While new interviews & articles are being prepared here are some inspirations for you to unleash creative energy and imagination - paint your tree in lossom :)! *** TIP: if you don't have a blossoming tree around, you can paint from a picture (browse flickr or google images for the most inspiring one! *** SEND US your pictures!! we'd be happy to publish them! - through a draw 1 chosen artist will get a gift! :) *** Experiment with various media! *** Here we go!
We are happy to start collaboration with Pepa Palazón and her wonderful program "Tengo una pregunta para vos" (Eng: "I have a question to you").
Enjoy the interview with MIGUEL ÁNGEL ZOTTO who will share how he started dancing, and his thoughts on teaching and dancing tango (can we systematize how to teach tango? what are the most important movements? how should one lead, do giros, ochos...) and some other things. (Interview is in Spanish & English)
Call for volunteer translators:
Pepa and TangoDancersBlog is looking for volunteer translators to help translating (transcribing) interviews from Spanish to English. Please contact us or Pepa directly if you are interested in contributing to both projects. Translators will get a credit for their work.
Demo video for the film about Solo Tango Orquesta was just uploaded to FB and Youtube. Please LIKE & SHARE and hope it will inspire people to support the project. *** That video has some footage which was taken in Buenos Aires. There is much more to capture and research. All short films will be dynamic, fun, with creative and experimental elements and we hope it will be interesting for both tango and non-tango audience. *** SUPPORT us & get gifts! & stay tuned with the news.
TangoDancers Blog will be publishing occasional reviews on tango, music and cultural events. Every review article will express subjective impressions. We respect both efforts of artists/organizers and opinions of writers/ participants.
Bajofondo, formerly known as Bajofondo Tango Club, is an Argentine-Uruguayan tango fusion collective led by Grammy-winning producer Gustavo Santaolalla. Bajofondo fuses acoustic tango with electronic music in a contemporary style representative of the Rio de la Plata music scene in the 21st century. Bajofondo is touring 78 cities in the U.S. this year--including D.C.'s infamous 9:30 Club--to promote it's newest album, Presente.
BAJOFONDO - SECRET MISSION
Jessica Zappia for Tango Dancers Blog
Bajofondo leader, Gustavo Santaolalla, spoke only once during the hour and a half concert in Washington, D.C. He introduced no band members, mentioned no names, and gave no thanks. He simply announced that in the city of secrets, Bajofondo has a not-so-secret mission – “to dance!” This of course made me and my fellow tangueros shout in approval. But there were others shouting for glee as well, because while only ten percent of the audience danced the tango, everyone can dance to Bajofondo. I admit that as a tanguera, I was oblivious to the presence of non-tango dancers at the 9:30 Club venue. However, the reality is that Bajofondo has survived on its non-tango fan base. The band even acknowledged its non-tango audience by changing its name from Bajofondo Tango Club to Bajofondo in 2008. And judging by the sounds of the newest album, the band will continue to appeal to a diverse fan base.
Over a third of the 21 songs from the DC concert were from the much-anticipated new Presente album. While critiqued as less “danceable” by local tangueros, this new album is a sign that Bajofondo is exploring, changing, and growing. No band can survive without evolving at least a little bit. This current evolution reminds me of rock music in a very electronica kind of way. More lyrics, and more sequences/djsets. Not surprising for an award winning Latin rock producer and film composer like Gustavo Santaolalla.
But beyond Santaolalla, on the stage, Bandoneonista Martin Ferres has always been the rock star and center of attention. He plays his instrument as both a musical and theatrical tool. He hops up and down on his right leg, so much so that you can see a noticeable difference in his left and right calf muscles through his skinny jeans. But Presente highlights the other members of the band in a fun way, through instrument swaps and vocals. Particular highlights from Presente included drummer Adrian Sosa doing vocals while violinist Javier Casalla covered the drums on Cuesta Arriba. The surprising role switch captivated me. I seemed to pay more attention to them now that they were playing “foreign” instruments.
