Gisela and Ariel Interview Transcript (2020)
David: Hello, I’m here with Gisela Vidal and Ariel Yanovski from Argentina. Welcome and thanks for your time.
Gisela: Thank you.
Ariel: Thank you very much. You pronounce my name? very good. Congratulations.
David: So how did you come to first dance tango?
Gisela: Well, I started dancing tango when I was 14 and I fell in love with a couple they to around like 90 years old and I was amazed and when they were like looking into each other’s eyes. So, I liked the connection mostly than fancy steps.
Ariel: My case was different. I never liked Tango. I hated it. In fact, I used to be heavy metal and I grew up in Columbia when I was a kid, I went to Columbia and when I arrived there, everybody was asking me, are you from Argentina? Are you a tango dancer? People think that in Argentina everybody dance Tango, but it’s not like that. But instead to take Tango to Argentina where she did a downward and suddenly living abroad making me start to feel like I belong to something. And when I came back to Argentina when I was 18, I started to dance Tango as an accident, to be honest. And finally, I hear living from toddler. I don’t know how, because at the beginning I never thought about it.
Gisela: No, me neither. Never thought about it.
David: What fascinates you so much about Tango now?
Gisela: Now, wow. We can do many things. We can like transmit our experience. We’ll learn through all these years. And then also time though, allows us to learn a lot from other cultures. And at the same time, when we go and teach, we are not just, okay, we come with knowledge, but at the same time, it’s an interaction. We’ll learn from the people. And, also, we become better teachers and performers, according to the audience on the demands of the people.
Ariel: Tangi today. I, I mean, my love with Tango was in slow motion at first. I, because It’s something that belongs to my country, I don’t know. Then I started to like how to move the legs. Like the, the fantasy would do with the legs. And I didn’t like the music at all. Then I started to enjoy raising the lady and then I started to love the music. And today, Tango is my life. It’s the way of life and even I had a tattoo of Tango.
David: So how would you describe the way that you dance Tango?
Ariel: With passion!
Gisela: Yes. With passion, with emotion, with happiness also. And sometimes people believe that in dancing tango, you’ve got to be like sad or sad mood or serious. But at the same time, you are expressing your personality while dancing. So, you’ve got to be true, you know, and connect with that.
So, for me, it’s happiness. I really love dancing.
Ariel: Yes. I love to dance. I love to teach more than dance. I love to teach, but when I dance and even if I have to find some, I like to express what I’m feeling dancing. And, of course, the music with the music is getting trapped in this phase. You know, this song is very sad. They won’t be like this either. So, it depends on the music, but the music makes you feel at that moment.
David: And how long did it take you to develop the style with which you dance now?
Gisela: Years, it takes years. And you know, when you start in the beginning, you think wow this is amazing. I started personally with stage, with young people, but then after a year I realized this is not real Tango. So, on my own, I went to learn with older people, very old, older than me. And then I said, wow, I was like enthusiastic about like being led and being just not fancy stuff.
Ariel: Yeah, everything is like a process in my head. At the beginning, they taught me to walk and when I was walking shoes forward. I said this was very boring. Then I found a guy. He showed me. I was, I felt like I was the best dancer around. And later I found my teacher and I realized that I was a disaster, that I was not good and I got frustrated and I realized that tango was something else. So, after one year of dancing, I came back to the origin and I started to work on hours and hours just walking and walking. But it took me time to understand that. At the beginning when you don’t know anything, if you see a guy walking, it’s very boring. Then you realize that this is one of the most exciting and important things when you are dancing tango.
David: So, considering that, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting to learn tango?
Gisela: So, considering that, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting to learn tango? Enjoying is not get like stressed about the steps, but the most important is to enjoy. And to every man or every follower is a possibility to learn. So, it has not to be like good level. No matter the level we still learn, we can correct ourself. Yes, that’s my advice.
