Archive for the ‘Festival and World Cup’ Category

Milonguisimo

September 28, 2021

I was browsing the TANGO BA website to see what was on the program for the ten-day Festival and World Cup.  Some milongas were already open, but I didn’t find any information about Salon El Pial.  It was listed as a venue for the festival.  When I checked, I was thrilled to discover that Oscar Hector Malagrino was presenting another edition of Milonguisimo in Salon El Pial, which happens to be located only four blocks from where Jorge Uzunian lives.  I had to get him to El Pial somehow.  Jorge had danced in Milonguisimo for ten years, partnering Oscar Hector’s sister Haydee.  I reserved tickets online two days in advance. I sent an email to one of Jorge’s full-time caretakers about taking him to the show.  She and her husband wanted to join us.  I needed her help in pushing Jorge in a wheelchair.  Luz and Ruben live in El Tigre, which is a long drive to the capital.  They made the trip in their van to transport Jorge to El Pial in style.  It was meant to be.  Without them, I couldn’t have taken Jorge for an unforgettable night of seeing all his milonguero/a friends.

Ruben is a hefty, strong man who could manage Jorge in the wheelchair. I saw that there was no way I could have done this myself.  I showed the printed forms for our reservations at the door.  We were escorted to the front of the salon where we had a perfect view of the show.

We were seated at the table no more than two minutes before Haydee Malagrino came over to greet Jorge, with whom she had danced many performances of Milonguisimo.  That was a very special moment for Jorge, as you can tell by his smile.  He has been unable to dance for six years since surgery to amputate his right leg.

I kept my camera handy to take photos at any moment.   When the milongueros saw Jorge at the table, they came to greet him.  It was like a class reunion taking place in Salon El Pial. Here with Jorge are Aldo Raspanti, Jorge Garcia (El Flaco Dany’s brother), and Carlos Tedeshi

This was our table for the show that began after 8:00pm.  I asked Jorge, when was the last time he put on a suit and tie?  Six years ago, when he danced on his birthday in Plaza Bohemia.  There is a video of that night on YouTube.

I noticed Elba Celia Biscay across the floor, so I walked over to greet her and take this photo.  I’ve known Elba as a blond and a redhead, now she and I both have our natural white hair.

The curtain was closed on the stage since they were going to be dancing on the floor.  I remember when the Orquesta Tipica Gente de Tango performed on stage for a Night of Carlos DiSarli, organized by Oscar Hector.

Milonguisimo is never the same.  Oscar Hector invites different milongueros/as to participate.  He always has new ideas for staging.  The show includes, tango, vals, milonga, and jazz since milongueros/as dance them all kinds of music.

Elba Biscay, Carlos Tedeshi, and Aldo Raspanti wait on the sidelines while other couples dance.

Elba Biscay’s beautiful feet and shoes were also featured in one of my videos.  New female dancers should study Elba and learn from this milonguera who has danced for many decades in the milongas.

After the finale, they lined up for a bow with applause from an appreciative audience who enjoyed every minute of the dancing and singing.  It was so well organized.  No one missed a cue.

Elba came over to greet Jorge after the show.  It was an unforgettable night for Jorge.

The entire cast went on stage for photos.  Oscar Hector had a photographer recording the entire show.

Oscar Hector Malagrino took a bow with his cast on stage in Salon El Pial.  He has organized milongas and shows for decades, and at 80 years of age, he hasn’t slowed down one bit.

Oscar Hector’s son, who handled the music, came over to see Jorge.

Carlos Tedeshi was pleased to see that Jorge could attend the performance in Salon El Pial.

Oscar Hector was happy to see Jorge after the long time he has been away from going to dance.

Luz Chavez joined Jorge, Oscar Hector, and Aldo for this photo.  She enjoyed the night as much as I did, and she was constantly taking photos and recording.  I got to know her during a visit with Jorge after his 91st birthday a month ago. She is such a joyful person and a perfect companion to help Jorge at home.

My YouTube channel includes a video of Haydee and Jorge dancing in Confiteria Ideal for a performance of Milonguisimo.

Ruben doesn’t dance tango, but he knows tangos.  He was singing along during the show at our table.  He ordered pizza and wine before the show.  Ruben and Luz insisted on driving me to my door in Balvanera, so the four of us had more time together after the show.  I arrived home minutes before 11pm, so after they got Jorge to his apartment, they had the long drive to El Tigre.  It was very late when they arrived. What a happy couple they are.  It was so nice that they wanted to be with Jorge that night.

