«Neither will I be able to dance tango like you, nor you like me»
Hello! Tell me about your news. You had a tour to India, then there was a new duet with Aoniken Quiroga. Tell me more about this, please!
Hello! That’s just the end of the first tour of this year — I was in India (mostly), also in Italy and Singapore. India was, of course, a unique experience. I visited five cities in a month — with 22 workshops and a lot of private lessons in the «Tanguera» community in India to help them develop their tango.
In addition to this unforgettable experience, this year a new stage of my career with AonikenQuiroga began, a dancer whom I adore and with whom I have the honor to create a new tango team! We really like the idea of this duo. We both started our tango at about the same time, in the 90s. We both grew up in tango families, surrounded by milongueros of the time, who still remembered the «golden age» of tango. Thanks to them, today we share the same views, the codigos and the same love for tango. We two have 50 tango years in sum! And we hope to have fun together and hope that you will like it too!
You spent a year in Russia, now have visited India. Quite exotic. What new things did you discover in these travels?
My experience in Moscow was special, here people are really very disciplined and want to learn tango! If someone wants to learn discipline and perseverance, go to Moscow, hahaha!
Thanks to this, now Russia has one of the highest levels of tango dancing in the world.
In India, I visited Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalor, Calcutta and Pune, and in a good way, most of these tango communities are relatively new, they are all very «greedy» for new knowledge and it has very mobilized me, I adore teaching, when people really want to learn something.
The difference between communities, for example, Moscow and India, is that in Russia all training is built through rationality, and in India through spirituality.
It’s certainly an honor for me, as Argentinean and porteña, to feel that people who live so far from our culture love tango so much, so respect it and appreciate it as if it was part of them. Those cities of India that I have listed do not have the opportunity to invite as many maestros as it is in the cities of Asia and Europe. They study only by video and with some local teachers, not taking into account the rare visits of professional dancers during the year.
Weekly, these communities organize common practices and activities simply to exchange experiences and knowledge about the dance, music and culture of Buenos Aires in order to develop together.
And unlike most cities in Europe and Asia, where the average age of the dancers is about 45 years old, the tango community in India is very young and has strong intentions to strengthen itself. They have a desire to learn and develop, in addition, there are leaders with firm principles, and this is another reason for the country to become the future Mecca of tango.
Do you think people from different countries with different cultures will be able to dance tango in Argentine? Or they will bring something of their own? Can tango be multicultural?
I think that no one can dance tango like the Argentines, however, as I can not dance like a Russian or an Italian. Neither will I be able to dance tango like you, nor you like me. There are as many tango styles as there are people dancing it. Yes, the tango in Buenos Aires lives differently, because it was born here, lived, suffered, here it was its «golden age», here it was forgotten and here it was revived. In Buenos Aires, tango has its own life, its experience. Here is its pedigree, which other parts of the worlddon’t have. Here in Buenos Aires, we have grandparents, parents themselves, and their relatives who once danced tango. Perhaps what we have now, will happen over the years also in the rest of the world, when there are children born in other countries in tango-families. So the tango will start to take root and begin its pedigree on other lands.
Perhaps what we like in Argentine dance is our way of feeling tango, because when we dance it, we feel this typical melancholy of Buenos Aires. We dance tango with nostalgia, with triumphs and defeats, we dance it with brothers, uncles, with love and dislike, or we dance, attracting someone. We dance it, being without money, dancing in sneakers, and dancing in shoes for 200 euros. We can dance it in a friendly, arrogant or with great care.
But I think, to remain myself, dancing, this is exactly what unites us in the global sense. And when the Russian dancer embraces me from the bottom of his heart while remaining Russian, I will say — no, I do not want him to try to embrace me as an Argentinean. Because being itself is what I want to feel in a «different» person. Each of us embraces the other through his experience, with his joys and sorrows, everyone embraces with his own life.
You always have very romantic, colorful images on the shows. Does this romantic reflect your attitude to tango?
Thank you for the compliment 😉 I think when every person dances a lot, many years, it is easy enough to see in this dance a reflection of his personality.
Tell us about your technique of tango. Do I need to train hard to dance tango well?
