Tango is More Than a Dance

Tango Classes Brisbane

Tango is much more than a lovely social activity that you can dance to a variety of beautiful music.

It is a great means to gain a better understanding of your body and how it works. It can help you develop better posture, balance, mobility, flexibility and general control of your body. It will sometimes show weaknesses in your body that need to be rectified or it may show up a postural problem with your dance which presents itself via pain or injury.

Perhaps even more importantly, it allows the expression of our emotional state that may not always be so freely shared. To be able to connect with another during a dance is a privilege with many health benefits. It shows how we connect and relate to others, particularly those of the opposite gender.

When totally immersed in the music with your partner, the dance can become quite meditative as we become totally present in that moment. This can be very similar to other forms of meditation that one can experience, for example, during a Yoga class, running longer distances, walking through a forest or simply sitting on a mat. The benefits of these meditative moments are many. To allow the mind to be free of the general thoughts of daily life for even just a moment are priceless, especially with so much stimuli generally around us.

dance classes tangoConsideration and care for others is sometimes lost in today’s busy, always ‘on the go’ lives that we often experience. Within the dance, however, your time is fully given to your partner with total awareness and consideration to them. From where they are in space (their axis) and working with and around that axis, to the continual communication of invitation and acceptance. As we allow ourselves to be fully present in those moments, the deeper they become. We also learn to become aware and give consideration to those around us by allowing them space so that we all move harmoniously around the floor.

There is now increasing amounts of research that dancing (and often specifically Tango) has many other health benefits including helping with Parkinson’s disease and delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s.

All this from such a simple act of connecting with another dancing to beautiful music!

Edmundo Rivero, More Than Just ‘El Feo’

Argentine Tango Brisbane

Born Leonel Edmundo Rivero, this Argentine tango, singer, composer and impresario was nicknamed ‘El Feo’ (‘The Ugly Guy’) for his appearance due to his acromegaly. However, Rivero is considered a great artist and his bass range is something of a rarity in the genre, where fans are used to hearing baritones and tenors.

Rivero was born on June 8, 1911 in Valentin Alsina, a suburb in southern Buenos Aires. Since he was a child, his parents, Anubal and Anselma, encouraged Edmundo and his siblings to become interested in music. At the National Conservatory, the young Rivero was disciplined in classical music, studying singing and then the guitar.

During his adolescence, Rivero’s family moved to the Belgrano neighbourhood, where tango was becoming a dancing phenomenon. Rivero’s first professional appearance was with his sister Eva on Radio Cultura. On the same broadcasting, the radio station hired him to play for accompaniment. He also started playing Spanish classical music at recitals in theatres.

Rivero first worked with Jose De Caro’s orchestra, then worked with Emilio Orlando and Humberto Canaro. Eventually, his talent piqued the interest of De Caro’s more famous brother, Julio, and drafted Rivero into his orchestra. From this point on, Rivero’s fame grew and his nickname of ‘El Feo’ stuck. Rivero also joined Anibal Troilo’s orchestra, creating more than 20 recordings, including duets with Floreal Ruiz and Aldo Calderon. The public started associating Rivero with tangos like ‘El último organito’ (‘The Last Organ’), ‘La viajera perdida’ (‘The Lost Traveler’), ‘Yo te bendigo’ (‘I Bless You’), but especially with ‘Sur,’ the tango by Homero Manzi and Troilo.

Dance Classes BrisbaneDuring these years, however, Rivero evidently didn’t last long in orchestras. He would claim that his deep voice–unconventional then–was something of a severe handicap. It was in the 1950s when he hit his stride as a singer and started his career as a soloist. In the 1960s, he was accompanied by another guitar group of Rafael Del Pino, Héctor Davis, Héctor Barceló, Rubén Morán and Domingo Laine. During a period in tango when orchestra dominated, a guitar-only accompaniment was considered a bold statement by Rivero and this associated him with the aura of the countryside.

In 1969, Rivero opened his own tango club, El Viejo Almacén (The Old Warehouse), located in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires. Great figures in tango and art were recurring visitors, such as Joan Manuel Serrat and Camilo Jose Cela.

