Keeping the lines open

I would like to extend a virtual hand to the bloggers over at Movement Invites Movement. From first glance it looks like we have some strongly differing opinions about Argentine Tango … but rather than putting me off, this pulls me in. I’m always curious about people who see things differently than I do, and I want to understand. I love dancing both traditional and nuevo styles of tango. I’m curious about dancers who do not; I want to engage in open, constructive conversation about the different styles and where the boundaries of the dance lie; and I want to continue educating myself.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can flare up when someone challenges my point of view, but once I take a breath and a step back I remember that my point of view is not objective. I do not hold the truth. I don’t want to stagnate, neither in my dancing nor in my understanding of the dance, or the world, or other people. So I will continue to read differing opinions, to weigh and consider them, to try my best to be open to new perspectives. And even if I hold tightly to my view that nuevo is a perfectly valid style within a larger umbrella of Argentine Tango, I hope that we can still find room for listening to and learning from each other.

And so, in looking for just a moment at the traditional v. nuevo debate … There was a comment over at Movement Invites Movement, “Nuevo Tango is no more a style of Argentine Tango than Modern Dance is a style of Ballet.” I can’t accept this comparison. Modern dance was a conscious reaction against ballet and its technique, style, codes, etc. From everything that I have seen of nuevo, it is a stylistic variation that tries to expand on traditional technique. It is a style that can be danced to the very same music, with an intimate embrace and connection, with elegant musicality. It can be very different, but it does not have to be. Thoughts?


11 thoughts on “Keeping the lines open

  1. Ok, I can’t, I’m too cross, I have to rant right now. What makes these people think they’re qualified to judge what is and is not ‘Argentine’ tango? They freely admit they’ve never even been to Argentina, and while I’m a firm believer that we *all* own this dance, wherever we learn, wherever we dance for a couple of people who’ve never danced outside the States to be laying down the law on what is and is not ‘Argentine’ is presumptuous in the extreme. They claim America has bastardised tango – what a load of arse. Nuevo is not a North American creation, and the fact that they think this shows how little they actually know. Are they seriously going to tell the Chichos, the Inzas, the Naveiras that they don’t dance ‘Argentine’ tango, but a dance created in America? It’s the most ridiculously Americentric thing I’ve ever heard! And their claim that ‘most people’ dance nuevo, and that they are ‘in the minority’ who defend ‘Argentine’ tango is utterly laughable, and again shows how clueless they are. Us nuevos are very definitely in the minority, and under constant fire. It’s so easy, so cheap, to say ‘<>We<> dance tango the way it’s always been danced.’ The fact is that that’s not even true! And yet more arrogance and disrespect as they take pride in telling us how they mock nuevo style in the privacy of their apartment – do they think it’s any less easy for us to mock the sticky-up finger, the dragging-the-woman’s-hand-in-the-air, the sticky-out-arse, the ‘finger-palm technique’, of some more ‘traditional’ dancers? No. It would be just as easy for us to mock, and just as cheap, and such mockery is ultimately worthless, cruel, arrogant, and proves nothing but your own ignorance.These people strike me as thoroughly ignorant, and as having fallen for the great authenticity fantasy, which the lazy-minded rely on to maintain an illusion of superiority. I sincerely hope that their trip to Argentina expands their horizons and takes them down several pegs.You’ll not they’re not prepared to ‘keep the lines open’ themselves, either – no comments on their blog. They want to rant their ignorant, poisonous crap at anyone who’ll read, but not have to deal with the bother of being made to *think* about what they’re saying. They can dish it out, apparently, but they can’t take it.Well, one good thing – this has inspired me to finally write up my post on the fiction of authenticity. I’m off to blog.

  2. I may end up writing my own blog entry about authenticity at some point … as an anthropologist by training, I’ve seen a lot of discussion surrounding authenticity from a theoretical perspective. I also doubt the effectiveness of travel to expand anyone’s horizons – someone looking for the “authentic” AT experience in BsAs is bound to find what they are looking for (whatever it is they deem authentic).

  3. I don’t dance nuevo, mostly because I think it requires an athleticism I’m unwilling to work that hard to get. And, I think the whole everyone else v. nuevo is ridiculous and am completely clueless as to the need to have the conniption fits people have. The tango-L list is full of it.AND, those bloggers drive me nuts. I am so turned off by their spewing yuck and their hiding behind the no comments thing. Whatever…. that doesn’t build community in any way. But, to each their own. I don’t even keep them in my feed.But I’m glad that you are getting something from them, MT. I’ll be interested in following other thoughts you have on their posts.

