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Showing posts from August, 2010

Argentine Tango is Dead

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Not my headline - as you can see! This comes from the Washington Post of 1920 - it seems the 'middle-aged dancers' had taken over the dance floor - now that would never do! Seems the men had to be told where to put their hands! and whatever happened to the schottische? in fact what is it?
The full story reads...

London, Aug 28. — The Argentine tango, which has been dying since 1914, got its last jolt today, when Maj. Cecil Taylor, president of the Imperial Society of Dance Teachers Congress, pronounced it dead. Fashionable dances next season will be a new and thoroughly reconstructed tango, the fox-trot, the one-step l’Italienne and the Spanish schottische. Simplicity in movement is the basis of these dances. The ‘hip hold’ is barred.
“The tendency of the modern dance is for simplicity in movement,” said Maj Taylor. “There must be quietness in style. No stunts are wanted. L’Italienne is a waltz in a new theme and the Spanish schottische resembles a fox trot, but it is slower.…

Moving to Buenos Aires

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Have you considered moving to Buenos Aires where you can tango amongst the milongueros every night of the week, take classes with your favourite teachers, listen to the music of the best tango orchestras in the world and make new friends in the tango mecca?  Many have. After all an Australian pension goes much further in Buenos Aires and if you can live without Sydney's beaches (I couldn't) and your family (I couldn't do that either) and if you are totally fed up with our political system given the weekend election debacle - it seems very attractive.
Cherie hails from Los Angeles and has lived in Buenos Aires for a number of years where she teaches tango and writes about her passion.... this has been her life and she has gone through numerous bureaucratic wrangles in order to stay there. But her latest blog posting is enough to make anyone who is considering making Buenos Aires home, think twice. The Argentinos are currently discouraging Aussies from coming and going from …

A fine and dandy Festival

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If like me you missed the Milongueando Festival that has just finished in Buenos Aires you'll enjoy reading Jenny Wood's account. Jenny is one of the principals of Sydney school Tango Encanto and  this year she accompanied a group of Aussies to this unique festival that celebrates the Milongero. Taking place over a week at the beautiful Mansion Dandi Royal Hotel in San Telmo - which I was privileged to have a tour of earlier this year - this intimate festival is fast becoming a must for those who love the tango of the milongueros.
You can read Jenny's account here - and, if like me, it is top of your must-do's for tango you will want to watch out for next year's festival. Maybe I'll see you there!
I took these photos in the Dandi Royal in April.

She ain't heavy - she's my partner

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My partner suffers from back pain - and sometimes also from shoulder pain - and he is not alone. I have spoken to other men who have these problems - and there are many, young and old. About 1 in 10 people will experience shoulder pain in their lives according to Arthitis Victoria - and dancers, with gymnasts, are high up in the group of people who will experience back pain. When a man tells me he doesn't dance as much as he would like to because so many of the women can't hold their balance, or are heavy, then it does not surprise that dancers have a high incidence of back - and shoulder - pain. The diagram, left, from Tango and Chaos in Buenos Aires (a fascinating website) - shows how bad posture affects a man's lower back - holding the head forward is just as painful as bending the back. In yoga we are told to stand in tadasana and pretend a string from the top of our head is pulling us gently towards the ceiling... and in tango maintaining this posture is the way to av…

What a difference a man makes

Last night (Thursday) I went dancing for the first time in about 10 days - health problems - and so I was very pleased to be able to go to one of my favourite venues. Copacabana in Bondi Junction is a basement venue that is used by salsa, zumba and zouk groups on other nights and often has a sticky floor. Last night is was clean and not crowded. It is a really friendly crowd, and friendly hosts - and the music is Golden Age. There are rarely swoopers or those who dance like helicopters and mostly people follow line of dance! I enjoyed dancing with a number of men (it also had even numbers of men and women, not common in Sydney) and it was great to dance precisely and musically with one of my a friends I shall call Taffy, to dance with a young Argentinian who feels the music and tests his partner and the floor, to milonga with a tall young man who threw in a few interesting moves that I didn't always quite follow and to waltz with  the Silver Fox. Every man has his style and women …

Gorgeous venue, inspiring music

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Sydney tango band, Fuego Blanco, performed with renewed passion at the gorgeous Victoria Room on Sunday night. Accompanied by their teacher, bandeonista Maggie Ferguson, the band showed that their short stay in Buenos Aires just a few weeks ago, had given them a great insight into tango music as it is danced! Their phrasing accompanied by their fine technical skills made it a night to remember. This is the third time they have performed at this venue which is in the heart of Sydney's Kings Cross and up some dark stairs. It is decorated as one imagines a Victorian drawing room may have been with comfy chairs and chaise lounges, bamboo curtains, table lamps, carpets, plush booths and dining settings. We enjoyed an excellent selection of tapas, washed down with some good pinot - my only disappointment was that I couldn't persuade the rest of our table to indulge in a chocolate fondue (next time!!). An evening such as this makes a change from the 'usual' Sydney milonga whi…

Sydney's clever tanguera

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A few years ago - and it can't be many because she is very young - a beautiful and talented young lady (and that she is) joined the Australian tango scene as a beginner. Of course she instantly caught the eye of the men and she could have taken a few lessons and continued to be asked to dance, but she has taken it further. She has fallen completely and totally in love with the dance and the music. She has taken many classses, practised and immersed herself in the music to the point that she is now DJing at a weekly milonga. Now she has started to write a blog all about tango - and she does it very well. (This is not meant to sound patronising, as a magazine editor for 20 years I saw some awful unedited copy and her copy is excellent).
Her latest post is about the escapism of tango - and she uses the waltz 'Desde El Alma' to illustrate her point. It helps considerably that she speaks fluent Spanish, but the point she makes about tango being an escape from life is so true. I…

A great band but what about the playlist

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Last night Fuego Blanco Sydney's youngest and most enthusiastic tango orchestra performed for Sydneysiders to dance to. And they did an admirable job. Just back from Buenos Aires where they continued their studies with the Escuela de Tango they played music that was enjoyable to dance to. When they played Piazzolla's Libertango they acknowledged that it wasn't a piece many liked to dance to, but they played it with a passion that kept the dance floor moving and won them applause. I can't wait to hear them again next Sunday at the Victoria Room.
There is tango to dance to, tango to listen to and tango for those who ride in lifts! The first is the tango that dancers want to hear - and there is a wealth of music from the Golden Age of tango music. Generally thought of as the period from the mid 1930s to the end of the 1940s, dozens of orchestras performed and recorded the the tango music that was being danced in the milongas around Buenos Aires.  In the past two decades …