Ariel: Yes, that’s my advice. Yes. Yeah, they need to enjoy it. At the beginning, like they say, the place you need to arrive is not important, it’s the journey, that’s what they need to focus. It’s not, I want to do this. They need to enjoy the process because if you want to be there, maybe they’re gonna get frustrated. It’s not an easy process. But if you enjoy it meanwhile, in a natural way, like me for example, I enjoy a lot the process because I never wanted to dance tango. It was natural. But if you say, I want to be a good tango dancer, you will start to not enjoy the process so much, it’s going to be harder. So, you need to enjoy, relax, and understand that everything takes time. Enjoy it meanwhile.
David: So, who’s influenced you to dance so far, and in what way?
Ariel: Do you understand the question?
David: Who’s influenced your dance the most up until now? What teachers?
Ariel: Ah Okay.
Gisela: Well, for me, my career was like different. As I said, it’s like I started with the stage, then I get into salon, but then all the jobs I was getting, they were like in companies, so performing shows. So, I learned a lot from teachers teaching me like salon style, but then I learned a lot in performing on stage because of course everything has to be led, but at the same time you have a director who gives you like tips with the music and lighting and where you have to stand. So many things you learn is not just the dance, but the connection with the people who is watching you. So, I will say that yes, I have like many teachers, but I learned also dancing on the stage, and also the thing I know.
Ariel: Yes, yes. I learned also a lot by myself, but I have my teacher. The one that I consider my teacher are Gabriel and Sean, then Carlito Perez was the guy that tied me up that he comes to me and say, you are dancing with the arm, like he makes me look better. And then I learned like with Horacio Godoy, I learned a lot of musicality as well. These are the three I can say, the three people, the three couples that I can say, that’s what I more feel like represent my time, what I learned from them. But besides these three, I learned a lot by myself, from Milongueros as well, but these are my teachers. Gabriel and Sean are my teachers, and Carlito Perez.
David: So, what about right now? What is your, who is your greatest inspiration or influence now?
Ariel: Thank you very much
Ariel: So, what about right now? What is your, who is your greatest inspiration or influence now? Ariel. Thank you very much. Yes. Yes. To be honest, now after dancing like more than 20 years, I like traditional tango, but I like to dance Kisom, I like to dance Samba de Café, I like to dance, so I like other stuff to enrich my tango, let’s say.
Gisela: Yeah. Yeah, for me, it happens like the same, after you have been like many years into tango, and sometimes this tango is become so strict, and you can’t go out of that line because there is no tango. So, it’s like for me also, I inspire myself, not in tango itself sometimes, but I need to see other stuff, like other dances or art or acting. So just to enrich my dance and not become so technically, you know. So, of course I keep watching new couples, they are very talented, we have a lot of talents in Argentina, but when it comes to create and to offer something different, especially for a show, I like to be like watching other stuff, not just tango. Yes.
David: So how often do you each practice now, individually, and together?
Gisela: Well, we practice a lot because we are traveling a lot, so we are all the time like preparing stuff, and what do you think?
Ariel: Well, yeah. I would like to practice more. To be honest, we are talking so much and with so many lessons and enjoying the places we go that we don’t practice as much as we want, as I want. Yeah, but before coming, every day, the whole day. Individually, to be honest, I practice a lot in the old days. Today I’m not doing it a lot, I should do it, but no, we are practicing together. She practices alone
Gisela: Yeah, I train every morning. Yes!
David: So, when you practice, what do you focus on? Is it the performance or is it your technique?
Gisela: Depending, depending yeah, many things. Sometimes it’s the performance, the choreography. I love doing choreographies and creating them, the space, the music. I like, I trust in the material he has, the steps, and I have like, I listen to music, I know the song I want to do, and then I imagine the steps, and then I write. I feel very inspired when I have to create a choreography, he knows, and then know what I want and what I don’t want. This is one thing. Then we work on improvisation.
Ariel: Yeah, that’s the thing I like the most. I like to improvise more than choreographies.
Gisela: But choreography is left, because everything is left.
David: And does that creativity become easy for you?