Rivero also worked on a number of films. In the 1950 film ‘El cielo en las manos (The Sky in Your Hands’), he sings the title theme composed by Astor Piazzolla and Homero Carpena. In Al Compás de tu Mentira, he sings ‘No te engañes corazón’ (‘Do Not Cheat Yourself, Heart’) by Rodolfo Sciammarella. He also appeared in the Armando Bo film, ‘Pelota de cuero’ (‘Leather Ball’).

Rivero was an author as well, writing two books: ‘Una luz de almacen’ (‘A Warehouse Light’) and ‘Las voces, Gardel y el tango’ (‘The Voices, Gardel and the Tango’). He was in the process of writing a third book on the Lunfardo language and poetry, but Rivero passed due to a heart ailment on January 18, 1986 at the age of 74.

The Dark Age of Tango

Tango Classes Brisbane

Tango, just like many other art mediums, has also gone through a dark phase. When General Juan Perón was ousted in 1955, it brought about a myriad of consequences to the whole of Argentina. The new military government was made up of elite members of society who did not have an understanding of the mass culture of Argentina. Tango was not part of their norm. To them, it was the dance of the poor and inferior.

In addition to that, they seemed to have a prejudice on anything related to or can be associated with Perón. They believed that anything Perón said and believed in were wrong. Just like Perón, Tango was both national and popular and is something that can be identified with Perón as he had used it for his political campaigns. Many tango artists had been involved with the Pro-Perón movement and had been either imprisoned or blacklisted as a consequence.

A nightly gathering of men in the social halls of political associations to dance was regarded suspicious and was thought to be an undeniable disguise for political upheaval. As a result, the new regime devised ways to curb the growth of Tango, if only to cripple the opposing organisations and prevent an uprising.

Because banning Tango was impossible, specific songs were banned and some song titles were revised. The new government’s restrictive measures had put a strain on dance. Curfews were imposed and meetings involving more than three people were forbidden. It made things difficult for Tango with it being a social dance held mostly during the night.

Tango Classes BrisbaneThere had been one particular attack made against Tango that was very subtle yet clever at the same time. The military government started banning minors in nightclubs. What made it even more offensive was that it strictly imposed on Tango clubs only. For some reason, some clubs such as the Rock and Roll ones were spared. It was viewed to be a deliberate strike against tango as boys and girls abruptly stopped learning Tango and went to Rock and Roll clubs instead. Back then, going to dances was the way for men and women to meet. So, if they cannot meet through Tango, they will move on to the next club where they can gather and socialise.

The new regime, although particularly conservative, oddly enough supported and encouraged a rather rough and callous dance like Rock and Roll, especially during the time when the rest of the world seemed adamant in stopping young people from dancing to this wild new music. Why? Because it conveniently served its purpose to the regime. It was undeniably the biggest competition of Tango and they used it to their advantage and they used it well.

The dark era spanned from 1955 until 1983, the fall of the military junta which took place after the Falklands War. No one learned how to dance Tango in the period of 28 years that the military government reigned. However, Tango did not completely disappear. Tango just went underground and many people still went to dance. Some professional Tango dancers made a living out of teaching Tango and made choreographies for shows as an attraction for the foreign market. And slowly Tango was reborn.

Styles of Argentine Tango

Tango Classes near me

Within Argentine tango there are various styles you may hear people refer to.  They will say, “Oh, he’s a milonguero dancer,” or “She dances salon style.”  Styles are as unique as dancers and I think it’s rather foolish to try to categorise either. Just remember if you hear terms like ‘salon’, ‘milonguero’, ‘fantasia’, or ‘orillero’, someone is talking about a certain style.

As with any evolving art form, trying to pin down the rules is impossible. Every day, new styles come forward and dancers find ways to play with them and incorporate them into their dance. In the past few years, styles known as ‘nuevo’ and ‘liquid’ have appeared. Who knows what’s coming next? All we know is that it’s coming.

Many tango dancers dance in a range of unique and personal styles all over Buenos Aires and some parts of Argentina. However, they refuse to accept any classification of their dancing by any broad elaborate name. They’d much rather say that they are simply dancing tango in their own individual style or that of their region. In some cases, there is confusion with the styles as some tango dancers identify their own style by a name that other dancers identify as an entirely different style.

Tango Classes near meNevertheless, if we think of style as a way of dancing that closely follows the listed elements but has a number of incompatibilities with other approaches then I guess it’s safe to say that there are a variety of distinguishable tango styles such as: Tango de Salon, Villa Urquiza, Milonguero-Style Tango, Club-Style Tango, Orillero-Style Tango, Canyengue, Nuevo Tango, Fantasia, Tango Escenario, Nuevo Milonguero, and Liquid Tango.

