In the era of Fundamentalism, modernism is in decline. Although we can ill-afford it, the modernists are now drawing battle-lines.
So we went out and we started dancing, and looking for what we didn’t know … we were looking for: how many voleos were possible in Tango dancing; how many different ganchos there are; things like that. To come to a total knowledge of what’s available.
“Gustavo, what are we going to do with this!? This is such an amazing way of making art, we must do something really great with this, something HUGE!!!” –Chicho
NeoTango is beautiful, but it only exists because we have been made to feel unwelcome in Tango. I do not accept being excluded and I certainly do not revel in it. Because we have been thrown out, a whole bunch of people like Ron Fenton, DJ Elio, Thanos Kasidis, Tanguerilla, Andreas Lange, Sonja Armisen and so many others have volunteered so much time, energy, and financial risk to create a whole separate scene of neotango so that we feel comfortable to dance. I do not accept exile.
My foes are absolutely certain that I am one of those nuevo dancers, toes grazing my shoulders, back turned to my partner, dancing to ambient music in strange shoes. Actually it’s beyond nuevo, it’s not even tango anymore. My fans, who yearn for self-expression and are often berated for that, cluster around hoping that I will protect and expand the territory of freedom.
Many different words are used to describe post-Golden Age tango: nuevo, electro, neo, alternative, contemporary, con-tango, fusion … Some people even use the term ‘non-tango’. The term ‘neotango’ is becoming more common in Europe, and its meaning is becoming more interesting. As I’ve learned more, I feel that it would help us to have some clarity and consensus where possible about these terms,
For many people the music played at the various social dance schools is a bit strange. When they find Fusion, they are dancing to contemporary pop music and they say “Oh, this is the thing. This is the kind of music I want to dance to.”
“I started to play and compose because I felt the traditional tango could coexist with the sound of our times. I was interested in Tom Waits, Massive Attack, Air. A group of friends encouraged me…it was not only me who wanted new music.”
Dancers who violate the ronda, execute moves unsafely, or have difficulty dancing on music recorded after 1950 are simply unskilled, and ideology is no protection from the resultant problems.
Most tango teachers don’t want this label, not only because it’s unpopular and bad for business, but because most of us did learn traditionally, and came to appreciate and love the music, the embrace, and the humor and charm of traditional tango…But those who unwittingly insult me with their compliments are also not wrong.
People attending this event have a genuine interest in tango being creative. To the extent that couples on the floor emerged from the depths to pay attention to one another, they seemed to feel enriched by others’ movements. Here, if you do something extreme, people smile at you.
“I identify myself as a neotango DJ. NeoTango invites Argentine Tango to become contemporary by applying its biomechanics of connection and improvisation to the experiences and emotions of the world heritage of music. At the entrance of my neolonga is the statement by Gustav Mahler ‘Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire’… ”
He shared one criterion he uses for observing a dance: “Would that dance make sense if they were alone in a room?” I loved his idea because I am well aware that my best tangos happen at the end of the night, when no one is watching and it’s more likely that my partner and I fuse and travel beyond space, time, and mind.
“Before … creating tango steps was all about inspiration … but now we have this tool. And I think many people call it ‘nuevo tango’ because they couldn’t understand how all those steps just appeared…they didn’t realize it was the same thing that they were looking at.”
This post is an ode to Club Atlético Argentino de Quilmes. It features Diego Armando Maradona, Lionel Andrés Messi, Thomas and James Hogg, H. de
The Buenos Aires perspective: “Tango Nuevo doesn’t exist” and the NZ/AU perspective “There are styles of Argentine Tango and every dancer can be categorized into one of them” are talking past each other. I’m starting to feel it’s a bit disingenuous to keep insisting that it doesn’t exist. This post is my first attempt to describe what it is that people are seeing when they say “that’s tango nuevo”.
Indeed, a visitor to Buenos Aires could not today distinguish between traditional and new milongas based on the music played, the embrace used, steps and movements, which orchestras are invited to play, or which dancers are invited to perform. What is different is age of patrons, and whether the tables are hosted and segregated…
“The traditionalists complain about the modern ones contending that they don’t dance tango, instead they do gymnastics, and the modern dancers complain that the others got stuck in time. There is no fusion, it is one group against the other, and it makes me sad because in reality we are all together.”
Pablo Veron was the choreographer and principle dancer of Sally Potter’s movie, The Tango Lesson. In this interview in El Tangauta he discusses current tango debates, such as whether and how to differentiate styles of dancing, what has happened with the emergence of pedagogies for teaching, and the “industrialization” of tango. The interview beautifully articulates why improvisation is the soul of tango.