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THREE CHALLENGES GABRIEL MISSE OFFERED.

Personal comment on the workshops by Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion (at STS 2014)


I have done Some workshops by Gabriel Misse in the past.

This year, I did 7 out of 8 workshops.

And I have come across some key issues which I feel I should put out to my fellow dancers who may be interested in their meanings...


DISCLAIMER 

Firstly - I do not want to pretend to own any sort of critical authority regarding anything about Tango.   So, what I write here is purely a comment from point of view by a social dancer who has learnt Argentine Tango outside of Argentina and has been dancing for just about 10 years. - LIMITED that is...    My understanding of tango history is patchy and seriously limited.   Also, importantly I want to note that what I comment on about what I received / gained in Gabriel/Analia workshops are purely my own perspective and they are limited by my own short dancing history as mentioned above.   So, Please DO NOT guess and judge their workshops from my writing here and for or against, if anyone wish to check their true teaching content, they must actually attend the workshops and make own view.


THREE CHALLENGES GABRIEL MISSE OFFERED.

1) Technique is not just about 'How to control one's Body', It is about 'How to take care of one's body'. 

During the workshops, he used the word 'real' many times.  What he referring was the technique which works body's natural mechanism. He made many critical comment on the ideas of Tango styles which he thinks 'unreal'.  He demonstrated, explained some details.

The way some dancers use their feet, knee, hip, back, shoulders, neck... inevitable injuries come from them. 

He sat this agenda in 2012 when he came to Sydney.  I clearly took note of his point then. He explained the way he believe as the best way to walk.  And the basic reason of choice of this technique is how to avoid injury and he explained why. Now he has set his challenge squarely and clearly...

And I think he has a good point.

Since mid-1980 Tango renaissance began, about 30 years have passed.  Many good dancers have been dancing close to two decades.  Plus there are many higher age people joining in.  It is very natural that we start discussing about how Tango may affect our body...  If not overnight... but over 5, 10, 15 years period... where and how injury may occur and why...   In the field of professional dancers' scene, the impression I have had is, the focus has been mainly on 'how to use body' and 'how to achieve certain movements / coordination body for dancing and how these ideas can be taught effectively...  But I have not come across the discussion of the subject of short to long term 'injury' may happen and how to avoid them.  As the mater of fact, when I started dancing 10 years ago, I was interested in this subject.  I was simply puzzled by why I only had come across very few dancers who had injuries.  Two dancers improvising their dance together, I thought, could cause all sorts of injuries. . Then about 2 years later I had an injury.  I gut my right shoulder hurt by ladies who wanted to hang on to it to balance themselves on high-heels.  After recovering from it I injured twice more then I decided stop dancing with ladies who can not balance herself... it was a self protection decision.    Also, from time to time, I experienced pain in my foot - started all of sudden.  I doubted some sort of new move I started has caused it...  So, I had learnt to pay close attention while I danced and often managed to find the cause...  With all these experience on both side of coin...  I feel what Gabriel Misse is trying to put up as an agenda is quite important.  My guts feeling is that Argentine dancers in BA always tested their technique over a period of time and probably let go of those did not fit with the welfare of our body.   

 

2) Justice for the Milongueros. 

One thing Gabriel Misse is passionate about is the way Milonguero from whom he learnt danced.

Great majority of these Milongueros have passed away now and he feels there have been a great injustice done to their heritage as the word 'milonguero' was used to brand very narrow range of dancing style.   Gabriel Misse claims he learnt from these actual milongueros...

And he is very frustrated that legacy of Milonguero has been lost.  As Gabriel Misse feels that how these Milonguero danced was THE TANGO itself, he feels that losing the memory of them equals the death of Tango.

(This is a VERY complicated issue because this is about people who got confused about the history of Tango added confusion themselves in the process of searching single God.  It is the European obsession to find the roots / origin / singular answer... I now believe Tango never have been a singular. ) 

To explain this issue, I feel best to quote Christine Denniston's book 'Secret of Tango'

(  Those who wants to investigate her view properly, please access her book via http://www.totaltango.com/acatalog/tango_secrets_1914_39.html  ) 

In her book, she comments that original meaning of the word 'MILONGUERO' referred to 'someone who learned how to dance the Tango in Buenos Aires during the Golden Age' But in in 1990s, Estilo Milonguero was promoted and implied as the only way of Tango 'reinforcing unfounded prejudice that complex figures were a distortion of Tango with no place on the social dance floor' - then she adds 'Sadly, on several occasions saw men I respected, fabulous dancers, some of whom had been dancing since early 1940s, profoundly hurt because members of the new generation of dancers had accused of them of not being the real thing...

