Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What are our favorites telling us?

A few months ago a friend asked me at a milonga which are my favorite tango couples. A tornado of names rushed through my head and I must admit that to come down to a handful of names was impossibly. The question was though anchored in my mind and every now and then some names were floating up to my awareness before disappearing again. I started curiously follow the process when a couple of names took positions compared to others, absolutely and relatively until I today can present the shortest list during these weeks and months.

I ask you to pay attention to the fact that this list doesn’t have numbers, but the order seems to be important for me – I do not clearly know why, but this is the only order my soul allows me to write them. In that way this list or anyhow the reasons for this order are secret, even to me.

So this is not a list about who is the best dancer in the world, but a list which tells something about my deepest thoughts and feelings for tango.  These names represent the tips of icebergs of my tango values and appreciations.

Here are the couples for time being stated by my unconscious heart:

Sebastian and Mariana
Charlitos and Noelia
Chicho and Juana
Javier and Noelia

And here you have my thoughts when I let my brain to form some ideas about this list:

Sebastian and Mariana
They have been the starting couple at all stages of this list. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they have been working together so long time, having had the time to know each other and creating a stable cooperation, partnering. The most astonishing aspect in their performances is the glowing elegance as no one else’s today! I noticed that I prefer to write performance to dance – must indicate a lot.

Charlitos and Noelia
Their musicality blows my brain! They are outstanding and even a video with them can make me cry certain days!

Chicho and Juana
Chicho is the King of rhythmic tango!  He is also a kind of renaissance person being a musician and painter too.

And Juana is a sweet partner with the toughness needed to dance with Chicho. I have chosen this clip because it shows so clearly the first one! Some other clips show how she gets focused when music starts.

(Jump to 40s and whatch for some time)

Javier and Noelia
Javier is one of the few dancers who does move my heart live on the pista as well as on video. His ability to create an elegant dance is fantastic.
Noelia did grow to her new role extremely fast! On the first video from March 2013 she was still dancing kind of Nuevo movements but already in Seoul in May she had found the way and I just love them in this video from Tylösand in June.

The consequences for me then!
If one my deepest values is elegance I maybe should start to think the surface of my own dance body! Leave those pieces of training cloths and gymnastic shoes at home and start to think of how the clothing could support a more elegant look! Or how should I think about my steps, how to choose the ones giving my dance a better look?
Am I showing respect to the music? If I would give a more focused value for the music – could it give a different experience to my partner too?

How about you?
I sincerely recommend you to let your heart and soul work on this question for weeks and I think you can get some surprising ideas, when you review the results!

Who are your favorite dancers? Which couples keep you watching their dance again and again?

What are the values you find when thinking of the reasons for these choices you made?

Are there some consequences for your dance too?


A video in line with this posting

I just couldn't resist because I found this video extremely inspiring!
(If this link is not working try those below)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Finnish tango 100 years today!

The  2nd November 1913
is the clearly stated  date for the start of tango in Finland. That day a Danish couple/three French couples had a dance performance at a restaurant in Helsinki presenting the newest steps from Paris; the Tango!

There are some others claiming that the tango was presented earlier by a Finnish dancer and the fact that music came earlier sounds reasonable too.

This early succes was not enough to establish the tango in the whole nation and it took years, until the second world war to hit to the roots of the Finnish soul. It is said that when the Argentine tango was combined with the Slavic romances and coloured by German march rhythms the whole country did open their hearts to this new music.

This is the result! Filmed at the Frostbite festival February 2013.

Here you find a palylist for some popular tangos and tango singers!

no Milongas but Dance evenings!
There is not specific tango evenings but tango is one dance among the 8-12 other kind of dances during an evening. This is the case even for the biggest tango gatherings in the country - Tangomarkkinat - which has around 100 000 visitors during a weekend. Two tangos, 8 other dances (two same kind of songs for each)  and then tango again even there!

no YouTube but Competitions!
It has been nearly impossibly to find any clips in youtube and Finns don't post anything today either. The clips on line are posted by foreigners mostly by johnofbristol. In Finland the feedback is received from judges in the countless competitions! Here a posting from a competition, semifinals:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5BqKCFLIic

How it was to grow up with this kind of tango?
The feeling now is that I was virtually surrounded by tango, but not actually.

New York times has visited the Tangomarkkinat, the Finnish festival.

A blog posting at Tango Voice - Finnish Tango is worth reading if you like details too!