Gisela: For me, yes and no, it depends. Sometimes you are… They can depend, then. Sometimes you are like full of ideas, so I start to write, and I think, oh, I like this song, I like this one, very different between them, and sometimes not much happening, but you can, with different stuff, like going to a museum, or watching a different dance, like dance at the cafe, you need to inspire, you know? So it’s like, try to get inspiration from other stuff, not just style, when it’s not there, you know, when inspiration is not there, try to, okay, I need something to be inspired.
David: And do you have any other creative outlets outside of tango? Now, you mentioned other styles of dance, any other forms of creativity?
Gisela: Well, yes, I have the tango jewelry, I’m designing, so also for me, it’s expressing my art, because for me, it’s not just dancing. I love dancing, it’s my life, dancing tango, but I’m a person who sees life as a play. So for me, everything I’m surrounded by is art. And so I found these other things to do, like putting this passion and this refining, the lines in these pieces I’m doing for jewelry, so I’m happy and inspired to do that, so I’m happy.
David: Very good.
David: So other than dance and your jewelry, you said, what other interests do you have outside of tango? What do you love to do?
Gisela: Good food
Ariel: She likes to eat
Gisela: Friends, meeting people around the world, we love that interacting with the local people. In fact, I love being in a group with new people, I love it. Not just the same people every day. So, for me, it’s like I meet this group of people, I’m very easy to get in there and talk and do different stuff. I like listening to some stuff I don’t know at all and to learn something from them. So yeah, I like the, I love it.
Ariel: I like the world, I like people, I like culture, I like languages. Every time I travel to a new place, I like to learn about the culture, about the language, about the music of the place. In Australia, I want, I very, I would like to know the Gadiga, like the aboriginal people, and like history, like the kind of things.
David: So, if you had to, it might be hard to imagine, but if you had to stop dancing tango right now, what would you do instead?
Gisela: Teaching Tango.
David: No tango.
Gisela: No tango, well, I could, I like photography, I like drawing, I like singing, I like acting. How many things I could do? Not cook. I love eating, but I’m not good at cooking. I’m not good at driving cars, so I don’t know. But mostly something related to art. Invest my time in art with people, with artists, painters, singers, actors, and that’s, I guess, I know.
Ariel: I like movie direction, I like movies. I like to watch movies, I study movie direction and photography when I was a kid, not a kid, like before dancing tango, so I love everything, like the visual art.
David: All right, very good.
David: What do you love and dislike about tango?
Gisela: Well, what I love is that tango unites people, and many people who is alone in life, thanks to tango, they can have friends, and yeah, a group of friends, and also people who meet a couple, you know, so that’s good about tango. And the things I don’t like is, when you feel like you have to do something, it’s like maybe you’re in the milonga, you don’t feel like dancing, you’re just enjoying the view, when sometimes people put the pressure on, you have to dance, or why you are not dancing, you know. So for us, for Argentinians, as we go to milonga, maybe we dance the whole night, maybe we don’t. Maybe we just go for a drink and have food, and that’s enough already, and we are enjoying. And yes, this I will say, what else?
Ariel: In my case, I love everything about tango. The only thing I don’t like, maybe, competition sometimes. And sometimes you need to dance with, I don’t know, ladies that they don’t have very good smell. Ah, yes, also. Things like that. Man also, yeah. But taking, this is part of the life, I will say, it’s not tango, I mean, you meet people. But in tango, I love tango, that’s why I made the tattoo, because I realized that tango gives me a lot, I love tango, and it’s like a way of life. It’s like part of everything. It’s life, tango is life.
David: So, if you could finish the sentence, the problem with tango is…
Gisela: Well, there are a few problems. Sometimes, for instance, we travel the world, and we see some guys being paid to dance with women. So, we are not used to that culture. So, if I want to dance with someone, it’s because I feel like doing it. I don’t have to be paid for doing that in the milonga. And what else? Mostly we say, sometimes the lack of respect, sometimes when you are dancing, and people try to teach you while you are dancing, so these kinds of things are not really nice. No matter the level we have in the milonga, it’s for enjoying, not for correcting people.
