Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Camicando 2009

Just exchanged emails with Martha and Manolo yesterday - Martha reminded me to spread the word about the CaMiCando festival to all Toronto tangueros/tangueras. It's only 6 more months away, and there will be special events to celebrate CaMiCando's 5th anniversary!

All details about the CaMiCando festival, including dates, prices, the classes offered, teachers' biographies etc. are available on the CaMiCando website here.

We've been to the festival for two years in a row now, and we are already making plans to go next year. Many of the people we've encountered at the festival have also attended the festival multiple times - for example, one of our friends in Germany whom we met at the festival in 2006 also attended in 2007 and will be attending with her parents again for 2009. For us, and for many of its other alumnis, CaMiCando is really like a family reunion.

FYI - Martha's message to Toronto: "It will be lovely if a lot of people from Toronto came to the festival." *

* As for OUR (i.e. Irene and Man Yung's) message to Toronto: Yes, it would indeed be lovely if lots of people from Toronto went to the festival. If you choose to go, you will enjoy yourself, meet other wonderful friendly tangueros/tangueras from all over the world who will remember you and email you after the festival is over, and learn lots from top teachers who actually want you to learn what they are teaching.

But we know what you guys would rather be spending your money on (e.g. this or this or perhaps even this)! Contrary to what you think, we actually don't mind that you would rather waste your time - in fact, we find it rather marvelous. As Man Yung often says quite possessively,
"Martha and Manolo are mine, all mine! - MWWWWWWAAAARRGGHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"**

Alberto Dassieu and Paulina Spinoso - Pugliese's "El Arranque"

One of the many things I admire about Alberto and Paulina is that when they dance, they really dance TOGETHER.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adela Galeazzi

For all of you followers out there who really want to adorn...

Adela and Pedro dancing to Di Sarli's "Siete Palabras" at Milonguita

Please try to learn how to do adornments like Adela Galeazzi.

We encountered these videos of Adela on Youtube.

We don't know Adela very well, but we were struck by her footwork the very first time we saw her dance in Glorias Argentinas in 2007. Here was this striking, beautiful milonguera with four-inch stiletto heels, doing the most precise, grounded, musical footwork with the greatest of ease. Her walk was so grounded it seemed that her shoes could make groves on the floor, but her following was so light and agile she floated like feather - an incredible combination. The milongueros that danced with her didn't want to let go of her - including milongueros from the show Milonguisimo like Horacio Prestamo.

Adela and Pedro dancing to D'Arienzo's "Pabellon de las Rosas" at Milonguita
(this video has been sped up at the end probably due to processing error)

Adela (and also Geraldine Rojas, by the way) doesn't "do" adornments - she owns them. The difference between Adela, Geraldine, and most other followers who "do" a lot of adornments is a question of unity. It's not a matter of knowing this adornment, or that adornment, and trying to incorporate them into your dancing - it's a matter of being "one" with every aspect of your dance.

We hope that we will have the good fortune to be able to see Adela's exquisite dancing again the next time we are in Buenos Aires.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Clarification regarding "Blog Swarming" Part II - Debate about Open Commentary/Open Identity

Blogger Movement Invites Movement said...


It doesn't seem like we misunderstood your post at all, but we see you do not want it to relate to our situation.

Amusing that you believe it's "WRONG" to have closed comments. Killing can be seen as "wrong"... closed comments though? Wow. We are not censoring anyone's comments. They can write whatever they want. We just don't want it on our blog and we see absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. If we are to have open comments, we believe it is necessary to "converse" with those who comment. We are easily drawn into debates. However, we do not have the time or the interest to do so presently.

We explained why we do not have open comments on our blog and it seems like a waste of time to explain it again here. Perhaps one day we will have open comments (and it is something we are considering), until then, it is our choice.

As for our real identities. In Toronto, we do not hide the fact that we write this blog. We even post the link to the blog on our Facebook and we talk about our blog. However, we do not see why people should have to know exactly who we are. We are just "small potatoes" who go about writing OUR TRUTHS. Strangers around the world do not need to know who we are and what we look like simply because we write a blog.

Wonderful for the both of you that you have the "balls" to speak your mind to anyone and everyone. We do not all have that ability and it does not in itself make someone a coward (a negatively charged word for someone who is timid). Jorge is a product of his upbringing - being Finnish and having been brought up by a timid (single) mother who only knew how to "make nice" have contributed to his character. He is not a coward because it is virtually impossible for him to speak his mind in person (which is the very reason why he has not been able to say no to women who ask him to dance). Being able to say your thoughts, whether in full view or in hiding, is generally better than not saying them at all.

