We talk about intentions, the development of TangoForge pedagogy, online tango education, marketing for the tango industry, and possible uses of Blockchain.
–Auch auf DE– Mario and Andrea were competitive ballroom dancers for some years. Eventually they tired of the rigid priorities and circumstances of competition. They resolved to continue dancing in a way that was more sustainable and directed by their own values. Finding traditional milongas uptight and unsatisfying, they renovated part of their house to make a dancing room and built their own community.
I resonated, and I was intimidated. I slog away at the day and although I use a lot of creativity to get through problems and take pleasure in every word I choose, every bite of food I eat, and moving my body around, I would hardly call the experience or the result “a love poem”.
As I prepare to return to Europe, I want a new relationship to tango well before any milonga beckons. I suspect many of you also hope to return differently to tango – or hope that it will be different upon our return.
We associate tango with large, crowded rooms, and anonymity – milongas. Yet we all know that peak tango can happen in a room with only three couples dancing. Let’s take that certainty and build tango around it. The courage and imagination that brought each of us to tango can be brought to bear on creating safe and fulfilling tango right now.
The agendas of our 2016 and 2017 shows, remastered in 2020: To show tango with contemporary culture: fashion, music, and gender concepts. To get tango off the stage, out of the milonga, and into daily life (symbolized by the architectural space of the station). To celebrate tango’s place in the African diaspora and propose tango learning and socializing in a hip-hop cultural context.
A few days ago Maestra Dana Frígoli announced by youtube video that DNI, the school she founded with Pablo Villarraza in Buenos Aires, will not reopen.
A few days before that, Mona Isabelle announced definitively that Tangoloft will leave the luscious and beloved Gerichtstraße location.
So whatever sense of powerlessness was afflicting people was in fact inaccurate. For how long have we been mis-assessing our power? For how long have we had everything we need to repair the world? For how long have we been living in danger and deprivation that could have been defeated by courageous collective action?
I believe that many dancers will return from the Distance with a renewed care for our community and a desire to rebuild it with great love. I believe many people will be inspired as never before to share the gift of tango, feeling now perhaps more than ever before the preciousness of gathering, and embracing. Indeed my student Josh is already preparing a class for his community, a clean and sober gym. We had a conversation about how to think about teaching, and this post contains my notes:
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,
Argentines did not get Tango out of Argentina and build a global community
so that we can go dancing every night all over the world.
Local organizers did that.
They are the the heros to admire.
Committed now to Altertango (getting our tangos out of milongas and into popular culture), I developed three short workshops designed to make our tango more worldly.
It’s necessary to give up some of the space on the dance floor in order to provide a seating area that is *inside the party* where people can feel part of it when they’re not dancing, where they can watch the dancing, and from where they can cabeceo.The seating areas must have pretty lighting so that people feel attractive and dignified there.
I’ve had media training. I knew to write my talking points (on the train). Staying on your Talking Points Then, I broke the most important rule. Don’t say anything other than your talking points –even if it means ignoring the question and repeating yourself– because if you do, that’s what they’ll use. And that’s exactly […]
Presenting: The TangoForge Real Impro Hardcore Crew 100% Improvisation . 100% Argentine Tango Maximum Artistry . Modern Gender Concepts The Tradition is Transgressive… The Invitation Please join DJ and SaxMan Michael Rühl and TangoForge in a night which remembers and realizes Argentine Tango as a transgressive cultural action. As was common in African diasporic […]
I think it’s two main reasons: Terrible marketing: meaningless (or somewhat frightening) words like ‘passion’ and ‘intimacy’, cliché images, music most people think is awful. Terrible teaching, too focused on walking, which is a boring and demeaning experience for beginners who can’t do it or appreciate it yet. To make tango popular we can: Show […]
It wasn’t promising at first. Three couples dancing insipidly. Ten men sunk deep into boxlike chairs from which it looked difficult to get up. It took a bit of convincing to get the unsmiling woman nearest to the moneybox to do her job. I chose a chair and checked out the dancers to be sure […]
We’re scheming to get tango out of the clichés. To show that it’s athletic…that its romance will take you by surprise…that it’s drop-dead sexy in whatever shoes you are already wearing… and that you can dance tango to the music you already love.
Sydney, as we all know, there are tango factions. Mostly they are organized as schools. Teachers hold their students tight and argue that their methods of teaching are the best. At weekend milongas, the tables demarcate school/faction territories. Some people, not belonging to any of them, don’t know where to sit. Others feel uncomforable […]
Like many people I started dancing tango because of Sally Potter’s movie, The Tango Lesson. Different things about the movie moved us, as different things bind us to tango. I wasn’t attracted to the music, passion, or romance (aspects I learned to appreciate only after many years of dancing). I was attracted to the complexity […]
The most common thing for someone to say to me at a milonga is “you can’t dance in those shoes”. About 5 minutes later, they realize they’re wrong. When I started dancing, one of the main attractions was the chance to dress up often, including high heels. Since I was about 14 I’ve had more […]
…in the waves of globalization, one of which birthed tango. We tanguera/os are struggling to learn to share, gripping authority as it slips through the toes, parrying each fusion that comes, trading shifts on the guardwatch, fighting over the orthodox, whirling around to explain that tango has always been a fusion, has always been diverse, has always been changing, has always been shared.