Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The eternal question: Salon or Milonguero?

We‘ve just returned from Italy. Been in Modena, Spinea and La Serenissima Venezia. Great places. Nice Milongas with warm embraces, welcoming friends and marvellous food. Italy is definitely one of my all-time favourite countries. 

There was just one tiny little detail that bugged me. It‘s about labels. 

We arrived by plane and were picked up by the owner of a Tango club, that was going to host us for a few classes and a demo. He did not know us very well, as the deal was brokered by one of the local teachers. So, whilst driving, we were making some basic conversation. And there it was again. 

The inevitable remark: So, you are dancing Tango Milonguero? 
We: We are dancing Tango de Salon. 
He: But Tango de Salon is danced more open with big steps. You dance close with simple movements, yes? 
We: hum.... yes. Not necessarily. And we... 
He: So you dance Tango Milonguero. 
We: No... but... yes, ok... 

Given our poor Italian, his rather sketchy English and our level of fatigue, we complied. But this is, what I would have wanted to explain: 

When I re-started dancing Tango in 2000, I learned, that there are basically three kinds of Tango: 
1. Tango Escenario, as it is danced on stage and sometimes - inappropriately - in Milongas. It is danced by bailarines, usually people with a classical training and the wannabe performers. 
2. Tango de Salon, as it is danced in the Milongas of Buenos Aires and all around the globe at social events. It is danced by Milongueros and Milongueras - people who visit Milongas on a regular basis. 
3. Tango Nuevo, that had just recently been invented and aspired to be a method of analysing movements and inventing new ones. It is used by social dancers and performers alike. 
(So originally, these three terms are not describing specific styles. They were used as umbrella terms, referring to the different approaches to Tango and the different contexts in which Tango is danced.)

Luckily, our local teacher had a strong bond to the traditional Milongas in Buenos Aires and invited all kinds of Milongueros to cultivate social Tango. And all of them danced their personal interpretation of Tango de Salon, allowing for many kinds of embraces, from very close to a half open V-form. Some of them danced complex movements with real pivots and even ganchos, some just walked to the music. Some analysed, some showed steps. Some even showed choreographed performances. Tete danced Tango de Salon as well as El Indio or Hernan Obispo. They told us about Tango orillero, Tango del centro, Tango liso, Tango apilado, Tango Villa Urquiza, Tango Milonguero.... sub-styles of the Tango de Salon with one common idea: to move on the dancefloor with other couples, to embrace the partner and the music. To dance socially. 

So, when Detlef and I started teaching, our objective was not to promote a specific style, but social Tango as such - Tango de Salon. We chose it as our heraldic motto, our slogan. And it worked very nicely. Until we travelled to farther regions and met labelling issues. 

In France, Tango de Salon was standing for ballroom Tango - le Tango des danses de salon. Bummer. So we had to explain our use of the word. That was hard enough. 

And when we started reaching out into countries and regions, a new problem presented itself: 
Susanna Miller, who took up working in the USA and Europe in the 90‘s, found the pre-dominant style to be a hybrid of social Tango and Tango escenario which was unfortunately called Tango de Salon. It was a result of many years of instruction by stage dancers and very different from the social Tango in Buenos Aires. And although she had been announcing to teach „Tango de Salon“ in „El Tangauta“, she now had to distinguish her authentic style from the Salon-hybrid. So she called it „Tango Milonguero“. She focussed on a limited set of simple movements with small steps, appropriate for a crowded Milonga and a close embrace. Mrs. Miller taught (as every teacher does) her personal technique and style, apparently requiring the women to lean slightly onto the men, not allowing for pivots or larger dissociation. That‘s all very fine and brought a lot of people to the Tango of the Milongueros, the Tango de Salon. 

Our problem is: Mrs. Millers sub-style „Tango Milonguero“ became a synonym for social Tango in a close embrace. This label was established notably in the USA, Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, where she (or her students) were teaching more frequently. Nowadays, every person, who dances Tango in a close embrace with relatively simple movements dances Tango Milonguero. So, according to a lot of people, we dance Tango Milonguero as well. 

