Tango Argentino > Videos > So You Think You Can Dance Argentine Tango

Discussion in 'Videos' started by Me, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I think AT is so misunderstood due to a combination of lack of exposure/ignorance, envy, and the culture of immediate gratification.

    1) Lack of exposure /ignorance: As Steve Pastor so eloquently pointed out, there is very little exposure to the greater public. There is simply a very small smattering of tango in the media, and most of it just captures the superficial images of Tango selected to show off the poses for highest impact. If you tried to capture all the deep nuances of Tango, it would not hold interest of the greater public. Remember that the entertainment culture caters to short attentions spans. Tango, by its very nature is a long term commitment to study, elegance and the pursuit of beauty of connection and perfection.

    2) Envy: Argentine Tango, when executed as it should, is so beautiful regardless of style (e.g. Salon, milonguero, apillado, nuevo, etc.). People want to look this good. Observers want to look this good. So, it attracts attention, favorably and otherwise. It is a highly sought after commodity. Then, outsiders who are accomplished dancers in their owns style try to do it, and find it challenging. Combine this with the above previously stated factors, lead to ASSumptions about the dance that are just downright wrong (e.g. The comments by the judges on SYTYCD; The choreography thst is shown here)

    3) Culture of immediate gratification: I think this one is a BIG factor that leads to misunderstanding. As previously stated by Steve P, AT is one of the, if not THE most complicated partner dances. It takes A LONG TIME to be good at tango. I have lost count of the number of people who came from (and are and very proficient in) other dance forms, dabble in AT, then after a few months dissappear from the milongas and retreat to their previous forms in frustration. Not one of them will admit that they couldn't hack it, so to save face... Just because they were proficient in their other forms doesn't mean you can pick tango up just as easily. Proficiency and elegance in Tango is earned. There are no shortcuts to it, and there are a lot of pitfalls along the way. Tango takes an investment in time, and effort. You really must want to do this.

    In our culture of instant gratification, this commitment hardly bodes well. The misunderstanding is generated and then by frustration and by (1) & (2)...
  2. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member


    Ampster's post #15 is perfect. Steve's post #20 misses on s few points.
    1. There have been several mainstream films about ballroom dancing, hip hop, jazz dance in "Chicago", etc, but the films featuring Argentine Tango have played to very small audiences.

    Played to small, specific audiences but do exist. SYTYCD owes its broadcasters, producers, dancers, and most importantly, audience to know what a dance is or not announce it as such.

    2. There is also no national organization of AT teachers, .... Heck, they differ widely in the style of AT they teach, and how they teach it.

    There are several. If one doesn't like or respect the ones in the U.S., there are a few in BsAs. SYTYCD is not a local cable show, it's a major network series. Shame on them and the network for not consulting someone of authority.

    3. AT just isn't widely practiced or even known, except for the HOT and SEXY stuff people like ADS serves up.

    True, but...

    4. ...with the judges not bothering to educate themselves about the dance, and thus not being able to offer valid criticism, the audience learns nothing, except that this must be Argentine Tango.

    And this is the travesty that Me began the thread about in the first place. The dance was fine. IT WAS NOT TANGO...ARGENTINE OR OTHERWISE. SYTYCD and the network owe it to the viewers to find qualified teachers/choreographers for the respective dances. They do it for the other dances; why not AT?

    I have an idea for the network and SYTYCD producers.... How about a show called "So You Think You Know Something About Television?"
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "2. There is also no national organization of AT teachers, .... Heck, they differ widely in the style of AT they teach, and how they teach it.

    There are several. "

    And they are......
  4. Me

    Me New Member

    Oh for those who missed it - Sara got bumped off the show.

    I think Danny had an automatic pass for this routine – he is a favored contestant and, after all, the choreographer gave the floor to him several times to show off his own talents that were completely unrelated to Argentine Tango.

    Twice in this routine Sara had to sit there and busy herself with her fan while Danny was given the limelight. Having him spin to open the piece was annoying but forgivable considering the venue and audience, but to do it again mid-piece while she sat on the floor was not. Then he has that flip in the end while she sort of strolled away twirling the ever-so stereotypical rose ‘twixt her fingers. Again, this was not her fault.

    Fans, roses, storm trooper boots and whatever other bits of dazzle (pirouettes, flips) you can conjure will not make a good Argentine Tango piece. I re-watched this piece. In one minute and forty seconds, they danced in an embrace for a total of eight seconds.

    Here’s an idea – let’s bring somebody on the show who knows what they’re doing!
  5. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Steve, I've been away....
    1. Asociación Argentina de Maestros y Bailarines de Tango Salón,
    2. Argentine Tango teachers, dancers and coreographers association
    3. and I had to be approved by the BsAs Council of Cultural Affaires to be an adjudicator at an AT event.

