26 jul 2008

I suppose it's partly because I've been with tango for as long as I have that I tend to be pretty lax about posting. I'm staying active, fitting it into an almost daily activity, and I am enjoying everything I am getting from it including the inevitable frustrations. As ever, I'm trying to work on a significant and fundamental change in the way I walk, the way I hold my carriage and the way I embrace, even though what has become comfortable seemed to have served me well enough. Progress is slow and when things manifest themselves in a positive way it is a tiny, incremental ascension, barely even noticeable except perhaps from those who are very familiar with my dance or those with well tuned sensitivities (much to my good fortune, often the qualities are shared). At any rate, nothing to get too excited about, and nothing I can honestly dress up in writing.

For the past few months I have been taking the advanced classes with the wonderful David and Mariana and am learning a lot and having a blast with the exploration and experimentation of the dynamic possibilities in some of the more recent developments in tango expression. But I have to admit, as much as I love to watch and to utilize such ("nuevo-"... "neo-"... "__"...) movements, it seems the more I study and practice them the more it heightens my awareness of how much I adore and ultimately prefer dancing with an approach that is more ("traditional"... "classic"... "__"...). I don't mean to argue sides or make claims regarding one approach or the other. I value all of the voices that stem from a place of true reverence and immersion in tango--and indeed, lately in practice I have been exploring the newer stuff probably more than anything else. I just personally prefer--at least, in social dancing--the feeling of a close and relatively consistent embrace coupled with movements that don't demand too much of me or my partner. Not saying that a more modern and dynamic approach doesn't have its place, but for me it tends to feel like I'm working the dance more (although it's a kind of work as play thing), and also I think it's more difficult to dance as a natural part of / contributor to the ronda as a whole in this manner. And I guess I just love the feeling of someone's heartbeat against mine, of being attuned to their breathing and trying to match it, and slowing down or pausing when I feel that either is getting too worked up (my tendency is to move kind of a lot and perhaps a bit on the quick side). I love the feeling where in the beginning there is a certain level of heightened attuning from the follower as she prepares to acclimate herself to my body, my embrace, and my lead, and during the course of the dance there is that feeling of gradual settling where she gets comfortable and her body relaxes and moves with mine without the need for so much mindful awareness. I love to feel a smile against my cheek, the suppleness and lack of tension in the temple indicating closed eyelids. These are details that are very subtle and I admit I can't always tell for sure if they are there, but it's a nice feeling even if I only think I feel it.

But anyway... since I haven't had much in the way of anything fresh to say or of reporting on any tango activity I thought I'd share something kind of goofy, something I came across which I may never have noticed if it wasn't for my involvement in tango.

Recently, on YouTube I looked up a Bugs Bunny cartoon--the classic "Rabbit's Kin"--that I had loved as a kid and hadn't seen for a long time. This is the one where he encounters a frantic little bunny running for his life from the hungry clutches of Pete Puma:

I probably saw this short dozens of times as a kid but it wasn't until now that I noticed the nice little touch where Pete, dressed as Mrs. Rabbit, struggles with standing in heels. It's a total throwaway detail, not really necessary to get the humor of the situation across, but I so appreciate that they put it in there. And if I wasn't acutely aware of the difficulty that certain shoes can inflict on untested feet I may have never caught it (although I'm sure it's patently obvious to women and girls everywhere). Tip of the hat to the directors and animators; fifty years on most of the stuff can't touch what you guys were doing with regularity back then. Also, I have to add that I wouldn't be surprised if much of my musicality was subconsciously developed from all the old cartoons I watched as a kid. Again, it's something I never paid attention to back then, but the way they used music and matched it with the onscreen action (and vice versa) is a really masterful choreography that adds so much enjoyment, and in such an unobtrusive manner.


Alex said...

Very nice post...I like "the feel of a smile against my cheek"...well said...

Malevito said...

Thanks, Alex :)

One other goofy tango-related thing occurred to me after watching that cartoon again. The way that Bugs walks to the rhythm is a good illustration of tango liso, while the way the little rabbit walks is a good example of traspie.

Maybe I should make a class around this toon ;P