Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home

Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home

I almost forgot to let everyone know about this. There is a new tango-centric book out there, about to be released to the whole wide world on February 9th. Congrats to author/tanguera Maria Finn on small task to conceive/nurture/write/publish a book. Much less experiencing the "stuff" of which the book is made. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Here's the "About the Book" from the website ::

Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home is the tale of surviving a broken heart. Maria Finn’s husband was cheating. First she threw him out. Then she cried. Then she signed up for tango lessons. It turns out that tango has a lot to teach about understanding love and loss, about learning how to follow and how to lead, how to live with style and flair, take risks, and sort out what it is you really want. As Maria’s world begins to revolve around the friendships she makes in dance class and the milongas (social dances) she attends regularly in New York City, we discover with her the fascinating culture, history, music, moves, and beauty of the Argentine tango. With each new dance step she learns the embrace, the walk, the sweep, the exit she is one step closer to returning to the world of the living. Eventually Maria travels to Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango, and finds the confidence to try romance again.

And this, from the "Recent Reviews" section of the website ::

“A gracefully rendered memoir of a woman seeking post-divorce healing through tango.”

— Kirkus (Read Full Review)

“A lively debut memoir, brimming with tango history and lore.”
— Booklist

“This story of heartbreak and healing unravels the complexities of tango, which gradually becomes a source of addictive joy.”
— Sally Potter, writer and director of the film The Tango Lesson

“Beautifully told. Maria Finn relays her adventures in the world of tango with excitement, wit, and insight.”
— Robert Farris Thompson, author of Tango: The Art History of Love

“Along with her personal story, involving a trip to a wedding in Buenos Aires and documenting there the gay tango scene, she nicely elucidates the evolution of the dance, through the music of Astor Piazzolla and Carlos Gardel, and traces briefly its flashpoints across the globe, from America to Finland and Turkey.”

— Publishers Weekly

Looks like it's gonna be a goodun'...order yours today...I just did.

Here's her official website ::

Here' a link to the book store finder on locally if you can ::

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fungi Pubis Mondo Bizarro

After I took this photograph yesterday, I went into town to the grocery store to get Wheat Thins (Low Fat) and Neufchâtel Cream Cheese for a small dinner party we're having tonight. As I was walking down the aisle to the checkout, I noted that my knees and elbows were still covered with mud - from crouching down to get the shot of this 1-1/2" high mondo bizarro fungus (or mold?) - which was growing out of a very ripe/partially decayed dog turd. Or is it "terd"?

I didn't notice any strange looks. Maybe no one noticed. They may have been preoccupied with the Girl Scout Cookie sales out front.

Fungi Pubis Mondo Bizarro

Friday, January 22, 2010

Deadly serious stuff :: Supreme Court allows unlimited corporate funding in political campaigns

Rain brings fire...
[Foto by AlexTangoFuego]

Keith Olbermann: U.S. government for sale ::With no limits on campaign financing, corporations will take over the government

Here is a New York Times article, also on the subject of the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to allow unlimited corporate funding of political campaigns.

And here is the New York Times editorial about it.

This is deadly serious stuff folks (thanks Alberto, for sharing). If you ever
thought of writing to your representatives in Congress, now is the time to do it. Please also share and email this article to everyone you know. We have to correct this travesty of justice. How do we over-rule the Supreme Court of the United States of America? That is the question before us as citizens now.

My first thought is that our justices have been bought off, and to follow the money will lead us to the culprits. Unbelievable that this is happening in America. Un-*******-believable. Expletive deleted. Sorry, I can't, I won't censor my own brain and its inner workings.


It's time for pitchforks and torches in the streets, and perhaps some tar and feathers. Oh, I do miss the good 'ol days...

Link to the House of Representatives - name & address search...

Link to the Senate - name & address search...

Another good contacts link at

"True patriots must be willing to defend their country against their government." [Attributed to author Edward Abbey]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wall of Rock of Eye

Wall of Rock of Eye
[Foto by AlexTangoFuego]

A post-it note, half-crumpled on the kitchen island, from being stuffed into my pocket, scribbled with "rock of eye...things you know but you don't even know you know..."...from a Pierce Brosnan line in the film "The Tailor of Panama"...tailor-speak I suppose...bespoke speak...which led me to dig out from my office bookshelf "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and dust it off...and in Googling around to write this post, one of my de/re/pository posts, led me to this...

