Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pedro Vujovich and Graciela Cano

The first time we went to Buenos Aires, we were eager to see a number of dancers live.

One couple we would have loved to see dancing in the milongas was Pedro Vujovich and Graciela Cano.  They had won the Metropolitano (Buenos Aires city-wide) competition in 2005 and we saw snippets of them dancing in Oscar Hector's Milonguisimo show in a youtube video.

The few seconds we saw of them dancing in the video of the show were totally awesome - their musicality was impeccable and their style completely unique.  However, when were in Buenos Aires we didn't have an opportunity to catch them and shortly after our visit we heard that Pedro had passed away.

We have been searching for videos of them dancing every since.  We discovered recently their son Gustavo had posted some videos on Youtube of Pedro and Graciela dancing as a tribute to them.  Here's one of them dancing an exhibition of Tango, Vals and Milonga:

There are quite a few more videos of them dancing in Gustavo's youtube channel, including videos of them while competing.  It's fantastic that we are still able to see these examples of their dancing, it's such a treat.

Confession:  Man Yung has been trying to steal Pedro's steps!   But he has not been successful.  I think it's because Pedro and Graciela's style of dancing formed organically from decades of dancing together and you have to look at it as a whole.  It is impossible (as Man Yung has learned) to take out and dissect/steal any one part of it!

We had the pleasure of meeting Graciela once when we went to Club Oeste and Man Yung even had the opportunity of dancing with her.  She's a beautiful dancer and we were happy to know that she still went to dance in the milongas.

A short and charming biography of Pedro Vujovich can be found on the Todotango website here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Non-Tango things that have made my Tango better

We know people who are avid class takers and who dance tango literally, EVERY NIGHT.  Good for you!  Keep it up!

I've commented this before to some of my friends while watching particularly horrible awkward dancing: "Give them 20/30/40 years in Tango....eventually anyone can turn into a Milonguero."  

I may have said that ironically but also in total earnestness.  A tried and true way to dance Tango better is to just do more of it.  Either lots in a short time span or less but consistently over more time.  

Good Tango is sometimes just mileage.

But BETTER Tango is more than that.

Without doing any Tango Drills, going to any Tango Festivals, taking any Tango private classes or watching any Tango videos on Youtube, I can just wake up on a random morning and find myself a better Tango dancer.  

I don't know why it happens. 

I'm kidding.  Of course I know.  But if I tell you, you're going to say, "Gosh, Irene is weird."

And then you will go secretly try those same weird things yourself to see if they work.  

Heck, I'll give you a list anyway since I've promised myself to write at least two posts a month this year and I'm kind of behind:

Various Non-Tango things that have mysteriously enlightened Irene's Tango:

1.  Watching a Meteor Shower.

2.  Reading D. H. Lawrence's "The Rainbow" and "Women in Love".  

3.  Going to see a Philippe Jaroussky concert.  OMG listening to him sing live was the most intensely beautiful 2 hours of my life.

3.  Losing 15 lbs of weight gradually using the "Madam Chic French Moderation" method.  Yeah, laugh all you want.  Don't be mistaken, I didn't dance better because I lost weight - I danced better because I LIVED better.

4.  Playing piano again after a break of almost 10 years.  

5.  Persisting in playing my old piano that I got in Hong Kong when I was eleven even though it is crappy and cannot hold a tune or be tuned anymore.  Even my cat cringes when I play.  Hey, I don't care - me and my piano have a history together.

6.  Marie Kondo-ing my house.  Kind of like the experience of losing weight as in #3, but instead weight reduction I was decluttering.

7.  Having better relations with my parents and brother and sister.  However, I am still going to laugh at their Tango ignorance (Oh-no - maybe my Tango will become even better when I stop laughing at them?)

8.  Writing a Tango Blog (OK, this is a Tango thing.  But writing about Tango and analyzing it front to back and top to bottom and actually solidifying thoughts into words helps me immensely).

9.  NOT RECOMMENDED:  Suffering horrible, awful loss, and gradually coming to terms with it.  

I don't wish this kind of sadness on anyone.  Not to make light of this kind of heart breaking and spirit destroying experience, but my Tango did get a lot better.

10.  Falling in love with and being proud of my home town Scarborough.  Growing up I thought my neighbourhood sucked and it was just the sleepy boring old suburbs.  After learning that it was in fact "The Food Capital of the World" and actually trying out the different awesome cuisines available locally and meeting lovely people from different cultures living here, I realized that the place where I grew up in ROCKS.

11.  Letting go of anger.

12.  Forgiving people who were once my enemies - even loving them a little.

13.  Becoming older and wiser.

14.  Understanding myself more.

15.  Understanding Man Yung more.

16.  Accepting both myself and Man Yung more.

17.  Having Man Yung understand me and accept me more.   Yes Man Yung!  This is important!  Partnership is not a Chairman Mao Communist Totalitarian Regime!

In summary, I danced better whenever I was touched by beauty, when I found out something about myself, and whenever I strived to be a better person.

Man Yung said after reading what I wrote, "Yes, life is like that!  Like the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter."

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