NEO TANGO WORKSHOPS: 27 and 28 of Mai, Antwerpen, De Koffiefabriek.
ASTRID & BENNIE
Onze interpretatie van deze "NIEUWE TANGO" werkt vanuit principes als circulair lopen, het om en door elkaar heen bewegen, het is een tango die de ruimte pakt, met dynamiek, levende omarming, verbinding en eigenheid. Principes die kale passen van inhoud, kleur en betekenis voorzien. En die vanuit de strikte vorm van tango, een vrijheid binnen de rolverdeling creëert, die leidt tot een geheel nieuw vocabulaire passend bij onze huidige moderne wereld.
SATURDAY NIGHT 27 May NEO MILONGA with dj Wouter.
AFTER YEARS OF TRAINING,
THE HOURS OF REPETITION,
THE BODY BECOMES A CONDUIT FOR EMOTION.
GRIT MEETS GLORY,
THE BODY MEETS THE MIND.
WE SIMPLY DO
s some reflections on my tango journey
TANGO ORANGE 007
Tango tango…. is used in morse-code to send around secret messages to be deciphered by the receiver.
There is a message hidden underneath the outer form, that makes no sense for the ordinary ear, it’s an important message though, sometimes life-saving.
This made me once coin the website title, “TANGO ORANGE” as if James Bond himself had been involved. It captures his elegance, the stylish danger and sexiness, tango on a mission impossible (oh no, that was Tom..).
It rides the deep personal and individual within a bigger context, operating on the outskirts of the law, of what is supposed to be ethical, but with that selflessness und ‘selbstverstandlichkeit’ of willing to give ones life for the good, the unmistakable laws of nature.
Every tanda, every milonga, every tango-year, every tango-life is a new sequel,
I filmed many in this genre on my journey.
Of course there is also the sexiness of beautiful men and women, fast cars, the latest developments of technology, the exotic countries and a deep sense of cultural identity (English versus the Argentinian).
Tango like James Bond is a world within the world, deeply embedded in tradition, somehow satisfyingly conservative and always new, but with all its latest technical and scientific features, always about the flesh and blood person JB himself. He is the centre of the experience leaving the filmscreen, as we leave the milonga’s with that mystery of whom is this person behind the character.
This analogy truly captures something deep and multi-faceted of the Argentine Tango for me and how I have lived it the past 30 years.
In this time there have been several icons that served for me as the James Bond impersonation, Vanina & Roberto, Pablo Veron, Julio Balmaceda, Chicho, characters that symbolise tango in its spiritual form. Tango goes beyond everything it is identified with, or what people try to make of it.
JB is the archetype (note not a real person in this world) of a deeply rooted and grounded man in his own body and being. At home and at peace on a deeper level with himself, even though his character on the surface breathes the opposite, as does tango. At any one moment he is fully present, ‘in touch’ we say. In touch with his instinct and intuition, with his belly, something that makes him able to do what he does. He stands out from the rest the more rational who rely on linearity and logic, on the material world.
Even when he looses all he never looses himself. He is in touch with something way beyond that, something that carries him and through which he breathes his deep deep trust. A trust in something bigger than himself, which always comes to his rescue.
This for me is Vanina, Roberto Chicho, Julio.
In every moment of their dance, in every step, not just the beginning and arrival, they are totally grounded, present, and in touch. They never try to be ahead of themselves or linger in the past, even when they anticipate, think back or ahead and their brain runs a million miles an hour. They make time slow down, as if there is endless time, as if every moment, every still of a film is a universe in itself. It is the way Glen Gould plays Bach, where the music drips through his fingers into the keys of the piano and he bends over just to witness their sounds.
Not at any moment do they long, or try to be other than themselves, even though they will not be able to tell you who they are. It is a being that extends beyond the understanding we practise in our cognitive world.
This is exactly where the world goes to pieces, as we have the idea that we can understand the world and ourselves on that level.
I read this quote today from Carl Rogers (American psychologist)
— “When…. someone really hears you without passing judgement on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to hold you, it feels damn good!”