Rock of Eye

There was to be a tango tie with the whole "rock of eye" thing, but it never manifested in my mind, or I forgot the tie, or I forgot to remember...must not have been important...


Something cool I ran across somewhere...check it on the image to go there...


Oppose Tango

A find from Rigoberto of the West...someone's short for a's a short, but I would hesitate to call it a short film...maybe a multi-media short...

Dodge y Flamingos

Dodge y Flamingos
[Foto by AlexTangoFuego]

Friday, January 15, 2010

TangoZapa Photo Contest

A friend told me about a photo contest over at TangoZapa, a new "tango travel and culture" magazine, apparently held for their premier/inaugural issue. The "judges" have selected the 30 "finalist" images out of about 150 or 200 total, by my last count. The final 30 are open to public voting until January 30, from which 3 will be selected as "winners". The first prize is a trip to Buenos Aires, for one person I suppose.

I entered five images, for the hell of it. I'm not much on photography "contests". None of mine were among the final 30, which you should check out and vote on.

Dreaming in tango...(a self portrait)...

Dreaming in Tango...



Corrida Corina...

Corrida Corina

La Potranca Rusa...

La Potranca Rusa

Tango Bliss...

Tango Bliss

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Houston Tango Festival 3° :: This Weekend

It's not too late to book a flight or pack your bags and jump in the car for a tango road trip - more fun and environmentally friendly with a carload.

You know what they say about Texas - everything is bigger and better. Not arrogant. Just true.

Throw caution to the wind.

Just do it.

Dear friends,

The Houston Tango Festival will start in 2 days. Please find attached an overview of the Milongas and Practicas.

Many hugs,
Antje [and Mikas]

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.
Houston Tango Festival Milongas & Practicas, January 14-18, 2010

.::. Thursday - Firehouse Welcome Milonga .::.
10pm to 3am with DJ Lung Kuei (New York)
Held at the beautiful, historic Fire Station in the Heights (107 West 12th Street at 12th & Yale). Includes in milonga price the "Art of Floor Craft" class with Homer & Cristina Ladas (San Francisco) from 9pm to 10pm. Wear something red or hot to this opening milonga!

.::. Friday - Live Music Milonga .::.
10pm to 3am with DJ Avik (Ann Arbor)
At Rice University - featuring live music performance with Glover Gill & Korey Ireland around midnight. Includes in milonga price "Chacarera" class from 9pm to 10pm with Santiago Dorkas & Cecilia Garcia (Buenos Aires)

.::. Friday - "Dancing with the Future Stars" Milonga .::.
10pm to 1am with DJ Tova (Boston)
At Rice University - special milonga from 10pm to 1am for those who have danced tango for less than one year or prefer less crowded floors.

.::. Saturday - Tangojunkies Practica .::.
- 4pm to 7pm with DJ Jay (San Diego)
At Rice University - featuring tangoshrine and well-traveled tango addicts.

.::. Saturday - The Three Graces All Night Milonga .::.
- 10pm to 5am with DJ Shorey (San Francisco)
At Rice University - featuring performances with teachers around 1am. Elegant attire encouraged.

.::. Saturday - Alternative Colorful Socks Milonga .::.
- 10pm to 1am with DJ Andrew (Eugene)
At Rice University - featuring tango rap performance by Momo. Colorful socks encouraged.

.::. Sunday - Ultimate Texas Practica .::.
- 4pm to 7pm with DJ Mercy (Houston)
At Rice University - featuring the historic appearance of the Ultimate Mustachioed Tango Mariachi Band. Jeans, boots & Texan attitude encouraged.

.::. Sunday - Dark & Light Milonga .::.
- 10pm to 3am with DJ Lampis (San Diego)
At Rice University - featuring live music by Dancers' Orquesta led by Korey Ireland (Kansas City).

