Why I love Eugenia Parrilla

postitleswirl

This week it is my very great honor to welcome Eugenia Parrilla and Yanick Wyler to Tangoloft, on behalf of Mona Isabelle.

Of course there’s a lot to love.  What seems distinguishes her from so many other dancers, amateur and professional, is the Source of her Pleasure. (I should say ‘apparent Source’ because obviously I do not know what is going on with her. I can only talk about what I see.)

There are three usual sources of tango pleasure for women:

  • Being a good girl.
  • Pride in getting this man (temporarily or permanently).
  • Intense emotional relief at receiving some moments of tender attention from a man.

I have experienced and pursued all of these pleasures. But I don’t think they develop my best, or tango’s.

Eugenia seems to find other pleasures in our dance:

  • She seems to be using tango to express herself, rather than reaching hungrily for ancient gender detritus.
  • She seems to be using her whole body to the limits of her own possibility, rather than within a codified range of movement.

 

After their show, I had the unanticipated experience to dance with Yanick. I had been so focused on Eugenia that I hadn’t really given Yanick much of my attention as a dancer. But of course he’s her match. I didn’t feel his arms, only the power of his body moving around me, and his smile like sunshine on my face. In 20 seconds he figured out what I could do, and in four songs he worked with my strengths, found my limits, and created something beautiful with them. That’s dancing.

And something felt familiar in his dance, an echo from years ago, from that era in Buenos Aires when the men I danced with surprised me, because their improvisation was driven by an ardent investigation of how to break patterns. These days there are few surprises. The lack of ambition of the current tango era is driving me to drink and get out my stopwatch in milongas.

No one will ever dance like Eugenia Parrilla, but there are some things of her dance that I dare to want:

  1. I want to be allowed the pleasure to move my own body. I want to be trusted to do that. The misunderstanding happens here: When I say that I want to move, people interpret that as autonomous movement. “Might as well Mark then, or take up Contact Improv.” I’ve done both of those, and that is NOT the point. I don’t want to do so much as an unmarked voleo, or to slow down the mark. I want to do his movement on his timing, but I want to control my muscles as I do it, so that I can enjoy it. I do not want to be forced. I want to be trusted to move my own body. When I’m allowed to do this, I can create more possibilities for him.
  2. I want the mark to use my possibilities fully. I can’t do what Eugenia can do, but I can do things that not everyone can do and I want to know that my training and acumen are being put to service in developing maximum creativity at every moment.

 

You have to enjoy every part of the movement.
–Eugenia Parrilla

Eugenia Parrilla

 

 

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?

 

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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.

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