Sunday, June 24, 2012

The music that Irene and Man Yung want to dance to at milongas

We are not DJs.  We don't want to be DJs - or organizers, or teachers, or tango professionals.

We just want to dance.

But often we hear music at the milongas that makes us want to sit down.  Sometimes the sitting down periods get so lengthy and our tense, silent, passive-aggressive enduring of same becomes so unbearable that it no longer makes any sense for us to continue to go to the milonga with the abundance of "sitting down" music.  So we go somewhere else.

Maybe you, as DJ/organizer/tango professional:

A) Don't really give a rat's ass if we stay or go.

Or maybe (and we hope!) B) You say (with sincerity - because some of you aren't really sincere and you are more like A) above) : "But I want your $10.00 entrada x 2 people x 52 weeks in a year!  Tell us what you, as traditional tango dancers who have traveled to Buenos Aires to hang out with the milongueros and have perhaps developed tastes in tango music that are quite like the people you hang out with - what would you like to hear at our milonga?  What would you like to dance to?"

Would you really like to know?  I mean, really?  Or do you want us to shamelessly flatter your music choices?

I know what you really want is flattery.  But you aren't getting that.  Not today anyway.

So without further ado, we hereby present to you:

WHAT IRENE AND MAN YUNG WOULD LIKE TO DANCE TO AT YOUR MILONGA

1.   We would like to dance to music that is not a health hazard

On our trip to Hong Kong this past February, the DJ at the last milonga we went to played weapons-grade "Tango-like" noise.

Whenever a tanda began (and they were all utterly horrible, off-the-scale wacko tandas - more of our whining about choices of music later) it was like someone had set off a small nuclear explosion in the speakers.  People would literally be jumping in their seats with their hair standing on end as the sound blast shattered their eardrums.

The DJ either a) didn't care or b) was too busy socializing, because it would take at least one or two minutes before he would amble slowly over to his station and turn the volume down.  The evil eye didn't work in making him adjust the volume any faster - god knows we tried, and most of the "regulars" we talked to had kind of given up too.

A few days later, safely back in Toronto, Man Yung was still complaining about the cacophony.  "My ears are still ringing from that godawful noise!  Remind me never to go to that milonga again - ever!"

Indeed, you may be the best tango tanda arranger in the universe - but if the quality of your sound sucks, people would only remember what a horrible time they had, and what a horrible DJ you are.

Please, Mr. and Ms. DJ - constantly adjust the volume and the balance of your music so that it doesn't hurt the patrons of your milonga.  We don't want to feel like we had walked into a death metal rock concert, or a sonic frequency weapon-testing session.  We don't want to hear high-pitched ear-piercing dog-whistle frequencies, or earth-shaking bass either.  And we certainly don't want to hear reverb, or screeching feedback.  There's medical evidence that prolonged exposure to noise pollution will cause raised heart rates, high blood pressure, headaches, nosebleeds, even cancer.  Even if you want to slowly murder Irene and Man Yung, you can't possibly want to slowly murder everyone in your milonga as well.*

* Luckily in Toronto some DJs monitor the quality of their sound very carefully.  The ones that don't - we thought they were just being callous and uncaring, but now we realize that they may be partially deaf.  For example, the factory one block away from our condo makes this whistling noise all night - I can hear it, but Man Yung can't, because he is ancient and his hearing is going. So it could be that the aurally-challenged DJ didn't even notice that the Di Sarli tanda was loud, brassy and totally ruined for everyone.  Or that the D'Agostino tracks had been copied and converted so many times Angel Vargas now sounds like a constipated chipmunk.  We see these poor deaf DJs continue to joke around and socialize and dance at the milonga with nary a care, completely oblivious to the terrible noises coming from their iTunes.

2.  We want to dance to music that isn't really, really (and I mean really) boring.

Hey, you DJs who recycle your playlist week after week after week - your music is boring.  You might switch one or two tandas here and there from week to week, but if we know what is coming next - down to the orchestra and the singer and the track - you are boring us.