We respect your decision to maintain your blog the way you do. You obviously do not respect ours... and that's OK.


September 12, 2008 3:07 PM

Blogger Irene and Man Yung said...

Wow, so many comments for one post! We should really talk about the "Blog Swarm" more often!

Los Movimientos:

We understand not wanting to be drawn by "nameless/unknown bloggers" in cyberspace into debates but what if we (for example) or Roxana and Fabian (for example) want to comment on what you say? We have no easy way to do it except by posting our comment as a post on our blog. Anyone who reads your post straight from your blog will not be able to access our commentary unless they were following our blog at the same time. We cannot even say whether we agree or don't agree with your interpretation of some of ideas that you have quoted from us - in this we have found ourselves "appropriated" and then "censored" by you, for good or bad. Your "own truth" on your blog becomes a suppression of other legitimate truths, other legitimate voices, that may or may not dissent with your perspective. Surely a little inconvenience and the expenditure of a little bit of your precious time would be small sacrifices for the sake of free speech - "Don't throw away the baby with the bathwater", so to speak. We're sure you can more than hold your own on any debate however tedious, repetitive and drawn out it is.

For us, we believe that open commentary/open identity is to do with free speech and also really, truly standing by what you have to say - and defending it to the death if necessary. For us it is not a matter of convenience or time - it's a matter of principle.

But then it also goes without saying that it is also a matter of principle that we do not intend to dictate (although we believe we are entitled to our opinion) how someone lives their lives, or direct (although once again we believe we are entitled to make suggestions) how someone runs their blog. The final say regarding both is entirely up to you.

September 12, 2008 4:45 PM

Clarification regarding "Blog Swarming"

The following is the comment we received from Movement Invites Movement, and our comment in reply. We feel it is necessary at this time to clarify exactly the intent of our comment to Miss Tango and our post.

Blogger Movement Invites Movement said...

You have articulated perfectly one of the many reasons why we don't have open comments. Could you imagine the "Blog Swarming" that would occur (and has basically occurred on another blog which referred to ours)?!

We agree with you that the post was a very sneaky attack on Janis. At the very least, it was poking fun at her in a typically "high school" fashion.

September 12, 2008 10:44 AM

Blogger Irene and Man Yung said...


Although we appreciate your support of Janis, you misunderstand the intent of our post. It's one thing to point out when there's "Blog Swarming" at work - and quite another thing not to allow any commentary at all. Pointing out "Blog Swarming" when it occurs is part of fair commentary. People can agree, or disagree with us, just as they wish.
Not allowing commentary at all is censorship. We are opposed to censorship. We are not afraid for people to comment, positively or negatively, or even with the intent of "Blog Swarming", on our views. An opposing opinion may turn out to be quite right, or quite wrong - but total censorship is definitely WRONG.

Regarding the intent of our comment to Miss Tango, the first point we wanted to make is about people jumping on the bandwagon to personally attack a specific target - and not because they had been personally offended by the said target, or have some personal issues regarding the said target, but only because it appears trendy to do so to become part of the "in group" which is engaging in this. This kind of aggression really is totally unnecessary, and reveals a part of the "bullying" aspect of human nature. We've observed that it has been going on for a while now, and we felt compelled to point it out.

The other point we wanted to make is regarding anonymous attacks or attacks by pseudonym. This is something we find absolutely reprehensible. Hiding behind anonymity or a facade is the resort of cowards. We wouldn't say anything here on this blog that we wouldn't say to someone face-to-face.

In light of this, we would ask you to consider opening up your blog to comments, and to write your posts using your real identities. Most people in Toronto already know you but we think it is only fair that your worldwide readership has a chance to get know who (the real) you are as well.

These were the crucial points in our comment on Miss Tango's post.

Irene and Man Yung

September 12, 2008 12:53 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog swarming

I just submitted the following comment about this post:

What, is it hip now to make sneaky personal attacks on certain other tango bloggers just because they speak their mind and they actually know what they are talking about? One blogger becomes the target of antagonism and then suddenly everyone jumps on the bandwagon in this "blog swarming" to try to look like they are part of the "in" group. Ridiculous and so "High school". Anonymous: There's a word for someone who attacks others while hiding behind anonymity - it's "COWARD".