He showed some video footage from film TANGO BAILE NUESTRO and explained. 

What 'appears' had happened - And I AM NOT AT ALL SURE - is that as Social dancing of Tango went underground during military dictatorship era, Tango survived in Stage show format. And when Tango returned in mid 80s, it appears many of the teachers had association with stage dancing training. And as outsiders who were curious about returned Tango were confused what was social and what was show.  And as they explored the essence of Social dancing Tango, they probably expressed what they felt unique about Tango through specific close embrace style and it seems to have pedestalled it as Origin.  

The fact which now can be viewed on film footage shows this is a bit too narrow and distorted view.  Milonguero who were still dancing in 80s did not dance shared axis or chest leading.  They had many very colourful figures.  Gabriel Misse even says there was no narrow idea of 'line' of dance...  And Milogueros did not dance Biagi because Biagi was sub version of D'Arienzo (Original)... etc etc. 

His passion to reinstate the knowledge of Milongueros he knew though have several practical implications...  One is above mentioned technique as what take care of body.  He believe that the basic technique which he learnt from Milongueros and used in his professional dancing has protected him from various injuries.

Another one is the 'Attitude'.

He commented that Milonguero believed in originality.  While Technique is something community develop and share and inherit, style was more like 'signature' which something dancers should not copy from each other.  Tango is improvisation and every dancer should has own dance. 

So. here are some visuals...

Short bit from TANGO BAILE NUESTRO... 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7HmCGjYRYE


And a dance Gabriel and Analia gave in USA titled as 'Milongueros Homage'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsqoyriehRI


3) Learn Spanish and know the Song you dance to. 

This is THE hardest challenge he made.  In my view, I will never get to this ZONE and I stated this depressive conclusion before.

This is because 'knowing Music' for those who grew up in BA is not same as outside like us who may have learnt Spanish literally get meaning of lyrics.But, if I let go of this ALL or NOTHING way of thinking...  I guess half way is still achievable and still very important?   On the way I have learnt Tango for the last 10 years and started trying DJing as a way to learn about Music, I have come across what some of the Tango songs are singing about. AND the fact is that when I hear these songs starts at a milonga, my response to them is clearly different...   

So, when Gabriel Misse expressed his disappointment in the way we all tend to dance indiscriminately over all sorts of song totally ignoring the feeling of each song, I at least I could understand what he is on about.

Tango for Buenos Aires is its history, memory, culture and life.

All is condensed into great songs...  


Oigo Tu Voz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zma8tQi-vts 


When I visited Sunderland in BA, straight after 1AM exhibition dancing by professionals, DJ played this Demare version of Oigo Tu Voz.  Pretty much every one stood up as soon as they heard this tune of song...  No Cabeseo...  Just too excited and eager to get onto the floor to dance.  This happened two nights... so it convinced me this is one of the songs locals really love to dance to.

And much later, I have come to read English translation of the song...

http://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/361/ 

It's really a painful and sad song...  When I read this lyrics and remembered what I saw at Sunderland, it made me to reassess the meaning of Tango. 


And occasionally more passionate and euphoric ones are around... 

Esta noche de luna

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIbBVEV30gQ

And lyrics

http://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/una-noche-de-luna/

To me, it is definitely NOT possible to dance these two songs in same way if one knows the content of each song.After all, what Gabriel Misse is asking for is a bit of very basic common sense...?


---

By the way, although I respect Gabriel Misse greatly, I do not worship him.  There is no single GOD in tango.  I feel more important aspect of Tango is the way we all 'share' the history, the knowledge and joy of dancing.   I respect his passion as I understand he is doing what he can do and what he has to do from his experience.  It can be easy to judge him and other top class professional dancers as being some what arrogant and thankless.  But, I value honesty than lies.  I have no respect to teachers who has no commitment to face his or her students with honesty.  This is because I have enough confidence in me to make own judgement (then again of course - in the universe of Tango, there is no final answer.  ?:)





-- 13/10/2014 11:41:55 PM: post edited by Isao Tango.