Another variation of boring?  The total lack of variation.   If we hear a tanda of "bap-bap-bap-bap" Biagi, the last thing on earth we want to hear is a tanda of "bap-bap-bap-bap" D'Arienzo right afterwards.  And one of our worst nightmares will come true when the whole night is nothing but "bap-bap-bap-bap", tanda after tanda after tanda after tanda after tanda....

Mr. and Ms. DJ: You hold the hopes of all tango dancers in your hands.  Some of us like rhythmic music, some of us like lyrical music, some of us just want to boogie-on-down (these should have gone to a disco, but what could you do?), some of us want a little romance.  If you play a tanda of rhythmic music, give us lyrical music lovers something to hope for by playing something totally 180 degree opposite from 100% hardcore rhythm the next tanda - and vice versa.  Mix it up.  Don't play the same kind of music all night, or 70% of the night (because it will feel like the whole night to us sitting it out and waiting for the right music to appear).  Don't play the same playlist week after week.  And don't play the same goddamn Di Sarli/D'Arienzo/Donato/Malerba etc. tanda all the time - there's more than one way to put a tanda together, you're the expert, don't always use the same darn tracks in your tandas with only slight change in order, because we can tell (and we are bored with it)!

3.  We only want to dance to Canyengue music in extreme moderation.

We visualize that when some DJs put their music playlist together, it goes something like this.


Hmmmm.....Miguel Calo - played that last week.  Di Sarli with Rufino - played that two weeks ago.  Pugliese Instrumentals - play them all the time.  Ditto Varela, Rodriguez, De Angelis, Troilo, D'Agostino...How can I make myself "different" and "special" compared to all the other Tango DJs, when I am playing exactly the same music as they are?*  Wait a moment - I have tons and tons of music from the 1910's, 1920's, 1930's...the tracks are a bit scratchy and obscure, but I think people haven't heard these before!

* Don't fool yourself - you will not be more "unique" just because you have dug deep into your obscure catalogue of Canyengue tracks.  You will be just the same as all the other bad DJs who have "dug deep into their obscure catalogue of Canyengue tracks".

And the next thing you know, we'll be sitting on our asses most of the night with our eyes rolling at the Canyengue music every second to third tanda.  It is the "bap-bap-bap-bap" of the Canyengue sort, with bad fidelity and tinny, bottom of a tin can singing.  Yes, it's music that we have not heard before - and even if we have heard it, we would promptly forget it, because it all sounds the same and is soul-suckingly boring.  And - no, we don't really care for the Canyengue version of ______________ or ________________ or __________________ because THE CLASSIC "GOLDEN AGE" VERSION IS STILL AND ALWAYS KING.

Mr. and Ms. DJ:  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, NO MORE THAN ONE (1!  UNE!  EINE!   
ένα!  UNA!  一個!) CANYENGUE TANDA PER NIGHT. 

4.  We don't want you to play music that will shoot us down mid-flight.

When the music starts to play and we take to the dance floor, we want to fly, fly, fly - and not land until the last 'chan-chan' of the last tango of the tanda signals that it's time for us to land into reality.

So if I get up to dance to Calo, or Troilo, or De Angelis, or Di Sarli, or whatever - I expect that the first track you play to be indicative of the tracks that would follow in the tanda.  That's how I maintain altitude in my flight.

What I don't want is false advertising.  If you are playing Di Sarli with Duran, say "Porteño y Bailarin", to begin with, I don't want to come crashing to the ground again and again when you play a Di Sarli Canyengue the second track, followed by "Bahia Blanca" the third track, and then Di Sarli with Florio the fourth track!  (OR WORSE:  Throw in a little Fresedo or D'Arienzo or something completely different, just for fun!)

For god's sake stick with it the whole way through! * I got up for Di Sarli with Duran. When you play anything else different within the tanda, and especially lumped onto as the last track, I feel cheated, like it was a bait-and-switch scam.  You want to keep it consistent, so we have the time within four tracks to get into the mood, to fly to the feeling and sensation of dancing to the music of Di Sarli with Duran.