You are bullies. And this is "blog swarming" - THE tango cyber-trend of the future, which tech-savvy tangueros and tangueras will now engage in to increase their "tango-cred" instead of learning to dance better.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lito and Lidia Filippini - dancing to Biagi's "Lejos de Ti"

Back when "tango champions" were really and truly champions, competition or no:

Lidia is one of the featured milongueras in the clip I used from "El último bandoneón" several posts ago. Janis Kenyon also has a recent post about Lidia and Lito Filippini here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Are you sure you really want to see "Irene and Man Yung Dancing" - Yikes!

WARNING: Dear readers of delicate constitution: Reading this post or viewing any of the videos included in this post may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sharp stabbing pains in the cornea, general malaise, psychological disturbances, recurring nightmares, or worse. Man Yung and Irene are not legally responsible for any damages or adverse effects that may arise. You have been forewarned. Proceed at your own discretion.

We have just received a comment from Nancy about our previous post on “Looking for Bahia Blanca”. We reproduce her comment, and our reply, as follows:

Nancy said....
Let me get this straight: these folks


are criticizing all the above couples for their musicality and over-embellishments?

September 6, 2008 10:23 AM

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Nancy,

You are absolutely right, we also agree that in that video, there is a problem of synchronization in the video with the music. Whether that it is a problem with the video recording and posting process on Youtube, or whether it is a problem with our dancing - we cannot be 100% sure of either. The only ones that could be the judge of that are the people who actually witnessed that performance live at Lulu Lounge.
As for the right to criticize, have you ever been to a restaurant and had found something unacceptable about the food? Would it reasonable for the chef to respond to your complaint by saying "You have no right to complain because you are not a professional chef, you don't know what you are talking about?" We are not professionals, we are just "small potatoes", but it doesn't mean we are not entitled to our opinion. Just because someone is a "Master", it doesn't mean that everyone else not dancing at their level or with the same level of fame and power will have to censor their opinion about the said "Master" - this would be an affront to free speech. As Maria Nieves has said in an interview (this was posted by Janis Kenyon on her blog post about Maria Nieves recently): "Nobody is the owner of the truth in tango." It is always important to have a public forum for discussion, and by presenting our post as such we are opening the forum for comment on this topic (such as yours).
As for embellishments, I have as recently as last week admitted on this blog that I was once a bad an amateur adornista as any in the Tango world. I now have a problem with thinking too much about not doing adornments (instead of following). No matter whether I am here or there with respect to adornments, it is an evolving process and a process of learning for me.
The video of us dancing last August at the Amnesty International benefit was not posted by us. Perhaps it was posted by somebody who wanted to embarrass us with an example with our own horrible dancing? Anyway, we have to apologize to you, Nancy, and to any other unfortunate persons who has stumbled upon this video for any distress caused, especially if you had to run for the bathroom and wash your eyes out with soap after this trauma!
We hope that if people wish to post candid videos of our dancing on the internet in the future, they are duly warned to print a "Caution" notice beneath the video as follows: - "WARNING: Watching this video may cause psychological damage and recurring nightmares. Irene and Man Yung are not responsible for any damages arising from such action. Proceed at your own discretion."

Thank you for your comment, we look forward to more comments from you in the future!


September 6, 2008 9:13 PM

We are only aware of two unfortunate candid videos in existence on the internet in which examples of our dancing make their ominous appearance. As part of our ongoing public service “Warnings and Dangers”, we have decided to post both of them below in order for the public to have full advanced notice of such perils.

Here's the video that Nancy refers to of our Canyengue performance at the Amnesty International benefit in August of last year (Avert your eyes!):

And here's the video taken by an unsuspecting bystander of the Kensington Market open air milonga in June of this year, which unhappily includes the terrifying footage of yours truly:

No, we confess we are not the lovely couple in white performing all those death-defying awe-inspiring moves – that would be Toronto's very own Jack Gibney and Mona Paris. In this video, Man Yung is dressed in a navy polo with khakis, while Irene is wearing the blue lululemon top with the black skirt and blue shoes. You may still enjoy this video of tango on a lovely summer day in Toronto – but be warned to omit viewing of portions of the video from the times 0:46 to 1:04, 1:13 to 1:30, 1:58 to 2:12 and 2:24 to 2:40, as these portions of the video include shots of the two of us - we repeat our initial warning regarding nausea, dizziness and sharp stabbing pains etc. and once again deny responsibility for such effects in the event that you decide set your eyes on such.

We can only hope that our efforts here on advance warning will be able to prevent any trauma that may arise in the event an unprepared member of the public inadvertently stumbles on such horrifying amateur attempts at "Tango" from Man Yung and Irene while innocently surfing the internet.