No, no, no! 

We have had one lesson with the Milonguero ambassador, that did not influence our dance. We want to stand in our own axis. We use real pivots when we feel up to it. Our step-size varies according to the music, the mood and the space. We break down the sacred Ocho-Cortado and whoever has taken a lesson with us will find, that we‘ve adopted a rather „nuevo“ method of analysis, deconstruction and communication. Ok, we don‘t do ganchos, voleos or other „showy“ stuff. The longer we teach, the more we focus on the basis of the Tango, the walking, the music, the embrace. We dance simple. But we do not dance „Tango Milonguero“. 

And in the meanwhile, a new annoying process of labelling took place. 

The Campeonatos Mundiales in Buenos Aires have brought attention to another sub-style of Tango de Salon. Teachers like Jorge Dispari or Rosa & Carlos Perez and their numerous followers stand for a Tango that focusses on elegance, a well defined set of steps with a distinct musicality and turns in a half open embrace. After an an astonishing process of standardisation the „Estilo Villa Urquiza“ now claims to be the one and only Tango de Salon. Another pars pro toto. 

We had one lesson with the Villa Urquiza teacher, who does not want to be named (see comments). From his point of view, we were dancing Tango Milonguero as well. He told us, that we would be dancing Tango de Salon, if we danced like him. But unfortunately, we do not agree with the majority of his technical or philosophical principles. We do not want to lead with the arms, we do not want to open the embrace for turns and we do not want to make the woman look like a goddess. We want her to feel like in heaven.

So, let‘s summarise: Many Miller-Milongueros and the Villa-Urquiza-Salon-dancers label our dance „Estilo Milonguero“. Some will find that our pedagogy makes us rather „nuevo“. Fine. Call us whatever you like. Why not label it „Estilo D&M“. ;-) 

We still dance Tango de Salon. Social Tango.

38 comments:

Giacomo said...

Thank you for this post!

I can confirm that what you think of these labels was already clear from taking classes with you, even if you were never verbal and explicit about it.

Anyway, how you witnessed these labels come out and evolve (i.e. the "geopolitics" of tango) was mostly new to me and very interesting to read.

Geez! If you could really describe different dancers by their common style, we would need hundreds or thousands of labels at the bare minimum. Certainly not three or four.

Andreas said...

Good post. Just a little while ago I began a class with the words "I do not dance "tango milonguero"".

cindy said...

did la miller really want you to lean? i'm surprised... it wasn't my experience with her, but then, i can't entirely vouch for my understanding 3 years ago. the labels do get really boring... & unhelpful. there does seem to be some evolution (in some quarters) away from them?

Kieron said...

You know that sticking by your guns like this will only make people cross right? The strongest branding will win!

My parallel problem is one of perception of my chosen style. I'm pretty adaptable and find good things in each approach, so I have been known to (try to) dance different styles with different people. A showy dancer often feels horrible up close, and a close dancer doesn't want to be put through their paces, so I go with it.

I then find that people start ascribing their own preferences to me, which makes for some really weird conversations where I am told what I like.

Even as just a social dancer, it is hard to escape the labelling process! Thanks for the food for thought.

Melina Sedo said...

@ Kieron: But I am not fighting for specific label. Tango de Salon is no label, but an umbrella expression, that describes Social Tango. I am anti-labelling! ;-)

@ Cindy: It was a couple of yearsogo... at least 6. But I was dancing with her and she corrected my posture until I was leaning on her. Plus: nowadays I get lots of female students from Mrs. Miller or her adepts: few of them stand in their axis.
But that's totally ok and a doable technique. It's a choice. Just not mine.