It’s like thinking about. I’m very positive, I don’t see anything bad, always. Yeah, of course, I’m very positive, but there is always something there. We listen from the students, too.
David: So, what would you think is the worst advice that you’re giving to students?
Ariel: The worst advice?
Ariel: Once I remember, a long time ago, that one guy, I had a student from Philippines, and she told me that the guy, the teacher, I don’t know the name, every time they finish, he needs to kiss her. Oh wow. And she thought that, oh this is tango, so. Oh! Okay, so I want to meet that teacher. But yeah, but I don’t know, but it works.
David: What would you say your tango reveals about your private life that you don’t ordinarily share?
Ariel: It’s funny, it’s funny, because I know she doesn’t understand the question. Did you understand the question? No, I know. I know.
David: So, what comes through in your tango that you share through the dance that you don’t necessarily share outside? So, what do people see? What do people see in you that they don’t ordinarily see?
Ariel: To be honest, I think I’m very, I don’t feel like I’m like a character, like you know, like in life I’m like this, and then when I dance tango, I’m in a different way. So, I think I’m the same. Out of tango, inside the tango, I’m exactly the same. So I don’t know if I have something like that. Some people, yes, I saw people that they are in one way in real life, but then when they dance, they are another way. So, I feel like I’m the same. When I’m teaching, even if I like to make jokes, and even if I’m with the president, people say, no, this is the president, I’m the same, I never change. For me, everybody is the same. I don’t see that obviously the president, I need to behave in a different way. I’m always the same. Sometimes I’m always like this, that she say, please, I will behave.
David: You really said that to each other?
Gisela: Yeah, sometimes he made jokes to people that he’s not, no, this doesn’t, like we were in Egypt, and he was making a joke about, okay, go to the end of the room and get naked. And some of them, they were covered. I said, no, I don’t like these kinds of jokes here. Maybe in Argentina, Latin America. So, it’s okay, Ariel. They won’t appear anymore, but it’s okay. And… She’s very strict. For me, I’m happy. I’m a happy person since I get up, till I go to bed. So, I think people, this is my main characteristic, I will say, I really enjoy my work, so I’m all the time very happy and accessible. But things that maybe people don’t see is that also I have my lonely side, that what I mean is I need time for myself, like in mornings, I like having my breakfast, maybe I write or I draw something. I need time for me to create, I need to express, and it’s not all the time talking and being surrounded by people. But it depends the moment I am. But normally I need time for me just to reconnect with myself and then I’m full of energy again to face the life, you know?
David: Very good, very good.
David: So, when did you each start to first teaching tango?
Gisela: Well, I started, I think it was in Argentina, it was to a group of Brazilian dancers, but I will say my career as a teacher started in Italy, in Europe. First, before that, all shows and performances.
David: And you, Ariel?
Ariel: To be honest, I always comment this, I would like to do hypnosis, because I don’t remember. I remember the first day I took a tango lesson, but I don’t remember the first day I gave a lesson. I have no idea, I don’t remember. It’s like blackout in my mind. I would like to do some hypnosis to see what’s the first day. So I used to teach in La Viruta, in Mora Godoy Studio, like in the year, at the beginning, but I don’t remember my first lesson, where, to whom, I have no idea. I would like to remember, I’m very old.
Gisela: Yes, you are.
David: You were both younger than most people that danced tango in Australia, especially in Brisbane. What would you suggest to get more people dancing, more younger people dancing tango in Brisbane?
Gisela: Yes, it would be great publicity of tango just to attract them, but sometimes to attract young people, they have to see young people also, that’s what I think. For me, it wasn’t the case, because I saw a very old couple, and they say, wow, I want to dance, but in general, they need to see young people. So I go there and have fun with people the same age.