Elba Pateiro

September 21, 2021

September 21, 1934 —

I called her today, not only to wish her a happy birthday, but to ask if she wanted to attend the performance of Milonguisimo on Thursday at Salon El Pial.  Then I reserved our tickets online for the show that Oscar Hector Malagrino has produced with milongueros/as on stage for years.  This special performance is part of TANGO BA Festival and the World Cup.

The milongas are opening in Buenos Aires!

September 17, 2021

This is what we have been waiting for since March 2020. The city of Buenos Aires just isn’t the same without the milongas.  You can find a listing of milongas by day at Hoymilonga.com

The annual TANGO BA Festival and Mundial began last night with the opening concert in Usina del Arte.  There are virtual events that you can enjoy from today until September 26.

You must be patient for another important announcement from President Fernandez that the country is open to tourism.

InfoBA reports that after November 1 entry of all foreigners to the country is authorized (“Desde el 1 de noviembre se autoriza ingreso de todos los extranjeros, se solicitará para el ingreso al país“).

Virtual Tango Festival & Mundial

August 22, 2020

Published by Pagina12 on August 18.

Syncopations and counterpoints are not limited to scores or dance in tango, they can also serve to understand the intense moments that the sector is going through these days, in which virtual meetings, claims on social networks and official announcements. After a long wait, the Buenos Aires City Festival offices announced at the last minute the holding of the BA Tango Festival, which surprisingly will include a competitive instance as a copy of the World Cup. Less than 24 hours later, a virtual convocation of the Federal Assembly of Tango Workers brought together 18 groups from different branches of the discipline. Some of these, such as the AFTT itself or the ACT (Assembly of Tangueros Collectives) already bring together many other associations. In addition, Página / 12 was able to obtain a response from the Ministry to some of the complaints that the sector raised in the note of August 12 in this newspaper.

The new edition of Tango BA will be held from August 26 to 30 and, as this newspaper anticipated, as in previous years it will also be directed by Gabriel Soria. The activities of the Festival can be followed from the website http://buenosaires.gob.ar/tangoba and the social networks of Festivals of the City (Youtube: FestivalesGCBA, Facebook: @FestivalesGCBA and Instagram: @festivalesgcba). There will be recitals, classes for all ages, virtual milongas, tutorials and tributes. The organization promises a program “focused on the presence and role of women in tango.” And the participation of the competitive instance, that is, the World Cup, will be done from the home of the participants. One of the claims of the sector was that Festivals would not pay all the participations in the programming. From the Ministry of Culture they went to the crossing and clarified that only the “testimonial” participations will not be remunerative, but that all the others will be paid.

In the same sense, the statements of Minister Enrique Avogadro in the announcement of the Festival also seem a response to the demands of the sector and the accusations of “abandonment” by the Buenos Aires authorities. “With our festival we seek to make the work of all our talents visible and strengthen our cultural identity in the world. Tango is an essential development platform for the City (…), we continue to bet on the growth of our artists ”. Among the confirmed names are Amelita Baltar, Sonia Possetti, Karina Beorlegui, Claudia Levyy, Noelia Sinkunas, Ana Fontán, Juan Carlos and Johana Copes, Eric Dinzel, María Nieves, José Colángelo, Nicolás Ledesa, Gabriel Mores, Pipi Piazzolla, Natacha Poberaj, Demián García and others. To the usual open microphone call “Cantá en el Festival” will be added another of tango video clips, an attention to part of the circuit in which the orchestras emphasize, both those of new tangos and those that cover classics.

As for the World Cup, this year’s modality will be notably different. The categories will be maintained (tango track and tango stage), but solo dancers or cohabitating couples may participate in the call, who must send a video through the web and, after passing a pre-selection jury, submit to the public vote to achieve the title.

On the other hand, a great virtual and federal tango meeting called by the AFTT joined positions and will request an audience from the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture, as well as the allocation of an extraordinary item to support the sector, and calls for “rethinking and unfolding” Festival and Mundial of Tango. Both events, originally separate, were mimicked a few years ago and the date was brought to August, to coincide with the winter holidays in the northern hemisphere. The Assembly also asks “to incorporate the gender perspective in all spaces related to tango”.

The meeting is a notable leap in quality for the sector. The amount of groupings present shows the degree of atomization of the circuit (or its various circuits), but the coincidence and the establishment of work tables strengthens the grouping path that has been taking place for some years. The difficulties of the pandemic and what is interpreted as “deafness” on the part of the Buenos Aires authorities did nothing more than strengthen the collective work. This is not the first time that this has happened: years ago the closing line brought different groups of milongas organizers to the same table, who suddenly gained strength and mobilization capacity, which became a promotion law and the creation of the program BA Milonga.