.::. Monday - Anythinggoeslonga .::.
- 4pm to 7pm with DJ Jaimes (Seattle)
At AvantGarden (411 Westheimer) - featuring full bar, tango jam and anything goes.

Check updated festival schedule, pricing and locations here:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Death of Osvaldo Zotto :: 1963-2010

Osvaldo Zotto by leone perugino [Photo by Leone Perugino on Flickr]

Perhaps everyone has already heard. I found out Friday night that Osvaldo Zotto had also died. He was 46. Not to be outdone by Tete I suppose. It makes me think of the friendly competition between dancers, between milongueros. Osvaldo: "Yes, Tete, that was a good death, but I can die just as well, if not better. Watch me." Tete: "Yes, Osvaldo, that was a good one! Come on up, the pistas are very, very smooth up here."

But no death is a good death. Death is inevitable. We are mortal. I speak the obvious. But do we clamp and shutter our impending doom into the dark recesses of our minds? Do we ignore the obvious damage we are doing to our health? It seems that so many things that taste good and feel good are bad for us. The hard work to remain healthy in this world is just that - hard work. Physically, mentally - it takes will power. Will. Power.

And then sometimes, even the most healthy of us get sick and die. I'll say it again - Death is inevitable. Death.

As it turns out I think they both died on Wednesday, and Osvaldo may have preceded Tete. There are no details to be found. Perhaps a reader knows something?

This has always been my favorite video of Osvaldo (y Lorena). My dream is to be able to dance like this some day. [With Lorena Ermocida at Confiteria Ideal]

And then here is another of Osvaldo dancing solo in an incredible venue. Impressive, and ballsy to say the least. The venue is Salone Margherita di Napoli. Naples, Italy.

And lastly, the 20 tango lessons (with Mora Godoy) on YouTube, by TangoCity. I suppose this is a video/dvd available on the market somehwere.

I never met either man, but wish I had. I admired their dancing. Distinctly different, distinctly unique from each other in their expression of the dance, and that is the beauty of tango. Two men with two different interpretations on the art form. The music goes in their ears, filters through their hearts, and comes out via their feet. Their movement becomes a reflection their hearts. Their souls. That's what I love about this dance. It may be one of the only ways (that I can think of right now) that an individual (okay, a couple) can express their hearts and souls through movement, whilst embracing each other. What a beautiful thing to have in your life.

Sad, sad days. The loss of two tango icons within a couple of days.

If I may for all of us, our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to their families, friends, and loved ones.

Announcement from

Murió el bailarín de tango Osvaldo Zotto

Falleció ayer en Buenos Aires, a los 46 años de edad, informaron sus allegados. Su hermano Miguel Angel Zotto interrumpió su gira en Europa y viajaba anoche hacia Buenos Aires.

Zotto fue hallado muerto en su departamento, en el barrio de Boedo, por su amigo y también bailarín Andrés "Tanguito" Cejas, quien aparentemente tenía las llaves de acceso, dijo a Télam Omar Viola, organizador de milongas.

La presunta causa de la muerte fue un infarto, según expresaron los médicos de la ambulancia que fue a buscar el cuerpo, comentó a esta agencia Ricardo Franquello, un milonguero amigo de Zotto que llegó antes que lo retiraran.

Sus restos mortales serán velados desde este sábado al mediodía en una casa mortuoria de Ramirez de Velazco 1070, en el barrio porteño de Villa Crespo.

El maestro desaparecido era hermano menor del máximo bailarín y productor de espectáculos de tango del momento, Miguel Angel Zotto, quien tras enterarse del deceso partió de Italia -donde se encontraba de gira- hacia Buenos Aires.

Zotto fue pareja de baile y de vida de la también exitosa productora y bailarina Mora Godoy y de Lorena Ermocida, y últimamente bailaba con Giselle Avanzi.

La pareja con Ermocida se conformó a principios de 1997 y dos años más tarde fueron convocados por Julio Iglesias para bailar en sus presentaciones, cuando el cantante español comenzó a cantar tangos.