On Olvidate, video jockey Veronica Loza projected the lyrics on the screen behind the band. Genius. This resulted in a full 9:30 Club sing along. Not a very tango-like approach, but very rock band-esque. And I loved it. In fact, many of the Presente album choruses were easy sing-alongs, winning my concert affection as I swayed and sang along. As if that weren’t enough, the lighting crew and Veronica created a stormy wet ambience to soak us in the song Lluvia and immerse us in the new album.
Exploring, changing, growing – I’m a fan. I’m along for the ride. But this is my confession as a tanguera: my favorite song on the new album is La Trufa y El Sifon, the song that probably most resembles their previous albums. I understand the need to evolve, but I sincerely hope that tango will continue to be a strong and present influence in future albums. Ultimately, whatever strange and wonderful influences drove the creation of Presente, Bajofondo accomplished its mission: TO DANCE.
© Jessica Zappia / Tango Dancers Blog
How important is embrace and posture for enjoying dancing Argentine tango? Most dancers will agree that it's one of the first key elements to master.
Here is a video class from Sebastian Arce & Mariana Monte.
... and also see below an article on posture from the Tango Breath blog.
If you know some great videos and articles regarding this topic and other basics of tango, feel free to drop us a message or recommend in the comment to the relevant post. Thank you & enjoy your dance!
Dance as if noone is watching... You are born to be free!...
Loie Fuller was one of the founders of Serpentine Dance. Here is an article about her.
It's interesting to notice how background music affects the dance. Originally silent films did not have a soundscore of course, however in each theatre there might be different music played by piano.
PS: let us know if you know for sure who is in the video (as comments say, it might be other dancers imitating Loie).
A short documentary about Loie Fuller's influence on American modern dance.
Loie Fuller 1902 - Segundo de Chomon, a short film.
This version is pretty bold, put to a much less romantic (peaceful) music.
Another beautiful version...
While we are preparing more interviews & materials for the blog, here is a MILONGA class from FLACO DANY for you. Flaco Dany probably does not need any introduction, a great teacher and wonderful person, he has gained worldwide acclaim especially for his unforgettable style of dancing milonga and has just celebrated 60 YEARS IN TANGO and is turning 77 this May!
Thank you to Lucia Mirzan for recording this beautiful video with milonga tips and stories about Dany's stories about Juan D'Arienzo, his own friendship with Gavito, and his love for Romanian music.
Photographers and media artists will be frequent guests at our blog and here is an interview with a young charming "dancing photographer" from Budapest, Hungary - Kinga Lakner.
© Interview by Tatiana Balashova
Slide show video by Kinga Lakner
T: Hi Kinga, Let’s start with the tango part of your life.
Q1: Where did you learn tango and who were you main instructors? What dancers inspired you?
This could be a looong list, as I have photographed quite a few tango couples in Argentina, Europe and home with whom I had a private lesson as well. The inspiration keeps changing, but just to name a few: Fausto and Stephanie, Juana Sepulveda, Anabella and Mario, Mariana Dragone, Andrea and Laszló from home..and many more .
Q2: Did you do any other dances, “bodywork” practices or sports before?
I danced flamenco for quite a while before tango and tried Aikido, Thai Chi a little bit, and lately I just started up with Lindy Hop. Other balance sports and Pilates have helped on the way too.
Q3: How did you life changed when you started dancing tango?
Oooh, a lot! More small travels in Europe, whereas before I would travel to far way places, many new friends whom I see occasionally, the way I view relationships now, opportunities to work with people anywhere in the world.. more diversity in many ways...
Q5: Is tango an addiction for you?
I would say more like a huge source for creativity and joy and of course a base to grow in many ways of my life …
Q5: When was the first time you tried taking pictures and what inspired you? What was your first camera?
I first started taking photos on a round-the-world trip in the Buddhist parts of South East Asia with a 1.9 megapixel Casio which had a very clever rotating body feature that I loved.
