Sunday, February 14, 2010

Frida Tango

Here are Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd dancing "tango" in the film Frida. The choreography is very loosely based on's a pretty sexy same-sex "tango" scene.

Tango in Tango

Here's a tango scene, one of the many I'm sure, from Carlos Saura's film "Tango" from 1998. My copy is broken. The director's narrative is the only audio I can get on it. So, I don't think I've ever watched the entire film.

I've included the tag/label "tango in feature length films", which "Tango" was, but not very widely distributed.

Disaster Tango from "Love and Other Disasters"

This is a good example of why Argentine tango has to fight so hard against the stereotypes and clichés running rampant in today's culture.

I can't wait for the day that a producer/director has the balls to include a tango scene with milonguero/close embrace tango. Hell, maybe there already is one...?

New York Tango Film

Here's a short documentary about tango in New York City. It was uploaded to YouTube in October of 2007, so I'm guessing it was made in 2007 - from Hugo Zimmer at Zimmer Films.

For the record...


Here's a new tango documentary film that I ran across. In Italian obviously, so it was filmed in Italy and Europe, I'm guessing.

"Eyes Closed reveals a therapy against the loneliness of the modern era and explains what drives people throughout the world (from Europe to Japan) to combat the crisis with the steps of the Tango."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

La Cruzada Lenta :: Deep Tango Technique

Cruzada rosada

I just dragged this post out of the archives this morning - with a new title and minor edits. Forgive me if you remember it. I didn't. Sometimes I read old posts and think to myself "Did I write this?". Scary. Anyway, I think it's good and pertinent stuff.

A couple of years ago on Tango-L, there was a thread about followers automatically crossing (la cruzada) without being led.

Here was my post to the list on the subject - actually, more on the subject of the superslow cross than the un-led cross. I suppose you could term it "la cruzada lenta".

Subject: The subject that never dies

Re: Keith’s latest response to Floyd on the subject...

I would venture to say that the key to leading the cross is in the torso. I might even go so far as to say the cross is led entirely with the torso.

It doesn’t really matter (in a kinda/sorta way) what the leader is doing with his feet. I can lead the cross standing still, with my feet together, led entirely with contrabody/torso. I don't ever lead it this way while dancing, obviously. Granted, there are the “norms” of where the lead’s feet are when leading the cross - I just wanted to illustrate my point.

I just wanted to mention this because Keith's post didn’t – the importance of contrabody and what the lead's torso does in the lead to the cross.

There is no “autocross” in my experience - I don't really "get" a cross unless I lead it. Unless she is a very basic beginner in the first month or so – and has just learned the cross. Sometimes they will self-lead themselves to the cross, by accident. That generally goes away with a good lead, and as the follower begins to understand what the lead feels like.

The “auto” that I struggle with in leading a follower to the cross is what I will call the “autopop”. It's where the follower “pops” her crossing left foot into place, without any regard to lead, musicality, or timing/rhythm. Boom. BOOM! Not a good feeling.

To lead the “superslow” cross can be challenging – with the leader leading the rate of travel of her left foot – to the music - as it caresses the floor into place.

Here are the mechanics behind it as I understand it and try to lead it:

While walking, the normal travel distance of her left foot (from first placement to second placement) is between two and three feet long, unless she is being led in very small or very large steps. When being led to the cross, that “normal” travel distance is cut in half – when her left ends up beside her right in the cross - steppus interruptus you might say.

So, if the left foot is traveling half the distance in the same amount of musical time, then it has to travel at half of the normal speed to end up (in the cross) on the beat. Right? (Insert "Aha!!" moment here...)

So, it's very important for the rate of travel of the left foot to be led by the leader, not automatically executed by the follower.

That fast pop (of the left foot into crossed position) is only applicable in the superfast "walkthru" cross, where she crosses and you walk right through it. But again, this is led. With the torso.

Try leading the superslow cross when the music is appropriate. It’s also a good practica exercise for both partners - to help in eliminating/mitigating this unpleasant habit - and it shows her something new in the realm of possibility.

Try it. You might like it.

File this one under "quality and character of motion through time and space".

Happy Dancing!

P.S. I repeat "when the music is appropriate". That is the hard part.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fervor de Buenos Aires :: Orquesta Típica Misteriosa Buenos Aires

Thanks go to Mitra on Facebook for this one...

Orquesta Típica Misteriosa Buenos Aires

I posted something a while back titled "The Secret of Golden Age Tango Music" - about the elements that make it sound so good - about the zeitgeist of that time being gone - about no new/nuevo orquestras being able to reproduce the golden age sound...

I was wrong.

It looks like they are known as Orquesta Típica Misteriosa Buenos Aires.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tango Lyrics Database

Pinta Brava Cover Art

From Hans in the Netherlands, posted to the Yahoo Group "Tango Lyrics" ::

Hello everybody,

I am new to this group, and tango lyrics have interested me since many

In january we started a small Tango school in Amsterdam ( Netherlands ),
and on our website we added a large database of tango lyrics.

On you will find more than 13.000 lyrics: tangos, candombes, valses, chacareras, zambas etc., mostly of course in Spanish, but sometimes a translation in English is available.

This database is based for a great part on the list that could be found
on tango.informatik.uni-muenchen, but that database disappeared from the
internet a few years ago. Many hundreds of tango lovers cooperated to
create that list, and without them the database would not have been

We would like to complete the list even further, so if you find a lyric
that is missing from this database, we will gladly add it to the
collection. In the last few weeks dozens of lyrics have been added
We welcome also your commentaries and questions.

It is quite simple to find the lyric of your choice: Go to the page
'Tango lyrics', hit the button "zoeken" ( = search ) on the left , take
just a part of the title, put it between the wildcards % , and hit
"verzenden' ( = send ) ( % peru% will bring you all the valses
peruanos :-) ).

If you prefer to search in the entire list, hit 'hele lijst' ( =
complete list ), although that function doesn't seem to work on some
older browsers....We'll have to work on that.

Hope you like it. Best regards,