So far, I only met very few people, who try to stand up against the labels. I've got quite some friends, who share my opinion and define their style as a personal Tango de Salon. But in public, they put on the label "Tango Milonguero" because it attracts a specific clientele. I can very well understand it, but will not do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

i was just joking last weekend that i'm the world champion in my own personal style, for 3 years running now!

gyb said...

Good post. On the basis of videos I've seen I agree that Melina and Detlef typically don't dance tango milonguero, because one of the main defining characteristics of tango milonguero is the maintained close embrace, and you don't dance with a maintained close embrace. Andreas, from the videos I've seen so far, also opens up the embrace frequently to a V-shape hold, so he doesn't dance milonguero style tango either.

Tango de salon is the general term for socially appropriate tango, and it includes many versions of dancing, some which can be separated as a distinct style (like milonguero or VU), some which can't.

But note that this does not mean that such labeling is not useful or is not informative if done in the proper way. Some milongueros, and indeed quite famous ones, who visit downtown cafeterias dance tango de salon but not tango milonguero, but a majority of them do/did. That's the reason why the label is appropriate.

gyb said...

One other small thing: milongueros and milongueras are not simply people who visit milongas on a regular basis. Those people are called tangueros and tangueras. Milonguero is originally a quite diminutive term associated with a lifestyle which often involves unemployment and living on the allowances of widows. A milonguero is someone whose entire life revolves around the milonga and whose life is almost empty of any other purpose than go to the milonga and womanize during the night, and rest lazily during the day.

So someone can dance milonguero style tango without being a milonguero, and someone can be a milonguero without dancing milonguero style tango. However the historical/sociological claim is that most of those who were regarded as milongueros by members of the tango communities in downtown BsAs actually danced milonguero style tango.

By the way, before someone asks, I accept this definition of milonguero style as authoritative:
http://tangovoice.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/tango-milonguero-improvised-expression-of-music-through-movement-in-a-shared-embrace/

Damian said...

I'm still 'just a tango dancer', and depending on the music, the space, the person, I could dance any of those....

I agree - salon, milonguero, escenario...
Milonguero was described to me as someone self taught. Not having a 'learnt' style... who knows? Who cares?

I dance 'Tango'.

gyb said...

Ok, just one more thing: I have seen many-many discussions of tango styles. My general observation is that these discussions are rendered entirely futile by the fact that people disagree on the meaning of the term `style'. And so without actually stating explicitly what are the sufficient conditions for grouping individual works/expressions of art into styles there is no chance to reach an agreement, because there will always be people for whom anything which is beyond a strictly personal style is not a style anymore. Your equivocation of milonguero style with Susana Miller's personal style suggests that you might have similar tendencies.

My take on tango styles are briefly summarized here:
http://tangovoice.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/is-tango-nuevo-the-evolutionary-descendent-of-tango-estilo-del-barrio-tango-estilo-villa-urquiza/#comment-90

Melina Sedo said...

@ GYB:
Thanks for your comments.
But please note again, that Tango de Salon is no syle in my opinion. It just describes "social Tango". Tango Milonguero is ONE form of Tango de Salon. As is Villa Urquiza.

and of course you are right about the original definition of Milonguero. I did not want to get into that discussion, but we will have to widen the application of that term a little. Nowadays there are Milongueros all over the world. And lots of them HAVE got jobs and do NOT womanize. ;-)

I just met a huge number of them in Italy.... And I can tell you: their life is definetely centered around Tango!

Evaldas said...

@gyb:
"milongueros and milongueras are not simply people who visit milongas on a regular basis. [...]"
That's how I understand term "milonguero" also.

As one milonguero explained to me, usage of term "tango milonguero" as a name of a style is confusing at least. Because "tango milonguero" actually is "tango de los milongueros", i.e. tango, danced by milongueros, not a style at all. For me it is a synonym to "authentic tango". In this sense "tango milonguero" just emphasizes that it belongs to the lineage of (approach to) tango, danced by milongueros (with several styles).
Also "tango de salon" for me looks very good synonym to "social tango", not a style at all.

gyb said...