I have never studied classical choreography, I started tango at the age of 11 and this is the only dance that I do professionally. Of course, I took lessons from other dances, but only as a supplement.
Stretching and other workouts are part of my normal life. For many years stretching is my main sport, but I supplement it with different physical activities, for example pilates, gyrotonic, functional training, gym, pole-dance or something else that makes my muscles work.
From my point of view, the constant work on your own body, of course, gives the best results in the dance. Tango develops a variety of micro-movements, bends, various ways to control the speed of the body. It requires great attention to balance, dissociation and stabilization. Of course, a trained body always gives results faster. Therefore, there are classes on the technique of tango. There is nothing better than to train those movements that we will later use in tango.
The word that is most often mentioned in tango is «contact», and it is used to explain the «spiritual experience» that one feels in relation to the other. I really believe that this contact exists, but first we need to get physical contact with ourselves, and then with others, and perhaps, after that, we will begin to feel the contact more emotional.
Is it true that once you were very keen on canuengue?
Before and now I adore canuengue! But now almost no one dances it. I had a wonderful experience studying canuengue with my brother, the teachers were Rodolfo and Maria Cieri. They are incredible representatives of this style and tango also. Rodolfo always told us that he learned this from his father. He showed him movements in their home patio when our maestro was young. And then, in the same patio, Rodolfo taught me and my brother Navel the first steps of tango. Wonderful memories!
You teach not only the technique of tango, but often talk about energy, about the philosophy of tango. What is this philosophy?
For me, the philosophy of tango is nothing but the philosophy of life itself. Therefore, I always advise taking lessons from people who have a lot of experience in tango. And I advise all young to listen to the elders!
I think tango is one of the ways that exists in order to know yourself. Of course, we can use tango for this, or just to have a good time. In my case, and with my students — this is the first option.
As I said before, everyone talks about contact, this magical moment, when two meet and everything flies. But what do we need to make this happen? To begin with, we must be in harmony with ourselves, be in touch with our physical body. Imagine that you need to talk to someone, butyou are nervous and can’t control your words or body movements. In this case, conversation, pleasure or benefit is impossible.
This very often happens at the beginning of the training.
I always start by saying to the pairs — tango is the unity of individualities. This means that the more we are independent, the more we can give to another when we unite. If everyone performs his role 100 percent, the team becomes ideal. This is what «tango is like life» is.
How do you see the future of tango? In the world and in Argentina?
In the 80-90s. the one who chose tango as a profession, almost without realizing it, danced in milongas, gave lessons, and once started doing shows or giving seminars in Europe. Today, there are young people who decide to become tango dancers, they come to Buenos Aires, spend months here learning tango and other disciplines related to dance. They go to milongas, interpret ideas, make photo sessions and publish videos of their work in social networks. If someone asked me twenty years ago how I see the future of tango, I would never have been able to imagine anything like what is happening now.
What I am sure of is that tango will never disappear, because now there are many generations who care about it, study it, develop it. In any case, I think that a certain group of people will always be engaged in tango, and although tango is very popular, I think it will never be as massive as salsa, for example. In general, I see optimistic future, and the only thing I’m afraid of is to see that the codigos and tango values on which I grew up since 1992 will lose importance. I hope, God will not let this happen, and I, like other teachers, will do everything possible to ensure that what makes the tango so special does not disappear.
Undoubtedly, the moment came when all dancers, milongueros, who danced it in the golden age of the 40s and 50s. already left us, only several are still here. They left us a huge heritage, many of us learned from them, trying to take the main things. And of course, in the near future we will start talking about a new generation of milongueros, milongueros of 2000s!
You know the Russian public well. What do you want to wish Moscow tangueros?
Let the teachers give you the tools to build your own house, do not buy the house ready! This means that the lessons should inspire you to explore your own tango, and not to become your teacher. It’s impossible. The best dancers in the world are known for their dance because they made it their own, special, and did not copy someone.
Your first milonga?
I do not remember, perhaps, Akarense, Sunderland or Grisel.
What is your favorite tango?
And your life motto?
«This also will pass…»