Thursday, 17 July 2014

Do cortinas matter?

How important is a cortina, apart from clearing the dance-floor between tandas?

     Does it affect the mood and energy of the milonga? 
     Might it complement or clash with the preceding music? 
     What is the ideal length of a cortina?
     Is it a problem if the same cortina is used all the time? 
     Should the DJ bother with this, and just focus on the tandas?

Well, I'm going to have a little gripe. I wish more DJs would indeed consider the contribution of the cortina. I've seen the mood created by the most thoughtful selection of music spoiled by a cortina which is soporific & energy-sapping or jarringly inappropriate.

Cortinas which allow dancers to not only clear the floor, but are also long enough to return to one's seat, have a drink and reconnect with those around, are considerate of the dancers.  So, nowadays my cortinas are usually around one minute in length, and that seems to work well.

Personally, I like using a variety of cortinas to complement or spice up the mood during a milonga - not too gloomy or bland.  On the other hand, the Heavy Metal cortinas which I heard some years ago in Buenos Aires, of all places, were way beyond the pale. Some current favourites: Pretty woman (Roy Orbison), Words of love (Mamas & Papas), Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield), Back to black (Amy Winehouse), Hard times (Ray Charles), Breaking up is hard to do (Neil Sedaka).

Am I being too precious? Does the cortina really matter at all? Next time you're at a milonga, take note and decide for yourself.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Centenario Aníbal Troilo

The great Troilo, bandoneón player par excellence, orchestra director and composer was born 100 years ago 11 July 1914, a day also commemorated nowadays as the Día del Bandoneón in Argentina. With the right partner, I love dancing to his music. Here are just a couple of my favourites:

Troilo with singer Francisco Fiorentino

With Alberto Marino

Reasonable quality Troilo recordings have been very difficult to acquire until recently.  So, if the Troilo bug has bitten you, head to TangoTunes.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Evolution of the coolest man dancing in the milongas

Another amusing take on dance-floor practices from Murat and Michelle Erdemsel

Guys, how evolved are you?

Monday, 16 June 2014

Reflections on leading & following

"Leading" and "following" are such inadequate labels for what happens when we really dance tango. 

On the other hand, I can't think of alternative concise verbs as effective replacements.  "Male and female roles" might be useful terms, but that assumes a common understanding of these roles. I'm a traditionalist in tango, and feel that the man does initiate, the woman responds and then he responds to her, and so on....  Of course, this is all driven by the music.

Tango Therapist's latest post (a poem) captures some of the subtle and hard-to-describe interaction between the dancers of tango and the music - it goes well beyond the crude "lead & follow" terminology.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Diaries from BsAs #5 - Fermín (a real tango movie)

As newcomers to tango many years ago, we were fascinated by Sally Potter's The Tango Lesson and Carlos Saura's Tango. There have been other movies with tango as a theme.  But in my view, the recently released Fermín is a true tango film.

If you are able to see it, don't expect frequent dance sequences, although there are some. Rather, it's about tango and the culture of tango as a way of life. We saw how the common themes of tango lyrics form the central themes throughout 85 year old Fermín's life.  This sensitively and intelligently acted story left the audience of the Gaumont Cinema (Buenos Aires) applauding at the end, as well as some tearful eyes.

Let's hope it is released in many other countries including Australia. Try not to miss it.

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