Why do people give Nuevo Tango a hard time?

ArbeeNYC

Active Member
#41
I don't think everyone that dislikes nuevo, does so for the same reason. IMO, there are two general categories, the nuevo dance style, and the alternative music that some will dance nuevo to.

One teacher said to me (when I was in Argentina) that he feels nuevo should be grouped more with stage tango than the social style of dance. Some people dislike it because it takes more space. I heard people raise other concerns, based around floorcraft issues (like not keeping the ronda moving, especially when the floor is crowded). I think most of these dance related issues can also occur with other styles as well, but I can see how people might feel nuevo is more likely to cause issues.
...

When I DJ I usually will play 2 or 3 tandas of alternative music at a 4 hour milonga (unless I know/suspect that the organizer and/or dancers don't want it). BTW, a few places want a lot more than that (upwards of 30% alternative).
I'm with your teacher regarding his opinion of nuevo. None of our local milongas play alternative music. Two or three tandas represents about 30 minutes of milonga time during which most people (where I dance) would be waiting for the music to end so they could go back to social dancing. Not a winning combination for a successful event. It's sometimes done at very informal outdoor milongas but the music there tends to be hit or miss.
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#42
What exactly is a "nuevo" tanda?
Not sure either.
Alternative, to my understanding it's non-AT music, a movie OST for instance. It was not written with AT in mind, and lives its own life but can somehow be used to dance AT, as it could as well be used for other dances.

And Electro, it was written with AT in mind, there is a bandoneon somewhere besides the synths, the samplers and the beatboxes. It cannot really be used in a non-AT context (except maybe a TV commercial)
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#43
..some milongas.. there are separate rooms for "nuevo" but they play everything but tango music.
As tango nuevo is a music style that is 50 years old, I would think these guys lump classical and nuevo into the same pot. Around here "nuevo" milongas often are called neolongas or milonga (neo-non-alternative).
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#44
I'm with your teacher regarding his opinion of nuevo. None of our local milongas play alternative music. Two or three tandas represents about 30 minutes of milonga time during which most people (where I dance) would be waiting for the music to end so they could go back to social dancing. Not a winning combination for a successful event. It's sometimes done at very informal outdoor milongas but the music there tends to be hit or miss.
OK, so some people don't like alternative music. Like I said, when I DJ for a community that I believe doesn't want alternative music, I don't play it.

Some people dance no differently to alternative music, than they do to music from the golden era. Some others dance nuevo style to traditional music from the golden era.

Basically, in the large cities they can have more segregated milongas (by dance style, music, or whatever). They can have milongas that are 100% alternative music. However, in smaller areas, the milongas have to accommodate many different preferences, to stay viable.

BTW, some people don't like Chacarera, Latin sets (or Biagi, or Pugliese for that matter).
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#48
Over time i have become more unhappy with a lot of nuevo/alternative music because i feel it does not offer a lot of support and challenge for the dancer.
I think my current requirements for alternative music that i enjoy is something like this:

There needs a good balance between repetition and surprises - something like 80% predictable, and 20% surprises. And this should be true for all different layers - having a 100% predictable dance beat, and a 100% unpreditable melody line on top does not make me want to dance to something. The predicatableness should include some kind of phrasing. The surprisingness should be telegraphed somehow

I feel that this is neccessary to make dancing with a follower interesting - if the follower is not able to predict at least somewhat what i am going to do next they are forced into a solely reactive dance, and are not able to dance their own dance.

(and writing this felt very familiar, so i searched for nueve - it is interesting how this has been coming up over the time - my opinions have not changed all that much over time ;) )


This is completely opposite to my experience - but then i realize that i am weird :).

I think both classic Valses and Milongas are very easy to put musicality into, they both are quite blatant in their structures and what the basic structures are - milongas tend to be all about "look! another piano twinkle! - do something fast! thrown in a traspie! play with this!", and valses keep hitting you over the head with ""and another 1-2-3! and now i am going to repeat this phrasing 3 times, too! and after the 2 times of this there will be a swoop! Do 2 rocksteps and a single axis turn! 2 steps and a sandwich! walk-walk- cross!".

Nuevo tango in the piazzola sense seems to me to shift rhythm, mood and overall structure continuously, and to loose myself in the music i have to basically know the piece by heart, and i still get emotional whiplash. It just feels nervous to me to go with the structure of these songs - they never let me relax, and i don't trust them the way i trust e.g. pugliese - when he mixes up things he always catches you again and its more of him showing off together with you/playing with you. Some of the more modern stuff feels almost like the orchestra is sneering at you and intentionally trying to show you that you are not as cool as they are.