This may sound as a paradox, well it is that moment that every dancer once in a while comes across and which keeps her or him hooked. It is in this listening where all melts together into one body with four legs and the music carries us. A tantric experience. The most simple down to earth place, the place where complexity is respected and spirit can be met.
FAREWELL TO TANGO
Sometimes we need to say goodbye, loose all, to find back anew.
"The Tango embrace proposes the violation of critical distances in such a way that the experience of tension and conflict becomes unavoidable.”
TANGO, MORE THAN A DANCE
Tango is a metaphor for life. It is like life itself,
its rhythm isthe heartbeat of life.
It is like being in love and lost at the same time.
It is passion and possessed
Does the it possess you or do you possess the it??!
It is female and fear
To seduce and to surrender
Seductive and sorrow….
Words, you can't describe it in words
And yet it is like endless words without ever saying one.
Tango is a paradox where in practising it, in dancing it, nothing is dual, all is one.
….like life itself
TANGO, PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR THE POOR
What has always drawn me to teaching in the tango is the deep personal translation of its technique that get’s reflected in how every individual dances it.
If it had been purely about the limited edition of how people define technique, it would have been frustrating for me with my background in professional dancing, stage experience and interest in the microcosm of movement and the wide expansion of emotion and physical possibilities.
(That level of awareness, potential and dynamics within me was rarely met.)
But on the human level of how movement reflects us as individuals and the lives we carry within us, this is a source of interest, wonder and amazement till this day.
I was tempted to go with the therapeutic aspect of it, as this side was of great interest to myself in search for healing, but very quickly I abolished this as it just let to confinement and more mess.
Its strength lies in the dance itself (as the famous Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen always said, Dance is solely about dance itself, nothing more) Going into the dance, its physical life, its laws, that is where it all happens and takes place. That is where our whole being is reflected and where we can work with it. The therapeutic side is a side-effect, something that should never be the focus to my idea, but simultaneously can have a big effect on someone’s and for sure my own life and being.
“The tango embrace proposes the violation of critical distances, in such a way that tension and conflict become unavoidable.” -Marta Savaglione
Going back to the source of tango, the pure form and meaning of the embrace, the closeness of being within each others private spaces, how we carry ourselves and walk, deal with and experience space and time, are the very deep artefacts or Jungian archetypes of life where no matter how big our technique, we all have our story to tell.
YOU HAVE TO BE A BIT ROTTEN
-Susanne Miller, milonquera-
Something to do with the previous.
You have to be a bit rotten, slightly beyond that shiny ripeness where decay is showing its face, to dance the tango.
What did she mean by that?
We are all in a way ‘damaged goods’ as a dance friend of me ones said. Not perfect, vulnerable, with our fears and facades, and the sides of our selves we rather avoid, not like to look at.
Tango for me starts to really come to life when we allow our imperfections, our vulnerable side, our bruises, to look our not so nice sides right in the eye. It is that stage in our life where we can start to move beyond the fears, where these very fears start to empower us, where the intimacy and closeness of the bodily score cannot hide and tells its story, for every good listener to be experienced and felt.
—“Matured blue cheese", nothing for adolescents who demand sweetness. Sweetness creates a craving, an addiction to an ever more.
— Blue-veined maturity. We are our theater, perform and observe at the same time. (no holding back (barred) Nothing is left in the locker. A creation that finds its genesis and last curtain on the cutting edge, far beyond ego.
And they, they show, can’t help but being themselves. The joy of tasting combined with the tasty. The aroma that resonates on the palate of the embrace. Weight drawn into the earth. Simplicity crystallising fullness.
Not falling in love, it is love itself. Oh my God, I never imagined them so extravagantly/ grandiose decorated. Their blue-veined fungus makes me explode in ecstasy, such brutality, as the eating of coarse earth. It reaches beyond any form and goes straight to the soul. —-
TANGO OR LOVE
Crossing paths with a complete stranger, in a time and place both without and within oneself, and sharing on four legs that one body, that unity in recognition, a deeply felt physical soul, where the heart burns like one fire around which the peace-pipe is passed on and the world is signalled by its smoke signs, where the miracle of life is happening, not a mirage but as in the precious stained glass through which the rays of the sun are caught in a unique way to shed light on who we are.