@Melina, @Evaldas:thanks. You keep saying that you don't think Tango de Salon is a style. I'd be curious to hear what is the basis of your distinction, that is, what are the conditions which you think need to be met in order to categorize a certain group of features into "styles". Thinking this through I think is a good exercise, and making it explicit would help in clearing up what needs to be shown in order to settle debates about the existence of tango styles. I think any definition which entails that only individuals can have their own styles is pointless and is not consistent with how we use the term style in any other realms of art, i.e. in painting. So try to think through what your definition would be, and then check whether, for instance, it would entail that a common style of several painters ("impressionists") can be identified on its basis or not. If not, then your definition is too restrictive.

In my opinion tangovoice does a pretty good job in showing that tango de salon - social tango - can be distinguished from many other forms of tango (say, from show-tango) on the basis of operationally characterizable, non-incidental traits. I always had the impression that you also think one can make such a distinction between tango which is apt for a social environment and tango which is not. But if such a distinction can be made then it already signifies, in my view, a distinction in styles. (Again, more on this on the link provided above.) Why doesn't it suffice for you?

Bart said...

I usually call the way I dance tango "close embrace" (close, not closed!), because I lead with my chest and not my arms (maybe only for signalling if necessary). The shape of the embrace depends on the person I dance with, and I do not lean; just like a normal hug! :)
But I do like the term "milonguero", because it implies more than just the embrace, like respect for tradition, codes, music, etc. But my life doesn't revolve around tango - yet! - so I'll stick to "close embrace" for now. :)

gyb said...

@Bart: although ultimately I don't care how we use words, I find such inflations of meaning unhelpful and a bit annoying.

In my view the word "embrace" should really only describe a full chest-to-chest ("two tits") hug. This is how everyone outside of the dance/tango world uses this word. Show someone who is unfamiliar with tango terminology a V-shape hold or an open practice hold and ask whether the couple embraces each other - I bet the answer would be a puzzled look, for no-one embraces his/her partner that way.

And so there are people who figured out that a certain rhythmic music allows for the possibility to dance in such an embrace. Dancing in an embrace only allows some very simple moves due to the obvious limitations coming from body mechanics, but some get a kick out of it and are fine doing so. Some others have other needs and preferences - which is perfectly OK - and are willing to sacrifice the embrace to beef up their dance vocabulary with other moves and figures, but then, for some strange reason, want to keep thinking that they still dance in an embrace, even though they don't. And so the tango-community starts to change the meaning of the word "embrace" to include all other sorts of holds as well.

However, there is a perfectly legitimate need to describe a dance, which is danced in a maintained, full chest-to-chest hug, with a separate term. It IS possible to dance this way, and dancing this way, for many people at least (no-one says it is necessary for everyone) does bring in a different sense of connection with the partner. And so the term "close embrace" is born. Fine, let's live with that.

But then people, who don't dance in a close embrace, for some strange reason, start to crave for describing their own dance as close embrace. Why?

Close embrace describes the embrace. It doesn't even mean that you need to lean on your partner, although that's certainly a possibility. Just because you lead with your chest does not mean that you dance in a close embrace.

La tanguera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La tanguera said...

Hi Melina

Jorge Dispari uses the term tango de salon estilo Villa Urquiza for his style. Based on your musicality that is close to how the majority dance in the central milongas in BsAs, I would say you dance tango de salon estilo del centro - but of course that's just the categorisation in my head.

However, what I really disagree with is your comments about Jorge Dispari. Frankly to say 'we do not want to memorise a specific musicality' is deeply disappointing. It shows a lack of fundamental understanding of music structure - and tango is no exception. For me, Jorge's approach and ability to explain the music is the most important reason why I study with him. There is absolutely no memorising nor choreography.