Neatherland Radio is talking for 30 mins about the tango and tango history in Finland.
What is the difference between A and F tango? If you kill your wife's lover can you sing about it?

John Wards blog gives you a continuous contact to the Finnish tango culture; enjoy!

If you plan to visit Finland, you can find the tango information in Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5555248820/?fref=ts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tools: Video search by Yahoo

The best search tool today for videos is Yahoo video search! I just love it and it could be useful for you too!

A search gives you visual images and in several cases a possibility to review the content. An additional plus is that Yahoo seems to pick up different content compared to other search engines. Refreshing!

I made a search for colgadas/tango so you can check. Don't you agree?


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tools: YouTube speed control is on!

It is working most often in FACEBOOK.... (?)

Speed control is working again!
Update 2013 November

It seems to work on some videos but not for all (I use Chrome)

You maybe need to load a HTML5 player 
Right click when you are on a video and you get the choices, take the HTML5 line
(YouTube layout will look the same, as allways, after the download!)

This video seems to be working - you can test on it

(original posting August 2013)
YouTube has activated a speed control function for Chrome  and for Firefox!
and I maybe need to add at my area

        You get acces to the menu by clicking on the 5th icon from right - yes, the round one.

One of my computers had difficulties to return to normal speed but when I clicked another quality level it was released and I could wiew the dance in normal speed.

I notised for some months ago that YouTube was experimenting with this menu but it did not work for me and the browser I was on that moment. Great that they managed to compleet the job now!

A friend informed me about an opt-in trial of HTML5 video on YouTube with possibility to watch the videos in a new player instead of the Flash player

http://www.youtube.com/html5   and choose to use the html5-videoplayer.

2013 -08-14           
It is off again - maybe too much difficulties still . . . .

I am curious to know how this project is proceeding - YouTube maybe is releasing it for different regions separately!
Could you please put a note about how it is for you!
Would be appreciated!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Double standards or what it could be?

I am quite puzzled about the two standards applied on musicians and dancers on a tango pista in some circles.

Many of the old orchestra members had classical, long education and professional career behind them when they entered the tango scene. My musically educated friends are coming every now and then, telling about the wonders they have found in the music: Those men were so genius! they knew the rules! they were so creative!

They were not fiddlers who learned just by playing!

Yes, those musicians are at real equal level only with the professional dancers, performers, but still - Why should the preferred state for the amateur tango dancers of today be an uneducated mind, untrained body, who learned by dancing in a milonga?

I do not know the education level for these old milongueros, but many of the newcomers in tango have a lot of education and academic degrees.  I think their background does have impact on their relationship to tango and for them it includes more formal learning and education activities. That's the way we relate to new things, we want to study them!

The world has become more complicated too! If you wanted to take a walk at 60's or 70's or earlier you just went out and took a walk. Today it is much more elaborate process. You need to think of your shoes, clothing, technique and devices. When I made a search for Nordic walk, ONE of the walking techniques, I got 48.000 hit on youtube and I think thousands of them are relevant. Why would tango activities stay outside of this trend?

So the main questions here are:

How can real, true music performance include education, training, performing, admiration of the audience and still be moving and true? But in the same time the dancer is losing the authenticity, by training or seeking the applause and appreciation from the audience or peers?

Or have the times changed so even an amateur dancer have right to train her/his body and mind and still be a true dancer?


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Social tango

I am getting more and more uncomfortable with the mixed use of words *Social Tango* describing a way of dancing AND a social attitude.

On web and in real life discussions, the social tango refers to close/quite close embrece, certain kind of steps, caminatas central position and so on. It includes the idea that this kind of dancing is the only one caring about the others. This way of dancing is called for social tango including the idea that tango nuevo (put in here any large steps and/or open embrace.. ) never could be social tango, where dancers are enjoying the music and caring about the other dancers.

In future I try to separate these things and as a starting point it could be something like this

professional dancer - amateur dancer
Most of the time social dancer term could be used about all kinds of amateur tango dancers.

social tango - performance
All tango dancing on your day off together with your old or new friends! and of course when you are dancing on a pista is the social one.

There is several sets of rules making the dancing enjoyable for us all, but more thinking is needed about it; do I want to put the rules together with the idea of the social tango?  Isn't social tango more defined by place, number of participants, degree of profession for the moment or similar facts?