In those times I got inspiration from almost everything around me like cultures, patterns, landscapes, cats, kids… but slowly my attention was more and more focused on people, and especially on the eyes of people, which became a kind of trademark of my current photography.
Q6: Did you have any training in photography or mostly learned through practice? What helped you to develop your photographic style and how you can define it?
I have learnt everything through experimenting, trial-and-error and a great amount of curiosity.
I would say my photographic style is romantic with a huge emphasis on intimacy and inner beauty, and it was mainly shaped through my previous works as graphic and interior designer as well as studies in mathematics, psychology and of course my interaction with the everyday or tango people and the world around me.
Q7: Who are your favorite photographers? (In general and the ones who do dance and tango photography?) Are there any other artists that influenced your vision?
I greatly admire the work of Mario Testino, Alexi Lubomirski, Paolo Roversi, Robert Doisneau and many more in fashion and documentary photography, but other visual artists have also influenced me like painters, sculptors or dancers .. but I never really tried to consciously copy anyone, as I what I do is more instinctive I would say ..
In tango I appreciate the work of Ishka Michocka, Mathias Bertrand, Peter Forret.
Q8: What are your favorite genres in photography?
Fashion, portrait, beauty, tango.. or pretty much anything that is connected with creativity, intimacy and passion. There is a similar flow feeling in photography like in dancing, when you experience a great connection and I love that!
Q9: What equipment are you using (if you don’t mind sharing that information) and what are your favorite lenses? Do you prefer working with natural light or enjoy using studio lighting as well?
I like working both with studio lighting and natural light for different results and reasons but maybe my specialty is the use of natural light in a particular way.
Hence my favorite lenses are: a 50mm F1.4 and a 85mm F1.8 , they are from Canon but I have no preference for them, Nikon would also do it for me .
I currently use a very lightweight SLR, the Canon 550D, its compact enough to run around with it but in a studio work for a magazine cover I could just pick any camera I wish, which is a nice way to try out old and new cameras like a Hasselblad for example which I would never afford to buy for myself.
Q10: When did Argentine tango came into your life? How long have you been dancing tango and what inspired you to try it? When was the first time you realized that this dance can be something special for you (started enjoying tango ?
Actually photography had a part in it: After a break-up I discovered a video of Gotan Project with Juana Sepulveda and the lighting really caught my eyes as well as the movements and the subtle details of seduction. I also became intrigued by the beauty and difficulty of the connection between the two dancers and the music.
I actually really enjoyed dancing from the beginning. I loved the playing, the discoveries and the dances.. so I started to have more downs later on when I realized I had not enough technique or training to dance well, or was too impatient with my progress.
In the summer I will dance for about 3 years now and I must say I am very thankful to tango for learning so much about life, people and the relationship between man an woman.. and also for the great friends I got to know along the way!
Q11: Is it hard to combine taking pictures at tango events and dancing? How do you usually balance work and leisure?
No it's not hard at all! I love the combination, I like watching people to dance or enjoy themselves as well as getting lost myself in a dance.
Q12: What was the most unforgettable tango experienced you had and where it was?
I had many for different reasons, the first when I was just barely a beginner and the last I just had on my last tango marathon with a dancer I did not talked before. Great connection with the movement and music and playfulness with a kind of flow-like trance would describe it best.
Q13: What would you recommend aspiring photographers?
I once read an interview about the top fashion photographers that they are trying to achieve every day something new to develop what they did the day before .. and that after your first few thousand photos you start to take the good ones finally..
Q14: … Have you got any hobbies? … What do you enjoy doing in your free time? (apart from tango and photography)
I looove doing crazy and adventurous things like traveling, discovering far away places in tropical jungles and different cultures .. also snowboarding, surfing, or snorkeling and the like.. and to share precious time with some wonderful people.
Q15: Your plans for 2013? If you could work on any project anywhere you want, what would it be?