Nuevo tango in gotan sense seems very difficult to me, too - it usually has a very fast, driving underlying beat, and a very languid melody line/phrasing structure on top, and it is hard for me to move from one to the other because they are "too far" apart, and they never give you an opportunity to move between them (i don't know how to describe this - like e.g. when in a old tango the violin is very languid there will be a point where it speeds up, and intersects with the piano, and at that moment i feel invited to ask myself if i want to speed up and stay with the piano, or stay slow and stay with the violin). When i dance these pieces (or watch somebody dance them) it seems to me that everybody tends to ignore one of these elements - either the driving dance beat or the swooping, repeating, hypnotic structure on top. And that is to me feels somewhat unsatisfying. I personally feel more comfortable to stay with the dance beat, but it makes me somewhat of an hazard on the dancefloor as everybody else stops moving and works with the structure on top.

I think that difficulty of interpretation has very little to do with anything besides the question if the orchestra actually is willing to play with you, or not. Most non-tango songs that are to me fun are either folk dances or music that is close to folk dances. Country, fado, turkish, klezmer - its all good. Or composers like Korey Ireland, where there is a strong emphasis on supporting the dance.
But as a dancer i don't feel as if Piazzola, Cosentino, Gotan, Bajafondo and so on really like me. Sure, i can dance, but i never get the feeling that if they were playing live they would look out on the dancefloor and laugh and match the music with the energy of the dancers and play with what we do out there, and enjoy surprising and challenging us. Dancing to e.g. a Tanturi milonga i feel like that - he "sees" the dancefloor, and when the speed gets tiring he throws in a slower part where you can rest, and he plays with how the dancers start to anticipate patterns, but it never feels malicious, because even when he gets you with a surprising break he afterwards offers you a hand and gets you back in the dance.
I had quite a few discussions about this, and quite a few of my friends enjoy the freedom of improvising over a very loosely defined background, but why have music if we don't want to "talk" with the orchestra? I know that as my tango has developed i have found more and more freedom in these conversations with the music, so my current inability to play with some orchestras/types of music might very well be more a reflection of my limitations than anything else. Ah well, the infinite depths of tango :)
 
#49
There needs a good balance between repetition and surprises - something like 80% predictable, and 20% surprises. And this should be true for all different layers - having a 100% predictable dance beat, and a 100% unpreditable melody line on top does not make me want to dance to something. The predicatableness should include some kind of phrasing. The surprisingness should be telegraphed somehow
Interesting. This is a part of why, in another thread, I asked about dancing to live non-tango music rather than DJed. You often don't know where it is going next, outside of the form. Blues is predictable, but only to a point. Etc.

BTW, dancing to recorded tango, all those much loved golden age tunes, implies 100% predictability in all regards. Hmmm.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#50
BTW, dancing to recorded tango, all those much loved golden age tunes, implies 100% predictability in all regards. Hmmm.
One of the reason i enjoy whenever there is a live orchestra, or when a DJ strays a little bit of the well trodden paths. Knowing a piece completely by heart is a less interesting experience. Though i have found that a lot of the golden age tunes have enough layers that even when i am very familiar with them there are other, more obscure structures in the undertow that can be discovered by dancing. And sharing those discoveries with a follower who also enjoys the music is quite fun.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#51
Over time i have become more unhappy with a lot of nuevo/alternative music because i feel it does not offer a lot of support and challenge for the dancer.
I think my current requirements for alternative music that i enjoy is something like this:

There needs a good balance between repetition and surprises - something like 80% predictable, and 20% surprises. And this should be true for all different layers - having a 100% predictable dance beat, and a 100% unpreditable melody line on top does not make me want to dance to something. The predicatableness should include some kind of phrasing. The surprisingness should be telegraphed somehow

I feel that this is neccessary to make dancing with a follower interesting - if the follower is not able to predict at least somewhat what i am going to do next they are forced into a solely reactive dance, and are not able to dance their own dance.

(and writing this felt very familiar, so i searched for nueve - it is interesting how this has been coming up over the time - my opinions have not changed all that much over time ;) )
Interesting. I've never considered that any amount of unpredictability as being something that makes me want to dance to a song, (whether traditional or alternative music). I'll have to give that more thought.

Basically, if I like a song, I believe I can dance to it, and can feel either tango, vals, or milonga in it (the emotion of it), then that's good enough for me to dance to it. However, when selecting a song for DJing, that criteria only makes it a candidate, (to consider playing it when DJing). FWIW, when applying that criteria to alternative music, an awful lot of songs that I hear people playing, don't make the cut.
 