    Perhaps, organization and manner are different than we are accustomed to, but they do exist.
  6. tj

    tj New Member

    Just to give you all some perspective, yes, Alex de Silva is well known in the salsa world, and even there, he's got a large amount of detractors - a large amount of salser@s don't like his salsa choreography on the show either.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I thought this was the funniest bit, though I suspect it wasn't meant to be...

    I heartily agree!
  8. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I've been asked a number of times whether I "do competitions", when I foolhardily admit to dancing AT as a hobby. The UK public view of dancing is almost entirely fixated on ballroom, and its obsession with competitions, and prancing around with a number stapled to your jacket.

    They hear the word tango, and don't imagine a social activity like salsa tends to be.
  9. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Alex is only partially to blame. Remember when the producers apologized on national television for the "Peace" dance? If enough of us write in and complain, they will apologize (if not verbally...even by action) for their lack of getting properly trained instructors/choreographers, and do something about it.

    As I said in an earlier post, SYTYCD has an obligation to its dancers to help them to be their best, but it also has an obligation to its viewers to educate as well as entertain. Mary Murphy, whom I know as a very well trained dancer/coach knows this very well. I am surprised that she is allowing some of the trash that goes on air.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Did you hear Mary prattle on about the such and such and such and such the was used during the waltz the other night? Nigel either palyed dumb, or really had no idea what she was talking about. Danny smiled. The choreagrapher smiled. Yes, that's what it was, they seemed to be thinking.
    Ballroom technobabble.
    But Mary has the vocabulary to talk about ballroom. But, as we seem to agree, not about Argentine Tango (although, again, she knows what a gancho is).
    Anyone have an email address we can write to to voice our concerns?
    Does anyone have someone, or several names of people who can take on the job of working with these obviously talented young dancers to create real AT choreaography for a national audience?
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Looking for the email...

    Hugo Patyn & Miriam Larici... Former headliners of Forever Tango (Miriam is actually on the label of the album and on the Broadway posters). They're in LA.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Hiya, Ampster!

    I like this idea of contacting peeps to let them know about coaches/choreographers who know AT from a hole in the ground.
  13. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Maybe they actually asked some people who are in the know, but they said no?

    I have a hard time imagining that they didn't even ask . ..
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I don't.

    How could they know who to ask if, since they evidently don't even know what it is they're supposed to be asking about?

    :end snarky-ness:
  15. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    :banana: Hi! Long time no seeee...
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Having finally watched it...nice everything...

    Well, except the dancing. Which wouldn't have been bad had they called it freestyle.
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Re Steve's post #30, the contact info for these shows are heavily guarded; one can imagine why. When a Dancing With the Stars judge made an asinine comment about an AT 2 seasons ago, they received so many e-s that they removed the link.

    However we may write to: FOX Broadcasting Co., P.O. Box 900, Beverly Hills, CA 90213. Give me a few days (have a performance and coaching this w/e), and I'll have the producers' contact info. Also, I know Mary personally, and can get to her. Of course, her concern might be a conflict of interest, but it's worth a shout-out anyway.

    Re who to refer, there are so many qualified persons (having a long time television and tango history, I could do it). Yet, there are several qualified persons right there in LA...Sandor, for one.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Trust me, they did not. I work in that industry lots, and the research for things like this, especially in reality series, is very bad. The other thing is that many dancers still do not consider ballroom, thus tango, "real" dance, and do not give it the respect (like research for proper choreographers) that they would give jazz, tap, ballet, etc. It's up to persons such as ourselves to change that.
  19. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Well, it seems to me that on the show at least Nigel and Mary do consider ballroom to be "real" dance. (At least they've gotten well-known choreographers and have a reasonable level of experience with it.) Apparently not so for AT, though.

    But I do believe what you're saying about poor research. It's a little disappointing, though.

    I mean, taking 2 seconds for a google search on "tango argentino and LA" points to Vladimir Estrin, Sandor & Parissa, Linda Valentino, Yolanda Rossi & Michael Espinoza, and Jorge Juis, among many other teachers who specialize in teaching AT in the LA area. I don't know who any of them are, but they all seem focused on just AT, and so would probably be better than what they've got now.
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I also said that I know Mary, and she is more than a qualified ballroom dancer, adjudicator, and authoritarian. But, you are correct; BR dancers, no matter how well versed in BR, are often not as well versed in AT which is still findign its place in U.S. mainstream dancing.

    I know several of them, and you are correct; a 2 second tel call, or a 2 second web search could resolve the problem. They're already in LA for God's sake.

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