* Preferably Di Sarli with Duran from the same year.  We say "year" not to be fussy, but because the best consistency comes from music recorded in the same period of time.  There may be performance, preservation or recording technology differences for tracks recorded ten, five, or even one or two years apart, and the music can sound very very different.  Even Picasso had different periods in his art! You think you have enough "ear" or "talent" to make a consistent tanda otherwise?  Sorry to break it to you, but you don't - see #1 above, you might actually be slightly deaf and oh yes, we are frowning gravely at you and seriously considering going somewhere else to dance next week.

The best DJs will actually not only create consistency within a tanda - they will even tell a story with the tracks they choose.  The first track will be strong - to pull the dancers onto the dance floor.  The second will continue the mood set by the first, maybe go slightly towards the hopeful and uplifting, or towards the moody and melancholic - and the third will continue with that, with a twist.  The last track has to be strong, continuing the thread again, but also bringing the tanda to a brilliant climax. 

Only then can the dancer experience smooth flight, with plenty of thrills, and a satisfying landing.

Mr. and Ms. DJ:  Please!  Consistency (or, if we are really lucky, a story) within a tanda!

5.  We don't want to dance to anything strange.

Want to dance to "Summer Mountain Valley"?  "Infinite Shoreline"?  "Rain into Water"?  
Now you can - coming to a milonga near you!

Why are Tango DJs always looking to playing something "different" just to be "special" or more "individualistic" (See #3 above for another manifestation of this disease) and end up becoming bad or mediocre weirdo Tango DJs, instead of GREAT Tango DJs* who always play the danceable tried and true?

* For example, there is a general consensus that Dany Borelli (Lo de Celia, Nuevo Chique, Los Consagrados) is a GREAT Tango DJ - many say, the "Best DJ in Buenos Aires" . I don't think it is coincidence that he plays traditional, danceable, classic tangos.

The Hong Kong DJ we mentioned in #1 above played some pretty strange stuff.  Indeed, we have some DJs in Toronto striving for the mantle of "Most strangest stuff ever played in a tango setting".

But I tell you, Irene and Man Yung can beat all of you, and I mean ALL OF YOU, in "strange" and "weird".  And HA! we can dance to it too.

The harmonica stylings of Hugo Diaz and concert recordings of Pugliese?  No sweat.  The Platters, Janis Joplin, Mayumi Itsuwa?  Piece of cake.  Wind, rain and bird noises of Naturespace?  Child's play.

We dance to this kind of stuff from time to time at our own private practice each week just for the hell of it, just to see how far we can test our musicality.

But we don't want Tango DJs to play this stuff at a milonga.  Heck, if we were Tango DJs, we won't play this stuff - or any other "stuff" that is not strictly classic, traditional, danceable tango.

In Tango, there's music for dancing - and music that's not for dancing.  In the Golden Age, most tango music was composed and arranged specifically for dancers to dance to - and orchestras traveled from milonga to milonga every night to play for dancers.

Man Yung was dancing with legendary milonguera Myriam Pincen during a tanda of De Angelis last October when some "not for dancing" tango music started playing.  Myriam graciously finished the tanda with Man Yung, but gave us some advice.

"Now, the music that just played was not for dancing.  See how the singer's singing is emphasized - and the compas is diminished - in that tango?  When we as tango dancers dance, we dance to the compas.  The singer in singing, is trying to take you somewhere else altogether.  Dance to the compas - not to the singing."

Tango DJs have a responsibility towards Tango to play Tango that was created for dancing.   How else can dancers learn how to embrace, how to walk, how to feel what the compas is supposed to feel in your feet, body and soul?

Mr. and Ms. DJ:  Please, don't make things more unnecessarily complicated by playing Gardel, Narcotango, Gotan, Sassone, Hugo de Carril, what have you.  You have a responsibility to Tango and your Tango community to be the keepers of the flame of danceable Tango.  Don't forget, most dancers are still flailing helplessly to something as simple as Biagi.


See here and here for more of our thoughts on DJ-ing, music and playlist creation over the years. 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Crispy B.B.Q. Pork Equation 2: We explain using Tango examples why your Chinese B.B.Q. doesn't taste that good

 "I made this crispy B.B.Q. pork all by myself!"

