Monday, August 31, 2009

And the winners are....

...the ones who could recite the rule book in their sleep and broke the least number of rules!

Not to say that being the "Best of the Borg" after many many rounds of "Eliminate the Inferior Borg" isn't a tremendous accomplishment of skill, pluck and endurance. Congratulations to all, may you bask in the glowing glory of your achievement, wear the shiny victory crown of "Tango Salon Campeones" with pride, and even breathe an immense sigh of relief - that "quitting your day job as air-conditioner salesman to devote yourself to Tango" (or whatever) has paid off after all!

And isn't it great that the Championship has standardized all participants to make judging (and determining who is Best Borg) so much easier now? At the beginning of decade, it was so difficult to know just who was good and who wasn't - everyone did their "own little idiosyncratic Tango thing" and it was so pesky to try and tell the BAD apples and oranges from the REALLY GOOD apples and oranges. Now, of course, it is easy peasy. Makes the competition just that much more exciting to watch - we can live and relive every single excruciatingly cautious "Villa Urquiza" step of every single competitor in the comfort of our own homes, knowing that what "wins" can only be what is "right".

In fact, it reminds us of another glorious and exciting competition that never fails to rivet us to the TV screen whenever it is broadcast to millions upon millions of homes worldwide:


Come to think of it, what makes the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show so great is kind of what makes El World Competition de Tango (Salon Division) so great. Winners are selected based on their adherence to tried and true standards of beauty and elegance - a tooth too long here, a tail too short here, an ear too droopy here, etc., simply would not do. Moreover, only those with the sleekest and shiniest coats, the most captivating personalities and the most "breed specific" gaits (God forbid that your Bulldog should trot around like a Scottish Terrier or vice versa!) will win.

That's the way a competition should be - lots of strict rules, and lots of points deducted for not following them. What a competition should not do is muck around with unquantifiable stuff like "Will your dog scare away burglars", "How much your dog loves you", "How great your dog is at catching frisbees", "How well one navigates a crowded dance floor", "How much of one's soul is in the dance" or "How one's dancing can move the audience to tears" - if we are going to go into vague nebulous grey areas like that, the competition could last year round and still we won't be able to come up with a clear winner.

Lucky for us in El Mundo de Tango, we have a Competition and we have Winners. Following the wonderful awe-inspiring example of the "Winners", we too are now inspired to quit our day jobs to devote ourselves to Tango. Maybe it will be a one-year retirement, or two years - or even forever - but however long it takes, and how many mountains we have to climb (or how many rule books we have to memorize - Irene made it through law school so learning a couple of rules by heart shouldn't be that difficult) we will never cease to aspire.

"Hissho", also known as the Japanese spirit of "Victory" -
a.k.a. "I can't possibly lose this competition AGAIN because then it'll look really, really bad"


TO THE WINNERS: You are inspiration for all those who come after you who haven't yet composed the greatest symphony ever heard, written the Great American Novel, earned more money than Bill Gates, or broken the most Olympic records in the history of the Olympic Games. You have given them the precious gift of HOPE that yes, yes, YOU (and I mean YOU! Meaning him and her and them and not really "you" as in "you guys over there who have already won the competition") can still matter (eh, maybe not in the "Real World") in TANGO - the greatest invention of humankind since the wheel.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Football Tango



"Wow, that's pretty amazing," I said to Man Yung after watching this video on Youtube this evening. "I've never seen anyone combine the two Argentine passions of Tango and Football with so much skill. I can't wait until someone comes up with a way to combine Tango and the making of the perfect Asado to four minutes of the best of Pugliese. Or perhaps even Tango, Football and Asado - all at once. Why settle for showcasing one or two of the Argentine national treasures when you can be the international cultural ambassador for all three?"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Flight

Man Yung and I may be doing the "Flying Toaster" (ha ha!) ... but still, we recognize a good flight when we see it. And there's nothing like a beautiful vals to spin you right into the stratosphere!

We've posted this video before, and we are posting it again. Alberto and Paulina performing at "La Corazon" milonga in New York to Donato's "La Tapera":



Different style of dancing, but flying nonetheless - Osvaldo and Coca performing at "La Baldosa" to the same vals:



In our opinion, both of these performances are simply amazing - and without an iota of cookie-cutter, "villa urquiza" tango championship rulebook conformity.