Post script
In everyday language the *Social Tango* is understood to involve some of salogn - villa urquisa - milonguero way of movements, but I would like to have a more wide range of members in tangofamily.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gangnam style

Are you one of the millions of Gangnam Style fans?  and maybe you even know that Gangnam is a city district in Seoul, South Korea. But you maybe didn't yet know that Gangnam has a connection to tango too, Yes it has, because Gangnam-gu is the place for Seoul Tango festival in May.

I should have gone much earlier! but May 2012 was my first visit to South Korea. It is a lovely period for traveling on this peninsula. Wether is warm but not hot or humid and during my tree weeks in the country I had only one rainy day!
But now to dance  ==>>

Gangnam Dance Hall
My first milonga was the one on Friday night - 4th of May. The venue is a dance hall even on the other nights and mostly for other dances. Many of the routines were the same in Seoul as at home!  You could se the couples and singles with shoe bags walking to same direction as you, at the wellcoming table you name and ticket were checked and your signature was requested here as well as other places in the world. The only and wonderful difference was that the delicious buffet included in the milonga price. People were sitting at round tables and eating a bite every now and then.

This night I talked with the visitors from Japan, China, Honkong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, a few from Europe, Russian and some of them were here for tenth time.

The most fascinating thing was that my capeceo was understood even if it was the first time for these followers to dance with a femail leader.

Please enjoy  a waltz together with me .....

Click here!

Click here!

SC Convention Gangnam
The Saturday milonga was at a larger venue and I had some difficulties to find there. A friendly young man in a sports car gave me a ride to the place after finding the instructions on his GPS navigator.

There was food again ! highly apprciated after wandering around in the night

Maybe a milonga this time ... ?

Click here!

Click here!

Here you find my earlier posting and portal about the Argentine and Asian performers!

Some more information about Gangnam - Gu

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beginner vs. World champion match

I know very few followers who have continuously, daily training as the strategy to become better dancer. Most followers take courses every now and then and consider the dances with more advanced leaders as their main strategy.

Think of a tennis court where a world champion is playing with a beginner. Yes, his skill makes it possible to return all the balls and if he is a nice person, he can drop some of them to create a friendly atmosphere. His skill makes it also possible to place the balls so they are easy for the beginner to return.

The situation is totally different for these two. The beginner is amazed that she is able to play with the world champion and she thinks she is really good, playing with all her capacity. For the champion this is not so much about skill training, playing at the edge of his ability, but about caring, to be nice.
The biggest issue here for me is the situation when she returns to the same tennis court, but this time with another beginner. The match is totally different and it is easy to explain the difference by pointing this new playmate to 10 levels lower stage ( incorrectly). This kind of false idea of your own level creates difficulties in learning and you maybe get to the partnering stage later.

Partnering stage is (for me) when both are playing/dancing at the edge of their skill without compensation from the other, mutually exploring new things.

*This posting is a responce to a specific situation for followers but some parts could be valid for leaders too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

QQS in milonga and tango

For me the Quick Quick Slow or a double step pattern in tango is different compared to the same pattern in milonga. Or more exactly - the process we create the QQS is the same but the time values for our steps are different. I am reasoning like this:

The bar below is a 4/4 kind of measure - as you can see there is B1,  B2,  B3 and B4. In tango we normally step on B1 and B3 and we get a calm and peacefull caminata. (One box is 1/16 so 4 of them are 4/16 = 1/4) 

Tango: Measure I

To create more action we can do a double step, a Quick step, by dividing our ordinary step to two. By using B1, B2 and B3 we get our double time-step and a feeling of change and urgency. The boxes above present also a time value so we get following numbers

Quick:  a-d = 4 boxes =>  4/16 or 1/4
Quick:   e-h = 4 boxes => 4/16 or 1/4
Slow :   i-p  = 8 boxes =>  8/16 or 1/2

Milongas musical structure can vary but here we focus on steps and what happends when we split a step to two. In the green bar you find the red boxes indicating the accents in music and the steps you take in basic milonga. When your foot hits the floor at B1, the other foot will do the same on B2. Here we need to move some faster or make the steps shorter than in tango!

 Milonga: Measure I                                                                Measure II

When we devide our ordinary step in milonga we will put down our feet on B1, C and B2. We could also write it like a, c and e. Our numbers looks like this

Quick: a-b = 2 boxes => 2/16 or 1/8
Quick: c-d = 2 boxes => 2/16 or 1/8
Slow : e-h = 4 boxes => 4/16 or 2/8

If you compared the QQS above for tango and milonga you find the difference in time, don't you!

QQS have a timely difference even between the tangos going in different speed as well as for milongas in different speed. But we can still keep the formula!