La Orquesta Sinfónica del Hollywood Bowl, los convocó para una función, en la que bailaron frente a 50.000 personas en la ciudad de Los Angeles, California.

También fueron invitados al festival "Buenos Aires Tango en France 2", en el "Teatro Nacional Chaillot", de París, y participaron de los festivales más importantes del mundo, como los de Madrid, Sitges, Granada, Roma, Génova, Torino, Bologna, Hamburgo, Hanover, Miami y Buenos Aires.

Además integraron la compañía "Tango x 2" en sus dos obras "Una Noche de Tango" y "Perfumes de Tango", con las que visitaron Inglaterra, Alemania, Italia y Estados Unidos, además de encabezar "Perfumes de Tango" en la ciudad de Mar del Plata.

El velatorio de Zotto se realizará en la misma casa fúnebre donde hasta ayer fue velado el cuerpo de su amigo y milonguero Pedro "Tete" Rusconi, fallecido el jueves.

Franquelo dijo entre lágrimas que "esta tarde enterramos a Tete y ahora se nos fue Osvaldito, y mañana (por este sábado) otra vez de velorio en el mismo lugar. Estoy destrozado y todo el tango y los tangueros estamos llorando".

Tete no era un bailarín de espectáculos, sino un tanguero de las milongas, y además de concurrir a bailar casi todas las noches, había dado clases y exhibiciones en todas las pistas de Buenos Aires y muchas del interior y numerosos países de varios continentes.

Here is an article from Keith Elshaw's

For many years, it could be said that Osvaldo was in the shadow of his famous older brother, Miguel - who has had a 15 year run of big shows, television exposure and a great body of work.

Both brothers have worked for a long period of time with incredibly good partners with whom they ultimately have split. Miguel and Milena Plebs separated in 1999 and Miguel has not stayed with one partner for any extended time since then.

As today I watch Osvaldo in sheer awe, I also reflect on how impossible it would have been to have said the same thing way back when as he danced (very well, but ...) with Guillermina Quoroga in the old days. You wouldn't think it is the same person - even though he even then had his patented moves. Osvaldo and his then wife Mora Godoy achieved a high profile in part through the series of instructional videos they made in the 90's and in shows with Miguel and Milena. Their break-up occurred. Then in 1997, his partnership with Lorena began. Their dancing now is sublime.

When teaching in English, it is Lorena who explains and shines. She is a gifted dancer and communicator. But just watching Osvaldo is inspiring.

Dancing to Pugliese's Desde El Alma, they begin with tantalizingly slow walking and interplay through the first half of the song. It is the most mature performers who don't feel they must fill up their 3 minutes with flash.

But as the song builds, their energy increases; their performance more dramatic. In the last 30 seconds, after Lorena's sultry display of the sexiest walk in Tango, they display a stunning mastery of Tango at it's most furious and complicated.

You love Tango with so much ever-increasing emotion. It tends to dominate your life. The love goes on and on over time, deepening it's hold on you.

When you see Osvaldo and Lorena, you understand more why. They embody all the physical beauty, the emotional maturity, the artistic sensibilities of Tango's potential in motion.

And another article about Osvaldo I found on

With tango partnerships, the man’s name always comes first, not just because of the art-form’s unreconstructed macho heritage but because the man leads and takes the responsibility. His first responsibility, however, is to bring out the lyricism of the woman. Of the two famous brothers, Miguel Angel Zotto is the more vivid but Osvaldo is the more poetic. When I first saw him dance, on one of his teaching visits to London, I thought seriously of tearing up every poem I had ever written and making arrangements to be born again in Buenos Aires. In the first three examples of his mastery that I have chosen here, he dances with his regular partner Lorena Ermocida. Almost every video of serious Argentinian tango that you will ever see was shot by an amateur and the sound is usually as raucous as the visuals are patchy, but if, at a first viewing, you keep your eyes on Osvaldo’s feet you will see the essence of the matter. The remarkable length of his sideways stride is always in evidence, and the default position of his advancing foot is invariably with the toe extended, giving a man of average height the stride of an unusually suave giant.

