Wednesday, January 9, 2013

80% Javier????

When we see a couple obviously (obliviously?) executing "exciting, show-stopping" moves learned from various "greats" from Youtube in a most grotesque, space-consuming and safety-threatening fashion in a local milonga, we scratch our heads and wonder what has got into them.  From the sheer enthusiasm they exhibit while kicking and leaping and spinning like there is no tomorrow (or other people on the dance floor), they must think that they are pretty awesome...but really, don't they know that they look absolutely TERRIBLE?

In fact, they may even look a little like this?:



Irene and Man Yung at a Practica in 2006... 
Thank god there's plenty of space, because if you put in just one more couple like Irene and Man Yung there, they will end up gancho-ing each other in the in the forehead!

"Wow Irene, where did you unearth that gem?  That's a video from the good ol' days!" said Man Yung.  "I've forgotten most of those thrilling movements. With this footage, I can remember these fancy moves and we can start practicing them again this weekend!"

"Man Yung, don't be ridiculous!  I'm trying to point out that people shouldn't be dancing like this in a milonga!"

...And indeed they shouldn't, because firstly, all that uncontrolled, expansive movement (and, don't forget - RABID ADORNING) on a crowded floor is dangerous.  Secondly, this dancing looks so bad onlookers may lose their lunch...or WORSE.

Man Yung protests.  "But it was so fun!"

"Sure, Man Yung...In fact, it's even MORE fun than you think, especially if you like to start fights with other Tangueros and do a little Ultimate Fighting right there on the dance floor!"

Looking back, we find our past Tango-selves quite amusing - and thank heavens that 1) we went to Buenos Aires to observe for ourselves how the Milongueros danced (whoops - they certainly didn't dance like us!), 2) we learned how to dance in close embrace, 3) we became a lot more sedate. Has our enjoyment of Tango decreased without all the gymnastics?  Not at all!  In fact, dancing Tango has become even more enjoyable, because instead of focusing on squeezing every known Tango movement in history into one song (regardless of the music), we are now...dancing!

And who can we thank for our "sea-change"?

Our video camera.

You see, before we started to film ourselves, we could only go by what other people said about our dancing (and come on, most of the people we hung out with were kind of at the same level as us - did they really know what they were talking about at that stage?) and what we thought about our dancing.  And the thinking went something like this:

With a little practice, I can do the same move/adornment as Javier/Chicho/Miguel/Geraldine/Milena/Alejandra.  OK, I'm not saying that I'm as GOOD as Javier/Chicho/Miguel/Roberto/Geraldine/Milena/Alejandra - but come on, maybe 80%?  70%?  Even 50% is enough to sweep the dance floor like dance floor heroes!

We can safely say to our 2006 selves (and to any Tanguero/Tanguera who continue to be high on the psychotropic substance known as "Tango Fantasy" and is still dancing kind of like our 2006 selves) - HEY GUYS!  WAKE UP!  IT'S MORE LIKE 0.1%.  OR PERHAPS EVEN 0.0000000001%.

We totally cringed in horror when we saw our 2006 video for the first time - and we have been cringing ever since with our weekly filmations.  By checking every week, at least we are completely up-to-date as to how bad we are!  When's the last time you've checked?*  **

* When we started dancing Tango in 2004, there were a lot of "80% Copes" and "80% Pablo Verons".  Then, starting 2005 and continuing to 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, there came the "80% Chichos" and "80% Naveiras", doing all their "New Tango" stuff.  After New Tango died (tee hee! - but wait, it might still come back from the dead) some dancers valiantly tried to be "80% Fabian Peralta", or at the very least, "80% Tango Championship Clone" (but failed).  These days with Youtube everyone can be "80% anybody!"  Except of course, the 80% of choice for rabid adornistas will always be "Geraldine".

** "How about Irene and Man Yung? How's your quest to be "80% Osvaldo and Coca" coming along?"  Well, it's failing miserably.  Osvaldo is constantly complaining - "Stop doing Martha and Manolo's moves!" But he doesn't know - we are actually doing moves...from Gavito.  And when Alberto complains that we should "Stop doing Osvaldo and Coca's moves!"... he doesn't know we are actually doing moves...from Portalea.  Sneaky Chinese people!

7 comments:

AlanJonesj said...


Brave you for posting the video,perhaps you could both consider a show to star in! I will let you in to a secret,I started dancing in England 17 or 18 years ago after seeing a tango show in this country.My favourite move was where the man held his foot up in the air,and the womanoaa stepped over it...Thank goodness for learning,and 'up with the trads!' Kind regards from Alan Jones.

Piotr said...

I want to be 80% Irene and Men Yung. Not only in tango but in your sens of humor.

Lulu B said...

Hi, and thanks for such a joyous description! I love the 'rabid adornista' title, to be bestowed upon such with much glee ;)
I have been reading - and loving - your blog, particularly the tongue in cheek , irreverent attitude - yet a serious determination with that - Thank you sincerely!
Having been taken up with your stories of learning from O&C, and A, and M&M - i wonder if it's possible to exchange some emails as to logistics/suggestions of following in your footsteps... Would you consider that? Thanks so much!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Alan,

Thank you for sharing that "Tango Fantasy" moment - we're quite partial to the "Tanguera leaps on Tanguero and then inverts mid-air so that her head points downward and her feet are in the air and hopefully he won't drop her unless she has taken out a hefty life insurance policy" but then, we are too old now to be doing this kind of thing (and Irene hasn't got enough life insurance coverage yet) ;)

Thanks for your comment!

Irene and Man Yung

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Piotr,

Lots of people here in Toronto are "80% Irene and Man Yung" but they don't know it. Unfortunately, it is "80%" of "Irene and Man Yung's Tango circa 2006" and not our sense of humor (especially when we make fun of them on the blog)

Actually, it's not that bad in Toronto, people are actually starting to behave themselves quite well on the dance floor!

Thanks for your comment!

Irene and Man Yung

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Lulu,

Thanks for reading our blog and enjoying it!

For followers to improve very quickly in a short period of time, we would usually recommend private classes with our teacher Alberto Dassieu in Buenos Aires (if you able to go there!), but he has been very sick for the past year and not available to give classes. We hope that he will get well soon.

Luckily for followers, learning how to follow well is (and we quote Alberto's advice) a matter of a few "corrections" and not so much a matter of actively learning steps or adornments - which could sometimes in fact get in the way of following.

Anyway, feel free to email us at ireneandmanyung (at) gmail (dot) com maybe we can answer any questions you email us in a future post!

Thanks for your comment and all the best,

Irene and Man Yung

Laurie said...

Irene and Man Yung this video was talked about at our class with R on tuesday. Wow... it's your embrace our eyes go to first now- so entertaining to have our eyes dazzled by your fancy footwork circa 2006.
And as those of us lucky enough to dance with Man Yung have observed : Irene would never put up with such experimental shenanigans. But I appreciate his Surprize! gancho time... he keeps me on my axis and ensures I am paradoxically -relaxed with a loose leg.
And another relevant comment made by my regular dance partner "who the hell did you just dance with?
no wonder Irene only dances with her husband."

Alberto Dassieu

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