We aren't having much luck with our Chinese B.B.Q. lately.

Man Yung is rolling his eyes in exasperation.  "Not again!  This crispy B.B.Q. pork is not only not crispy, it is oily and tasteless as well!"

And I thought that after the life lessons learnt in "The Crispy B.B.Q. Pork Equation", we would forever more only make totally failproof B.B.Q. purchases.  After all, don't we order crispy B.B.Q. pork by the "bone" and not by the pound? Are we not "chums" with the B.B.Q. chef and know all about "secret handshake"?  And aren't we always choosing the best B.B.Q. meats solely based on the flavour and texture due to the fat to meat ratio, irregardless of health and diet concerns?

No, we are not doing anything wrong - in fact we are doing everything right.  But as we all know by now, the Crispy B.B.Q. Pork Equation is not about getting $10 of value for $10.  It is not even about getting $8 of value for $10, or $6.99 of value for $3.99, etc.

Just look at these very annoying recent examples:

1.    I made it myself!

We got invited to a pot luck party recently.  In order for there to be variety in the food at the party, the hostess arranged for everyone to be responsible for a different dish.  Mr. White will bring the sushi, Mr. Orange will bring the roasted chicken, Mr. Blonde will be responsible for the salads, and Mr. Pink will bring the crispy B.B.Q. roasted pork.*

* And afterwards we all went on a diamond heist.  We have a very busy schedule on the weekends.

So everyone showed up at the party and brought their designated dish.  All the food was delightfully enjoyed by all - except for Mr. Pink's crispy B.B.Q. roasted pork.

"Come on guys!  There's still plenty left over!  Don't you want some?  It's good - I made it myself!" proclaimed Mr. Pink.

No, we didn't want any of the B.B.Q. pork.  Instead of being crispy, the skin was as tough as leather.  And instead of being tender and juicy, the meat was as dry as the Sahara desert.

Somebody quick, tell Mr. Pink that you can't make your own B.B.Q. pork in your oven to the same standard that you could get in any ol' B.B.Q. take-out in town!  The B.B.Q. chef roasts the whole pig at once - a small piece of pork would dry out in the heat of your oven just like that.  In addition, the B.B.Q. chef has perforated the skin with a professional grade needle brush like, hundreds of times in order to prepare the skin for roasting into a golden crispiness.  A couple of stabs with a dining fork will not give you the same effect.

And really, Mr. Pink - how much would it cost to buy your crispy B.B.Q. pork from the take-out?  $5.00 per pound?  $6.00 per pound?  Yes, you saved some pennies "making your own" but you really have wasted all your money and your effort when not even the dog would eat what you made.

TANGO EQUIVALENT:  Those clever dancers who "poo-poo" taking lessons since they could save their hard-earned cash and learn everything by watching Youtube!   And are they still wondering why no-one wants to invite them to dance at the milonga?

2.  Refried, refried, and refried again

There's a fascinating B.B.Q. take-out at Peachtree Centre in Markham.   Whenever we are in the plaza, we always make sure we pass by so we could gawk....in absolute horror.

"OMG Man Yung, just look at the colour on that piece of crispy B.B.Q. pork!"  I whispered really loudly to Man Yung.

Yes indeed, it was something quite special to see.  The pork was evenly BLACK - on the outside...and the inside!

The B.B.Q. duck, the honey B.B.Q. pork, and the B.B.Q. chicken didn't fare much better.

We've tried to surreptitiously take a photo of the B.B.Q. counter but the B.B.Q. chef was always hovering nearby glaring angrily at gawkers like ourselves. We didn't want to risk getting a meat cleaver thrown at us so we just pretended to pass by on our way to another store.

In order to save money and reduce waste, the B.B.Q. chef took the stale B.B.Q. leftovers from the previous day - and he just deep fried them again and hung them out for sale the next day.  Moreover, he never roasted a whole pig - he'd buy just a section, for example, half a rib cage, and roast that.  And as you can see in our cautionary tale in #1 above, the best results are reached in roasting the whole pig at once.  If you roast only a part of a pig (especially in an industrial-sized oven) or refry your meat again and again throughout the week, you will get a product that is closer to being charcoal than meat. 