  1. TANGO DE SALON

“Tango de Salon” refers to a plethora of social dance styles that includes Milonguero, Villa Urquiza and as well as Club-Style tangos. These are social dances that are often danced in salons or improper venues instead of the purpose of exhibition. Traditionally, tango de salon dancers are required to respect the line of dance, but they are allowed freedom to have their own styles in terms of embraces and characteristic movements.

In other countries, “salon-style” tango may refer to Tango Fantasia, Villa Urquiza, Tango Escenario or a fusion of these different styles. The combined styles is distinguished to have a looser embrace with a more prominent V than the Villa Urquiza styles. The distance between the partners allows the woman to pivot freely without much independent hip and torso movements.

  1. MILONGUERO

Generally, Milonguero-style tango is danced with a somewhat leaning posture that unites the partners in their torsos from the stomach towards the solar plexus to form a joined axis, at the same time, allowing a slight distance between their feet. It’s an embrace otherwise known as “apilado”. In the embrace, the woman’s right shoulder should be as close to her partner’s left shoulder as her left shoulder is to his right. Her left arm should hang over behind the neck of her partner.

Constant body contact is maintained and the embrace does not loosen even when executing turns or ochos, which limits the partners walking steps and plain ochos until the woman is ready to execute her turns stepping at an angle instead of pivoting.

Milonguero-style tango is identified with the ric-tic-tic rhythm that is distinct in the music of Rodolfo Biagi and Juan D’Arienzo, as well as in other tango orchestras.

  1. CANYENGUE

Canyengue is a form of tango that can be traced back from the 1920s to the early 30s. It is a historical form of tango that may not be accurately captured by the dancers that currently practice it. At the peak of its popularity, women dancers wore long and tight dresses. In this form of tango, the couple’s embrace is close and in an offset V, they move with bent knees and the woman does not execute a cross. Therefore, the steps are much shorter and more frequent in the ric-tic-tic-rhythm. Some Canyengue dangers exaggerate body movements to emphasise their steps.

  1. CLUB-STYLE TANGO

Like Milonguero-style tango, Club-style tango share the same rhythmic sensibilities although it is executed with a more upright posture and separate axes. Its embrace is as close as that of the Villa Urquiza style. The woman is able to rotate more openly and pivot without much independent movement as the couple’s embrace is slightly looser. Like Milonguero-style, Club-style tango is also danced to the ric-tic-tic rhythm that is noticeable in the music of Juan D’Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi, as well as in other tango orchestras. This style of tango also uses the ocho cortado and other rhythmic figures used in Milonguero-style tango.

  1. VILLA URQUIZA

A tango style named after one of Buenos Aires’ neighbourhoods, Villa Urquiza is generally danced with the couple maintaining an upright body posture and keeping separate axes with their eyes fixed towards their clasped hands. This position creates a slight V impression in their embrace, where the woman’s right shoulder is closer to the man’s right shoulder than her left shoulder is to his right.. More often than not, the couple allows the woman to rotate more freely by loosening their embrace although it is supposed to be closed. The more the woman rotates, the less the embrace needs to be loosened. This style is otherwise known as “Tango Estilo del Barrio” in some neighbourhoods and “Salon-Style Tango” outside of Argentina.

  1. FANTASIA (Show Tango)

This style of tango is influenced mainly by the Villa Urquiza style of tango. Fantasia or Tango Fantasia refers to an exhibition style of tango.  Fantasia is unique for its dramatic poses, ganchos,  high boleos  and thorough use of embellishments. It is danced during breaks in social dances in milongas but is also performed in the stage in which it has evolved into another style of tango as some elements have been added to it subsequently, turning it into an entirely new style called Tango Escenario.

  1. TANGO ESCENARIO (Stage Tango)

Its name means tango danced in stage shows. This style has developed from that of the Villa Urquiza and Orillero styles of tango and has recently drew some elements from nuevo-tango. In this style of tango, the couple dances in an open embrace with exaggerated movements and other elements foreign to the vocabulary of social tango.

