Tango ADD (12 oct 2008)

This past week I have had a peculiar difficulty focusing on my dance. I just can't seem to get into a serious mindset and so every dance ends up becoming this silly, goofy mess. I don't know why I'm in this state, if I'm just so bored with my dance or with the dance in general, or if I'm just mentally fried from concentrating on my form so much that something has broken down and I go the opposite way of dancing as sloppy and immature as I can. I suppose this is useful in its way, though. I explained my situation to Homer and he remarked that it was good to see that someone was finding a place for humor in tango. I have always thought of tango as being far more encompassing than the Discepolian "sad thought" or the generic "vertical expression..." so it's good to practice what I preach. Certainly, some of my favorite dancers have been exhibitors of humor in tango, from Omar Vega to Cappussi/Flores to Los Hermanos Macana. One has to make the important disclaimer that underlying all of their antics is a strong foundation in solid technique and a proper reverence for the culture and traditions. I have seen dancers who utilize humor in their performances but partially to disguise their technical flaws. And of course, there are those whose humor is unintended. Or in a social setting, those who dance with great joy but look--and I surmise, feel--like shit.

I don't mean to disparage anyone's approach but I tend to dislike (unintentional) sloppy dancing both as a dancer and an observer, so my recent predicament has me mildly concerned. Not the least of my worries is that my poor technique is carrying over to my partner and may be causing some bad habits on her part to compensate. One thing for sure is that I have been very lax in my discipline for some months now regarding the technique exercises and drills that I used to practice regularly. I think it's time I get back to that. Hopefully, that will help to sharpen my skills and focus, and also do something to shake off this general malaise and apathy I've been mired in. All week I had been planning to attend Nora's Saturday milonga in order to meet and study with Graciela Gonzalez but tonight I ultimately couldn't even find the wherewithal to leave the house. Pretty pathetic. So far it's been a totally wasted weekend but I still have a chance to catch her in the afternoon for a men's technique workshop so perhaps I'll meet her then.


Limerick Tango said...

Last night someone at our table, who was there to see what this tango stuff was all about, chose to use the word 'tease' to describe tango. I couldn't dance a non-facetious step for the next half hour.

Malevito said...

Hi Limerick Tango, how are you?

So I'm curious, did part of the difficulty stem from the music that was playing? For example, I simply cannot dance to most Pugliese because of the tensions inherent in the music. I love it and am very familiar with it, but the character of the more dramatic pieces doesn't fit me. If I tried to convey the kind of intensity that the music suggests I think I would end up feeling kind of foolish and overwrought.

Thanks for reading :)

Claudita said...

I like dancers who can express their sense of humor in their dance. Actually, I love them - there's a lot of tango music that's not like a sad thought (for some reason Tita Merello's Se dice de mi and Hector Varela's Azucar, pimiento y sal pop into my head - ok they are both milongas..) and it's lovely to feel a happily amused smile in someones movement. This has nothing to do with sloppy technique - although i sometimes (often) love complete silliness - it helps get rid of tangotension, tangoangst etc. I'm not much of a Pugliese girl either (but I do have occasional Pugliese moods...)

Elizabeth said...

After intensive and pretty technical workshops this weekend I made a total fool of myself with another student, doing a wild milonga, totally out of control. I would not have missed for the world. But, actually, I hope no one was watching....
Sometimes the energy needs to be released.
O.K. putting on my tango face again.

Malevito said...

Hi guys, how are you?

Claudita: Yeah, milongas definitely have more of a festive feel about them (although the two you mentioned aren't recordings I ever hear at milongas). Some silly valses pop into my mind as well, like El Vals del Estudiante or Tengo Mil Novias (I'm not sure I'm remembering those names right). Then there is Yo Tengo Una Novia (what's up with all these valses about girlfriends?) which I'm not sure is supposed to be funny or just kind of creepy ;P

Elizabeth: So does your "tango face" consist of pursed lips and and furrowed brow? Actually, I think I may be describing "Pugliese face" :P

Thanks for reading :)

Malevito said...

Pugliese face:


Claudita said...

Yes, well, I suppose one could say they are both of dubious dancability. Especially Tita! I only know one person who plays this one and dancing it with him is amazing. The Varela is totally danceable to me, but I guess like 'Los Tubatango' for example it's a bit too much for some....Love your Pugliese face!