Photography will take me along many tango event in the first half of 2013, like Lyon, Budapest, Oslo, New York, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Rome, Hamburg, Berlin and who knows where else in the second part
My dream project is to work with one of my favorite photographer for a fashion shoot in NY and of course alone for some designer label :))
(interview continued below - blitz questions)
"Tango Moments" slide show by Kinga Lakner.
Tell us please what you like most:
- favorite tango music:
Jacinto Chiclana by Antonio Agri, or Troilo and many more.. basically the romantical ones I guess … Canaro, Di Sarli, Calo, Fresedo, Lomuto, Piazzola..
Singers: Roberto Goyeneche, Raul Beron .. Alberto Podesta, Hector Mauré..
Particular songs: Cicatriz, Pocas Palabras, Calle Corrientes, Viejo Ciego, Cascabelito…
- tango DJs:
Godoy, Florin, Caputo, Sab Fab SuperSabino, La Rubia, Katalin Czidor...
- non-tango music:
lots of jazz, maybe Chiquilin De Bachin by Adrián Iaies, or Fats Waller or Melody Gardot… swing... flamenco, world, soundtracks of films, Zaz, Buika, Ayo, Lura, Aerosmith...Mitsoura ... Soda estereo from argentina & others.
Gold with burgundy
- favorite flower?
- favorite dish / food
Thai Panang curry and Szilvásgombóc!
- what is your favorite movie / film?
(name a few if you want)
“Sky Burial”, “I shall wear midnight”, “Stranger in a strange land”, “Ender's game”, “The unbearable lightness of being”, “Hesse”, “Márai”, “Böszörményi”, “Ervin Lázár”, “Valley of Flowers”, “Indochine”, “L'amant”, “Night on Earth”, “La vita bella”, “5th element”, “Hamam”, “the legend of 1900”, etc...
- what place would you choose for a romantic trip?
Belize, Bali, Cuba
- what place would you live if you could live anywhere?
Paris, New York, Burma
- which animal would you like to be if you were an animal in your next life? :)
T: Thank you, Kinga, good luck with your New York trip and all the projects!
© Interview by Tatiana Balashova
THOMAS RIESER - Nou Tango Berlin (Germany)
Q1: Hi Thomas, thank you for agreeing to give this interview. Tell us please when did you first hear about Argentine tango and what inspired you to try that dance? Share your story.
- In 1998-2000 I did a training in movement education and therapy (Bothmer Gymnastik + Spatial Dynamics), and once a week we had dance lessons from a woman from Brazil, who especially liked Tango, lucky coincidence.
Q2: Where did you learn tango and who were you main instructors? What dancers inspired you?
- When I moved to Berlin in 2000 I took classes with Udo Hartmann, it was impossible to resist his overwhelmingly positive energy and love for the dance. In 2002-03 I studied a year abroad in California, where I met Homer Ladas. I learned a lot from him about the social aspects and the playfulness of Tango. In the past years I was very lucky to teach regular weekly classes with two outstanding partners: Gaia Pisauro and Sigrid van Tilbeurgh, whose research, knowledge and insights about Tango opened many doors for me. When I watch someone dance I want to be moved, taken away, it doesn’t matter so much to me what I see but much more how I feel when I see it. As an example: one of my favourite couples to watch like this are Mariángeles Caamaño and Bruno Tombari.
Q3: Do you remember your first milonga? Did anything surprised you about social tango, music and dancers? What stands out in the memory?
- I picked the wrong one, and really did not have the best time but somehow thought i need to get through this... I think I learned something important that first night though: Tango should (also) be fun, and if it isn't, maybe you picked the wrong place ;).
Q4: What music did you like most when you started?
Q5: Were you trying to master a particular “style” of dancing and how did that perception of social tango change with time?