  1. ORILLERO-STYLE TANGO

This style of tango is considered to be one of the older styles and basing on its name, it seems that it originated from Buenos Aires’ streets of impoverished rural tenements. It was later referred to the style where the man is dancing around the woman. During what is considered to be tango’s golden age, Orillero-style tango was not accepted in the refined salons of Buenos Aires. To this day, Orillero-style tango has become more like the Villa Urquiza style of tango.

Orillero-style tango is danced with upright body posture. The couple then keeps separate axes with their embrace a typical offset in a V that can either be open or close. The woman is free to move and pivot in the turns without the need for much independent movement between her hips and torso.

When dancing in a close embrace, the couple slightly loosens the embrace in order to make room for the turns. The embrace would not have to be loosened that much if the woman is rotating her hips through the turns independently of her upper torso. What makes it different from Salon-style tango is that it has a more playful embellishment that requires more space and its figures do not strictly follow the line of dance.

  1. NUEVO TANGO

This dancing approach was originally made to be an instructive approach to tango, highlighting the structures where the connections to the elements of tango, as well as the step patterns and new combinations, can be found. The dancers following this approach have developed a style somewhat akin to nuevo tango which is danced in an open and elastic embrace with a posture that is very upright, emphasising the dancers’ axes. This tango style is distinguishable by figures such as linear boleos, volcadas, overturn ochos, single axis spin and cadenas. Such moves are best done in a loose embrace.

  1. LIQUID TANGO

An approach to dancing Argentine tango where the couple’s embrace shifts between open and close in order to allow the combination of different styles of tango such as the club and nuevo styles. We cannot really consider Liquid tango as an independent style of tango dancing as it is considerably similar to nuevo and does not have distinctive separate groups of followers.

  1. NUEVO MILONGUERO

Nuevo Milonguero is a somewhat recent approach to Argentine tango that includes some nuevo movements. Like Liquid Tango, we also cannot consider Nuevo Milonguero to be a separate style of tango as this approach is largely similar to the Milonguero style tango, plus the fact that it does not have a group of followers that is distinguishable. In fact, Nuevo Milonguero can only be considered as Milonguero style’s show version because of its showy elements that does not befit being danced in crowded venues.

Carlos Di Sarli, The Lord of Tango

Argentine Tango Lessons near me

Carlos Di Sarli earned the nickname ‘The Lord of Tango’ (‘El Señor del Tango’) when his career rose along with the ‘Golden Age of Tango.’ Known for his signature pair of glasses, Di Sarli was a prolific orchestra leader, composer and pianist during his time and well after.

Born on January 7, 1903 in Bahia Blanca in Southern Argentina as Cayetano Di Sarli, he was the eighth child of Italian immigrant Miguel Di Sarli and Serafina Russomano, who was the daughter of the tenor singer Tito Russomano. Di Sarli was exposed to music at an early age. Aside from having a singer grandfather, his brothers were musically involved as well. Domingo was a music teacher, Nicolas became a baritone, and younger brother Roque would become a pianist. Carlos himself took piano lessons.

Their father, Miguel, was the owner of a gun shop and while working here, Di Sarli suffered an accident at the age of 13, costing him an eye. Since then, he could always be seen wearing dark glasses concealing his eyes. Much to the horror of his father and his piano teacher, soon after he recovered from the injury, the young Di Sarli went on tour with a zarzuela company.

Carlos Di SarliIn between running away and making his debut, Di Sarli ended up in the province of La Pampa, where he played the piano to silent films for two years. He eventually went back to his hometown and in 1919, Di Sarli made his debut as orchestra leader at a tea room called the Cafe Express. His orchestra toured for some time, but in 1923, Di Sarli and his younger brother Roque made the move to Buenos Aires.

For the next few years, Di Sarli joined a couple of orchestras. First, Anselmo Aieta, a bandoneonist group. Then, a group led by the violinist Juan Pedro Castillo. In 1926, he joined Osvaldo Fresedo’s orchestra. Fresedo had such an influence over Di Sarli that his tango ‘Viejo Milonguero’ is dedicated to Fresedo.

In 1927, Di Sarli formed his own group, a sextet with José Pécora and David Abramsky on violin, César Ginzo and Tito Landó on bandoneón and Adolfo Kraus on bass. By 1934, Di Sarli left his group and moved to Rosario in Santa Fe province, where he joined a small band with the bandoneonist Juan Cambareri. However, in 1938, Di Sarli returned to Buenos Aires, reformed his band, and made their first recording in 1939. The recording included ‘Corazon,’ which is considered a classic. For the next decade, Di Sarli and his music flourished, recording 155 sides and being popular amongst tango dancers.

