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contact:
site:groups.msn.com argentijnsetangoargentino

    Dirk Barbier

    Tango-E-Vita, multilingual Belgian website which focuses on the many different dimensions of performing and experiencing Argentine Tango Dance as a living, ongoing event. Online multimedia such as instructional video-clips on guiding technique and views of shows. Articles in English, Dutch and other languages, with information and thoughts on the manner and quality of couple dancing and, regarding the mind-body relation and the act of exploring non-verbal communication, the powerful contemporary value of it. A special attention for multiple perspectives on gender, social class differences and mentality changes in the history of Tango Argentino.
    BuenosAires/milongas links



     The magic of tangodancing

  Why do such a difficult thing as tango, when there are other couple dances ? What is the surplus pleasure ? What is the difference ?

    tango_rhythm_2x4_ritmo_dos_por cuatro_2_strong_beats_on_4

  Argentine tango, milonga and tangovals are very soft private dances with visual focus on the leg movements, and are examples of irrational dancing, personal improvising creativity.

  In tangodancing, the feet of the dancer are not bound to a schematic designed plan, even tangovals has no clear repetetive pattern like the Viennese waltz. The dancer is free to decide what he will do on the music he hears. This is a new orientation of couple dancing. As most dances have a rational-pattern which can be predicted by the follower, the ballast of previous perceptions about strict rules has to be thrown overboard and replaced by a real communication contact, creating a direct non-verbal dialogue. This requires permanent attention and body connection.
      symboliek_magie_paardansen_mystiek_samenspel
  It means that the concept of leading and following in tango is radically different then in predictable dances. The lady follows by "feeling" her partner's chest-changes. Inside the energetic circle of the close embrace,  she's aware of his movements which must be clear and simple, giving one step-direction at the time, and he should go about it with a quiet and relaxed manner. There is no pushing or pulling by the man and he also must listen and respond to the way the tangolady moves. She has the abilities and capacities to sabotage, to delay and to dislocate the effect of leading. This gives the man a dynamic dimension of uncertainty, which is a good test for his frustration level. That is the addictive thing, for both.

Volgen_Leiden_Tango_danscirkel

  One can also show it as follows: the man initiates her a leg-movement and the "bonnefemme" gives expression to it. Without her attentive response to his unpredictable signals, he cannot dance. The woman gives the freedom to the man to express herself by forming the dance, he is responsible for giving to her a safe, structured space in which she can express herself freely according to his playing and she can play back. The goal is a pleasant dance experience that gives memories.

  Inside the close embrace circle, the opposites do not come together in synthesis as if losing one's identity, the paradoxes are maintained and sometimes the extremes reappear clearly in the dance. Duality means that the opposites must be shaped separately. You can't dance unless you are who you are. A creative experience is something that happens between people, the playground is found on body experiences. These body experiences with their biological energy make a third space. In this space there is no resolution or transcendence between the contradictions, they make part of the play. In dance, a contrast evokes a more dynamic body-connection than continuously moving in the same line.
Duality is typical for our western culture, it seems to be an essential, delicious and addictive stimulus. It feeds the imagination. Our imaginations need it to get engaged. Without a contradiction within your action, a split, you can't develop a structure of motion. An obstacle makes the objective, the longing visible. Contrast, the opposite, a contra-point is needed. A sandwich-mordida is such a contra point. The woman trespasses the man's privacy and makes a gancho like a happy hooker. A counter-boleo is for the man a great contra point. The leader makes a counteraction which is in opposite to the woman's moving direction, a sort of counterpunch, coup de fouet, a throw followed by a soft whiplash thus giving a quick reply and counteracting the woman's movement.

