Altertango

postitleswirl

The history of Altertango began at the beginning, my beginning anyway. My first dance partner, Fritz, liked to dance to street musicians. I had special plastic-soled shoes that could pivot on anything, even straight asphalt. We found a saxophone player practicing in an alley and danced amongst the garbage cans. We danced over the stars on Hollywood Boulevard to a noodling electric guitar, and a drummer whose kit was made of metal kitchen gear. Duro’s idea of a tango video was to dance in the middle of the street in a snowstorm. There was that night in that bar in Sydney with that blues guitarist+loop who felt the need to stammer to the audience “I can’t tell if they’re dancing to my music or I’m playing to their dancing.” (Fernando Aragones)

There was a long, boring period in which I tried to impress everyone with my conservatism. No one was having it.

By accident I danced to Santos Barrios (of Buenos Aires Orq. Ciudad Baigone) on the broken floor just in front of the basement stage and discovered a level of connection with the musicians that startled all four of us. They named it “El Quatro” and we did it for a week in the middle of milongas and between the chairs of squat bars. Then I asked Berlin Jazz Orq. Abisko Lights if I could bring a group of dancers to their concert. Afterward Dirk Flateau, the composer and pianist, whose back was to us during the concert, announced “Usually I feel so empty after a show. I felt connected to you. I woke up happy.” His daring articulation of “emptiness” was the bell which broke my old world. I locked the doors and went on retreat.

The old world of yearning for respect from the police at milongas ended in my home, San Francisco, January 2018, the night I would come to call “the last milonga“. It doesn’t mean I stopped going to milongas. It means I stop seeing milongas as the goal or site of tango. I accept that most of my students are uncomfortable there, yet love tango. And I take responsibility to generate imagination about and experimental manifestations of anti-milonga tango.

As usual, I began as soon as possible. I created a new role in TangoForge, “Musical Director” and asked Antoine to reach out to musicians. I performed with JamImprov band, WilderGarten.

The next TangoForge weekend was Sverige IV. I brought a musician who I had never heard play before (Gaelyn Hutchinson), and taught workshops about “Bad Surfaces”, “Real Music”, and how to be Action Heros to Popularize Tango.

When we analyzed the Lexicon of Tango, we found that only 11 of the 25 elements require pivot leaving us with well over 1/2 of tango movements available to use when we can’t pivot. Never again will we say, or hear, “Nice music, too bad there’s no floor” or “I don’t have the right shoes.”

Then came the III Annual Seminar Encuentro Compañeros TangoForge 2018. We had a daily Music Experiment Station with live solo musicians and trios:  Hannes Daerr, the bass clarinet of Abisko Lights, Cristóbal Rey, Ibon Goitia of Dardarka, Isabella Santos, and Alan Nguyen of WilderGarten to improvise with the dancers. Crystal-acid-powerful as my teaching is, we all agreed that these sessions were by far the most profound and revelatory events of the week.

Altertango is cocreated between dancers and musicians. It happens anywhere. No one is responsible to provide floors to specifications or music that meets any particular expectations. No one comes expecting someone else to give them a good dance or a good night. People do take responsibility for bringing duct-tape. The event includes dialogue with the musicians.

I’ll be creating these events as often as possible. Please be aware that they are unique moments and may not be repeated. Please understand that the financial priority of these events is always to pay the musicians as much as possible.

I want you to know that you are not alone…

embrace orig crop

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

Apertures

Newest

All the Blog Posts EVER

Posts by Email

Frustrated?

Themes

SEARCH the Blog

The Berlin Interviews

Guides

More Guides...

2020 TangoForge

6-19.February Wellington NZ
7-9 February Bruges Neo Tango

…DISTANCE…

See you at

Reflect and Train

and

Exercises from Maui

Apertures

Newest

All the Blog Posts EVER

Posts by Email

Frustrated?

Themes

SEARCH the Blog

The Berlin Interviews

Guides

More Guides...

Apertures

Newest

All the Blog Posts EVER

Posts by Email

Frustrated?

Themes

SEARCH the Blog

The Berlin Interviews

Guides

More Guides...

Apertures

Newest

All the Blog Posts EVER

Posts by Email

Frustrated?

Themes

SEARCH the Blog

The Berlin Interviews

Guides

More Guides...

Apertures

Newest

All the Blog Posts EVER

Posts by Email

Frustrated?

Themes

SEARCH the Blog

The Berlin Interviews

Guides

More Guides...

Themes

Important Insights

Books

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

We didn’t start online education in March of 2020. We started in 2014. Learn more about our Digital School