Sunday, November 16, 2014

Zamba - Maria Jose Palermo y El Puchu "La Siete de Abril" Estancia El Tropezón (08-11-14)

Man Yung was very moved by this beautiful impromptu Zamba between El Puchu and a lady by the name of Maria Jose Palermo:



We don't know the story behind this improvised Zamba but it looks like that El Puchu was invited to perform at this venue with his regular partner, the talented and fiery Gladys Rivero - there are videos of him dancing Tango, Vals, Zamba and Chacarera with Gladys on Youtube in front of the same crowd on the same Youtube channel as well.  But this Zamba by El Puchu and Maria Jose Palermo was particularly touching for Man Yung.

"I'm guessing that Maria Jose Palermo just happened to be there and El Puchu took the opportunity to dance with Maria due to popular demand of the crowd. That's why she isn't wearing any shoes - she kicked them off so she could dance better, and she borrowed the handkerchief from El Puchu and Gladys to use in the Zamba," said Man Yung.  "When you watch El Puchu and Maria dance, it is clear that they haven't rehearsed beforehand, but since they are both experts at folklore, they are well versed in the language of the Zamba.  You get a strong sense that they are communicating and reacting to each other's movements, but their dancing is natural and fresh and doesn't feel choreographed. There is give and take, lead and follow - there is dialogue between them creating this beautiful dance."

I watched the video and I agreed with Man Yung.  "They both look thrilled to be able to improvise with a partner who understands the Zamba at the same level.  The audience looks spellbound."  I did a quick search of Maria Jose Palermo on Youtube - turns out she is an "Profesora Nacional de Danzas".  No wonder why this Zamba between her and El Puchu is just magic.

Quick random thoughts about the Zamba:

1.  We think the Zamba is even more "Romantic" in a way than Tango.  The Zamba we've seen has been about the initial stages of courtship - boy meets girl, love at first sight, everything that makes romance novels and romance movies so popular.  If you look at the audience for this Zamba, the ladies are particularly enthusiastic with their applause.  If only we could be perpetually in the honeymoon stage of love!

2.  Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.  Red hearts and red roses give way to dirty dishes, kids, mortgages, expanding mid-sections, and general crankiness.  That's when you can start to really appreciate the Tango. 

3.  (In Tango, you can imagine that your partner is Alain Delon* instead of the cranky dude you are stuck with.  Or better, you can dance with another person who is not your partner, and it's not considered cheating. Shhhh - Don't tell Man Yung!)

* Man Yung suggested helpfully, "You can also imagine that you are dancing with George Clooney... Jack Palance or even Charles Bronson, or Mr. Bean!"

I looked at Man Yung like he was crazy.  How did he know that I had the biggest crush on Rowan Atkinson in my teens and to this day I always imagine that I am dancing with him instead of Man Yung?

4. You can't dance the Zamba for hours on end every week - you'd get bored.  "I think it would be exhausting trying to look starry-eyed at your dance partner for more than 15 minutes!" says Man Yung.

5.  However, it is perfectly normal for people to dance the Tango for hours on end every week without getting bored or tired.

6.  During the our last trip to Buenos Aires this May, we actually danced the Zamba at La Nacional.  Osvaldo and Coca thought we danced it really well!  Actually, we didn't dance it well, we forgot most of our steps but since Osvaldo and Coca didn't dance Zamba, they may have thought we were doing a very interesting Hong Kong style interpretation.

7.  A milonga organizer in Toronto once asked whether we would like to perform in his milonga.  We said okay, but on the condition that we will only perform Zamba.  He looked puzzled and maybe even frightened and did not persist in asking us to perform. 

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Alberto Dassieu

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