ONE LAST WARNING: Now that the public is aware of what Irene and Man Yung looks like, the public is duly forewarned to avert their camcorders whenever there is even the remotest possibility that dance examples from Irene and Man Yung may be recorded and posted on the internet. Trust us, you do not want to frighten children, traumatize the healthy or perhaps even kill those with existing serious medical conditions with potentionally dangerous eyesore. YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED

Friday, September 5, 2008

Looking for Bahía Blanca

Bahia Blanca: "A la ciudad que me vió nacer"

Ever since Sally Potter danced her “Milonga Triste” to this tango with Fabian Salas and Gustavo Naveira in an abandoned barber’s shop, we have been blessed with a veritable potpourri of interpretations of El Señor de Tango’s signature tune.

We know that Carlos Di Sarli was born in Bahía Blanca, and that he had tenderly dedicated the score of his composition to the city of his birth. We also know that this is a beautiful tango, filled with feeling and nostalgia. But what does it all really mean?

Since neither Man Yung nor I can ever profess to know anything, we can only humbly look to that venerable institution YouTube for answers. And in YouTube, not only is there potpourri - if you wish to go by the thesaurus, you may also find a ragbag, assortment, hodgepodge, collection, jumble, variety, medley, assembly – all in all, a cornucopia with a random sprinkling of cambalache:

Osvaldo Zotto and Lorena Ermocida

Question: "Mr. Zotto, what does it all really mean?"
Answer: "It means that Ms. Ermocida dances robotically without regard to following the lead while trying to do as many adornments as the music cannot possibly allow. We hope that people will look past the music and concentrate on her footwork. Because if they can't get the music (and I bet you 99% never will), at least they will get an opportunity to fiddle with their feet. You are aware, of course, that Ms. Ermocida is part of a very lucrative "Lady's Tango Week" festival every year? You should go. Not only will you learn lots of extra adornments - you also get to gawk at Pablo Veron!"

Daniel Naccuchio and Cristina Sosa

"Ouch! My back is so straight I am literally giving myself a hernia. That's the key to winning the Campeonato - stiff upper back and plenty of enrosques. What was the question again? Oh, the music - of course it means, 'swirly feet, swirly feet, double swirly feet' - is there any better way to evoke the notion of 'ocean'? No, to interpret this tune you don't need to follow the music - ever hear about water having musicality? Ridiculous."

Chicho and Lucia Mazer

Man Yung: "Actually, this is not at all bad. Chicho's musicality is pretty good - not 100% dead on, but mostly fine. This is one of the highlights of CITA 2004, in fact. Too bad stuff like this has set off an explosion of 'Folks, it is now acceptable to dance bad nuevo to good traditional tangos.'"

Fabian Peralta and Virginia Pandolfi

Man Yung:
"This is a surprise, Peralta looks like he is concentrating real hard on interpreting this! I don't think I've actually seen him dance better. Except that his partner is sometimes going faster than he is leading."
"Do you think that green tea + Ovaltine would be a good ice cream flavour? .... Oh, you were talking about Fabian Peralta."

Orlando Paiva Jr. and Mariana Meling

Man Yung:
"Watching this, I'm starting to feel a little Bahía Blanca."
"You dissed this two years ago when you first saw it. I told you it was pretty good."
Man Yung:
"He wasn't dead on with the music 100% of the time the last time I saw this - and he still isn't dead on."

Orlanda Paiva and Geraldine Rojas in “Assassination Tango”

Man Yung:
"What little we could see of the performance is pretty darn good. Can you see that Geraldine does not do a single adornment from the moment she starts dancing to the moment that the camera cuts away to the shot of the people gabbing?"
Irene: "Too bad that most followers are only taking notice of Geraldine when Geraldine is adorning - rather than when she is not."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So, what does Irene think about when she dances?

I used to think about what adornments I could do at every given moment. Now I think about not doing any adornments.

I think about whether the current music is any good, and what should be played to make the tanda better. I'm also on the lookout for anything that might inspire a blog post. I'm also looking at the door to see whether any friends/strangers/regulars have shown up.

I am also wondering if the "Four-Directions Bumper-Car ride" leader will crash into us and cause Man Yung to start a fight. Or I'm rolling my eyes at Man Yung's crazy moves and thinking that he dances funny.

I'm worrying about a wardrobe malfunction. I'm thinking about how long I will be able to dance without my feet hurting.