An expert witness could go on for hours about the intricacies of Osvaldo Zotto’s technique, yet his smoothly linked steps are never more complicated than necessary, even when he uncorks a giro that has chapter after chapter, like a little book. But his chief instrument of expression is his partner. Under his guidance, she is given oceans of time to flourish the free foot and decorate as she pleases. I have chosen the first example with some care, so that the beginning viewer will realise that the woman should know how to get her effects with her feet near the floor before she takes off into the adagio bravura whose crowd-pleasing over-use makes so many tango stage shows tediously repetitive. Lorena Ermocida (that’s her with him in the photograph) is an artist, not a stunt woman.

Perhaps the most expressive partner Osvaldo Zotto ever danced with, however – she was probably the most expressive partner any leading man of Osvaldo’s generation ever danced with – was the great Milena Plebs. My last chosen example shows Osvaldo and Milena demonstrating exactly what the tango ought to be. Notice, in particular, how Milena scarcely even decorates. She gets her effects with a simple-seeming sweep of the free foot, just as Osvaldo gets most of his from merely changing direction. But of course there is nothing simple, or mere, about it. This is a language in which fluency costs a lifetime.

Other Bloggers on Osvaldo :::

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Death of Pedro Alberto "Tete" Rusconi :: Un Milonguero

Tete Rusconi y Silvia Ceriana
Tete Rusconi y Silvia Ceriana :: Photographer: Carlos Vizzotto

Born: January 9, 1936

Died: January 7, 2010

Two days before his 74th birthday. Young. Too young to die at 73, especially when "80 is the new 50" or whatever they are saying.

Apparently he was dancing as usual at Milonga El Beso on Wednesday night, appeared to everyone to be in perfect/usual health and humor, but then died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack.

There was a wake held for him in Buenos Aires at midnight last night.

I never met Tete Rusconi. I watched countless YouTube videos of him dancing. He was inspiration for many of us. He was a milonguero, known for his vals, with his arms extended out like a kid pretending to be an airplane.

And fly like a kid he did, floating across the dance floor like no other.

Others, who knew him, could say more, could share their stories, share his stories. From the little bit I have gleaned over the past five years, hearing bits and pieces about him, he was a larger-than-life character. A full-of-life kinda guy. And he obviously loved tango and the people of tango.

The milongueros are a dying breed. Literally. Dying off into extinction. I'm sure there are videos and interviews with him, but it seems a shame that these gentlemen are dying and we are losing them, their stories, their personalities, their knowledge of the dance, their love and light and quirks and whatever. But this is a subject for another post.

Here is the background information from the "Tete y Silvia" website:

Pedro “Tete” Rusconi is the foremost teacher of the close embrace style of Argentine Tango, genuine Tango Salón.

Since 1996 Tete and Silvia have been dancing and teaching together. They have toured throughout Europe including Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Spain, Belgium and Sweden as well as the USA.

They offer group and private lessons and dance in exhibitions and performances.

They have participated in many international Tango Festivals.
Tete and Silvia pay special attention to the compass, the sensitivity of the dancers, and the freedom of the movement.

Their tango-waltz classes are internationally acclaimed. Tete is noted for his individual style of musicality; Silvia is a master at tango technique and expression of the dance.

Their approach to teaching is complementary and their unique style encourages students to explore the tango for its personal and individual meaning and interpretation.

Paul Pellicoro (New York) included Tete & Silvia in his book "Paul Pellicoro on Tango" (2002). This book features the most important tango teachers from the last thirty years.

There is a section on the Tete y Silvia website about his friendship with Pina Bausch . The met in 1994 when Pina saw Tete dancing in Plaza Dorrego. I'm not sure when she died, but the information about their relationship is touching.

Tete Rusconi y Pina Bausch

I makes me wonder if they were more than friends. Who knows? But they are dancing together now.

Dancing upon that thread of energy we call tango.

I leave you with this, Tete y Silvia dancing to Canaro's "Claro de Luna" at Porteño y Bailarín back in December of 2005. Video courtesy of Ney Melo.

Back to add some stuff...from their website..."up close and personal" with Tete y Silvia...on the subject of tango...