Also, making the woman look like a goddess is not the objective. I have danced estilo del centro in the milongas in BsAs extensively with amazing dancers, including well known milongueros, and they were some of the happiest moments in my life. But the feeling I get now from dancing in Jorge's style with my partner, who also learns with him, is just as amazing. However, it took a lot of time and effort to be able to experience that heavenly bliss in Villa Urquiza style. It is much more demanding, especially for the leader but also for the follower. Hence it's not for everyone. But it is about the feeling just as much as estilo del centro. The look is a result of the feeling.

f said...

Good post Melina.
I also think that a good part of the confusion come from the fact that historical "Tango culture" has not a real tradition outside Buenos Aires. Or, better, some kind of "tradition" is developing all over the world, and that package of Tango labels, behaviours, styles is being transplanted everywhere into the most different local scenes. Labels are then easily misused. A planetary mess ;-)
It's good to make an effort to bring clarity.
Thanks for the post, a hug
Francesco

Melina Sedo said...

@ La Tanguera:
I do not want to insult Jorges style, but "making a woman look like a goddess" is a direct quote.
What I mean by memorising a certain musicality: the Villa Urquiza dancers do seem to have rules on what to do when: starting with the walk, turning during a certain passage of the music... That is very nice and elegant and assures a uniform movement of the dancers on the dancefloor. But for me, this is just a little bit restricting. Correct me, if I am wrong, but I have watched a lot of Urquiza dancers and do find this strong similarities.
As for our style: I dunno, we did not have a lots of classes with Milongueros from "el centro" and our musicality derives from our own interpretion of the music. And it changes with time, the longer we teach and discover the depths of music.

Melina Sedo said...

I just watched an interview on Youtube with the argentine dancers and teacher Myriam Pncen. You can find it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo84nQI1U60&feature=player_embedded#at=307

At 05:00 she states, that when she started, there was just Tango Fantasia and Tango de Salon. Different styles did not have a great importance.

And this is what I wanted to point out: styles may differ, people have different tastes or opinions, different musical preferences and different bodies... The important question is: do they dance on stage or in the "ronda" with other couples, respecting the codes of the Milonga? In which case they dance Tango de Salon. :-)

Anonymous said...

hi Melina,

thanks for your post, and sorry before hand because my english is not as good as yours or from the others participants in such an interesting theme.

May be i will do this distinction (but i'm not sure ;-):

Milongueros
Social Dancers
Show Dancers


Milongueros: basic social dancers, open or close embrace, V-embrace, O-embrace, X-embrace doesn't matter. In this group we can put everyone who feels that fit into this cathegory (no matters the style)

Social Dancers or Bailarines: people with more interest in the dance in itself (with a big spirit for dancing), open or close embrace doesn't matter, but that still dance socially or appropiated for a salon with more or less people. Sometimes they do exhibitions or demostrations. We can put here all of those who feels that they fit into this cathegory.

Show Dancers or Bailarines Profesionales: people who go a bit farther and put their dance on the stage sometimes using tricks that might no be so danceable with leading and following codes, but basically that prettend to entertaint a public.

I think that sometimes people don't feel like being labeled with etiquets that people from outside prettend to put on them. The diffents styles or ways of dancing tango exist because of hitorical reasons and according to a certain moment in the evolution of this dance. No matter the style that people dance, it is important how do they consider themself into the tango comunity. Am I milongero? Am I a bailarin/a social? am i a professional dancer?


Argentinian Tango is living in evolution from the begining, and there are local dancers that did and are studying a lot this evolution.

To pretend to make an evolution or an analisys over no clear basis is a big mistake, you have to study this dance, the history and the culture around it in order to understand years of evolution and then to intent to /create/evolution/revolution/ and so on something 'new'...
Therefore to prettend to make an analisys based just on what you heard or what you read or what you analize as very smart person you are, is not so serious.

