Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Nuevo :: A visual quiz

The debate about nuevo tango goes on. Most call it a "style". I always thought tango "style" was more of an individual thing, not a type or form of the dance. I always thought about it like this, that over time, I would eventually find, or develop my own "style" when I dance tango. Or that it would somehow, miraculously, spring forth out of my "cellular essence" over time. (I just made that up...) Not that I would be "dancing" a particular style, but that my dance would have its own individual style. My own unique quality and character of movement - no matter what 'form' of tango I might be dancing at the moment.

I think of nuevo more as a "form" of tango than an individual style. Milonguero/more close embrace, salon/more open embrace, show/stage/fantasia, nuevo, swango, texas/two-step tango (which I have yet to invent), tango con salsa, tango parody/humor...what am I missing? I don't know if 'form' or 'style' or 'type' is the proper word I am looking for.

I'm even up on wiki looking at the Linnaean Taxonomic structure. (you remember it from biology class - kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species) There's even some new ones - superkingdom, and "tribe", which I like. It's kinda like "Which church do you go to?" that you get alot in the South. "Hi, my name's George, I live next door and I saw that you just moved in. Welcome to the neighborhood! Which church do you go to?" Talk about a non-sequitur.

Anyway, I like "tribe". I think we should all adopt/be in our respective/different "tango tribes". Nah, never mind, then you have to have a chief, or a high priestess, and a medicine man, and the guy who cleans the latrine, and all kinds of skanky dogs hanging around...not that I don't like dogs, just not the skanky tribal variety...but I digress...

I know this is not the direction we want to go in, further classifying and categorizing and identifying and defining and debating and ultimately dividing. I am definitely a proponent of the "one tango" philosophy. Just don't be doing your "one tango" if it is in direct and immediate conflict with my "one tango". (Big grin...)

But, (and there always is a but...{I love to be repetitive and always say's my "style"...})...back to wiki...there are a couple of interesting things I discovered...

Taxonomy...identification/categorization/ a human thing...we humans like to do that kinda is innate..."some have argued that the human mind naturally organizes its knowledge of the world into such systems..."

And the other one is..."Anthropologists have observed that taxonomies are generally embedded in local cultural and social systems, and serve various social functions. Perhaps the most well-known and influential study of folk taxonomies is Émile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

So what we have here is a failure to, I just wanted to say a really twang-y tone of voice...

So, what we have here is an innate, embedded, socio-cultural folk auto-taxonomy going on. We can't help it. We're all just trying to figure out this mystery called "el tango" and where we all fit in its scheme of, not "we"'s our brains that are doing it all by themselves...boy howdy that's an effing concept...that there's this whole subculture of subconscious human brains all doing their thing together without our direct knowledge or participation...I think I'm having a Matrix moment...I'm gonna have to go ponder that one some more....sheesh, that's deep....

Whatever...I'm kinda just blowing smoke here...but it's kinda making a little sense...?

Because I am a, a male...and males are visual creatures...and it makes better sense to "see" something sometimes...with your visual is the visual quiz...and of course, the ladies are very welcome to take the quiz, too...

(sidenote...I am in awe of the females of our species..they use not only their visual cortex, but their intellect, their heart, their soul, their divine feminine intuition...whereas we males are under the influence of our visual cortex and the resulting squirt of some neural peptide juices, deep down, "somewhere", and that's about it...I'm over-simplifying and over-generalizing for effect of maximizing the scope of the compliment to the ladies out there...we're not all neanderthals out there...but you get my drift...)


(College level, so that's why there's six possible answers instead of three like high school, to make it more challenging...)

Please leave your answer in the comments section. Bonus points for being obtuse.










Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not going to fall into this trap by trying to name what Nuevo IS. But I will tell you what I love: Ricardo, and Gustavo and Giselle Ann. And of course, the last video. They're my heroes :-)

Joe Grohens said...

Nice videos, Alex.

I would say that tango nuevo could refer (1) Gustavo/Giselle Ann and (2) Esteban/Claudia, but not the others.

Debbi said...

I am going to step over this whole messy affair of trying to define nuevo and go right to video #6 - Boston's very own TangoCheeseballs!!! I was lucky enough to see their performance at Tango de los Muertos and a finer example of Tango Cheese is not to be found anywhere else.
Actually, I think it enormously wonderful that they were able to use humour in tango. It seems so many people now are too serious about tango and forget about the fun of it.
Glad you posted their video, it gave me a good laugh this morning!

joegrohens said...

Also ... I think I would be more willing to view some of these tango style classifications as a "folk taxonomy" if the people who were making them were simply dancers. Usually it's people with vested commercial interests who are propagating the tango categories - starting with Daniel Trenner's video catalog and continuing through the themes for tango festival weekends. When you are thinking about how to promote what you are selling, the use and purpose of taxa is different than if are simply trying to classify things to understand them better.

ModernTanguera said...

I can't watch the videos at the moment, but I can comment on the anthropology bit. The sorts of taxonomies that anthropologists like Durkheim discuss aren't the kind that people sit around debating (like tango). It's more like the classifications that nobody even thinks to question, because that's just the way things are. Now, it could be that my sociocultural context supports one classification of tango genres/forms/whatever you want to call them, and yours supports a slightly different one, and so we'll have a heck of a time agreeing on one shared taxonomy.

suzy vegas said...

My understanding of nuevo as practiced by my teacher Pedro and the other young things at Villa Malcolm and Practica X is that it is the newer, more 'active' more 'creative' expansion of the form after tango was virtually wiped out in BsAs by the military junta in the 70/80s. Yes it exsists - the old folks here HATE IT - but aren't we supposed to be analysing less and feeling more

Alex said...

Remember, there can be only one answer to a multiple choice question. Please choose the "best" answer. (Remember that from college days?)