Tete by himself :: by Tete Rusconi

I can only tell the truth. Let’s not disguise Tango because it will get ruined in the end. No offense, I love Tango so let us please not disguise it.

Tango can be danced in a thousand different ways, but let’s step on the ground in the first place, because that is where we ought to dance to the music. Let’s not forget pleasure and love for Tango.

Kids these days tend to dance in the air. You can do many nice things, but please do them on the floor. Great Masters did all those nice things but mostly on the dance floor. The music, the beat of Tango is very beautiful. It’s a shame to ignore this.

On or off a stage, a dancer must live the music. Please wake up and realize what you do with the music, otherwise the moment will come when Europeans will return and try to sell Tango to us. I speak from the heart. I’m just another guy who dances.

I’ve taught workshops to teachers abroad, I never thought they could surpass our dancers. I wouldn’t like this to ever happen. There are people here that can dance ferociously well. So let’s stand up within our axis and avoid looking down to the floor.

Let’s not dance for an audience but for ourselves. Even on stage one has to dance for oneself; it shows better. Not because I’m showing others I should forget who I am or what music I’m dancing to.

There’s two to Tango. No dancer can dance without a lady. And a lady can make her partner stand out when she really understands him.

Even if Tango becomes a job you must not practice it without the music. You cannot teach “a step” for its own sake.

I appreciate your disposition to understand even though we do not always agree. My first loyalty remains with Tango: without the music, there is no dance, no Tango.

No teacher, no learner. The true teacher can only transmit the teaching that the Music has left him.

Silvia by herself
Silvia Ceriani

A word is becoming familiar in all tongues throughout the world: Tango.

Tango refers to a specific scene, a man and a woman embrace and pace to the same tune and then some others join, and again a few others until they put together that everlasting merry-go-round: a milonga.

I was gifted with the chance to learn Tango from a man who dances it with his body and his soul, always giving priority to the spirit of the music, sensibility and freedom of movement.

Therefore, teaching to me is to share this treasure, aware that these concepts are valid for other styles and practices.

I believe that this ART which arises from movement will be the first and last faith in the world, and to dream that for the first time in this world men and women will achieve this result together.

Let me give you this piece of advice; don’t leave this world without dancing one tango.

And here is some additional information I found about Tete y Silvia on "" There is a wealth of information here - interviews, letters, a link to a documentary about Tete - good stuff. Wow. How did I know know about this site!? There appears to be a regular radio show and Podcasts for iTunes. Tons of stuff here...check it out...

Which led me to this, on Rick McGarrey's website "Tango & Chaos". It's titled "Without Fear" and is about Tete.

Lastly, and finally, followers who have danced with Tete please leave a note, a story, a memory...thank you in advance...and thank you, dear readers, for making it all the way to the end of this post.

10 Jan 2010 :: Thanks to Cherie for finding this one...

Other Bloggers on Tete ::

Tango Chamuyo

Working Artist :: Flying with Tete

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Thoughts On Rejection/Feedback

Here's a reply I offered to a post by Mari [My Tango Diaries] over at TangoConnections. She was asking about Ney Melo's comment (below) and how leaders think feedback delivery would be most productive/least offensive. Feedback. Delivery. Both? How? Thoughts?

Mari, I hope you'll forgive me for borrowing your topic...not really borrowing your topic, but borrowing your topic to throw my reply out there for the world to consider...and because I believe it to be some of my more hilarious writing...forgive me?

Anyway, here's my reply to Mari's post...

"I truly believe that when women start using their power of declining dances and sending messages, then that is when the leaders will start working to improve their dance." [Ney Melo]

Declining dances AND sending messages.

Once, after having been "No thank you'd" after a delicious tanda by the partner of a prominent tango maestro, I was approached by a courier carrying a worn but beautifully patinaed leather satchel. The courier's official looking hat belied her beauty, with long hair tucked underneath. She presented to me an envelope made of extravagant heavy weight Italian paper reclaimed from parchment found in a 13th Tuscan monastery. I take note that it is sealed with an ornate wax impression as I slip my thumb under the fold to open it. I also note that it is scented lightly with perfume. It is a scent that at once makes the fine hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I know this scent. There is honey in it.