#52
This has been such a great debate for years and years now... So many people saying nuevo is not REAL Tango... but what is real Tango, really?
I started Tango when nuevo was really on its high moments and then the debate was whether djs are playing nuevo or alternative...big debate that one as well. Because alternative was non-Tango music on which you could dance Tango and nuevo was Tango music that was either new tango tunes fused with club-like music or (not so though at the time) new recordings of the songs of the Golden Era.
The thing is that nuevo was an exploration phase. And for Tango to stay fresh, it needs to go through that exploration phase, because without it, there is no change, no progress.
For example if we see Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes dancing now-- any Tango style-- and them dancing back in 2008 they are completely different. And it is not only because they kept on working on their skills, it is also because they allowed themselves to explore different ways of expression, aka Tango nuevo and that taught them, and formed them in a way to what they are today. And that is the beauty of this dance, that it evolves.
Personally, what I got from nuevo was the power, the dynamics, staying connected even through minimal touch. And an easy access to the traditional music-- though I have to say due to my ballet background I was close to classical music so that helped as well.
So I think their many factors at play here, like milonga etiquette etc. but as long as dance, music and generally art goes I believe that going through various stages of change is always a valuable experience and with the proper guidance from your teachers you can learn a lot from every experience. Start where you are and build your way up and down and all around.
i had found a list in this website some time back, http://www.tejastango.com/tango_music_collection.html
scroll down for the different categories of Tango music. I suggest you start with a style you feel comfortable, based on what you listen in your everyday life and then slowly explore the rest. This way the rules will not be limitations or debates but more personal goals..!
I was also trying to find a interview of Sebastian Arce, but I couldn't so I will paraphrase here a bit:
"They ask us. Do you dance Tango salon? We say yes! They ask us do you dance Tango escenario. And we say yes! How about Tango nuevo? And we say we dance Tango!"
;)
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#53
This has been such a great debate for years and years now... So many people saying nuevo is not REAL Tango... but what is real Tango, really?
The age old question is, "How much can tango change, until it is no longer tango". I don't have an answer for it any more than anyone else does (even if some people claim to have the answer).
 
#55
The age old question is, "How much can tango change, until it is no longer tango". I don't have an answer for it any more than anyone else does (even if some people claim to have the answer).
So what do you think the essence of tango is? Is it the 'walking hug' - two heads and one heart? Or is it the ability, nearly unique to tango, to improvise every aspect of the dance? Or is it something else altogether?
 
#56
Or is it the ability, nearly unique to tango, to improvise every aspect of the dance? Or is it something else altogether?

This is what attracted me to the Tango. "Keep the partner guessing", as one older dancer taught us!
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#57
So what do you think the essence of tango is? Is it the 'walking hug' ..Or is it the ability.. to improvise every aspect of the dance..
The walking hug, as well as the improvisation you can find in a number of other dances. I've been in folk, bachata, forró, kizomba, salsa, swing. It´s always not the moves, uniqueness always comes with the combination of music and moves. But the music is first.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#58
[quote}the ability.. to improvise every aspect of the dance[/quote]
but.. not independent of the music

the 'walking hug'
I think I would be happy with an "open embrace" if that's all that was offered.
When the woman settles into a "close embrace," that is more rewarding.

And then there is the the music, which I hope is reflected in the dance: tango, milonga, vals.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#59
[QUOTE="Steve Pastor, post: 1103529, member: 5294 [/quote]


.

And then there is the the music, which I hope is reflected in the dance: tango, milonga, vals.[/QUOTE]

Steve, ya nailed it !..

All " dances " were constructed from a specific format, to which basic movement was applied and eventually, variations that DID reflect the music .

The foundational aspects in any dance genre ,should always reflect its roots.

Being creative with motion ( steps ), that stay within the given boundaries of composition, in the style that created the " dance ", to my mind, is imperative.

By completely changing the music style, the dance becomes a hybrid.

This type of change, has become all to common in social styles, to the point that ,the whole essence of the "dance" has become obscured .
 
#60
The age old question is, "How much can tango change, until it is no longer tango". I don't have an answer for it any more than anyone else does (even if some people claim to have the answer).
Yes it is true...not only for Tango for many activities--artistic and others--that have improvisation as a fundamental element.
In Greece for example we have folk dances, where you have a specific set o f steps, specific music, specific "embellishments", danced during specific times of the year even. I went all the way up to a professional, and I had a lot of fun doing that but after some time there is no thrill, I got bored...Tango on the other hand has so many styles already to be explored, every one of them slightly different, every one of them unique...Can we stop it from changing? I don't think so. Will we always have Tango as we know it? I have no idea. Will we always have the history and the roots and the music and our experiences till this day? I truly hope so!
 

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