Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nina Balbuena: THIS is how to FOLLOW!

Most people in Toronto (and in North America) don't usually understand what Man Yung and I are talking about when we try to tell them what we consider to be really really good dancing. This is one of the examples:


Man Yung has a lot of respect for Anton Gazonbeek, and I am not going to comment on his dancing - please ignore him for the purposes of this post. But look at HER. Look at what he is leading, and how she is following it - she follows so serenely, so calmly and so perfectly, it is like a walk in the park for her.

Notice also that she NEVER gets ahead of Anton.

She is Nina Balbuena, one of the organizers of the Thursday milonga at Viejo Correo. She used to be an assistant to Antonio Todaro. We had the opportunity to go to her milonga and meet her during our trip to Buenos Aires in March 2008. She is such a sweet, wonderful person - we were strangers but she immediately made us feel welcome with a hug and a kiss.

As I said, most people in Toronto and North America wouldn't understand how wonderful Nina's dancing is. I can even predict what people will say (depending on what kind of dancer they are) if I told them that this was great following:

The extremely ignorant, ballroom argentine tango dancers will say, "How can she be good - I don't remember her being in Tango Argentino/Forever Tango/The Tango Lesson."

The slightly less ignorant dancers will say, "She wasn't in Cosmotango/she isn't Mora/Alejandra/Corina/Milena/[insert your own big name dancer here]."

The Nuevolistas will say, "Where's the colgadas and volcadas?"

The Villa Urquiza wannabees will definitely say, "She doesn't do enough adornments - I can adorn every single step twice over and back again and she doesn't do anything."

The Milonguero emulators will say, "That's not close embrace, it's not worthy of my attention."

Funny isn't it, that most North American follower's notion of good following rarely includes the idea of actually FOLLOWING.

I asked Nina what was her secret to following. This is what she said:

Te cuento que bailar el secreto esta en no adelantarse a el pedido del compañero y no levantar del piso los pies tratar la pista de baile como si fuera un dulce caballero acariciarlo todo el tiempo posible sin por eso dejar de adornar tu danzar con las coreografías a que te lleve la musica.

Translated: The secret to dancing is not to let yourself get ahead of your partner and never to lift your feet from the ground. Your feet must treat the dance floor as if it were a sweet gentleman who you are caressing are much of the time as possible while at the same time continuing to adorn your dancing with the choreography that the music inspires you to do. (Thanks to my friend JoAnne for the translation!)

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