- I was always taught a “social style”, it never changed
Q6: Did you do any other dances, “bodywork” practices or sports before? Ballroom? Flamenco? Martial arts? Figure skating? …
- when I was younger I did a lot of free climbing, but stopped after I had an accident in 1992
Q7: When did you start teaching and why? How did Nou Tango appeared and why did you choose that name for the school? …
- When I came back from California I had the strong urge to do something, not just talk and fantasize, but to actually go for it and take a risk. Together with a close friend of mine, a greek fellow, I opened Nou in 2004, as a space for art exhibitions, educational get-togethers and movement. The name comes from greek: “nous”, it is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, similar in meaning to intuition. In September 2004 I started the first regular weekly Tango class and Milonga at Nou. Out of everything we had envisioned for the space Tango was the one thing that really worked well –and that I liked most– so I kept doing it.
Q8: Tell us about your team and what events you are doing.
- the team grew organically throughout the years … after a year we added another day to the program, and after four years we opened a second venue, which we moved to a different location two years later, where we finally felt like “home”. 1,5 years ago I closed the venue where I had started in 2004 and now we are running “Nou Mitte” as our one and only location. Currently we are 18 teachers, some of them are part of Nou since 2005, others joined last year. What is important for me is that everyone involved has a unique motive and character, and that Nou is, so to say, a “mosaic” of different ideas and perspectives, all valid and all open-minded.
Nou hosts regular classes and workshops, we invite guest teachers for seminars, and have a weekly Friday-Milonga and a Monday-Lounge, since 2007 I organize a summer tango festival called “Berlin Tango High”, and since 2012 co-organize the “International Tangofestival Berlin”, I also organize a Tango-vacation-retreat together with Gaia Pisauro since 2008: the “Summer Tango Treat” outside of Berlin, and I am part of the Team of the beautiful “Tango Alchemie” Festival in Prague.
Q9: I noticed that you collaborate a lot with the photographer Ishka Michocka. Can you tell us a bit about that and maybe there is some fun story connected with that? :)
- I often think that meeting Ishka feels like encountering a "new interesting galaxy"! Knowing and working with her is a special treat that I am very thankful for. There is no idea odd enough to not find her interest. I learned to be careful what to wish for when I am around her :).
Q10: What is the most challenging and the most rewarding part of being and organizer?
People's needs, wants and wishes are quite broadly spread, it is not always easy to take as many perspectives into account as possible without loosing the warm core that keeps it meaningful, not arbitrary.
There is something like a "social flow" that I compare to the dance flow: when everything goes well, the music is great, the people are happy, and the time is just right, the atmosphere at a Milonga can be amazing. Just watching this, seeing everyone smile, dance beautifully, laugh, talk and meet each other, and to breath this in deeply, is a very special and giving moment.
Q11: 3 things you would you recommend to an emerging (beginner) organizer?
1 - it helps to love what you do
2 - talk to people, not just professionals but to all dancers, get to know them, if it is not interesting for you it may not be the right field
3 - don't copy
Q12: Is tango your main occupation? … Have you got any hobbies? … What do you enjoy doing in free time?
- When I started Nou in 2004 I was a dedicated university student, but –running the business and continuing the studies in an appropriate way– it took until February 2009 to pass my masters in history of art and philosophy. It was a hard decision to leave the academic world behind, but it felt freeing to be able to focus on one thing only. For three years tango was my main occupation. Last year I was very happy to be able to re-connect to university and, actually, to be able to combine it with tango: In 2012 I started a PhD project at Charité Berlin, where we are researching to what extent dance can be applied as a therapeutic approach for children and adolescents with malignant disease, in order to influence long-term effects and subsequently to improve the quality of life.
I am very lucky that my work is also my “hobby” ;)
My free time is dedicated to my wife and two daughters, if I can read a paper once in a while and drink a good coffee life is perfect.
Q13: How did you life changed when you started dancing tango?
- I don’t feel that I can say that my life really changed because of Tango, besides the obvious consequence of staying up very late ;) Being surrounded by the flowing and positive energy of this dance all the time, and all the interesting people who are practicing it, … it may be that this had and has an invisible touch upon my life that I profit from more than I notice.
Q14: Is tango an addiction for you? J How did your relationship with tango changed through years?
