Thursday, May 5, 2016

May Tango...

Check out the May newsletter for news on local and international tango events... and some great gigs coming up. Not to be missed the performance this Sunday at Camelot Lounge in Marrickville with Orquesta Tipica Tangalo! This is a fabulous group of young people with a passion for playing tango music with all the nuances of the great tango orchestras of Argentina and Uruguay. Their music is for dancing as well as listening. If you haven't heard them before, you are in Sydney and you can tear yourself away from your Mother's Day lunch, this is a special treat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Confiteria Ideal closes down

We have heard that Confiteria Ideal, the famous milonga and tango venue in the heart of Buenos will close at the beginning of April 2016. A place steeped in history and tango it is visited by tango lovers and tourists, but not in the numbers it once was. While it is to be hope that it is renovated and re-opened we can only wait and see. This video made over 10 years ago includes interviews with famous milongueros: Gerardo Portalea, Javier Rodriguez & Geraldine Rojas, Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Puppy Castello. Produced by BBC Four, aired on Friday 8 April 2005 11.05pm-12.20am; Tuesday 12 April 11pm-12.10am Interviews with famous milongueros: Gerardo Portalea, Javier Rodriguez & Geraldine Rojas, Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Puppy Castello. Produced by BBC Four, aired on Friday 8 April 2005 11.05pm-12.20am; Tuesday 12 April 11pm-12.10am

Monday, February 29, 2016

Juan Carlos Copes and Maria Nieves Rego - their tango story

'Our Last Tango' is about to be released nationally, but Sydneysiders can get in early at the Casula Powerhouse Film Festival. On Friday March 4 they will show the documentary about two tango dancers who have had a huge impact on the dance and it's international standing.
The film's promotion reads: "María Nieves Rego (80) and Juan Carlos Copes (83) met as teenagers, and danced together for nearly fifty years. Now, Juan and María are willing to open up about their love, their hatred, and their passion. Our Last Tango bridges the gap between generations, as Juan and Maria tell their story to a group of young tango dancers and choreographers from Buenos Aires, who transform the most beautiful, moving and dramatic moments of Juan and Maria’s lives into incredible tango-choreographies."
Find out about the screening at the Casula Powerhouse here
National screenings:
Cinema Nova 
Palace Chauvel 
New Farm Cinemas 
Palace Nova Eastend 
Luna Cinemas Leederville 
State Cinema Hobart 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tango Translations

I have just discovered a new blog... TangoTranslations.
The words of tango songs are for many of us for whom Spanish is not our native language, a mystery. If you are not fluent it is the singer's voice, not the words, that you remember. This is a blog with a difference, it is actually telling you something about the songs and the orchestras, as well as giving a translation.
Read the post on Pugliese to find out more about this photo...they all look very happy about something!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tango as a beautiful dance

This wonderful compilation of clips from 1920s and 30s movies illustrates the simplicity, romanticism and sensuality of the Tango that time. They are dancing to 'Nuits Du Bresil' - I found it on Itunes played by The Tango Orchestra.  
This compilation includes clips from "Die Büchse der Pandora", "Her Majesty, Love", "Abwege" and "Prix de Beauté". You will notice the beautiful Louise Brooks dancing in a bridal veil from the film 'Pandora's Box' - and she is dancing with a woman, this was one of the first films to openly show lesbian attraction! 
Notice there is no bumping into other dancers, pushing in, high kicking, stepping backwards into line of dance or stopping - admittedly these are movie clips, but they have a naturalness about them that seems to indicate they were not choreographed to within an inch of their lives.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Alberto Podestà 1924-2015

Alberto Podestà was born Alejandro Washington Ale in Buenos Aires in September 1924 - he died on December 24, 2015 leaving behind a legacy of tango songs that will not be forgotten. He sang at venues around Buenos Aires right into his last decade  -with his death goes one of the last connections with  greatest tango orchestras from the Golden Age.  This interview was recorded with  Podestà at the Chicago Tango Festival in 2009.

Podestà began his career as a tango singer as a very young man, with Miguel Calò and recorded his first tracks under the name of Juan Carlos Morel because there were other singers with the same surname and Calo did not want confusion!
One night when he was singing at the Singapur cabaret, Podestà was approached one night by Di Sarli's agent - he was not yet 18!  It was Di Sarli who decided that he would be called Alberto Podestà - according to one account.
You can read  a tribute to Podestà on Keith Elshaw's website Tango Restorations.

I spent some time trying to find a video of Podestà singing with either Calò's orchestra or Di Sarli's but I was unsuccessful... in the end I chose this one because I love the song!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

La Ronda - or's my spot

Last night I danced at one of my all time favourite milongas - Tango Entre Amigos at Marrickville - on the occasion of their 14th birthday. I have been dancing there since they began. Maybe I didn't quite make it to their first milonga (I don't have any records) but I have certainly been going since their early days!
They are blessed with one of the biggest and best floors in town. Other floors have come and gone (under the auctioneer's or demolisher's hammer, or into the developer's pockets) but Marrickville has stayed.
Over the years the floor has become more crowded, but not to the point where one could compare it with Buenos Aires. And just as well because Sydney/Australian dancers cannot dance in a small space as can the portenos. In fact some of them cannot dance in a big space! Hence this illustration, which I just found on FB.
Last night was no exception. During one tanda my partner and I danced behind Mr "you are here". He must have seen this diagram before the milonga because that was his answer... in almost the same words "not going anywhere"... when my partner asked him to keep the line of dance moving. Floorcraft is called that because it is a craft... you need to be good at the craft so that everyone enjoys the dance not just Mr "you are here" and his partner. Sadly I do not think Sydney teachers and workshop leaders make enough of la ronda. But then maybe it would do no good. Many Sydney dancers dance like they drive... without a thought for anyone else on the floor!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What (Not) to Wear when Dancing Tango

I originally posted this in October 2011!! It is still happening, though not as much by our 'celebrity' dancers who are now mostly wearing beautiful elegant dresses that complement the dance. 