Watch them fly.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Angels

Once upon a time, there was a sad angel. His sadness came from the fact that he had only one wing. With only one wing, he cannot fly.

One day, he finally met an angel just like him with only one wing.

Each sympathizing with the other's loneliness, the angels couldn't stop themselves from embracing each other. And through their joy and emotion at having found one another, their wings started to beat and agitate.

And then, all of a sudden, they found that they have flown up together into the stars.

"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another." ~Luciano de Crescenzo


"What a wonderful way to conceptualize the Tango," said Man Yung, misty-eyed. "Tango is not possible without a partner. And once you are together in the embrace, you can fly."

Hmmmmmmm. Unfortunately, when I think about our dancing, how come I'm thinking more along the lines of this?:




After Dark Flying Toaster Screensaver

So, I guess Man Yung and I could be the "Angels with one Wing". But when Man Yung says "Go left", I go right; and when Man Yung says "Go forward", I'm inevitably going backwards. Perhaps we both have wings located on the same side of our bodies? Or perhaps he has one sprouting out of his back, while I have one coming out of my head? Whatever it is, we have a quite a little problem making the "flying tango" happen.

However, since Man Yung has found that he can fly with me, no matter how odd or buzzard-like our flight, he feels supremely confident in the way that any self-respecting, partner-hunting Tanguero would be.

....Confident that one day he will find an EVEN BETTER ANGEL (maybe this one will do) who will enable him to fly even better (perhaps they will produce their own Tango show about it) .

No such rabid ambitions for me! The Flying Toaster suits me just fine.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Alberto Dassieu in Switzerland 2009

Tangaso just posted a small video (yes, for some reason, really small!) of Alberto teaching and demonstrating class in Switzerland this year:



Alberto told us he is also planning to travel to San Francisco this year. Man Yung always tells him to take it easy and not travel so much! However, Alberto's heart is in teaching and trying to spread the message of tango wherever he can. So even though it is tough physically and emotionally for him to be away from home for weeks or months at a time, and tough for any teacher to deal with all the frustrating things that a dancer from the older generation can encounter teaching tango these days (think language barrier, unappreciative and stubborn students, low levels of skill and understanding of the music, strange ingrained concepts about tango etc.), Alberto will still travel to teach whenever he is able to, with no regrets.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Martha and Manolo - Schedule of Activities for August 2009

Just received a big pink email from Martha and Manolo about their activities in August. They want us to spread the word, so here it is (with my clumsy translations and annotations in English)!:

" ACTIVIDADES DE MARTHA Y MANOLO"
Activities of Martha and Manolo

CLASES DE TANGO CANYENGUE, GRUPALES, MASTER DE MASTER, EN LA ESCUELA ARGENTINA DE TANGO VIAMONTE Y SAN MARTIN.
Canyengue classes (group and master classes) in the Escuela Argentina de Tango at the Viamonte and San Martin location.

CLASES DE TANGO CANYENGUE Y MILONGA LOS JUEVES
21 HORAS A 23 HORAS EN LA SALSERA YATAY 961 ALTURA CORRIENTES AL 4.500
Canyengue and Milonga classes on Thursdays from 21H to 23H in "La Salsera" at Yatay 961 (intersection Corrientes)

SABADO 8 DE AGOSTO FIESTA EN LA SALSERA BAILAMOS CON CONCIERTO DE LOS COLONIZADOS, LUEGO REALIZAMOS UNA GRAN MILONGA YATAY 961 22 HORAS
RESERVAS AL 4866-2358/1329
Saturday August 8, party at "La Salsera". We will perform with the orchestra "Los Colonizados" and afterwards there will be a big milonga. Yatay 961 at 22H. Reservations please call 4866-2358/1329

CLASES DE TANGO CANYENGUE EN EL MARCO DEL MUNDIAL DE TANGO/09,
EN EL MARCO DEL FESTIVAL MUNDIAL ESTAREMOS COMO TODOS LOS AÑOS EN EL HOSPITAL BORDA.
Canyengue Classes during the Mundial de Tango 2009 events, and we will also be teaching/performing during this time at the Hospital Borda [I think this is the charity event at a psychiatric hospital that Martha and Manolo have participated in for the last few years. Martha and Manolo are very proud of being able to participate in this event - they and other well known Tango teachers (I think they also mentioned Graciela Gonzalez and others) spend time performing for and teaching tango to patients at the hospital with psychological and emotion problems. It is a very emotional and therapeutic experience for the students because they have an opportunity to learn to connect with other human beings through tango.]

