Tag Archives: fantasia

Arguments 2

Well I asked for it and I got it. I want to thank John for his very comprehensive answers; obviously he has thought deeply about the subject and is not just answering at an emotional level. So I think that it deserves a good answer.

Tango, it is true is a dance that evolves with time and as I have also said, no two milongueros do the same dance.

Exploration has its value, without it the dance will just become fixed and in the end we will just have a boring set of steps. There must however be rules, ok we can stretch the limits; rules after all were made to be broken.

Where we seem to be disagreeing is on the definition of Nuevo Tango. Let me be quite clear, Nuevo has time and again been defined by teachers and aficionados as a style designed to be cinematic, it must by its very nature be danced open and large, because to be seen, is its raison de etre.

Talk of Fantasia as a different style I think is pointless, Fantasia is show tango, Nuevo is designed for the cinema, I think differences are largely academic.

Modern tango does not need to be either large or choreographed. If you talk of dancing the music, following the line of dance and connecting with your partner, then you are not talking of Nuevo tango as I mean it. This I think is where we differ in opinion, a good tango teacher will incorporate all these things in the dance, whatever he/ she calls himself, but if you learn to dance socially you are not learning Nuevo.

John spoke of teaching in Chester; I did not quite follow his meaning, so if I do not answer him fully perhaps he could comment again. (Please do any way). 

At one time (to my knowledge anyway) there were four teachers offering Argentine tango in Chester, and the range of their teaching shows the confusion that there is; We had one teaching from a ballroom syllabus, one teaching pure choreographed fantasia one teaching salon and one who did not know which side of the fence he sat on. There may well have been others who I was not aware of and I am sure there will be others to come.

Of the London scene I know little, except what I have read. I was last in that scene in 1997 so I suspect it, like everywhere has changed somewhat, hopefully for the better.

Tango in the UK is starting to come of age, of that I have no doubt. The quality of the teachers has improved a thousand fold since we first started in the ninety’s, there are still poor teachers out there and there are good ones, just how anyone new to this will know the difference I cannot tell you , I just hope it does not take them too long.

The problem of course is that for many in Buenos Aires, tango teaching is seen as a way out of poverty. There is no qualification or other way of telling if any of these “teachers” actually can teach or even dance tango at all. I have seen some very poor teachers who come from Argentina, and just because they are from Buenos Aires does not mean the know tango. In saying this, I truly believe that the reverse is not true; you cannot know tango without knowing Buenos Aires.

That is where I draw my knowledge from, I don’t claim to be the best tango dancer in the world, but the time I have spent there has at least equipped me to be able to tell when things are not right.

So while it is, I think, necessary to have at least been to milongas in Buenos Aires this alone should not be taken as a sign of good teaching. Likewise whatever the teacher, do not accept a whole sequence of moves as true tango. Tango is an improvised dance; it is basically a folk dance, a dance of the people, a social event. When it becomes performance orientated it is no longer tango.

You cannot say that Nuevo is bad dancing; anything that gets people out and away from their televisions has to be good, but Fantasia should not come into the milongas. There are places where this can be danced and places where they social dance, mixing them up only causes bad feelings.

So in summary, while I agree with everything John said about teaching, I cannot agree on the definition of Nuevo. What you consider Nuevo is tango with a modern twist, not what is defined as Nuevo by all the experts (or by me though I do not claim to be one of the experts). Of course we could get into a very similar argument about who are tango experts, on this I note the wikipedea definition of Nuevo Tango, which states it is anything from the eighties onward and not a style at all….. (A North.American article by the way not Argentine)

If you accept this definition then I suppose I must agree with John, this I of course is the dichotomy, as there is no written definition we will always argue about it. Perhaps I should replace the word Nuevo with fantasia in future.

Finally I have to say I like and enjoy the company of both John and Anna whenever we meet, I hope that no one thinks our on line arguments mean we are not friends.

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Bad Night

I am finding this post particularly difficult to write, as last nights class did not go well for me.

I am at the moment suffering from a cold, not making excuses, but it may help to explain why I was not on top form.

At the start of the beginners, Viv and I joined and took partners on opposite sides of the room. This way we would mix with the most people. We begin just walking to the music, but it is when we partner up the problems start.

In the Milongas of Buenos Aires the good dancers overtake on the outside pushing the beginners and fantasia dancers into the middle. Why on earth I started doing this in an absolute beginners class I have no idea, Sharon was quickly there admonishing me, and rightly so. ChastenedI rejoined the class unfortunately just in front of Viv, so that the next change put us back together. Now while I enjoy dancing with my wife, doing a beginners class together is somewhat pointless. Sharon soon found some first timers for us to help.

In the intermediate class, things did not go well for me either. When asked to help demonstrate what we were doing, I simply did not understand what was wanted of me, not yet having led these steps, in front of a class was not the place to practice.

OK there was nothing that I should not have been able to do, but I have this problem with routine, I cannot simply do anything in a set order unless pre rehearsed. I improvise, and while this works in the dance, it is no good for demonstrating to a class.

As the evening went on I had more and more problems, and I do not know if it was because I felt rough, or was I just having a bad day, or perhaps more likely, because Mr Big had his ego deflated.

Next week I must work nights, so I will not be at the Monday class. I hope to see everyone in a fortnight, hopefully back on form.

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Filed under Dance Venues and Schools

Happy New Year

First let me apologise for being a day late, but I wanted to include Dave Bassett’s party in my post.

We brought the new year in at The Memorial Hall Wrexham. Steve, who had organised the occasion was on top form. The group who normally attend these socials are not the easiest to please, but we never heard one complaint.

Steve again brought out his trumpet and gave us a blast, not having tried myself, I can only give the opinions of others, who tell me that to play the keyboard and trumpet at the same time requires some skill. All I know is that we love it and we want more.

New Years day evening is always a bit flat, and so it was nice for once to be invited to Shrewsbury again for a House Milonga. Dave Bassett had invited a few tangueros for an evening of dancing.

He, like most of us completely hooked ones, has a room dedicated to dancing. I was impressed with the technology he had, as well as the obvious sound system, he had a projector screen covering one wall and one of those back lit televisions on the other, and while we danced we were treated to tango videos from Youtube.

The group from Shrewsbury is starting to develope into a knowlegable and friendly group, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Dave. He has a battle on his hands though as the, neo, nuevo, show dance, fantasia, whatever you choose to call it faction, is still in evidence and seem determined to take over.

I will be keeping an eye on the Shrewsbury scene and Dave in particular through the coming year ( as best the distance and my work allows) because with the enthusiasm that is there, I am sure that it will grow and grow.

Prospero Año Nuevo a todos.

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