Re: THREE CHALLENGES GABRIEL MISSE OFFERED.
Thanks for posting this Isao. Very interesting comments with which i agree, and as I missed the STS Festival and Gabriel Misse it is great to hear a summary of his key teachings. I believe that maintaining a good, comfortable posture with no unnecessary tension in the body is one of the main ways of avoiding injury, and as you mentioned, not dancing with people who have poor balance. The diversity of tango is also important, and I agree with Christine Denniston's account of the evolution of 'Estilo Milonguero' which many see as 'the real tango'. It is but one form amongst many expressions of tango. Expanding on this viewpoint here: tango fundamentalism and tango-style-diversity


Originally posted by Isao Tango

Personal comment on the workshops by Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion (at STS 2014)


I have done Some workshops by Gabriel Misse in the past.

This year, I did 7 out of 8 workshops.

And I have come across some key issues which I feel I should put out to my fellow dancers who may be interested in their meanings...


DISCLAIMER 

Firstly - I do not want to pretend to own any sort of critical authority regarding anything about Tango.   So, what I write here is purely a comment from point of view by a social dancer who has learnt Argentine Tango outside of Argentina and has been dancing for just about 10 years. - LIMITED that is...    My understanding of tango history is patchy and seriously limited.   Also, importantly I want to note that what I comment on about what I received / gained in Gabriel/Analia workshops are purely my own perspective and they are limited by my own short dancing history as mentioned above.   So, Please DO NOT guess and judge their workshops from my writing here and for or against, if anyone wish to check their true teaching content, they must actually attend the workshops and make own view.


THREE CHALLENGES GABRIEL MISSE OFFERED.

1) Technique is not just about 'How to control one's Body', It is about 'How to take care of one's body'. 

During the workshops, he used the word 'real' many times.  What he referring was the technique which works body's natural mechanism. He made many critical comment on the ideas of Tango styles which he thinks 'unreal'.  He demonstrated, explained some details.

The way some dancers use their feet, knee, hip, back, shoulders, neck... inevitable injuries come from them. 

He sat this agenda in 2012 when he came to Sydney.  I clearly took note of his point then. He explained the way he believe as the best way to walk.  And the basic reason of choice of this technique is how to avoid injury and he explained why. Now he has set his challenge squarely and clearly...

And I think he has a good point.

Since mid-1980 Tango renaissance began, about 30 years have passed.  Many good dancers have been dancing close to two decades.  Plus there are many higher age people joining in.  It is very natural that we start discussing about how Tango may affect our body...  If not overnight... but over 5, 10, 15 years period... where and how injury may occur and why...   In the field of professional dancers' scene, the impression I have had is, the focus has been mainly on 'how to use body' and 'how to achieve certain movements / coordination body for dancing and how these ideas can be taught effectively...  But I have not come across the discussion of the subject of short to long term 'injury' may happen and how to avoid them.  As the mater of fact, when I started dancing 10 years ago, I was interested in this subject.  I was simply puzzled by why I only had come across very few dancers who had injuries.  Two dancers improvising their dance together, I thought, could cause all sorts of injuries. . Then about 2 years later I had an injury.  I gut my right shoulder hurt by ladies who wanted to hang on to it to balance themselves on high-heels.  After recovering from it I injured twice more then I decided stop dancing with ladies who can not balance herself... it was a self protection decision.    Also, from time to time, I experienced pain in my foot - started all of sudden.  I doubted some sort of new move I started has caused it...  So, I had learnt to pay close attention while I danced and often managed to find the cause...  With all these experience on both side of coin...  I feel what Gabriel Misse is trying to put up as an agenda is quite important.  My guts feeling is that Argentine dancers in BA always tested their technique over a period of time and probably let go of those did not fit with the welfare of our body.   

 

2) Justice for the Milongueros. 

One thing Gabriel Misse is passionate about is the way Milonguero from whom he learnt danced.

Great majority of these Milongueros have passed away now and he feels there have been a great injustice done to their heritage as the word 'milonguero' was used to brand very narrow range of dancing style.   Gabriel Misse claims he learnt from these actual milongueros...

And he is very frustrated that legacy of Milonguero has been lost.  As Gabriel Misse feels that how these Milonguero danced was THE TANGO itself, he feels that losing the memory of them equals the death of Tango.

(This is a VERY complicated issue because this is about people who got confused about the history of Tango added confusion themselves in the process of searching single God.  It is the European obsession to find the roots / origin / singular answer... I now believe Tango never have been a singular. ) 

To explain this issue, I feel best to quote Christine Denniston's book 'Secret of Tango'

(  Those who wants to investigate her view properly, please access her book via http://www.totaltango.com/acatalog/tango_secrets_1914_39.html  ) 

In her book, she comments that original meaning of the word 'MILONGUERO' referred to 'someone who learned how to dance the Tango in Buenos Aires during the Golden Age' But in in 1990s, Estilo Milonguero was promoted and implied as the only way of Tango 'reinforcing unfounded prejudice that complex figures were a distortion of Tango with no place on the social dance floor' - then she adds 'Sadly, on several occasions saw men I respected, fabulous dancers, some of whom had been dancing since early 1940s, profoundly hurt because members of the new generation of dancers had accused of them of not being the real thing...