However, Di Sarli was not the easiest person to get along with. He has been described as eccentric, reserved and was very much a perfectionist. Due to his eccentricity, there was superstition surrounding his music with some believing that saying his name out loud will bring bad luck. In 1949, his orchestra members walked out on him. But Di Sarli continued recording until illness forced him to retire in 1953. This did not stop him, however, continuing to record until his final side in 1958.

Di Sarli’s musical style has been widely lauded, often described as simple, but elegant and full of nuances. He led his last concert on March 8, 1959 at the Podesa de Lanus club in Buenos Aires. He died of a terminal disease on January 12, 1960.

Sources: http://www.todotango.com/english/creadores/cdisarli.html

http://www.milonga.co.uk/tango/disarli.shtml

http://www.verytangostore.com/legends/carlos-di-sarli.html

https://endretango.com/en/who-was-carlos-di-sarli-and-why-did-he-wear-dark-glasses-all-the-time/

Connection

Tango Classes Brisbane

Tango Classes Brisbane

It’s deep connection with self and another, it’s cerebral and completely free of mind, it’s masculine and feminine. It’s sensual. It’s physical. It’s movement meditation. It’s tango. Come give yourself this lifetime gift…

For those who have not been stung by the Tango Bug yet, or those who have tried it but lost interest, this probably sounds exaggerated or foolish, even. But allow me to change your mind.

More often than not, what comes to mind when people hear ‘Argentine Tango’ is ‘Dancing With the Stars’ or Al Pacino’s tango scene in ‘Scent of a Woman’ which, by the way, is pretty impressive. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s NOT. Well, at least, it’s not all that.  It’s way more just a mere dance. The more you get to experience tango, the more it becomes apparent that tango is life.

So how and where did tango begin? The origins of tango roots from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires is a port city which is why it was flocked by immigrants around the early 1900s. Different people coming from different countries with varying cultures have settled in and called themselves Porteños. It was the fusion of multiple cultures, styles of music and dance, instruments and ideas that bore Argentine Tango and allowed it to thrive for the years to come.

Alright, so enough of the history lesson. The point I’m driving at here, however, is that tango is not about the traditional Ballroom stereotype it has been known for – with its false eyelashes, spray tans and pomp a-la sequins. Simply put, Argentine Tango is a soulful, modest, improvised dance created by a diverse wealth of cultures, arts and influences.

Tango is meant to be danced, not performed. It should not be choreographed. You are not going to dance in order to impress or be watched by an audience. Tango is all about self-expression with the use of body language just like any other social dance.

To be able to express yourself and connect with your partner, presence is required. This presence is otherwise known as “connection”. In tango, there are three most important types of connection and they are:

  1. Centering yourself (Connecting with the floor) – this type of connection simply means to feel your weight and feet on the floor. It’s being aware of your physical and mental state where you align your spine, release your body tension and clear your mind of any thoughts. Listen to yourself. So, the next time that you are idly just standing on the bus stop or waiting in line during lunch-time, try turning your attention to the soles of your feet and recognise the fact that whilst gravity pulls the weight of your body downward, at the same time, the floor holds you up.
  2. Building Relationships (Connecting with your partner) – when you master the art of centering yourself, it enables you to connect with others and build relationships. As I have mentioned above, tango is not about technicality or choreography. It is about self-expression and feeling the music. It becomes even more magical when we connect with our partner and become more responsive to them.
  3. Connecting with the universe (Connecting with the music) – tango is a walking dance. It is an improvised walk that is relaxed yet vibrating with expressive energy. It is elegantly smooth but varies with the beat and the pulse of the music.

Whilst we recognise that tango is a man and a woman’s elegant walk to tango music, we must also remember that tango is a feeling expressed through dance. If there is lack of emotion shared between a man and a woman in embrace, then it is nothing but a series of synchronised motion. Music is your source of emotion and emotion is what you share with your partner communicated through the embrace. All that is going on while you are walking through the music makes up the fundamental ingredients of tango.

Source: http://urbanspiritual.org/2013/05/23/tango-is-life-part-1-connecting-with-yourself/

https://tangovoice.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/the-essence-of-tango-argentino/