Thursday, March 17, 2016

Have Carlitos and Noelia changed their style?

Sometimes one of our readers or program members sends me a link to a video that I feel compelled to share with you.  I want to thank Tanguera Ming in California for posting this one to our Tango Mojo women’s private Facebook group. Ming astutely observed that, in this performance two weeks ago, Carlitos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado have altered their style.

Here’s the new video straightaway:

(The tango is "Rondando Tu Esquina" by the orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese, with Roberto Chanel singing.)

As I see it, Noelia adapted to Carlitos‘ Milonguero Style tendency* early in their partnership, about four years ago. Noelia was originally trained as a Tango Salon Style dancer, before she and former partner Pablo Rodriguez added both Milonguero and Nuevo or contemporary elements to their expression. 

*I’m using these categories - Milonguero, Salon, Nuevo - to economize on words.  Neither of these two couples‘ dancing falls easily into a category.  Carlitos is clearly not “orthodox Milonguero”.  His embrace with Noelia has always been elastic, his steps are very long, and his musical interpretation and even choices of music for performances are different from those we see with Milonguero Style masters. (I feel another article brewing.) 

But you can see in the following 2013 video that Carlitos’ and Noelia’s 1) respective postures, 2) certain aspects of their embrace, and 3) distance between their feet have until now been more “Milonguero” than “Salon”.  Please observe these three elements in the following 2013 video, which is one of my absolute, all-time favorite tango performances! 

Notice too in this earlier video how often Noelia’s heels don’t touch the floor, which tells us that her weight is somewhat forward on her feet.  In contrast, in this month’s Istanbul video above, she always puts her heel down - a result of her changed posture.

For this performance, they've also changed the way they dress, to express greater elegance.

I’d like to know which performance you prefer, and why?  Do you see a significant difference?  Please share with us about your perceptions and preferences in the comments section below.

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  1. Hmm. On first and second viewings, I was immediately struck by Noelia's style in the new video. Everything about it seems different (except for the leg lifts, which she continues to use). She is so much smoother this time around. Her walk is beautiful, her posture strikes me as being subtly different too, and there's none of the choppiness that characterized her earlier performances. The emphatic movement of the earlier performances is gone. This may sound crazy, but in the latest video she reminds me slightly of Amanda Costa, who is a supremely elegant dancer. The earlier video has a bit more verve, they maintain the embrace more throughout the song, and I've always liked it. But here, to my amateur's eye, she seems to have really polished her style. Specifically, look at her walk around the 1:50-1:57 mark. Beautiful smooth, straight, extended steps. And the segment where they open up the embrace and she does that planeo (?) is very smoothly executed. Her gestures there are lovely (and I don't usually care for that sort of thing). Want to go back and check out the earlier one though. He's leading the new one differently. The embrace is a bit altered and he's changed his left arm position. In the earlier one, it's up higher and back a bit more, milonguero-ish. And her arm is wrapped over his shoulder more. Lots of passion in that earlier video. I think his posture has changed in the new one, too. He appears to be more upright (could be the angle of the video though), somewhat straighter maybe. His steps are about the same though--strong, long, deliberate. Nice. What's not to like!

    1. Robert, sorry for the late reply! I enjoyed your post when I read it last week, and then got immediately swept up in Daniela Arcuri SWFL visit. I agree that Carlitos' posture has changed too. I appreciate your observant comments!