Ariel: But because tango, besides the music, it’s a dance, it’s a culture, it’s a very, very big thing, it’s also, like to go to the Milonga, it’s a social meeting. So, some people, I had a student, that she was taking lessons with me, because she likes to dance. Only with me, the lesson, and that’s all, she didn’t like to go to the Milonga. But 70 % of the people that are taking tango lessons is because they decide to dance, they like the social one, but tango means like in a social way. So, if they see like they have a social place to have fun, to meet people, to meet girls, a lot of men, this attracts people at the beginning. Then of course, they will get involved with the dance, they fall in love with the dance, and then they are focused on tango. On my case, for example, I never liked to dance. So, if I went to dance in a disco, I was to meet a lady, that’s all. If I met a lady, the lady was a good night. Then I found tango, that I start to have fun, even without me meeting a lady. If I met a lady, great, but if not, I have fun only because of tango, but it took a process, it took the time. At the beginning, it means something to attract people.
Gisela: Yeah, for me, I always loved dance, because in my family, they dance, my mother from the morning put the music, and hey, guitar, let’s go to school. So, all the time I was like, whoa, you know, dancing. I always loved it
Ariel: No words.
David: On your recent visit to Brisbane and Australia, what were your thoughts on the Brisbane tango scene?
Gisela: We love it.
Ariel: Very friendly.
Gisela: Yes, very friendly.
Gisela: I love it, yeah, we love the energy of the people, very friendly. Friendly, that’s the word. We were just on the table, and people were coming and saying, hello, I’m Cathy, and nice to meet you, and very friendly.
Ariel: They were kissing me, touching me, they were this way.
Gisela: Yes, they were like taking us part of the group. Sometimes we are right in a new city, and we try to interact, but sometimes people are more close or more shy, but here, I will say in Australia so far, it was people very well known. Yeah, very well known.
David: If there was one thing you would like to see improve in the Brisbane tango scene, what would that be?
Gisela: I will say, milonga, as people focus on, tango is not a couple dance only, but it’s a social dance, so people need to be aware who is around. And then, remember, this is not only for the Brisbane community, but tango is not about the steps and the fence of steps, but it’s about the quality, and sometimes, or not sometimes, I will say, most of the time, less is more, so try to focus on the quality, that’s the secret in tango. Once you have that, then you can play with the fence of stuff.
David: So, I remember there was one thing you would like to see change in the Brisbane tango scene, what would that be?
Ariel: To change, I won’t change anything, I will improve some stuff. When they’re friendly, they are very friendly, they don’t need to change that, I love that, but talking about the milongas, they need to focus, people, the dancers, they need to focus more on the music, not only in the movements they do, but this is normal, when you are learning something, you are focusing on the steps, but you forget the most important thing, the music and your partner. They need to take care of the partner, and so people moving the lady in the middle of the cows, of the dance floor, so they need to take care of the lady, and, like Gisela was saying before, it’s a social dance, so we are not dancing only the lady and me, my partner and I, we are dancing with a lot of people, so it’s very important to know how to move in the dance floor, to avoid crashing with people, think which steps you’re gonna do to avoid hitting someone, et cetera, so to focus on these kind of things.
David: Very good.
David: So, you plan to return to Brisbane soon?
Ariel: Very soon
David: What is your inspiration for doing so, and what do you hope to accomplish?
Gisela: Inspiration because we were happy in Brisbane, we were happy because of the people. It’s not just arriving there and teaching, but for us it’s very important, the energy of the place and the people we are surrounded by, so this is the main thing, and also we saw a lot of interest of people learning, a lot of people in the workshops, in the private lessons, so we think we need to invest our time in people who is interested in really learning and of course they trust us, so that’s great for us.
Ariel: We’re very thankful with the people, with you as well, and I loved the interaction with the people, and I see the hunger of tango they have here, they really want it, so it’s a pleasure to teach people that they really want it. They express it also. Exactly, many other people they want it, but they don’t express it, so for me it’s a pleasure to see someone that they really want to learn, teach someone like that, to teach because I don’t know.
