The “something”, I believe, is the fire of urgency. And this is what is missing in Europe, and it is what makes Americans relatively good tangueros. It is the desperation which drives you to invade a stranger with your personality and with the utter confidence that you are SEXY.
I went to Italy to eat tortelli, not to dance. I am immediately disoriented. Everything looks, and smells, like Buenos Aires. The hallway of the apartment, a delicate mustiness. The smell of marble. I arrive in the dark in a foreign land, Modena. There is a milonga nearby. I feel an old, now-unfamiliar, excitement. I […]
“The minute you call something a Tradition, you’re declaring it dead. Because you’re saying that it’s a static thing, that there is only one definition…” Chef Ed Lee goes on to explain what many Chefs have had to learn about their French training, “Tradition is technique.” To become great chefs, they had to use that technique to express something personal.
I made a series of interviews on behalf of the Berlin edition of Modern Tango World 2015. This is an overview, emphasizing the most interesting things I learned, with links to the original interviews. “Erfahrungen machen” is a common German phrase, which translates as “making experiences”. The long history of tango here in Berlin has […]
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.
In my view, authentic tango is one in which we find tango’s soul through our own experience, and trust that we have something poignant to develop with our partners from our own context, rather than forsaking ourselves in imitation.
“It’s an interesting phrase…” my student said. “–The one the Argentine teachers use: ‘It’s not wrong, but…’ Why do they say that?” There are obvious answers, and deeper ones. On the obvious level are several possibilities, such as:  The student might be using a different, perfectly legitimate, sequence to get the same result. Affirming that […]
You are investing time, power, and heart into this dance. It may sound obvious, but it’s crucial to remind yourself that you’re doing all this for your own pleasure. Tango is a space of self-expression, elation, and emotional intensity that are very personal. It’s also an authoritarian, righteous, rules-centered, judgmental world. Perhaps too easily, we […]
Why are some of us so intent on putting down others’ way of dancing? While encouraging entrants to celebrate their love of tango and have fun, the upcoming Australian Tango Dance Challenge “forbids” ganchos and lifting the legs (they must have meant to say feet) “above the knees.” Why would a tango competition forbid moves […]
But Argentines say that the music itself brings emotions into you, and this is why they emphasize that to understand tango you must learn the language, even the old Lunfardo words and phrases. You must feel the pathos of the songs in order to fully experience the emotion of tango.
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 Winton and J. C. Thring, and Royal Shrovetide Football too, but it is primarily an ode to the students of Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires that formed Argentino de Quilmes […]
I have forbidden myself from using the word “authenticity”. I don’t give “that’s the way it’s done” as an explanation, and I don’t let myself say “how it is in Buenos Aires”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Buenos Aires and dancing there. But I recognize that these explanations don’t serve my goals as a teacher and dancer – to empower my students and make tango culturally relevant.
Pablo Aslan is a tango musician and musicologist who is very historically informed and clear thinking. He is working on his own music, with his NY band Avantango. He is unfortunately not maintaining the history sections of his website, but I was able to find his excellent work using the way-back machine. Here it is: […]