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About 'levels' in tango...

posted Feb 3, 2017, 3:36 PM by Sophia de Lautour   [ updated Feb 3, 2017, 3:45 PM ]
Sharing this post by Chicho Frumboli (a tango pioneer and one of the most inspirational tango dancers in the world) translated by Julia Shiptsova (December 28, 2016)

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A message from Chicho Frumboli. Always fascinating reading that makes me think! I've tried my best translating, please forgive the imperfections! 

“There is nothing worse in tango than believing that we dance well and have a “level”. A boleo, a sacada, a gancho, a colgada executed more or less in the rhythm, and we already feel that we are “experts”, “critics”, “professionals”…. Tango has “this” that for my generation is something new. 

My generation worked every day to understand, grow, and improve, because the information wasn’t as clear as it is for today’s generations. To investigate, discover, get together with friends to practice what we have studied and learned in a class…. it all seems as if it were from another age…..

It’s not easy to keep “motivation” in any part of life. Routine is a pattern to follow “comfortably” for some. For others routine can be crushing and destructive in terms of learning or creativity. 

Some leaders and followers say it’s hard to find a partner to take classes with or to dance in milongas, someone “who would be at my level” as they describe it, but have they ever questioned if they themselves have that “level”?? 

I say this because of the competition that exists today. When learning tango, we have to think in being open and available just as much as in listening to our own bodies and in controlling certain moves that we maybe never thought we could get, in learning about the dynamics, the musicality, the syncopation, the dialog. 

The technique is the same for men and women, the only difference is that one leads and the other follows. However, I see that often men focus on the movement, without thinking what they express with it, a lot of times those movements have no content and appear more like a monologue that doesn’t include their partner. Hiding behind the movement impairs our ability to commit to the emotions or to another human being in that moment. 

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And women want to be led that boleo that they have perfected and also to be able to connect…. But what if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well? What if this time the Bluetooth is failing us? What do we do??? Abandon it all???

After working for Tango for over 20 years, investigating and creating ever since discovering it, I can tell that my technique is based on “giving and receiving”, listening and responding, on having a dialogue… those who are familiar with it know that it’s what it is. 

There are not many generous people in tango. 

What does the “LEVEL” mean? Maybe it’s something that allows us to be a part? To belong to a select group of people who woke up one day and decided that they can convert into critics and look down at others from a different height?? 

Or is it someone who is aware that there is always something to learn and is available to share? 

“Outfits” don’t make one a tanguerO, a “high boleo” doesn’t make one a tanguerA.

What does make us tangueros is the sentiments that we dance and listen to, it’s not only the connection, but also the sentiments for the music, for the shared movement, for the enjoyment of a tanda, with whomever, without thinking of their LEVEL. 

Learning is a divine state, a beautiful process of exploring. Let’s do it for the tango as the tango has been doing a lot for us. Let’s study it, understand it, take care of it, instead of destroying it with our human banalities.

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Let’s caress, embrace, let’s dance with love. The more we give… the more we will receive…
The trends, the critics, the experts - none of it exists in Tango. Let’s not contaminate it.
I’m waiting for you in the class to enjoy, to have a good time together, and to share with both, MEN and WOMEN, those who would like to keep growing, who feel that Tango keeps “motivating” them, those who would like to be a part and belong to its world, without the limitations. Abrazo!”

Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli"

Here's one of my all-time favourite displays by Chicho and his partner Juana...

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