 The salóndancer's skill is to know how to choose the most effective move at that moment, optimize the energy available at that occurrence, as well as turn the hints offered by the partner into an unique, unusual personal dialogue.
The more a dancer has a greater response variability, interactive competence and higher sensitive attention towards the partner during the interaction, making him or her feel exclusive in the game, the more the whole body is involved in the rhythmic structuring of tango. A dialogue of rhythm exposes, something of a courtship “dance” rhythm.
The level of indirectness, distance, depends mostly on the amount of feedback one is getting from the partner. The woman can activate a series of “body signals”, bit by bit, like a soft laugh or singing, which ignite the curiosity of the man thus lightning up his attention like an aha-erlebnis. Since the reaction in the man constitutes his response, the level of the man’s commitment is highly correlated to the frequency which the woman sends out these signals, much of this serving to reduce the man’s sense of insecurity.
To be effective, the leader must also involve a degree of flexibility, improvising, that of being able to harmonize and synchronize with the partner. Every move is according to the partner’s response. The main goal, the know why, is to build an intriguing bond with the partner, reaching a genuine connection while dancing.

  Tangodancing is a growing non-verbal communication between two persons. The "corps-à-corps"-contact is a new language exploration. It is known that dance and music evoke the human quality of being expressive. They arouse and excite life-sustaining energy and can bring back lost qualities, as if there is an embodied collective memory that can be remembered when the body takes over. The expressive value of dance movements informs us about our personal life, it gives mind’s hidden information directly from our living body. This body language understands the nature of being and existence, it can open something desired.

  If the dancer takes the time to walk this path, all of the figure-steps can be integrated "en passant" in the dance practice. Obviously, some conversations will be a failure, that's the challenge. Each part of progress requires a well-developed ability of self-evaluation and visualisation, which is a way to improve the quality of your dancing technique, your expressiveness. Best is to start just by walking, doing no figures and match the steps to the music, just listen.

  The further the dancer proceeds, the more often he will experience pleasure. Pleasure because he is experiencing a creative feeling of mutual understanding which can grow and expand. Dancing together is establishing a mutual reality, an embodied space, a playground.

  Dancing is like playing. It is a creative experience wherein people meet each other. It is not wholly the domain of either participant. When the potential space is polluted, that is, dominated too strongly by one side, there is no creativity, no play, no space for experience.

  The beautiful thing about emotional expression in dance is that there is no right or wrong. The way a dancer feels about dancing and his awareness of the act, makes a tremendous difference in how the interaction is embodied. The dancer is generating and expressing a unique emotional experience at the moment of the performance, it's a phenomeon that happens. The more genuine the emotion, the more developed the technique, and the more focused the dancer's intention, the more the dancepartner and the audience will feel what the dancer is experiencing, and the more emotionally satisfying and artistically excellent it will be. Seeing good dancers will give an aha-erlebnis, like a discovery.

abrazo_movie_mpeg_clip_tangoclip_Symbolic_Meanings_TangoDancing_symbolen_kleursymboliek_erotiek

  Perceptions of performances are mostly seen from the point of view of the audience, reducing it to the privileged senses which are sight and hearing, reducing the act of dancing to its elegant and stylish visual image. Enacting inside bodily feelings somehow makes them more real, they are observed visually and processed cognitively. To make true contact in a conscious way, the signals must have the time to be explored and experienced by the body. In a way, all inner feelings can be iconographically displayed in nearly obligatory postures. Bodily postures express, reinforce and can even challenge inner attitudes. Sensations of the body affect the spirit. Yet, their intensity relates to all senses, they are all engaged during dancing. All of them play a shining part and it becomes a thing in itself. Through physical sensations, the act of dancing can make you recognize meanings on a bodily level, as if remembering something very much lost. There seems to be no essential difference between the language of seduction and the language of performance.

  Surroundings have distinctive vibrations which can evoke or suppress things. Between 1853 and 1930 Argentina got 6.000.000 immigrants. As 70% of the immigrants were masculine, a demographic imbalance was produced between "Damas y Caballeros". European prostitutes were imported, Franchuchas and there was also a women-traffic from Warsaw, from the ghetto de Varsovie et les villages juifs de la Pologne. The immigration wave did the Buenos Aires city population rate swell with lonely portègnes, resuling in a demographic sex ratio population of 1 male to 0,6 female in 1914. Approximately 30.000 garotas were working in 2000 brothels. As tango was related to the brothels and the fact that it was danced between men and prostitutes in a marginal lower class area, broke rules and dancing habits. Couple dance got a more violent temperament, something of a struggle in a sublimated form, so captivating our Moulin Rouge imagination.