- The dancing part is not an addiction, as -due to the climbing accident- my ankle hurts when I dance too much; it reminds me to enjoy every Tanda, which is a beautiful thing. Tango and I definitely became closer and closer throughout the years. I appreciate and respect this dance a lot, and I learn more about it almost every day.
Q15: What would you advice people who started dancing tango but are going through a rough patch and think about quitting/ switching to another dance?
- I would try to understand their situation and offer a solution with respect to their individual needs. In my experience everyone goes through a ditch, some bigger some smaller, and the “real” tango usually starts right behind it, so it may be worth to give it a try.
Q16: What in your opinion might help people to enjoy tango dancing and get more comfortable in a milonga setting?
- a social atmosphere and basic tango skills, knowledge of the concept of the “ronda”
Q17: What would you advise to people whose life partner does not want to do tango and maybe is not thrilled that his/her beloved is dancing with other men/women?
- I would try to get the partner to join at least once to see and experience what it is all about, I would be clear and honest to both of them and name the possible difficulties. If the relationship is healthy it won’t be a problem, but if not … good luck.
Q18: Did you manage to “convert” some relatives or friends to tango dancers?
- almost, but not quite
Q19: Now let’s talk about Berlin. Were you born there or moved? What is really special about living in Berlin? (both for dancers and non-dancers)
I moved to Berlin in 2000 and I love it. Berlin is big but not disturbing, relaxed, rather clean and green, mostly friendly, with a good sense of neighborhood, it is affordable, interesting, has great food, and is children friendly. Berlin Tango has a long history, which makes it feel strong and healthy. We don’t need “local stars” and we all respect each other. More and more young people start to dance and come to the Milongas. Berlin is very open-minded and makes offers to all kinds of interests, both in tango and non-tango.
Q20: Are you traveling for tango? Have you ever been to BA and what impression did it leave compared to the tango scene in Europe?
- I don’t travel for tango and I haven’t been to BA, not because of lack of interest, but because of lack of time.
Q21: What are your plans for 2013? If you could work on any project anywhere you want, what would it be?
- I am very happy with what I have and would not choose anything else
Q22: if to look at those years spend with tango what was the most special (dear, emotional) moment that comes to your memory?
not just one moment, it is how close I became with some people.
Tell us please what you like most:
- favorite tango music:
it changes from mood to mood
- tango DJs:
every week I hear great DJs, and once in a while there are outstanding nights, but a DJ who has an amazing night one night can have an mediocre one next time, I can only refer to very, very special personal memories: Tommaso Fiorilli, Analía La Rubia
- non-tango music:
- what is your favorite flower?
mountain wildflowers, poppies, violets, blooming (fruit-)trees
- favorite dish / food
Peach Passion Smoothie, Californian Food
- which animal would you like to be if you were an animal in your next life?
- what is your favorite film? (name a few if you want)
Woody Allen: Whatever Works, Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano: Intouchables, among others …
- what place would you choose for a romantic trip?
a remote valley in Transsylvania
- what place would you live if you could live anywhere?
- favorite non-tango place in Berlin?
- Who would you like to say “thank you” to? Someone helped to initiate Nou, I am very thankful for that .
T: Anything special you would like to add?
Th: Good luck with your Tango Dancers Blog :)
T: Thank you for the interview, Thomas! :) Good luck with your projects!
Tango Dancers Blog © 2013
It's a pleasure to devote the first post about tango dancers to the legendary singer ALBERTO PODESTA!
Being in his 80s he keeps amazing people performing a few times a week.
Alex Krebs (who a famous tango musician and teacher, one of the characters of the TangoDancers shorts-to-be-made) took this great, inspiring interview with Alberto Podesta in August 2012 where both of them performed together at the "Tango Element" Festival in Baltimore, USA (see the photo above, special thanks to Oliver Poudou).
Alberto Podestá & "Las Bordonas" present the CD "Alta Gama" (one of the latest collaborations of maestro).
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