And the most horrible thing was - some intrepid customers still went to eat at that shop!  Either they couldn't tell the difference, or they liked their meat to taste like coals and ashes - or, they were just cheap, because you can get a bowl of noodles with a side of really burnt B.B.Q. with a pop for like, three bucks.*

* But you can pretty much get decent lunch with a drink from any Chinese take-out for $3.00, so WTF, why are you guys still going to eat there?

TANGO EQUIVALENT:  When not so good Tango Dancers decide to become not so good Tango Instructors.

They may be of the "undercooked" sort - they've only been dancing for X number of months, they have learned either very little or learned something wrong - but now they have decided that they are ready to out there and teach.  Or, they might had been dancing for ages, but they learned how to Tango in the nineties from the luminaries of various "Traveling Tango Extravaganzas" - and therefore still have no clue about dancing in a social setting.  Or, they have never been particularly talented dancers or have particularly relevant insights into dancing, but they have been dancing so long, it's time to "Graduate" and become Tango instructors.

What these chaps have to offer is not good to begin with or quite possibly refried, but some oddballs will still take their classes.  As we had said, "Nobody could tell the difference/Some like the taste of ashes/Some are cheap!"  You go girl! (guy!)

3.  Looks good, but is not so good

We have been looking and looking for a good B.B.Q. take-out for ages.  We thought we found a good one at Midland and Sheppard - but then the quality of their crispy B.B.Q. pork has suddenly gone down lately.  We thought we found a promising one at Midland and McNicoll after we tasted some of the B.B.Q. duck there - but then we were disappointed AGAIN when we bought some crispy B.B.Q. pork today.

"I thought the B.B.Q. pork skin looked quite good on the outside, and it's kind of crispy - it has all the visual factors to indicate a well-roasted pig.  But why is the meat so fat, and so tasteless?" asked Man Yung.

"You know what, I knew something was wrong when you told me that your order of two bones cost $13.00.  As far as I know, the average cost of two bones is about $8.00 to $10.00 at the most." I replied.

As we might have mentioned before, the key to making delicious crispy B.B.Q. pork is to puncture the skin of your roast a sufficient number of times prior to roasting.  This serves two functions. Firstly, it changes the texture of the skin so that when it roasts, it becomes crispy.  Secondly, the holes allow the sub-cutaneous fat under the skin to liquify in the heat into oil and seep out of the skin during roasting.

It seems that B.B.Q. chefs have become quite innovative.  Perhaps it's because their costs are up - wholesale food prices have increased, as have utilities and rent - or perhaps they just want more profit.

Instead of puncturing the skin all the way to the fat underneath, the chefs have just punctured the skin, short of the layer of fat.  This way, the skin still ends up kind of crispy - but the fat has no way to escape.  The resulting roast is heavier - and the B.B.Q. chef will make more money from it.  So, our $13.00 has bought us the same amount of meat that we would have purchased in an $8.00 pre-B.B.Q. "innovation" order - but with $5.00 of extra fat.  Our order is less tasty too because the B.B.Q. chef has applied the same amount of marinade, which has to season the 30% of extra fat remaining in the roast.

TANGO EQUIVALENT: Championship Style Salon Tango Clones.  They look more elegant, they "walk" more fine.  They win more prizes, they have better resumes and marketing and they make more money!

But they don't taste good at all - where's the music, where's the soul?  Apparently , these "Barbie and Ken Championship Salon Tango dolls" are manufactured somewhere in China so that the people who are attracted by exterior appearance alone and can't tell the difference between "Zombie-like, by the rulebook going-through-the-motions movements robotically "timed" to the music (and yes, they can program that, down to the pauses and the footwork and stuff!)" and real, flesh and blood dancing will open their wallets for classes and more classes. 

And what should we do with the remaining crispy B.B.Q. pork?  "Don't worry, we'll add a little savoury shrimp sauce, some chives, and some Tofu, and turn this tasteless meat into a delicious "Big Horse Stand!"* said Man Yung.