  4. “someone looking for the “authentic” AT experience in BsAs is bound to find what they are looking for (whatever it is they deem authentic).”You may be right. But I think it’s also possible that they’ll have a different experience from what they expect and reconsider. I think the chances of your prediction are higher than my hope! But I can hope.

  5. There are two places to dance “nuevo” in Buenos Aires out of 100+ venues for tango. The Faguchi trio has been teaching it for at least ten years, so what does that tell you.It is athletic. You won’t see anyone over 50 running off to learn it. They know they no longer have the limber bodies required for the moves.It isn’t conducive for social dancing. One needs space to dance it.Traditional tango which has been around for decades is still being danced in dozens of places by people of 50, 60, 70, and 80+ years in a friendly environment where they don’t kill one another with big moves.Frankly, I feel that the “old” style is here to stay for a long time to come.

  6. I think this person “Psyche” need to understand something before start talking or being ungry: You can’t put Inza in the same level than Naveira and Chicho. And also, one thing is what they do and another thing is Tango Nuevo.If you want to call tango to the tango nuevo, call it America new Tango. That’s it. And I also think you can’t ignore 100 years of history of tango because you want to change it. Also, I think is more easy to dance this “Tango nuevo” than Argentine tango. relax and enjoy what you have. The most important thinkg is to be recognize for your self.

  7. Dear TangoAvantGardeI’m really not sure what you’re trying to say when you say “If you want to call tango to the tango nuevo, call it America new Tango.” Nuevo really has nothing to do with America. Most Americans dance something closer to more traditional forms of tango. They mostly really don’t understand nuevo at all, and a lot of them seriously dislike it. In my experience, nuevo is stronger in Europe than in America – but even there, ‘traditional’ is much more common. But as you seem to think that Naveira, Chicho and Inza don’t dance nuevo, perhaps we have a simple difference of terminology here. Whether you consider Inza to be on the same ‘level’ as Naveira or Chicho is really irrelevent – my point was that all are Argentine, and all have been innovators in the nuevo style at various points in its history. If you don’t consider those dancers to be ‘nuevo’ dancers, I’m really at a loss to understand what you *do* consider nuevo.I have no desire to ignore 100 years of tango, or to change other people’s way of tangoing, and why you might think that I would is beyind me.“Also, I think is more easy to dance this “Tango nuevo” than Argentine tango. “I disagree – but so what if that *were* the case? Why should that make it less valuable? What matters is the soul of the thing, no?Dear Jantango,“It isn’t conducive for social dancing. One needs space to dance it.”That’s only the case if you believe that nuevo necessarily involves huge boleos and the like. It’s pefectly possible to dance small in the nuevo style. There may a confusion here between social and stage and nuevo – people often thing nuevo means stage tango, and of course that’s not the case. Salon style dancers also have huge moves when they’re dancing for the stage (those crazy throwing the woman over the head stuff, for example – you’ll never catch a nuevo dancer doing that!). But when they’re at a crowded milonga, they dance small. And so do we (even Chicho). I agree, though, that ‘traditional’ tango is going to be around for a long time. Us nuevos are very much in the minority.

  8. A mis visitantes castellanohablantes … Personalmente, no tengo la experiencia (de haber estado en Argentina, de haber estudiado la historia del tango, etc) para declarar definitivamente que es y que no puede ser el tango argentino. La experiencia y el entendimiento que tengo de la técnica y los orígenes del tango nuevo me da la impresión que es sólo un estilo del tango argentino. No es una ruptura total del estilo tradicional … bueno, pero hablo desde mi experiencia estadounidense.Al fin y al cabo, creo estar de acuerdo con TangoAvantGarde – lo más importante es conocer a sí mismo y disfrutarse.That said, I’d like to request that conversation be moved away from these comments, either to another blog or to private communication (unless someone has a new thought to bring up). I appreciate the different points that have been brought up – I think I have some learning and thinking to do before I write more about nuevo!

  9. Well, there is a < HREF="" REL="nofollow">video clip<> on youtube. An interview of Geraldine y Javier. I would like to quote them in respond to the post and comments: If you start analyzing it too much… you get lost. You get lost because it’s endless. You start looking at it as a dance not like a feeling that can be danced. Regardless what one’s view is about styles, the essence of tango is about feeling. If any one can dance the feeling, then one dances Argentine tango.

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