This is called a tango where one dances with unknown partners and sometimes, like two stars colliding, it causes something with the strength resembling an atomic reaction.
Or is it love, that space they say that makes the world spin, of which life is created and brings forth all that we experience, from suffering and deep pain to the joys and ecstasies of birth and growth.
All that is love and we are its alchemists able to regenerate the foulest evil into the divine blue-veined skin of a new born baby, like a tree and the uncountable small creatures taking the decay back into the never ending circle and where it blooms every spring again to its fullest blossom.
“I WANNA DANCE LIKE BENNIE”
It’s the charming and honest answer of one of my students when asked what they want to learn in this tango week. I think we need to start at a whole different place than tango. Feldenkrais wouldn’t be a bad start.
What do I think helped me to become the dancer I am. And how is my teaching inspired by this? The principles of Feldenkrais there to be; curiosity, experiment, process, trying different options, attending and awareness, developing your sensing apparatus, reflecting, thinking in wholeness, listening how force travels through the body, reducing effort, reversibility, listening to the breath, finding support through the skeletal structure and letting the muscles move you, intention and organisation, are the tools to develop. Anat Baniel. It’s not about right or wrong. Mistakes matter I realised quickly as a young dancer. Observing the audience it was the moment they woke up and got engaged. Farmers background; being left to discover how to use my body myself. My teacher being myself, the work I had to complete, the situations I had to get myself out of. Working with life-stock, heavy physical labour as a young kid, Being kind of reckless in the large and free space of a farm surrounded by woods and with parents mostly to busy to attend to what you do. It created an intelligent grounded body with a great trust in my own capacities. Finding the groove; Knowing when something rocks and works for you. In the long and hard labouring hours you wanna find the rhythm and non-effortless use of the body finding its most ideal use.
Being able to acknowledge complexity and have an eye for detail. This is when the dance can be experienced as simple, it brings the feeling of oneness, being whole as if it happens to you, takes over. Imagination is key to creating meaningful actions on the empty canvas the stage, the dance floor is. Awareness and reflection are monitoring the process and let you stay in it. What happens second to second and where things need adjustment, repair, a different organisation or change of spice/food.
TANGO, MORE THAN A DANCE!
What do you mean to say with this quote, more than a dance?
-Hold Me Tight/Let Me Go
-Touch Me Not
The above are two titles of documentary films that made a big impression on me and for me related very much to Tango in the way I approach and experience it.
They both talk about touch, intimacy, embrace and borders, and our difficulties and desires with them.
The titles speak for themselves and kind of relate the the fact that I named my website, “Farewelltotango.nl”.
could you elaborate on these subjects and how they connect for you to Tango and Feldenkrais.
Neither Tango nor Feldenkrais pretend to cure or heal a person they talk more in terms of empowerment, bringing out the potential and will have (what we call) therapeutic side effects.
As I heard you also work together with therapists, coaches, business people, art-students, and, as Moshe Feldenkrais himself, see the tango more as a means to an end. What then is it what you do, how do you work with people and what do you do in your teaching?
“The Map is NOT the Territory.” as Gregory Bateson said.
“The Map IS the Territory”, was the quote send to me as a theme of this conference. It got me thinking about these two definitions and how they relate to one another and how this influences the way people learn, understand or get kind of “lost in translation”.
FREEDOM LIES IN FOLLOWING
The biggest freedom within the dance lies in listening to and following where this exact moment of the now takes us. The sole meaning of having a choice and being free, is being open and ready for that next step proposed to us, the place where we can fully exist.
DREAMING UP A DREAM
Dreaming up dreams, I am in free fall, to never wake up.
Where do I go, this is me playing, for fucks sakes it cares,
life is a switch, a bitch or …
Girls whipped up in a frenzy, hidden under layers of
paste-over make up, who is dreaming here?
Or am I crazy to think this any better then make overs by imaginations to hold reality on a string.
We do it all the time, making life into a happy burden
chasing its tail
or cutting it off altogether.
Facts and fakes, fools and flakes, history re-written.
What is present, is hidden under blankets of tales
stories that play hide-and-seek,
we keep them humid, warm and meek,
eggs for the future to breed.
