Sunday, June 05, 2011

The simple secret to putting magic in your tango . . . and a bonus (syncopations!)

I'll never forget the embarrassment I experienced about 15 years ago when, during a momentary power outage in a milonga in Rome, we all stood in the darkness, our tangos interrupted, but still in close embrace.  My partner for that set, Angelo, then blurted out at full volume, "I can hear your heart beating more than I can hear the music!"  (A little discretion, please!! If it couldn't be MY secret,  at least it could have been OUR secret.)

Angelo had understood something about making magic in his tango, whether or not he did it consciously.  He paused often, at the end of a musical phrase. And in the silence of the pause, magic can sometimes happen in a tango.

It's not the quantity of figures, nor your dexterity in executing them, that will  make your tango outstanding, especially to your prabut rather the musicality and feeling with which you interpret the music!


In the first video, below, of Santiago Croce and Amy Lincoln, who dance Villa Urquiza style Tango Salon (my personal favorite style!), we see how Santiago uses one simple figure sequence to interpret this song played by the orchestra of Juan D'Arienzo.  They're demonstrating in a classroom example, and he's repeating the sequence many times and pausing for long moments, to illustrate with pauses where each phrase ends.

Do you think Amy looks bored?  What do you think might go on with her if her partner paused like that during a tango in a milonga?  Might she be curious about what he's about to do next , as in "Hmmm. . .???"  (I would!)  I assure you that "What am I supposed to do now?" never crossed her mind!   Note the difference between the curios attitude of "Hmmm . . .???" and the anxiousness of "What am I supposed to do now?"

Here's the first video:

Santiago Croce and Amy Lincoln - classroom demonstration on tango musicality and phrasing (defining musical phrases with pauses.)

Second video:


Santiago and Amy in performance

Assignment for my students:   Let's go beyond the pauses, and observe what Santiago and Amy do with the syncopations throughout the second video. There's nothing formularized - each solution of theirs is deliberate but different.  For example, at 2:23-2:29, he walks with short, syncopated, forward-and-back steps, somewhat similar to what we've been working on.  Alternately, notice how he walks the syncopations with long, deliberate and precise steps at 1:45-1:47, notwithstanding the closeness of the beats. 

This song, "Recien", recorded by the orchestra of Ricardo Tanturi with singer Enrique Campos, is loaded with syncopations that you can play with! They often occur "underneath" the music, while Campos sings smoothly.  That's one of the games Tanturi plays with his orchestrations. Santiago and Amy never ignore them!  Sometimes you'll see Santiago moving slowly, but Amy syncopates with her embellishments, such as at 1:25!  Have fun observing, and pick one or two of their responses to the syncopations that you would like to try.

If you found these comments interesting, you're sure enjoy my Tango Musicality, module #8 in my 9-module Permission Seduction™Tango Learning System!

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