Before pulling the leaf of paper from its elegant enfoldment, I discreetly check my surroundings to assure my privacy, and that of the writer. It is evident from the penmanship that the writer is a woman, if the perfume is not evidence enough. The flowing beauty of her pen strokes intrigues me.

As I read her words, I exhaled deeply in disappointment. Thoughts raced through my mind. Could this be? I had no idea. "I no longer want to dance tango with you." she wrote. But why? I ask myself.

Then I notice there is another line, apparently written with more haste. "Meet me in the cloak room. Now."

Sorry, I got carried away there.

I've seen a guy get declined on the floor after the first song of a tanda, ask another for the second song, get declined, and then dance with a third to round out the tanda. This guy was a hunched over troll (but a really nice guy) with a pelvic thrusting, puppy dog humping lead yet all the followers gave him all the dances he could get. Our community was so small that all the followers could not bring themselves to say anything. I got fed up with all the complaints (from the followers) about his pelvic thrusting, his banana in his pocket, his bad breath, his B.O., and overall bad lead. As I recall now, he was not even dancing anything closely resembling tango. So, I got fed up and was going to tell the guy the truth - man to man - and basically ask him to leave the tango community and move on down the road. This is totally not me - I'm non-confrontational extraordinaire - but this was serious, or so I thought. The followers (five or six of them) shut me down and told me not to do it, that I would crush his spirit, crush him to say this. So I didn't. Eventually he moved and/or moved on, leaving tango I think in favor of swing.

So, here's what I think about "sending messages". If you want to send a message to a leader that his lead sucks, don't decline upon invitation. Don't dance an entire tanda and then never dance with him again. Accept the invitation, and then after the first dance (or unpleasantry) politely "thank you" him, turn, and walk yourself back to your seat. Some will not get this - per the story above. Most will. It's a difficult thing to do - even mild rejection is tough to pull off in our society. It probably even feels/seems harsh. Continue to dance the one song with him, milonga after milonga, month after month, year after year, until he gets it and gets the help he needs to improve/correct his lead.

If you really think the guy has redeeming value as a leader, here are some other ways to send a message:

::Anonymous comments on his blog (although this is public)
::Get his email and send a message from an anonymous email account (yahoo, gmail) where he can't track you
::Envelope with a note delivered via courier
::Super-sticky Post It note delivered by patting him on the back with it (added advantage of flagging him to other followers)
:: Blocked caller ID phone calls/messages
:: Paper bag with something in it on the front porch, message scrawled on the bag (only don't light it!)
:: FedEx/UPS/SnailMail/Singing Telegram/StripperGram
:: Send an emissary follower or leader (good cop bad cop) to deliver the advice/counsel/bad news
:: Intervention

I know I'm being flip and over(t)ly comedic here and there in this reply...I'm still "in a mood" Mari...but the ones like BO and bad breath become more, not so tricky...issues with his lead should be easiest to deal with...but how if they don't show up in classes or practicas...I "self-realized" many of my own lead-related issues through video taping myself and photographing myself dancing with a partner at 6 frames per second (tripod)...the photographs offered stop-motion imagery that was better for analysis...self the video I just looked the photographs it was like "what the hell is my foot doing way out there!!!???" I would recommend both. But, and there always is a but, I would offer/estimate that the vast majority of leaders are not that into "being the best they can be". I'm a "you make me want to be a better man" kinda guy.

Ultimately, I think directness and honesty mixed with sweetness would work best for me. Delivery, pace, tone, inflection, body language and facial expression all become paramount when giving someone sensitive feedback. Some women would come across as a bitch, others as a goddess/savior. The latter is the goal obviously.

At a milonga, if a woman came up to me, hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, and nuzzled into my ear and whispered "My name is Alessandra, and you need a breath mint before you dance with me." in a breathy and sexy voice, I think I'd be running across the street to the 7-11 for some TicTacs, dodging speeding traffic, through rain or snow or sleet. But that's me. Some guys might get pissed and never dance with her again.