I think that Jorge Dispari did not invent anything about musicality, but i can tell you that he must have pretty good information coming from very good masters and dancers (no just milongeros, but from dancers who like/d to go a bit farther with the movements, with the music with the spaces) who where the dancers who made the real evolution in Argentinian tango. May be i'm wrong and he has no idea, but i will try to inmers my self into it more than for one class. In order to understand the music you dance is not just about to listen the bit and the phrase, or the feelings, it is also a matter of culture, history and DANCE. I'm sure that the dance of a person, the way how he listen the music and relate with his/her partner would change a lot if we add some culture and history.

Everybody is ready to: to do 'whatever they want!' in the name of 'Tango is universal' and 'everybody can dance how they want' and 'tango is international' and bla bla bla...
but not everybody is ready to Study Argentinian Tango... wich is 'una lastima'...

I appreciate all of the dancers with their own particular styles, way of listening the music, navigate or moving their own bodies, either if they are milongueros,social dancers or profesional dancers, no matter their level. What i can't appreciate are people that do not respect Argentinian Tango Culture and prettend to make a synthesis of this dance ignoring the fact that it is a CULTURAL 'product'.(and please note that i'm not leaving any dancer according with the level of dancing, i mean, i could include a large list of professional dancers too).

i hope i could express my self correctly, my english is really bad...

thanks again for the post,

un abrazo,

eternauta.

Anonymous said...

i know,
bit = beat
wich = which

and may be you can find much more mistakes...

eternauta

Melina Sedo said...

Dear Eternauta,

thanks for your mail

May I quote you:

"To pretend to make an evolution or an analisys over no clear basis is a big mistake, you have to study this dance, the history and the culture around it in order to understand years of evolution and then to intent to /create/evolution/revolution/ and so on something 'new'...
Therefore to prettend to make an analisys based just on what you heard or what you read or what you analize as very smart person you are, is not so serious."

I do not pretent to make a scietific analysis. I am just writing about my experiences.
And: I do really think, that I am part of the Tango culture: I'm dancing and learning since the mid-nineties, been to BA a couple of times, travelled all over the world to meet Tangueros and teach...
I really think, that what I write is based on genuine. experiece.
I'm not just sitting at home and reading books or writing blogs. ;-)

So please accept, that my opinion differs from what Jorge Dispari is teaching. Yes, I "dare" to have an won opinion, that differs from another Tango teacher. That does not undermine his approach, it just shows, that there are different philosophies in Tango.
That's a good thing.

Good day to all,

Melina

Anonymous said...

hi Melina,

in this part of my post i was not talking about you, not at all, sorry if you go this impression, i was talking in general, and specially to people that think they own the true. I liked your post.

I dance for over 16 years too, lived in Buenos Aire for over 8 years, i've been in contact with Argentina for more than 30 years,but that makes me may be an advanced student in tango dance and its history. And i tell you more, the most i lern tango the most i change my philosophie, i'm open to that, i don't thing that my philosophie is the true, just i try go get closer to what is tango argentino in reallity, and to be respectfull to the more experienced dancers who were closer to the origines of the tango salon is may be the most important thing in this tango 'career'. We cannot just undermine their experience too, even we can not image our self to compite with their philosophy too unless we are very sure about the all thing... it is a risk and they saw it, we may be didn't so much...

have a nice day,

eternauta

Melina Sedo said...

Thanks for your commentary, Eternauta.

Yes, to respect the traditions and those that transmit them, is essential to Tango culture. But Tango is evolving all the time, is created in many parts of the world.
... But this of course, is another topic again.

Nw back to work... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Melina,
The way you speak about Jorge Dispari just show that you didn't understand anythink about what he is teaching.
How can you judge a man who is dancing for 35 years and his wife wich is dancing for 50 years.
Do you think you have a better understanding than them?
You should learn a little bit more about tango and perhaps you will understand.
I know it's not your culture and sometimes it's hard to realy understand.
You speak about TETE, do you know why he said he danced tango Salon and not tango "Milonguero".
Do you know what happened beetwin him and Suzana Miller ?
If not, that's why you have all of those missunderstanding.
You can dance the way you like, and i'm sure that you can teach very well the way you dance, but until you don't have a clear understanding of tango styles story you should say that you dance Tango and don't label your style. Tango salon is not just about social.
To dance in a social way is just to take care of the other dancers and don't hit anybody dancing.
You could dance tango Nuevo socialy.
I think that it's very important because you are a teacher and you shouldn't confuse your student.
regads,

Melina Sedo said...