BEST KEPT SECRETS! WHY HAS NOBODY EVER TOLD ME THIS?
He is a constant performing wonder to me, never a moment of untruthfulness nor of a boredom that we inhabit when ageing. Yes I have met babies before, held them, been charmed by them, and they always tell you it is the best thing that can happen to you. I come to realise that I have never known what they really talked about, even though I thought I did.
I hear this from people in tango, “I did not know it could feel like this, connect in this way!” They are then already ten years down the road.
Well I heard friends talk about having had, what they thought, was a good sex-life only to discover on turning 60 what sex could actually incorporate. Never too old, and some will never learn.
You only know it when you know it, meaning deeply experienced it. Not even imagining is enough as can be read from the following lines of the English actor and writer Stephen Fry upon seeing the boy whom made him see the world never the same again. “He was more beautiful than I had ever imagined it was possible to imagine imagining beauty. I had never known before what beautiful really meant.”
ITS NEVER WHAT WE DO..
In tango what we see is never what we do, but the result of our doings. One might call Tango the sneaky by-product of many actions we don’t call tango.
REACHING FOR APPLES
Oh, you mean reaching for real?!
Even when they are not really there!?
Yes you stupid!
That’s called acting.
TANGO TWOTHOUSAND-AND-SIXTEEN STEPS
I started my tango journey in Montreal, Canada. An Argentine dance brought there by two dutch people, Wouter Brave and Martine Berghuijs. They had crossed the ocean with theatre festival Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Martine asked me to form a performing couple with her years after. The community in Montreal was small, maybe 25 people or so, yet very lively, and each one of them a character with a story of its own mind. Teachers were scarce, Youtube did not exist and we invented the dance ourselves as we went along, with though already a strong belief of how it should be danced. It was mainly a joy that I remember, with a certain wildness a bravura, and already then never just a dance but a way of life that connected us all way beyond that dance floor. I was a modern dancer, dancing with one of the most physically extreme companies in the world, dressed like a punk and artist but enjoying the intimacy and romance of the dance and its connection. It gave me elegance and a structure to direct my borderless improvisational temperament into something creative.
“AS EVERY DAY, I WALK THROUGH ENDLESS CITY….A TANGO.
The ever changing faces of the streets, its pavements and side-walks in all kinds of stone are like the streams of rivers which take me in a continuous current to yet other streets, other corners, other parks and squares, never finding the rebound of a shore, a harbour or quay. Every few hours I loose myself in a shop, a hotel, a café or a Milonga. But never for long as this flow demands me back, calls on me like the song of a mermaid on a grand and dangerous ocean. My feet have no choice but to continue into this labyrinth that get’s created while following the seductive lanes that draw me in, to never find back its entrance or opening but is trapped within itself.
TANGO IS A DANCE IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF BEING CREATED AS IT CREATES ITSELF
DEVELOPING MIND/DANIEL SIEGEL -“The system attains a balance between continuity and flexibility by having the ability to modify what are called the internal and external “constraints” on the system.” -“Emergent means arising from the interactions of elements of the system, and one emergent property of a complex system is self-organisation.” -“In living systems, there is no programmer, no pre-designed formula for the unfolding of experience. As the elements are differentiated and linked, as they become integrated, the system self-organises to maximum complexity.” -“When engrained and restrictive patterns are taken to their extremes and become tyrants, however, the mind can become deadened to the vital and emergent uniqueness of lived experience.” -“Dysfunction in self-organisation can be conceptualised as due to any pattern of constraint that does not permit movement towards maximum complexity.”
WHY NO TEACHER IS BETTER THAN A BAD ONE.
Bad teachers can lead us astray, make us end up in a labyrinth from where we find no way out anymore.
Pupils learn not because of their teachers but not-withstanding their teachers.
WHY THINKING is the problem AND the solution!
And why just "doing" can help!
On my way to town this morning my "Soma" (Greek for; "the living body in its wholeness") in my absentmindedness, was contemplating if a green traffic light meant to cross or to stop. In that very same moment a car in crazy gear drove by, 20 cm in front of me. Had my "wholeness" already perceived that car and contemplated that the abstract definition of 'green is safe', is not always right??
