Monday, November 30, 2009

is the new home of my blog. Please update your link to

The past weekend was tango inspiring. Some tango friends were in town. So I got to dance three nights of good tango in a row. I had experienced tango high again. Thank tango god. :-) I had some tango conversations/debates over dinner. I got the chance to practice following for a couple of hours. And of course NOW I am having quite a few thoughts that I want to share.

But first I have to sort out some technical matters with the new site.

Thank you all for reading my little blog for the past two and half years. You might no agree with some of the posts I wrote but I appreciate your candid comments. I have met dancers around the world who told me they liked (or loved) my blog. And I am sure there are readers out there who are sneering at what I've posted. The great thing about tango is that it is multilayered.

So here is my last post on blogger, just about two years from my first trip to Buenos Aires. In retrospect, I feel blessed in my tango journey. I've changed some, but my idea of tango is still the same:

Tango is a feeling in the music, the embrace and the sound of breaths.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tango Music Collection

(imagine from Montreal et aileurs)

I am sorting out my music library and putting it on this blog by orchestra under label "tango music collection", with reference links to and

Music has always been my inspiration to dance tango. Even though I've been dancing much less these days, the love for the music still keeps me here.

I am expanding my library on the weekly basis. So check back from time to time. I will try to post some of my favorite tandas under individual orchestras as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

La tupungatina

This is one of my favorite Pugliese instrumentale. Interestingly, there are two different versions of this song, learned first from Royce. You can read here.

The shorter version is 3.55 minutes long, I think, which could be found on BTAC Collecion Revista Vol. 01. - Osvaldo Pugliese y su orquesta - Años '52 / '53. The more commonly available version is 4.06 minutes long from Reliquias' Cantan Alberto Morán y Roberto Chanel.

I like Fabian Peralta y Virginia Pandolfi's performance the best. I like Peralta's recent performance seen on youtube. There is more subtlety in his movement and less flashy. I really enjoy the musicality these two have expressed. And how they walked to the music.

Perfect example of how Pugliese is danced in the milonga setting. Simple, smooth yet musical. Less is more, and it seems so effortless.

Both of them are amazing dancers. I love the way Tate dancing socially in the milonga. Here, however, since they are not regular partners, the performance lacks of chemistry, despite occasional demonstration of individual brilliance.

Pay attention the pauses in all these performances in didactic context. It is interesting to see how each selected which phrases to dance and where in the music to pause. For me, the first two performances,even while the dancers were pausing, the intention still carried the music. So the both performances felt uninterrupted, smooth and flowing to the music. The third one, the pauses interrupted the flow of the whole dance, therefore the music choppy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tango is internal.

I used to be puzzled yet at the same time fascinated by some of my close tanguera friends' tango experiences. How certain men would make them feel...using their own words: "opening up like a flower", "that he knows every inch of my body"... or simply "orgasmic". I felt jealous when I listened to these tales.

Just about one year after I started dancing in the milongas, I had already received compliments. Women told me sincerely how beautiful my various partners and I looked together. Some men, who had danced for a longer time, pat me on the shoulder and said that they were going to steal a few moves from me. I knew that I could make women look beautiful dancing with me and make most of them dreaming in my embrace. Everyone told me I was a good dancer, but I wanted to be the best.

When I was not dancing in the milonga, I liked to just sit and observe. I paid attention to how people move and what expressions they wore on their face. And I observed a couple of said men dancing. At first, I felt unjustified.

There was this man, who a friend of mine said that she would go to a milonga just to hope to have a tanda with him. I looked at him barely dancing and questioned " his movement doesn't have music. "

"Oh... he is so musical."

I don't understand women... I have twice better posture and movement than this guy. My walk is much more elegant. I definitely dance better than this guy. Hmmm!!!

There is this instructor from BsAs. The first time I saw him dancing. I thought to myself " What's the deal?"

He didn't move much. The woman in his embrace wasn't what you would call dancing either, movement was sporadic. Yet the expression of the woman's face was intriguing: eyes closed, small beads of sweat falling through their pink cheeks. A lot of women were thrilled to dance with him. According to some, dancing with him was a tangasmic experience.

I believed the first hand accounts of my friends. But I didn't understand or start to understand till this post.

Shortly after, one summer night, I was at this outdoor milonga. The night was beautiful. The music was alternative, a beautiful guitar piece by Chris Spheeris. I took this tanguera friend's hand and embraced her. She was on her platform sandal, and I my flip flop. The floor was uneven wood plank. We didn't dance the way we used to dance. I didn't even lead ocho. We just embraced and breathed together. Walked slowly, one step then another...

She told me after that she hadn't felt this way for a long time.

Me neither... I finally start to get it:

Tango is internal.

We really don't need to do all these movement to connect with the other. Sacada, volcada, boleo, open embrace, fluid embrace...etc these are all external, like how many different positions does a couple have to do in order to achieve orgasm? Or does one have to do a series of movements in order to reach the deepest and most tranquil state in meditation?

I like what maestro Juan Carlos Copes said:

Lo más difícil del tango es hacerlo fáci
Lo más difícil del tango es caminarlo.
Lo más difícil del tango es sentirlo y demostrar lo que se siente.
Algo muy distinto que bailar para los demás.
El tango se lo baila para uno…
(first read it here)

although it took a few years for me to understand.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Open or Close?

I was djing at this milonga and playing a nice tanda of Calo con Beron. One of the guys who has been dancing for a couple of years asked one of the local teachers to dance. She was a dynamic dancer who has danced and performed with some of the biggest names in Tango. She gracefully accepted the invitation and embraced him. This guy, whom I know, danced decently. He walked with the music and did slow giros. Slowly the teacher closed her eyes...

All of sudden, he decided to open up the embrace and started performing some forever tango stunts, which was clearly beyond his physical capability. Looking at the expression of her stern face, trying to dance to his lead, I shook my head: this guys hadn't figured it out yet. He hadn't found his tango.

A couple of weeks later, at the same milonga I was dancing with a beautiful young woman from out of town. She had a decent embrace, dancing quite nicely. Our cheeks were touched. I was breathing smoothly, and I could hear her breathing. A moment of tranquility...

That lasted only less than two minutes, she went in and out and danced close to open afterward. The whole tanda, except the first two minutes, I had to figure how to dance with her. It was like trying to sleep, but constantly being waken up. I hadn't asked her to dance again, although she was very beautiful young woman.

I have paid attention to how good teachers, dancers and performers dancing socially in the milongas. Most of them don't break the embrace and do the amazing things that they do in the performances. Most of them dance very calmly, one step at a time. The ones who are moving like chicken without a head, showing everything they have learned yet mastered on the floor are the clueless wannabes.

There are nothing, in my opinion, that one wants to express in the music or communicate with partner, that one couldn't do it within the embrace. You could, however, find a lot of things missing in the open embrace.