  In sexual matters one often thinks that the sculpted bodies and the sensuality are the irresistible magnets. But there is a sexto sentido, the smell in the interpersonal relations showed that alone smelling clothing put on from other individuals - we can establish their sex, their age and, if they are more or little attractive.

  With the appearance of the tango in the milonga danceclubs and family houses, the tanguero public transformed. From 1940, the tango had to express something more than the marginality of the bordelles and cabarets louche. A mythical past was constructed and there was invented an idyllic suburb, a mystique composition filled with heroic knife-fighters, cuchilleros. An arrabal idílico that, to Borges' suspicion, perhaps did not exist...

  This way of dancing was the start of Argentine Tango, musicians adopted their guitar playing to this danceform, so creating the tangomusic. Later, around 1900, the bandoneón made by Heinrich Band, he called it Band-Union, added the sad sound to the music and made it slower.

  Tangomusic has for every person a different emotional significance. This multiplicity of meanings is reflected in the lyrics and makes the music a reflection of one own's life. Themes of love, fear, politics, loss, sex, beauty, danger, yearning, intimidation, jealous envy, laughter, and even violence all present themselves musically and poetically in the mirror of Tango Croillo.

  Played on the guitars of the poor immigrants, these universal Cultural influences include the Waltz, the African Candombe, the native Musica Criolla, Musica del Sur (southern folk music), the Spanish Tanguillo as well as American Jazz. And with instruments of the Old World, the violin, cello, bass, piano, along with the distinctive bandoneon, this fusion of influences is interpreted uniquely by Spanish speaking immigrants who expose their Italian origins with names such as Biagi, Manzi, Basso, D'Arienzo, Tanturi, Pugliese and Piazzolla.

  But the essence of Tango Argentino is more than this melting pot of lyrical and melodic influences. It is the bodily dance that is the living image of its understanding. It shapes a sculpture of nostalgic resurection into the sensual, beautiful and sad sounds, evoking lifelike images within the mind. For without the sensual dance that accompanied this music, there was no historical reason, no cause, no impulse to cultivate the music so intense.


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  Nada hay tan íntimo y público a la vez… como bailar. El tango, como toda manifestación popular, nace espontáneamente en Argentina, resultado de la necesidad de expresión del pueblo, a fines de la década de 1870. Es el lenguaje del cuerpo que permite al alma expresar sus sentimientos, pasión y fuerza que crea y se recrea en la belleza y la dinámica del movimiento. Fuertes emociones, en particular, que llevan a los órganos a un punto de exaltación que espontáneamente se manifiesta a si mismo a través de movimientos más o menos rítmicos que constituyen lo que se podría considerar como danzas naturales. Las expresiones espontaneas, como tambien el arte de bailar, pueden ser descritos como una expresión de los sentimientos por medio de los movimientos del cuerpo mas o menos controlados por el propio sentido rítmico. El baile, como arte era utilizado para varios propósitos. El arte existe en todos lados de la ciudad y en formas infinitas.
  La sensualidad del tango, la conexión corporal, puede ser muy pesada, apasionada, y seria. En el tango no existía la regularidad de las viejas danzas como el vals o la polca y por eso fue necesario creer una técnica en la cual la pareja podía realizar una figura en el momento sin anticipación. El lugar donde se desarrolló más el tango al principio del sigo XX fue dentro de las burdeles donde los hombres bailaban en una forma mucho más sensual que permitirían las estrictas reglas sociales de la sociedad respetuosa. La mujer tenía que seguir siempre el hombre paso por paso moviéndose con sus caprichos y así se fue formando la estructura de la danza que se sigue bailando hoy en día. En un baile tan íntimo, no se puede bailar con cualquier hombre. Así que la mirada tiene un papel muy importante en la cultura del tango. La mirada en el baile es intima pero liviana. La mirada también existe en relación al publico, que está siempre presente en los milongas. El tango es como un espejo, en su capacidad de reflejar todo el desarrollo de una identidad social y relaciones sociales.