David: Very good, very good. We look forward to seeing you very soon.
Gisela: Yes, very soon.
David: So, I have a few quick-fire questions for you. The answers don’t necessarily need to be quick, but the questions will be quick. Do you have a favorite tango movie?
Ariel: My favorite tango movie? No, tango Valle Nuestro, I used to watch that movie many times to see some steps of finito, portalea, many of my favorite dancers. It’s called tango Valle Nuestro, and, but I don’t have a favorite movie. I like to see videos on YouTube.
Gisela: I like one, it’s a French movie, it’s called Le Bal, and it talks about, it’s a silent movie, but talks about all the dynamics in the dance. It’s very funny, I love it. Le Bal, the dance el baile. Yes, the dance.
David: What style of tango music do you prefer?
Gisela: Well, it depends on where I have to dance, but normally traditional orchestras, and then…
Ariel: Yes, I love, for example, Piazzolla, but I love to listen Piazzolla, but not to dance Piazzolla. I like traditional theatre from the 40s. Yes, I like. Pugliese. Pugliese, D’ Arienzo, Tanturi, Angelis.
Gisela: Yes, we love it. It depends where we have to perform, or if it’s in a milonga, or if I’m dancing with him, or with someone else, or if it’s in a stage, so it depends.
David: Is there any music you dislike dancing to?
Ariel: Piazzolla, It feels like I love Piazzolla, but to dance Piazzolla, or to dance, I don’t know. Electronic tango. Electronic tango, I don’t like either. But I like today, I’m very open-minded. In the old days, Iwould very, I like all the things. Everything is out of this, that’s wrong. Today I’m very open -minded, and sometimes even I like to dance songs that are not tango, but I like melody more than rhythm. I like slow stuff to enjoy, and more than the traditional tango.
Gisela: Elengo. Rhythmical and melodical.
David: What do you listen to when not tango?
Of course. Now Portuguese songs. Brazilian. Brazilian music. Salsa. French music. French? Yes, a lot of music. I love music, I’m melomano, I don’t know if it’s in English. I’m a fan of music. The only music I don’t like is electronic music, but I like all kind of music, all kind of cultures. Celtic music, classical music, Brazilian, I love Brazilian, bossa nova, samba. I love everything, I love music.
David: What other exercises do you do to enhance your tango?
Gisela: What I do, I try to do every morning, if not like in the afternoon, but I try to keep a routine like every day, and depends on what I need. Sometimes I work more on the back, or legs, the center. So I try to vary the routine, but I mean my body need to train. It’s not just dancing, but I need to stretch. I need that.
David: Is it mostly stretching exercise or strengthening exercise?
Gisela: Yeah, both, both. I’m, well now because I’m touring a lot, but I also do some exercises for the voice, just to be clean, because sometimes teaching many, many hours, you get tired, and you don’t have the power to speak, so yeah. I got the power!
Ariel: To be honest, some seasons I do some stuff, but then we are traveling so much that I don’t do anything, and I’m very lazy to do it by myself, I should go to a place, but we’re gonna be in Brisbane soon, and we’re gonna have like a gym in the house, so I will start to train, and stuff. Very good. I would like to do some yoga and some stretching, because I feel like I need to stretch a little bit, but I don’t do it, I’m very lazy. But don’t do what I say, don’t do what I do, do what I say.
David: Well, thank you very much for your time, that was great. Do you have any parting thoughts, or comments for the Brisbane community?
Gisela: We are so happy, and so thankful to you for trusting us, and for helping us also to come to Australia, because it’s very easy with you providing us the invitation to come, so we are like endless thankful to you. Also, to the lovely painter, Anita. Wow, we are so inspired, with all the lovely paintings.
Ariel: Yeah, we are in love. With us, right? Now we are in love with, we are in love, we are so happy, that’s why we are coming back so.
Gisela: Yeah, thanks to the motivation.
David: Very good, very good, thank you!