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Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Friday, April 30, 2004

Big names

The obscure non-argentine tango teachers invariably mention on their CVs a prestigious list of the instructors with whom they took classes. One hour of collective class with Gavito and they name themselves "disciples of Gavito's", or "mainly influenced by Gavito". Well, if I followed their example I could now print an impressive CV after my short CITA trip, and entitle myself as "first-rate tango instructor, trained by the most prominent teachers of Buenos-Aires". But of course I'm still a beginner. The most beautiful girl in the world can only give what she has (russian proverb), and even all thoses great teachers could not magically turn me into an intermediate.

Here follow some impressions about all of them. Not worthwhile at all, but I'm writing it all the same, because in a few weeks I'll have forgotten everything.

Julio & Corina: Julio makes the teaching, Corina is merely an assistant. Speaking about assistants, they had not less than four of them, so there were six "teachers" in their classes. We, the clumsy students in need of much help, appreciated a lot. Julio taught us mainly fundamentals and technique, not sequences. One big concern, yet: He's lazy, and made twice the same class, under different titles.

Nito & Elba: On DVDs Nito looks like an old little fat man, but seeing him in a class is something else: he's incredibly grounded, and as for leading he's a kind of semi-god; I saw a complete beginner lady (american, more over) making, under his lead (or should I say his spell), effortless and beautiful boleos, saludos, barridas and giros, without understanding anything.

Milena & Ezequiel: The big name is Milena (Plebs), but she just stands quietly while Ezequiel gives the class. They don't explain much, and demonstrate sequences to keep students busy. I won't take classes with them any more.

Cecilia Gonzales: She has no partner, so something is definitely missing in her classes. On another hand, she insists more than her teachers colleagues on the woman's part in tango, which is a good point.

Paludi & Masso: a young and lively couple. Still, they're a bit lazy (they made a stage demo that I had already seen twice)

Gavito & Maria: He talks almost all the time, when he teaches he insults his students. Unlike the other teachers of the CITA, he has no assistants. Furthermore, the material he's demonstrating is not really useful if you're not a devotee of the milonguero-apilado style.

Demian & Carolina: They demonstrated unusual stuff, yet easy to lead, and usable in milongas.

Roberto & Natacha: they don't master only tango but also other things like folkloric dances. You may consider this as an asset (it enlarges their horizon) or a concern (they're dilettantes). Their musicality class, where they used different musics like samba or techno, was an eye-opener for me: all the foreign students kept doing the same sequences at the same rythm, whatever the music, unable to change their one-step-per-second routines. Only the local taxi-boys did adapt their dance to the music. I had fellows in this class, and I thought they were advanced dancers. Well, they're advanced leaders, or advanced technicians, but not advanced interpreters.

Facundo & Kely: Nice people, smooth tango, not the sharpest among the tango teachers or performers, but at my beginner level it was more than enough.

Sergio & Alejandra: They're true to their reputation, even in classes, which they give in a unique humouristic way. The material presented is very straight, though.

Melina & Claudio: Claudio comes from modern dance (and is still a modern dancer, by the way) so, a bit like Roberto & Natacha, it's either a good or a bad thing.

Adrian & Alejandra: I like them a lot. Their style is similar to Sebastian & Mariana's one, but as they're taller, their movements have more amplitude and it's easier for a beginner like me to watch what they're doing when they perform.

El Pulpo: this guy has found his own, unique style of tango (he uses only his legs and feet), which is nice. It's just that I don't like it, and I wouldn't want to dance this way.

posted by Pablo  # 3:54 AM
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