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  Las transformaciones en el espíritu del tango
  La pregunta que se impone, es: ¿ por qué el tango, música del instinto sexual y de la algarabía prostibularia se convierte en tan pocos años en un discurso que afirma valores morales tan opuestos a los que le dieron origen? ¿Por qué el placer se transmuta en condena y el regocijo en melancolía ?
  Entre 1900 y 1910 ese incipiente tango que se expresaba en prostíbulos y arrabales de las afueras de la ciudad, empezó lentamente a ganar terreno en los cabarets y pequeños teatros de Buenos Aires. De sus origines el tango fue una expresión cultural degenerado muy particular a la situación social Argentina, pero cuando el tango fue aprobado al exterior se convirtió de repente en una imagen de la identidad nacional. Igualmente, se concretan ciertos símbolos sociales que pasarán a formar parte del folklore ciudadano. Para los élites Argentinos el tango todavía pertenecía a otro sector de la sociedad, y implicaba una identidad ajena de los inmigrantes, los guapos, las prostitutas y todo un mundo nocturnal y peligroso de la calle. La música es otra forma de arte que es muy importante en la cultura argentina. Muchos argentinos hablan de ella con tanta pasión y orgullo. La historia del tango entra así en un contexto más amplio de historia de gente exiliada y ilegítima en búsqueda de una identidad propia, reconocimiento y dignidad.
  El tango, apadrinado por los grupos sociales que el centro no admitía: inmigrantes, veteranos del ejército, ex-esclavos, todos proletarios en busca de una nueva vida que superara el perfil miserable y promíscuo de su marginación. El Lunfardo, una lengua que muchos asimilan a gente de mala vida, empleada para que resultara incomprensible a las autoridades. En ese "idioma" popular ya por entonces característico de los bajos fondos, predominan los términos de diversos dialectos italianos, con algo de café gitano español y el argot francés. El tango lo elegirá posteriormente como su lengua predilecta, ya ampliamente divulgada por el teatro y el intercambio personal que se hacía en los numerosos sitios bailables, y otros lugares no muy santos, entre "niños bien" del centro y "compadritos" orilleros. Así, el tango pasa a los cafés y bares del centro, donde el contacto entre las diferentes clases sociales resulta ya cosa normal y corriente. Es en los salones donde comienza una nueva etapa para la música ciudadana, sea como música como para danza. Cuando el tango "se hace decente", sin cortes ni quebradas, para alegrar fiestas de familia, viviendo un notable auge que arranca a principios de la década del '30 y eclosiona con una popularidad sin igual entre 1940 y 1960. Cuando se extiende a toda la ciudad y se convierte en la música de Buenos Aires, cuando proliferan compositores y poetas, es el mismo tango el que dice de sí mismo ser un veneno que fascina, capaz de llevar a las almas más nobles por el camino del mal. Hoy, merced a la llegada de oleadas de turistas extranjeros que hacen florecer la economía e incentivan la inversión en locales de entretenimientos y academias de baile, el tango está viviendo un renacer que algunos años atrás nadie hubiera imaginado.

Tango-E-Vita, multilingual Belgian website which focuses on the many different dimensions of performing and experiencing Argentine Tango Dance as a living, ongoing event. Online multimedia such as instructional video-clips on guiding technique and views of shows. Articles in English, Dutch and other languages, with information and thoughts on the manner and quality of couple dancing and, regarding the mind-body relation and the act of exploring non-verbal communication, the powerful contemporary value of it. A special attention for multiple perspectives on gender, social class differences and mentality changes in the history of Tango Argentino.