EL JUEVES 20 DE AGOSTO EN CANINNG
NOS PRESENTAMOS CON EL GRUPO LA NOCHE DE LOS MILONGUEROS
"LOS FEDERALES"
Thursday August 20 we will be at Salon Canning performing with the group of special guests Los Milongueros "Los Federales"

EL VIERNES 21 DE AGOSTO BAILAMOS EN LA IDEAL
Friday August 21 we will be performing at Confiteria La Ideal.

INFORMES: 4657-8781/ 15-5920-0945
For Information please call 4657-8781/15-5920-0945

And here's a video recently posted on Youtube of Martha and Manolo, Roxina and Adrian and alumni of Camicando 2009, dancing Canyengue at the festival's closing night milonga at La Baldosa. You might catch glimpses of us too:


Camicando 2009 Milonga at La Baldosa

Funny thing is that whenever we are filmed dancing Canyengue we create a cosmic disturbance that makes everyone within a 20 metre radius dance a random 3 - 5 beats behind the music! Just kidding - please note the music is out of sync with the video.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A tale of two commercials

Man Yung and I had an intense "Tango" conversation yesterday about two commercials we stumbled upon on Youtube.

The first was the recent Chanel No. 5 commercial directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" and "Un long dimanche de fiançailles" - starring, coincidentally, his star in both these movies, Audrey Tautou:



Chanel No. 5 commercial directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet starring Audrey Tautou

"I absolutely LOVE this commercial," remarked Man Yung. "There's a great romantic storyline, exotic locations, and wonderful cinematography. And even though there's not a single line of dialogue between the two leads, this short film says so much. It's about love and longing in the place where East meets West, the symbolic space where we can intersect. It's about the opportunities we miss, and the opportunities we need to cherish. It's about about journeys we make - in love, in life and in spirit. It's about the thrill of the gaze, and the mysterious and ecstatic connection we can have with people we meet. The soundtrack may be the old, tattered, wistful voice of Billie Holiday singing some jazz - but this film conveys to me all the sentiment and feeling of Tango. What's more, it makes me want to buy Chanel No. 5!!"

"I beg to differ," I said. "If you want to make a commercial about Tango, you've got to go ALL OUT. People don't get artsy-fartsy subtlety. You've also got to KEEP IT REAL. Man Yung, what you need is a commercial that shrieks, snorts and BELLOWS the reality of contemporary "TANGO". I present to you the following:"



Intimissimi Lingerie "Heart Tango" commercial starring Monica Bellucci

Sexy throbbing pulsating vibrating nuevo Tango electronica soundtrack? Check.
Sexy Tango makeup and fashion in the Sexy Tango colours of (what else?) Black and Red? Check.
Flailing stiletto heels and daring aerial Sexy Tango gyrations that would definitely wow the judges of Dancing with the Stars (but would unfortunately get you booted out of Cachirulo)? Check.
Sexy heavy breathing and Sexy compromising horizontal positions with a good dose of Sexy Tango Bodice Ripping? Check.
Sexy sweaty dissheveled Tango Fabio who could be bought with either Money or Sex (or any combination of the two - come on, do you really think we are talking "True Love" here?)? Check.
Why be yourself when you can pick and choose your favourite Tango persona? How about the Sexy Sultry Tango Chick, the Sexy Ingenue Tango Chick, the Sexy Hot Mama Tango Chick, the Sexy Biker Tango Chick, the Sexy Taxi Driver/Secret Service Tango Chick, or hey, even the Sexy French Maid Tango Chick? Check.
Sexy sex goddess Monica Bellucci in Sexy Tango Lingerie in a potentially explosive Sexy Tango catfight with the other Sexy Monica Bellucci(s)? Check.

"Man Yung, this is what you can call a real Tango commercial! Droves of excited Tangueras are no doubt flocking to the lingerie stores right now. There's nothing like popping out in 3D like Monica Bellucci to get the Tangueras a chance to cavort with their own personal Fabio. THAT'S what Tango is really all about!"



Alberto Dassieu

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