Dear anonymous writer.

I'd prefer, that you'd post with your real name.

Concerning: Jorge Dispari. I took privates with him in the search for knowledge. In case I did not understand his concepts right, that will surely not be uniquely the result of my simplemindedness. It always takes two to make communication work.

As for MY Misunderstandings: Funny, that even Tango historicians like my friend Gustavo Benzecry-Saba and many other dancers (argentine or not) share my views. We must all be mistaken! ;-)

But again: I do not define styles. That's the aim of teachers, who want to sell a product. The aim of my post is to define the term Tango de Salon as style-free.

And this is what I take as a basis, when I teach. I teach a technique, understanding of music and musical possibilities and rules for the social dancefloor. I do not teach a style. It's up to the students to develop their own style.

Good day.

M.

Melina Sedo said...

Last comment on this post:

I do honestly NOT understand, why all those Dispari-Fans get all revved up.I did not insult his style, but even called him elegant. I just do not agree with the majority of technical or philosophical his concepts. Is ithis a sin?

For some of you, disagreement seems to equal blasphemy. That's very sad and also frightening. How can things develop, when people do not disagree with each others ideas and seek new understanding.

The respect for tradition is very important, but this should never lead to over-glorification or naive imitation.

I encourage my students to discuss my concepts and if they disagree, that's fine by me. They will have their valid reasons.

If I do get the impression, that Tango is a sacred entity and it's protagonists untouchable gods, then I'm gonna quit doing it. Really.

That's it now!

Anonymous said...

LA VERDAD , ESTOY ASOMBRADO, AHORA PARECE QUE EL TANGO ES ALEMAN, Y LO INVENTARON DOS PRINCIPIANTES... NO SE QUIEN ES EL QUE OPINA SOBRE MI, PERO NINGUNO DE LOS DOS, HIZO AUN NADA POR EL TANGO, COMO PARA ENGANCHARSE A COMENTAR SOBRE UNA CLASE QUE TOMARON CONMIGO EN STUTTGART, LA CUAL YO NI QUISE TERMINAR, Y QUISE DEVOLVERLES EL DINERO, PORQUE USTEDES QUISIERON VENIR A ENSE√ĎARME LO QUE ES EL TANGO A MI....BUENO, NADA, SOLO LES QUERIA DECIR, QUE ANTES DE OPINAR, HAY QUE SABER... Y USTEDES DOS, DEBEN APRENDER A MARCAR, POR LO QUE YO RECUERDO USTEDES NO QUERIAN MARCAR CON LAS MANOS Y LOS BRAZOS, EL PREFERIA MARCAR CON SU ABDOMEN, POR LO QUE ESTA MUY LEJOS DEL TANGO....NADA... SAQUEN INMEDIATAMENTE MI NOMBRE DE ESTE BLOG, O SE VERAN SERIAMENTE DA√ĎADOS POR MIS ABOGADOS, HABLEN DE SU PROYECTO DE TANGO, PERO NO ME NOMBREN A MI NI A MI MUJER... NOSOTROS TENEMOS UNA VIDA HECHA EN EL TANGO DE BUENOS AIRES, Y SOMOS RESPETADOS EN EL MUNDO ENTERO, QUIENES SON USTEDES???? JORGE DISPARI

Melina Sedo said...

Ahhh! I have indeed insulted the GOD WHO SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS.
Now why do I have to think of Terry Pratchett?

Melina Sedo said...