He showed some video footage from film TANGO BAILE NUESTRO and explained. 

What 'appears' had happened - And I AM NOT AT ALL SURE - is that as Social dancing of Tango went underground during military dictatorship era, Tango survived in Stage show format. And when Tango returned in mid 80s, it appears many of the teachers had association with stage dancing training. And as outsiders who were curious about returned Tango were confused what was social and what was show.  And as they explored the essence of Social dancing Tango, they probably expressed what they felt unique about Tango through specific close embrace style and it seems to have pedestalled it as Origin.  

The fact which now can be viewed on film footage shows this is a bit too narrow and distorted view.  Milonguero who were still dancing in 80s did not dance shared axis or chest leading.  They had many very colourful figures.  Gabriel Misse even says there was no narrow idea of 'line' of dance...  And Milogueros did not dance Biagi because Biagi was sub version of D'Arienzo (Original)... etc etc. 

His passion to reinstate the knowledge of Milongueros he knew though have several practical implications...  One is above mentioned technique as what take care of body.  He believe that the basic technique which he learnt from Milongueros and used in his professional dancing has protected him from various injuries.

Another one is the 'Attitude'.

He commented that Milonguero believed in originality.  While Technique is something community develop and share and inherit, style was more like 'signature' which something dancers should not copy from each other.  Tango is improvisation and every dancer should has own dance. 

So. here are some visuals...

Short bit from TANGO BAILE NUESTRO... 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7HmCGjYRYE


And a dance Gabriel and Analia gave in USA titled as 'Milongueros Homage'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsqoyriehRI


3) Learn Spanish and know the Song you dance to. 

This is THE hardest challenge he made.  In my view, I will never get to this ZONE and I stated this depressive conclusion before.

This is because 'knowing Music' for those who grew up in BA is not same as outside like us who may have learnt Spanish literally get meaning of lyrics.But, if I let go of this ALL or NOTHING way of thinking...  I guess half way is still achievable and still very important?   On the way I have learnt Tango for the last 10 years and started trying DJing as a way to learn about Music, I have come across what some of the Tango songs are singing about. AND the fact is that when I hear these songs starts at a milonga, my response to them is clearly different...   

So, when Gabriel Misse expressed his disappointment in the way we all tend to dance indiscriminately over all sorts of song totally ignoring the feeling of each song, I at least I could understand what he is on about.

Tango for Buenos Aires is its history, memory, culture and life.

All is condensed into great songs...  


Oigo Tu Voz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zma8tQi-vts 


When I visited Sunderland in BA, straight after 1AM exhibition dancing by professionals, DJ played this Demare version of Oigo Tu Voz.  Pretty much every one stood up as soon as they heard this tune of song...  No Cabeseo...  Just too excited and eager to get onto the floor to dance.  This happened two nights... so it convinced me this is one of the songs locals really love to dance to.

And much later, I have come to read English translation of the song...

http://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/361/ 

It's really a painful and sad song...  When I read this lyrics and remembered what I saw at Sunderland, it made me to reassess the meaning of Tango. 


And occasionally more passionate and euphoric ones are around... 

Esta noche de luna

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIbBVEV30gQ

And lyrics

http://letrasdetango.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/una-noche-de-luna/

To me, it is definitely NOT possible to dance these two songs in same way if one knows the content of each song.After all, what Gabriel Misse is asking for is a bit of very basic common sense...?


---

By the way, although I respect Gabriel Misse greatly, I do not worship him.  There is no single GOD in tango.  I feel more important aspect of Tango is the way we all 'share' the history, the knowledge and joy of dancing.   I respect his passion as I understand he is doing what he can do and what he has to do from his experience.  It can be easy to judge him and other top class professional dancers as being some what arrogant and thankless.  But, I value honesty than lies.  I have no respect to teachers who has no commitment to face his or her students with honesty.  This is because I have enough confidence in me to make own judgement (then again of course - in the universe of Tango, there is no final answer.  ?:)





-- 13/10/2014 11:41:55 PM: post edited by Isao Tango.







 
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