I dunno. This is a tough one Mari.

I think Joyce Miller nailed it best.

[Joyce's reply: Unless it is an adjustment of the arm too high, or an embrace too tight, then I think that the feedback for either party is best kept in practice. If you can't do it with a little body adjustment, like trying to find another connection spot, then it should be saved for a teaching environment, not a milonga. If the person doesn't come to lessons, workshops, or a practica, then you are S-O-L. The other party knows that you do not enjoy the dance, by the way you never look in their direction at a milonga. This is a two-way, very effective non-communication. I know if a man never asks me to dance, then it has two be one of two things: 1) he doesn't like me as a person, or 2) he doesn't like the way I dance. I will seek out those who I want to talk about our dance with, in the practice, and try to start a discussion with pleasantry or smiles, and if it goes well, then cabaceo them at the milonga for another try. Otherwise - move on or be prepared to be seated!]

Have a great day tango people!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting the Eight Count Basic to Fuck with your Head

Your head, or someone else's head if you want to unleash it on them...

There's a flurry of discussion about the eight count basic on Tango-L. Yes, it's one of my frustrations too, leaders who dance the 8CB over and over on the dance floor, back step and all.

I love the free association of life and such. I'm intrigued by the free association going on in my own brain on a daily basis. I had a cyber- free association event a little while ago that plopped me right on Isloa de Pantelleria - a place on the planet that a woman connected me to many years ago. Well, not plopped physically. Virtually. Visually. Such that I laid my eyes on it from a distance. Anyway, I digress. Strange stuff sometimes, that free association.

Here's what popped into my head whilst reading a post just now on Tango-L. It's something I got from a teacher during a private lesson. This was to be an "exercise" in creativity, never to actually be danced.

1] Dance the eight count basic backwards. (start with the 8, 7, 6, 5, etc.)

2] Now mirror it on the other side.

3] Now dance it mirrored and backwards.

4] Now lead the follower in the leader's role, while you dance the follower's role, but you are still leading her, mirrored and backwards.

As I recall, the inside of my skull, or 'skelekin-head' as one of my young nephews used to call it, felt like there were fire ants crawling around and stinging the inside of my skull, or the outside surface of my brain. Or something. Maybe my synapses were shorting out in tiny little microscopic electro-chemical microbursts.

Millions of little femto-brain farts. Femto- is 10 raised to the power of minus 15. "Tee-tiny". Effing small. I think. If my compromised memory serves me. I love to think small. Subatomic. Beyond the subatomic. I love to think big. Ten thousand or five million years. Thirteen point five megaparsecs. Small, and big. Big, and small. "HONEY! Where's the camera!? There's dung beetles in the road!" I'm digressing again.

Anyway. Don't ya'll worry, I'm okay.

Really. [about the 8CB creative exercise and what it felt like]

Try it.

P.S. My feeling re: the 8CB is that there are many more leaders than we are willing to admit who are 'learning' to dance tango via YouTube. Whatever. The nature of the beast?

I'm in a mood.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Multiple Milongasms

Tanguera Worship
"Tanguera Worship" by Rigoberto [for AlexTangoFuego]

"The state of being so completely immersed in the music [milonga] and so profoundly [metaphysically] connected with your partner that movement flows from within the partnership absent conscious thought." [Dan Boccia of TangoTrance, Alaska]

It happened last night, with two different followers, two tandas, eight songs. Yes, our divine teacher/organizer and newly married DJ was playing four-sies for milonga tandas. I think. I was absent conscious thought, dancing milonga with my eyes [mostly] closed.

I had never given this possibility a second thought. Nor a first thought. The possibility of a "tangasm" or tango trance whilst dancing milonga has never occured to me. Interesting. One of the followers is a woman I haven't danced with much over the past year. At all. We danced once or twice a few years ago. She's always been in high demand, and I've just never asked/cabaceo'd. I'm bad about that. Too much thinking and not enough dancing. That's going to change. Wow.

Perhaps most amazing, these multiple milongasms happened with my sugarpiehoneybunch watching.


Anyone else ever have this happen?