If it's Friday night, I'm thinking of what I'm going to do on Saturday morning (usually involving a trip to Wal-Mart). If it's Saturday night, I'm thinking about what to do on Sunday morning (usually involving a trip to the Supermarket). I am often contemplating ice cream flavours.

Sometimes I'm thinking about the funny joke I just heard while chatting with my tango friends. Perhaps I may be still giggling over the joke. Once I couldn't stop snorting with laughter while dancing with a certain distinguished older gentleman. I had to disguise it as coughing/choking/gagging, because it wouldn't be pleasant for the said gentleman to think I was laughing at him.

The only things I don't think about are 1) Winning the Campeonato, 2) Tango Blog World Domination or 3) Actual World Domination.

In fact, I've actually evolved to a point in which I can appear to be dancing but in reality I'm totally and utterly absent!

Following my example is not recommended.

Please follow Ofelia's example instead:

One final note: Entrega in Tango can be achieved in any embrace.

80 kilos = 176.4 pounds?

I have a good friend in tango who is one of the best followers in Toronto. If there is anyone who is truly "Milonguera" here, it would be her.

All the leaders that have had the privilege of dancing with her know what I am talking about when I say that she is one of the best followers. But does she care that she is one of the best followers in Toronto? Does she mentally replay all the lovely compliments that she receives from the people she dances with and the people who observe her dancing? Does she lie in bed awake at night thinking about where she is ranked on the fabulous echelon of great dancers in Toronto? Does she even read this blog religiously to see whether we have mentioned her name in the context of "great following" or "great dancing"? Does she even care she is "Milonguera" or not?

Actually, no. Therein lies her secret.

She started to learn tango around the same time that Man Yung and I started. Although she felt immediate love and affinity for Tango music, she has never done more or less than any normal, sane person trying to learn the tango in learning how to tango.

Sure, she took some group classes, and maybe a handful of private classes when she was a beginner - but she has never shelled out thousands of dollars for private classes week after week for years from the top instructors. She doesn't attend every single milonga and practica available, and when she does appear at a milonga, she dances only a few good tandas with the best leaders - and enjoys all of them. She has been to Buenos Aires (once), but she didn't take classes from morning to evening every single day and then burn herself out by staying at the milongas until 5 a.m. in the morning every single night. She doesn't have a thousand pairs of tango shoes. She rarely watches tango videos on Youtube, and she doesn't read tango blogs (even when I send her links). She has no idea who Rick McGarrey is, and couldn't care less. She enjoys tango music, but neither the music nor the dance are all-consuming obsessions for her. She has no desire to be DJ, instructor, performer or to become any sort of authority on either the dance or the music. She has a well-balanced life outside of tango - in fact, in living her day-to-day life, she actually has great long moments in which she is not thinking about tango at all (GASP! HORROR!)

Yet, despite all this and despite not having previous dance training/superior alien DNA-infused genetic makeup/Argentinian ancestry etc., my friend is a beautiful tango dancer. That's because when she dances tango, ALL of her dances tango. And when I mean ALL, I mean not an iota more, and not an iota less.

"Not an iota less": This means she is not thinking about who to dance with next, whether she looks good in her outfit today, what she is going to do on the weekend, whether or not to invest in that particular RRSP, etc.

"Not an iota more" (and this is the tricky one): This means she is not thinking of what she should do in the dance to make herself more impressive, more elegant, more stylish, more musical, more "milonguera/tanguera". She is not thinking about about what adornments she should nor should not do, in fact, she is not even thinking about her feet. She is not thinking about adopting any currently chic embrace or fashion or idealogy just so she can appear more "authentic" or "legitimate" in anyone's eyes. She is not thinking about dancing like Samantha/Geraldine/Andrea/Corinna/Milena/Eugenia/Villa Urquiza/Villa Devoto/Nuevo Tango/Nueva Pompeya/Barracas/Boedo/Lanus/Retiro whoever or whatever, and it would not make her any less tango if she did not have to fantasize about emulating someone else's style.

Here's an excerpt from a documentary "El último bandoneón" (The Last Bandoneón) by Alejandro Saderman. In this excerpt, you can also find examples of tango dancing by three women who dance with their "ALL": Margarita, Lidia and Ofelia.

This is priceless:

Javier Rodriguez: "Dancing with women like them is something different. It's not because they weigh 80 kilos. They don't weigh 80 kilos... they are 80 kilos... of tango."

For women like Margarita, Lidia, Ofelia, and my good friend, whether 80 kilos (or 50 kilos, or 150 kilos) equals 176.4 pounds is completely irrelevant. The real question is the question of being. When these women dance, they ARE tango.

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