* Big Horse Stand:  A Chinese Tofu dish using leftover crispy B.B.Q. pork with strong stinky salty shrimp sauce as seasoning.  This makes even the worst leftovers taste better.  They used to serve this at horse stations to open-air restaurant stalls - therefore the weird name!






Sunday, June 10, 2012

Everything Irene knows about following Irene should have learned by watching The Matrix (1999!) eons ago

Whenever I achieve any breakthrough in following, Man Yung claims that I should have listened to him way back when, because he has been giving me gems of following advice all along:

"You could have improved much faster if you had just listened to my advice!  Now you are following with your heart!"  Or,  "Finally you are listening to the leader listening to the music!" (huh?) or,  "Didn't I tell you so - at last you are following me like you are following the Great Chairman Mao!"

A...ha.

...Unfortunately, Man Yung doesn't realize that at the time he was giving me the said "advice", it made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  E.g., W.T.F., "Following with your heart?  I thought I was following your fancy steps with the bony things attached to my ankles a.k.a. my feet."  And: "Chairman Mao? I'd rather DIE than follow some decrepit corrupt egomaniac old fart who never brushed his teeth!"

In fact, Man Yung, if you are going to discuss about "wise tips for tango following improvement" - Irene would have improved a lot faster if she heeded the life lessons learned by watching The Matrix (1999).

Man Yung doesn't recall most of the movie because he fell asleep half way through. 

Just look at this - the thrilling scene at the beginning of the movie where Trinity escapes from being captured by the Agents:



What could we, as tango followers, learn from the scene?

When running away from the Agents, it helps to have great balance, speed and power so that you can execute a "flying eagle kick" in slow motion while suspended in the air, or land after making running leaps between rooftops on your back with both guns drawn and ready to shoot at your very determined pursuers. 

In addition, it also helps to have the training or ability to execute perfect giros - so you can run circles up the sides of walls to evade enemy gunfire and roll down the stairs without getting hurt.

Balance, speed, power and giros - the foundation skills of good, Matrix style enemy-fleeing and also good following.  "Ah!  I don't even have to watch the entire movie to get that," you say.  "All I need to do is work on my skills and I can kick ass out of Tango too!"

BUT - you've got to have more than skill to get to great, milonguera-esque following. 

In order to be a great follower, You Have To Be "The One".

Let me explain.

Most followers don't reach any level of greatness because they are hindered by their skill or their attempts at skill.  They try too hard to be faster, stronger than the lead - or even "outsmart" the lead using all sorts of strategems.

You have the followers who doggedly do "what they have learned in class" - and respond to all leads with automatic ochos, automatic crossing, automatic ganchos, automatic leg wraps, or automatic choreography etc. Or they stop at one turn in the giro even if the lead keeps on going - because that's how they were taught (by reknowned tango professionals, no less, so they have to be right) to do it.

You have the followers who eagerly exhibit every single adornment they have learned in women's technique festivals or off Youtube irregardless of the lead and/or the music because they can't wait to put to good use what they paid their good money for, and after all, the more you flip flap and tip tap with your feet, the better you are as a tango dancer, right?

You have the followers who do their own musical interpretation by pausing all the time or putting on the brakes when they think the leader is going too fast for the music - or, at the other extreme, galloping through entire tandas of milonga (or even vals, or even tango!) using "milonga traspie" steps, just in case the leader is dancing milonga traspie - even when the leader is not remotely leading double or triple step (Man Yung's pet peeve).

You have the followers who have learned some "surefire" following techniques that some genius instructor has "guaranteed" would make them into the "best followers, ever."  Among the silly things I've heard are "staring fixedly at the leader's left/right shoulder/staring at the leader's shirt button so you can predict the leader's every move", "digging into the man's armpit/spine with your left palm/strangling the leader with a boa constrictor embrace so he can't do anything but walk forward and do ocho cortados".

You have the followers who do all of the above and more much faster than the lead so that it would look like they have followed and they could now rest easy and wash their hands of all that (following) and they could stop take a deep breath and wait for the next tanda.  These followers are often seen finishing the tango before the leader by making their own final poses or putting their feet together before the music or the leader has actually finished.