Still it didn't take anything away from the fact that green still stands for; safe, you may cross the road now.
I was happy that my "wholeness" knew of that trick of how to keep my intellect, in a this sudden importance, absentminded.
So far so good for the "smartness" of our isolated intellect.
As we can see, different levels of "thinking" were involved.
When people tell me they are too much in their heads, I notice and see that this is often literally the case. Not only their thinking, but they themselves as whole bodies reside in their head. Their head BECAME their body, everything underneath got subjected to slavery.
As we all know, one day our slaves will come to hunt us to liberate not only themselves but also ourselves from our too big heads.
As you noticed maybe, I put words between brackets. It is to emphasise the fact that we treat most words (like the green light) with an absoluteness that doesn't fit them. Words are abstractions of life processes we use to verbally communicate. What I mean with this is that we use words as if we know and understand their definitions, what they mean and act out in this world. Words though grasp living things and processes that are never absolute or stand still in isolation. In every situation they need to be re-evaluated, and their meaning reaches mostly beyond our limited understanding.
BY ALLOWING THE COMPLEXITY WE EXPERIENCE SIMPLICITY
--- TANGO IS BUT ONE WORD THAT CONTAINS ALL ---
-UNAVOIDABLE AS I EXPERIENCED WITH MY OWN LOVE
I DECIDED TO LET MY ANXIETIES AND JOYS, THE TENSION AND CONFLICT, BECOME PART OF THE DANCE, OF MY RELATIONSHIP-
I THAN REALISED IT HAD ENORMOuS POTENTIAL,
TO NOT ONLY CREATE NEW FORMS IN THE TANGO AND MAKE IT GROW AS A DANCE, BUT TO GROW AS A HUMAN BEING
I LET GO OF THE IDEAL WHERE ALL WANTS TO BE PERFECT AND SMOOTH
AND I STEPPED DOWN INTO MY EVERY DAY LIFE OF BEING A MAN OR A WOMAN, A LEADER OR FOLLOWER, OPEN FOR AND COMMUNICATING WITH, MY OWN AND THE OTHERS EXPRESSION.
EACH HAVING OUR OWN SAY THAT HAS A NEED TO BE HEARD.
a tango definition
CAN YOU TOUCH ME
WITH BLACK MATTER
CAN YOU TOUCH ME WITH YOUR SONG
CAN YOU TOUCH ME
THROUGH A WRITTEN LETTER
OF WHICH THE WORDS MIGHT BE WRONG
TOUCHING BENEATH MY SKIN
TO REACH MY BONES THAT DIFFERENT FROM THE FLESH HOLD NO SIN
FOR IF YOU TOUCH ME BEYOND MY MATTER
ALL THAT MATTERS IS YOUR SONG
-Therefore maybe it will be better for me not to write to you anymore. Because I’m thinking of you too much. I don’t want to be your letter friend at all! It’s no use writing to each other. You may name this how you want: woman’s logic, Russian logic. I know only maybe it will be better for me (perhaps I’ll recover) and it’s all the same for you, I think. What do you need my sad letters for? When I send you my first letter, I didn’t know this’ll be so painfully for me.
Its not very flattering to compare you to nicotine, but I feel like I have this need to see you, like the urge to have a cigarette and you know what they say-you can only give up if you really want to. I guess I don’t want to.
I have had no news from you for a while so when I woke up having dreamt of you I felt like something from you had reached me. The dream was filled wit light. We were just waking up in that big bed in my apartment. You had your arm wrapped softly around me. We were both still groggy and the warmth of our bodies kept them together, still connected in some common dreams. The sun was pouring in and it tinted your skin soft yellow. There was no story in this dream, just this image. It was very tender, filled with feeling. (B.A.)
-”it becomes part of you like an arm or a leg, you can cut them of but ones you here the music play the nerves start twitching”
I still don't have an answer for your closeness, your body that wants to creep up against mine. You give up your balance to show trust.
It was no more then putting our arms around each other and taking that first step, together, the beginning of our dance.
“You are in me deeper than I am in me”
if just for that one moment
dearest, give me your embrace
that has no endings
knows only of beginnings