Monday, May 7, 2012

A new beginning

I wonder if there's a point of posting at all, since nobody reads this. Even I had forgotten about the existence of this blog. But I still think it's worth posting a reflection from my meeting with tango legend Miguel Angel Zotto. I've never seen any professional dancer so laid back, so relaxed, so tolerant, so humble, yet so confident, so mature, yet so youthful as Zotto. Most professional dancers are snobs, but the master of masters is pretty much the opposite of a snob. This was quite a surprise given the legendary status he has. If he is not a snob, then I have absolutely no ground on which to be a snob. I guess this was pretty obvious to everyone from the very start but me. I don't know if I can change the title of the blog, but even if I can't, the tone of the posts (rare as they are) will certainly change. We had an interesting conversation about the codigos. Having seen him in person, I have realized that he encompasses all styles of Tango Argentino. He is a stage dancer, yet at the same time he is an old fashioned milonguero. To many, this is an oxymoron, but he converges at these two seemingly irreconcilable styles beautifully. His old fashioned self has great respect for the codigos of the milonga. Yet he stresses how the codigos should be upheld because of their usefulness, rather than arbitrarily only because it is tradition. Codigos exist for practicality; it should be adapted according to the times and circumstances - else the purpose is defeated. I hope people learn not only his steps, but his wisdom from his age and experience. Gracias, Miguel!

4 comments:

  1. I suspect that people who reject the codes as archaic, sexist or simply quaint, probably don't understand them or know how to use them.

    A good example is the cabeceo. At first the cabeceo may seem challenging. It requires self-confidence. But once mastered, it is respectful and empowering for all concerned. It allows men and women to choose their partners for a tanda. No need to offend people by turning them down, or dancing with someone just to be "nice", or putting up with a person's poor personal hygiene, etc.

    My observation has been that the codes raise the standard of dance and behaviour at a milonga. Those who reject the codes may not realise it but their easy option slowly but surely leads to chaos on the dancefloor.

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    1. On the subject of tango snobs, you may enjoy this entry from my own blog. And perhaps we can share the link love?

      http://tangoaddiction.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/the-tango-snob/

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    2. thanks for the interesting read. However, my snobbishness was never about only dancing with competent followers. I was a snob for those with no respect, love, or an understanding for tango, or those who completely misunderstood it. I have always been happy to dance with anyone, young or old, skinny or fat, ugly or pretty, beginner or professional, as long as they showed the right attitude. Not to imply that it is a privilege to dance with me, but it's hard for me to want to dance with people who are in the scene for anything else that is not love for tango music and culture. ie people who are under the impression that tango is about doing as many steps as possible and doing many pretty adornos and dancing better than others in a competition. But anyway, all this is no longer, for I have vowed to take the perhaps selfish path of loving tango and not spending energy on even caring about people who do not. In a way, perhaps this is even more snobbish, but at least it is concealed from the surface and avoids uncomfortable situations in a milonga. I can't see anyone describing my tolerance as arrogance

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  2. Hi there!

    Happy New Year 2013!

    If you continue writing about Tango, your post would be posted on www.milonga.me. So it would be worth the effort! Just let us know (milongaroom@gmail.com).
    Best, Anthony, Crew www.milonga.me

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