Last month we had the pleasure of dancing tango to the live jazz saxophone of Junio Karokaro. We did this with a small group committed to experimental tango. (If you’re sad to have missed out, send an email about it and we’ll be sure to invite you to the next one.)
We took a lot of breaks to discuss our experiences.
One thing we all felt was that this dancing was riveting. It took a lot of concentration and felt very satisfying.
For some of us, the lack of a beat was challenging. One leader said “I can’t use sequences, I have to lead one element at a time.” Others promptly felt comfortable with it.
Trying to be helpful, Junio tapped his foot, but we all found that a bit sterile – it lulled us into a beat without offering anything beautiful in return. So we asked him to stop.
Nick commented that while marking he felt he was following the musician much more attentively than usual.
The revels said they were paying much more attention to each movement.
That made sense because I had noticed right away that I had time to think. The revels had nowhere to go musically, so they didn’t go anywhere, allowing me a much greater degree of control than I usually experience. I also felt far more experimental and creative than usual. When we assented to Junio’s suggestion of playing the backing track for one song, I immediately fell into all my usual patterns.
I found it very interesting that to this music I had no use for giros. I forced myself to use them to see why, and they felt rigid. Like they didn’t have enough nuance. Marks noticed we were using a lot of barridas and wraps.
Junio would tell us the tempo of each song at the start, but most of us couldn’t tell the difference between them once we were dancing.
Most interestingly, as we sat down for a break, Junio informed us that he was watching and improvising on the basis of our movements. He was working with us the way he’d work with another instrument in a band.