Could someone tell me why the short tight club dress is being worn for tango performances? Perhaps they could also explain why some tangueras dress as if they are doing a latin ballroom performance, or even worse are working as a nightclub entertainer? Dresses that look as though they are held together by safety pins, or there is so little of them that not much is left to the imagination, detract from the performance.
And this is not just the opinion of  an older woman. The men around me at the last performance where a little tube dress, not much bigger than a large headband, rode up the performer's legs until her crotch was visible, cringed. So unnecessary. She was a very attractive woman with a superb partner, she did not need to wear such a dress. She also found herself hitching up the top part and tugging down the hem at the end of the first performance - not a good look!
A few nights before we had witnessed a performance by another tanguera wearing a similar dress - so tight that it looked like she had grown into it - and also tugging at it to keep it in place at the end of her performance.
Some tangueras wear tight, short, tube dresses to milongas  - perfect for a night clubbing - unattractive on the milonga floor.
A beautiful tango performance deserves a beautiful dress. A beautiful dress flows with the performer, it allows for elegant high voleos, it doesn't end just below her bottom and it isn't so skimpy over the torso that it leaves nothing to the imagination.
Elegance is worth aspiring to at any time - especially when you are presenting yourself to the tango community as a performer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A weekend of sublime tango music in Sydney

Almost a Festival of live tango music, Sydneysiders will be treated to two nights of fabulous local musicians playing the music they love for those who love to dance. Not to be missed.

Friday 30th October Fuego Blanco with Maggie Ferguson at the Gran Milonga

Fuego Blanco with bandoneonista Maggie Ferguson feature at the Gran Milonga at Petersham Town Hall Members of Fuego Blanco, Kate Agostino, Isabella Brown, Annie Gard and Annie Zhang have studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of NSW.
The group has been together for 6 years and began to play tango under the mentorship of Maggie Ferguson. They have studied in Buenos Aires with German Martinez and Ignacio Varchausky and have performed at the Resonate Festival in Canberra, the National Folk Festival and with the Tango y Nada Mas Production in Sydney in 2013.
 Organised by Tango Synergy and Tango Conca.
DJ :Fabian Conca of Tango Conca and Tango Entre Amigos
Petersham Town Hall 107 Crystal Street, Petersham
8pm to midnight
Book online

Tangalo will play on 31st October at Bexley RSL for the Sydney Tango Milonga 

 Formed in 2011 by Emily-Rose Šarkova and Owen Salomé, Tángalo grew from a desire to create a greater awareness of tango culture in Australia, and a fierce desire to see more tango-dancing to live tango-music.
The group has performed in numerous Australian festivals including 2013 Made in Argentina Festival, Buenos Aires in the Southern Highlands, Tango in the Spring and the 2012, 2013 & 2014 National Folk Festivals. It's Halloween - so if getting in a spooky mood takes your fancy make the most of it!
 DJ: Anthony Miller of Tango Spirit
 Bexley RSL, 24 Stoney Creek Road, Bexley
8pm to midnight
Cost $25
To book or find out more

Sat. 31st Oct "Lady Sings the Tango" 

The melancholy passion of the tango singer is ubiquitous with tango. In the fine tradition of women tango singers through the ages, Nadia Piave, much loved by Sydney audiences, will guide us on a journey through the labyrinth of emotions evoked by the tango song.   Performing alongside her will be Tango Paradiso, considered one of Australia’s best and most established tango bands.
Tango Paradiso also features the acclaimed South American pianist Daniel Rojas (winner of October’s Limelight magazine CD of the month); accordionist  Michael Kluger; world music specialist violinist Adam Wasiel; composer performer violinist with Elektra String Quartet, New England Quartet and Sydney Symphony, Romano Crivici; flautist Carla Thackrah, ex principal flute with the Australian Opera, Sydney Symphony and talented young bassist and tango specialist Bella Brown
Foundry 616
616 Harris St Ultimo
 Tickets and details:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Osvaldo Cartery - a great milonguero

It is with great sadness that we announce that  Osvaldo Cartery, husband of Coca, died October 9 2015.  He was 77. 
Winners of the Salon World Tango Championship in 2004, Osvaldo and his wife Luisa Ines Cartery were much more than tango champions, for many they embodied the tango of the golden times.  In the early days of my tango journey I went to Buenos Aires twice, to the World Tango Festival, and was very lucky to watch Osvaldo and Coca dance and to learn from them . 

Osvaldo and Coca dancing earlier this year at a Festival in Armenia.

and to a very clean recording of Francisco Canaro's 'Tormenta' with singer Ernesto Fama.

This interview, in two parts, with both of them took place in 2010. There is much to learn and enjoy from these two interviews, so I recommend taking the time to watch them.

If you do a Youtube search you will find many tributes in Buenos Aires over the last few days to this much-loved milonguero. He will be sorely missed.