’ social dance
including Milonga, Vals and Tango, from 3 – 5 pm.
 
 
Here is some more information on CANDOMBE if you have time :
 
1/ Last week I said I thought this will be the first time this subject,
‘ Milonga from Candombe’, has been approached this way in London.
Then I thought  again and remembered that Kely and Facundo Posadas
demonstrated  Candombe – Milonga in London over 15 years ago.
Watch them here:
 
2/ The ‘ Candombe ‘ we are focusing on is as practised in Uruguay and
Argentina and has its roots in the African music brought by slaves.
Note that slavery was more or less abolished from 1830 in Uruguay,
and from 1853 in Argentina, but these dates are not clear cut, and
there was a lot of vacillation over the issue of slavery in Latin America. 
People of African descent in Argentina, often but not always, continued
to be marginalised for many decades.
Here is a link to a famous painting by Martin Boneo,
‘A Federal Candombe in the time of Rosas’ c 1845. Note three drums.
 
 
3/ A useful link to  ‘ What is Candombe ?’  is here:
 
4/ Candombe Music. There are three drums used to create candombe :
The largest ‘piano’, the smallest ‘chico’, and the middle one ‘repique’.
There could be more of each drum, but it takes these three to form the
  ‘cuerda’ :
 
26th April
Last week Pablo Nievas gave us an excellent workshop/class on ‘Sacadas’. So it will be appropriate to spend a bit of time this week on revising what we covered .
Pablo particularly emphasized that the floor is the Tango dancer’s friend. We need to use it to achieve what we want to do. We can use the friction of our feet sliding over the floor to control speed, balance and musicality.
A simple example is when we do a ‘Corrida’ ( a ‘ run ‘ ), we speed up. But then we also need to slow down again with the desired control and musicality. If a boat wanted to slow down quickly, one way would be to drop an anchor. In the same way the trailing or ‘free’ leg can be used as a brake.
 
13th April
 
Our focus at ‘TangoE14’ is Social Argentine Tango. We should be able to go to any social tango anywhere in the world, even without speaking the local language, and dance with any reasonably competent tango dancer we have never met before.
So we need to feel comfortable in our selves and our own bodies how we respond to Tango music, and comfortable with how we engage with and respond to our partners to enable us to tango together.
 
We do not negate the value of learning choreography. It is very helpful in one’s tango growth to learn a choreographed routine, perhaps in a group with other dancers.
There are some excellent teachers in London that take groups through a routine, often
with a view to performing at an event. For example; Rachel Greenberg, Mina and Giraldo ( Corrientes ), Bruno Rodriguez ( Tanguito ), and others. So if that line of development interests you, then do it.
 
We do not know everything. We can’t solve all your problems. Our objective is to find ways of dancing together, to the music, in the space available, respecting others around us. So we try to develop our classes and practicas with the view of not just teaching specifics, but helping us all to discover and share and realise things for ourselves.
 
 —
 
 
6 April 2018
There has been some attention recently in the media about reusable cups.
We have been using reusable, washable, friendly mugs for our free tea or coffee for ten years.
We are also right on the point of social friendly accessible Argentine Tango being something that just about anyone who can walk can enjoy if they want to. But you still
have to put time in to doing it, understanding it, and allowing it to become part of you.
 
 —
 
 
29 March 2018
Ancient European stargazers looked at the stars and joined the dots to form animals and other shapes.
The Ancient South Americans, Pre-Inca civilizations, looked at the spaces between the stars to discover the animals and objects they saw in the night sky.
We can think about and interpret music in different ways too.
We can focus on the point of the note or beat, but we can also explore how we might enjoy or interpret the space in between the notes.
Never forgetting of course that whatever we do in Tango is a joint enterprise.
 
 —
 
15 March 2018
If we do ‘Ballroom and Latin’ dances we mainly stick to the very clear rhythm of that dance.
For example a Slow Waltz is a definite 1 – 2 – 3    1 – 2 – 3  etc.
A Cha-cha-cha invites us to  ‘ dum – dum   chachachaa’ .
So what is the rhythm of Argentine Tango ? Does it have a consistent rhythm ?            Does it have more than one rhythm going on at the same time ?                                        What about the changes and pauses ?
I will say that whereas many dances are driven by a basic constant rhythm, Argentine Tango has so much going on that the dancers have to find a common point of entry that they can agree on, and enter together into the musical landscape.                                 Tango dancers seem to have an inner calmness or stillness. That does not mean they are stopped dead, slumped, heavy on the floor, or hard to shift. Quite the opposite ; the stillness contains potential energy that is ready for anything.                                                We will no doubt discuss this a lot more in classes.
What do you think ?

22 Feb 2018                                                                                                                                            There are many different aspects to Tango;  the evolution and history of the dance and the music, the different styles, techniques, learning about our own and our partners capabilities, finding ways to connect and dance together, finding ways to improve our ‘tango dance fitness’, respecting ourselves our partners and our limits.

 
    We encourage everyone to attend other Argentine Tango dances and classes, and to come to TangoE14 with the generosity of spirit to dance with and share with the various people they meet.
Tango can be competitive, elitist and selfish, but it can also be exceptionally considerate, egalitarian, loving and thoroughly enjoyable social dancing.  You can make what you want out of it. Let ‘s make it good for everyone.
 

15 Feb 2018                                                                                                                                                            Last Saturday Hernan Brusa helped us refine our ability to dance to the music with his chosen topic, ‘ How to dance to Melodic and Rhythmic Tangos ‘.

We worked with Carlos Di Sarli’s melodic tangos, and Juan D’Arienzo’s rhythmic tangos.
 
So this week we will start with a quick revision of that theme, and see where that leads us.
 
 
What is the difference between Rhythm and Melody ?
Rhythm is the space ( time ) between the notes ( think about the various rhythms one might beat on a drum ).
Melody is what results from playing notes of different pitches ( eg. up and down a scale ).
A violin will typically play a Melody. A double bass is often used in Tango to play Rhythm.
But all the instruments in a Tango Orchestra could be used to play either Rhythm or Melody.
 
When ‘ Il Faut ‘ Tango guitar duo played for us they demonstrated how the guitar can be used to play Melody or Rhythm. Have a look at the links to them on our website if you have time.
 
 
 
 
 
1 Feb 2018

     At ‘ TangoE14 ‘ we  aim to help people to enjoy their Tango experiences. To think about what they are doing. To exchange ideas, and experiences. To make manageable and steady progress that suits each person.

    Last Saturday the challenge was ‘ How to link anything with anything ‘. So we had to look closely at a number of important details including : connection, are we really listening to each other and not just anticipating a set choreography, and having a clear axis.
 
 
 
 
26 Jan 2018
             If you learn a line dance you are simply learning a sequence of moves that are repeated. It can be good fun, and good exercise. Many people enjoy it and it is a way to get started on dance fitness and  awareness. But no matter how often you do that you will not learn the skills of partner dancing.
    Argentine Tango is a completely different approach to dancing. One way to think about it is to compare it to literature. We learn letters, and words, then sentences, then simple stories or conversations. But there is no end to the variety of conversations or stories we can have. Another way to think about it is to imagine the music as another dimension, another landscape that you step into and enjoy together. The great joy of tango is finding each other in that space.
Tango has a beginning, but no end.
We want to enjoy it and share it.
 
 
There is a vast amount of Tango material on the internet nowadays. Choose a dancer and google them.
Here’s one you might enjoy:
Miguel Zotto and Daiana Guspero dancing a Milonga