"Pooh!" you say.  "All those are little beginner following mistakes!  I have worked on my skills so much, I am way beyond that!  I have appeared in a Tango Show!  I have placed in a fancy schmancy tango competition!  In fact, I have evolved to being no less than an über-follower!"

But are you "The One"?

Let's say that you have fixed all your following mistakes and you are a perfect, lean, mean fighting (following?) machine. You are, in fact, like Neo in the penultimate subway fight near the end of the movie:



You no longer have to run away (or make excuses) when Agent Smith invites you to dance.  Agent Smith can throw a punch - but you can hit harder.  Your kung-fu is faster, and you can survive being pummeled repeatedly into a wall.  You can even outwit Agent Smith - by crushing him into the ceiling and leaping out of the way while he gets run over by a subway train.

But have you truly beat Agent Smith with all your skill?  Of course not - the subway car stops, and Agent Smith steps out - completely intact and with a fresh new pair of sunglasses.

All the skill in the world cannot defeat Agent Smith - luckily Neo realizes this and fulfills his destiny of being "The One", otherwise you might as well put all the Matrix sequels in the trashcan:



A little True Love doesn't hurt....but to be The One, you mostly have to Believe.

Believe that you have the right to say "No" - yes, that power has the power to stop bullets, and pesky unwanted dances.

Believe that you don't have to fight, or even conquer a lead - you can follow it.

Believe that you don't have to be more powerful, more skillful, or faster, or more cunning than the lead.  Believe that you can react when you follow instead of anticipate, afraid you'll miss something. There is plenty of space and time to follow a lead, if you can allow yourself to let the following happen.

Believe...and you will find yourself, and Tango.  And also: blow Agent Smith into "smithereens" and send his henchmen running for the exits.

***************************************************************************

"Isn't it cool, Man Yung!  Look at what we could learn to improve our tango by watching The Matrix!"

I hear crickets chirping...and snoring.

Whoops, Man Yung isn't even listening.  He's fallen asleep again - and it's not even the whole movie, it's the clips of the best parts of the movie!










Monday, June 4, 2012

Snow in June

We weren't planning on mentioning the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary this year... but then some bizarre news showed upon the internet.

Firstly, the Shanghai Stock Market fell 64.89 points today - "6", "4", "89" - the exact dates of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Secondly, it hailed heavily in Beijing.  The saying "Frost in June" in Chinese culture relates to the notion of the heavens crying due to a great injustice.

Were the numbers at the Stock Market an omen?  Did the sky shed tears for the horrible injustices inflicted on the Chinese people by the corrupt Communist Party?

Is China reaching a breaking point?

Man Yung hopes that that the days of the Communist Party are numbered.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Osvaldo and Coca everywhere! (April and May, 2012)

We called Osvaldo and Coca yesterday to see how they were.

"We're good, everything is good - except it's a little chilly here in Buenos Aires!"

We had just watched on Youtube several of their performances from April and May in a few milongas that we hadn't had a chance to go to yet.  We had to tell them about that.  They love it when someone puts their performances on the internet and they get a kick out of hearing that we got to watch it - they're in Buenos Aires, we're in Toronto - the miracle of the internet!

Here's Osvaldo and Coca in April at this place called: "Dominó":



Here's Osvaldo and Coca at "Lujos", apparently relocated (?) at Alsina 2540:



And last but not least, here's Osvaldo and Coca at this place called "El Mitico Atalanta":



They also dance to another tango and part of a milonga.  They never dance to only one!  I tell Coca that I admired that Osvaldo wore a red jacket, and Coca wore a matching red dress with red shoes.

We haven't been to Buenos Aires since last October - a short time, but already there seems to be massive changes - relocation of milongas, closing down of milongas, new milongas, etc. etc.  Will we still recognize the Buenos Aires milonga scene, will we still know where to go the next time we are there?

Luckily, we still have marvelous friends and teachers like Osvaldo and Coca.  They will also know where to direct us so we won't get "lost" - in all the different meanings of the word.

Alberto Dassieu

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