A letter, that I sent via Facebook messaging to Mr. Dispari:
-----------------------------

Dear Mr. Dispari,

forgive my writing in English, but I am sure that you will be able to understand what I have to say.

I am really astonished about your comment on my blog. As I already stated in the discussion about my article, I never insulted you or your style to dance. I even described your style as elegant. Is this not rather a compliment?

But yes: I do indeed not agree with your technical principles. That's just a matter-of-fact statement. How can this be understood as an insult or diffamation? Is Tango not an art-in-progress and does it not evolve though discussion?

For you, disagreement and discussion does not seem to be acceptable and you ask me to delete your name from the article. That's frightening, because it questions the freedom of opinion!

If someone critiques my dance or instruction on the internet (which does happen), that's totally fine by me, as long as people do not debase me.

I did not debase you. YOU on the contrary insulted me heavily. You called me a beginner and challenged my credibility as a teacher. That is an attack on my reputation and really not the polite way to communicate.

Best,

Melina Sedo

Andreas said...

I wonder if Nito Garcia has had a letter threatening him with lawsuits? After all, he said he doesn't believe the Villa Urquiza style even exists. (Tangauta issue 177)

Trying to silence criticism (real or imagined) is never a good idea.

Gonga's Blog said...

Hi Melina, I enjoyed reading your post very much! Thanks a lot for sharing. I will be coming for more :)
Wish you a beautiful week.

Melina Sedo said...

Thanks G.! Hope to meet you one day again. Recently in Regensburg we just missed each other.
Good luck with your projects and a good day to you as well, M.

Isolde Kanikani said...

hey melina

its great to see the discussion you have started on tango styles. its really interesting to see so many people have strong feelings on the topic. i am just researching on styles at the moment for an article i have been asked to write. i think its a topic that few really understand. especially the difference between umbrella terms and actual words that have become a definition of a way of dancing.

its been interesting reading

Groetjes

isolde

Kace said...

Nice article, I agree labels can be misused when they are used to pigeonhole concepts. But when used correctly, they can help immensely to map out the territory, clarify thinking, and streamline communication. The problem with tango today is that there is too little open discussion ... I sincerely hope you continue to speak your opinions freely and fearlessly.

Gordon said...

Hi Melina,

I started dancing tango in 2004 and have studied various types of embraces. I have found, as you have stated that each teacher will teach based on his/her own experiences and preferences, mostly their own philosophy of tango. Is social tango not meant to be an improvised dance? Is it not true that seeking standardization of terms, of concepts, of structure, etc. will eventually lead to standardization (similar to what happened in Ballroom, and that must be avoided, or else everybody will end up looking the same as everybody else. There are many different angles in which to look at tango (how to use the axis, whether or not the feet should lift off the floor, how to navigate, how to manipulate one's weight, and much more.) Every teacher's philosophies is an amalgamation of the philosophies of their teachers and what they found out on their own. The more tango expands throughout the world, the more room there is for misunderstanding of terminology. I have found for example, that even the word "sacada" is not understood in the same way by all the old timers. I am willing to bet that if one would have asked 20 of the great tango dancers older than 60 for their definition of tango, of the embrace, of musicality, of cadencia, I am willing to wager that the answers will not all be the same. All we can hope for is to have our own definitions, and make sure that others understand us when we use various terminology. Eventually, it is possible that one terminology will win out, but not necessarily. There are many words in Spanish or English with multiple meanings. As I progress in my tango adventure, I have found myself becoming more tolerant, more understanding, and more flexible in terms of terminology, whether referring to style, technique, embrace, axis, posture, etc. The issues of terminology touch all aspects of tango in my experience.

Just my two cents,

Abrazos,

Gordon

Melina Sedo said...

Thanks Gordon, for your long comment. I had not counted on someone commenting on that old post.

And yes, I agree: terms in Tango ARE undefined and used in hundreds of different meanings.

Oh yes, the word Cadencia!!! ;-)

Have a nice day!