For this program, in fact, there were also complaints in recent days, since several months after the call closed there is still no news on which projects will be benefited or how the procedure to render accounts will be. Although this information is not yet available from the Ministry, they assured Página/12 that the subsidies will be paid between the end of this month and the beginning of September. “As a result of the very difficult situation that we have to go through, a reinforcement of extra money was made for all the regimes, in the case of BaMilonga the reinforcement was $5,400,000,” ministerial sources pointed out. While that arrives, the tango actors wait for the next measure.

 

Tango BA Festival

August 15, 2019

The annual tango festival is underway this month, culminating with the world tango championships at Luna Park on August 21.  Tango enthusiasts from around the world descend upon Buenos Aires for classes, concerts, talks, movies, and the competitions.

One of the many open milongas during Tango BA 2019

A view of the Salon Mayor at Usina del Arte in La Boca where there were daily milongas.

I checked the Tango BA site for the program and found lots of concerts by tango orchestras.  There are more of them this month at Usina del Arte and Centro Cultural Kirchner that the rest of the year.

Orquesta Tipica de Ernesto Franco, bandoneonist of the Orquesta de Juan D’Arienzo.

Sexteto Mayor (ensemble for Tango Argentino that traveled the world in the 1980s), Quinteto Real (formed by the late Horacio Salgan, now led by his son), Color Tango celebrating 30 years, José Colángelo, the last pianist with Anibal Troilo’s orchestra, and Ernesto Franco and his orchestra, the 90 year old bandoneonista who played in Juan D’Arienzo’s orchestra, are only a few of the those on the festival program.

Jose Conangelo (last pianist with the Orquesta Anibal Troilo) and his quartet along with the Franco Luciani (harmonica) trio for the final concert of the Festival 2019 at Usina del Arte.

I haven’t gone to dance at a milonga in a year, but I went yesterday to one held by the festival in the Abasto shopping mall, near the home when Carlos Gardel lived with his mother.  The milonga was advertised on the site:  At the Patio del Zorzal, Gladys and Oscar Zalazar will conduct a dance class for all levels; then there will be an Open Milonga with recorded music spun by DJ Andrés Valenzuela, followed by a dance exhibition featuring Jesús Velázquez and Natacha Poberaj.

An area on the first level of Abasto was set aside for the milonga with chairs and tables around it.  The Zalazars invited people to participate in their class.  A foreign visitor and I decided to have coffee and talk instead of watching it.  When we returned, the milonga floor was full of dancers of all dance levels.

There was no word in the promotion that this milonga was “contemporary tango” music, which I learned much later from a person in charge.  It was easy to see that many were trying to dance because they came to dance, not because they were inspired by the music.  Plain and simple: the recorded music was horrible.

I started talking to seniors on the sidelines about the music.  They all agreed with me.  They wanted to hear tango music for dancing, not contemporary tango for exhibition.  When I had the opportunity to talk with the person in charge, I asked him why the DJ wasn’t playing dance music that the people wanted to hear.  He said this was organized as a milonga with contemporary tango, whatever that means.  Why? Did they expect to draw a younger crowd?  The majority of the dancers were over 60.  Many sat out in protest.  I asked one couple on the floor if they liked the music.  They replied, no.  So why are you dancing?  They immediately walked off the floor. More should have done so.  It would have sent a strong message that this is not the kind of music real tango enthusiasts want for dancing.

I recall a story Alito shared with me years ago.  He said, “in my era, if the DJ played DiAngeles or any orchestra not for the milongas, he could be taken out to the street and shot.”  That’s how demanding the milongueros were about the music.  If they didn’t like the tanda, they did not dance.  It was a strong message to the DJ that he had to play the music they wanted or else the floor was empty.

If the music presented for dancing doesn’t have a strict tempo, it’s not for dancing.  The milongas in Buenos Aires that offer this kind of quasi-tango, the level of dancing will suffer.  Dancers need and require the best tango music available.  The music of the golden age of tango is available everywhere in the world.  There is no reason not to provide it for dancers everywhere.

D’Arienzo, Troilo, Calo, Di Sarli, and other orchestra recordings will never go out of style.  These recordings endure for one reason: it’s great music for dancing.  Substituting inferior music that attempts to compete with the greats will only bring on the demise of tango and the milongas.   Any DJ that avoids and rejects the golden age music has no respect for tango.  It’s only a job.

Live from Luna Park

August 21, 2017

The finals of the Tango World Cup in Buenos Aires will be broadcast live on public television.  Tune in a 19 hs BA time for the tango de la pista finals on Tuesday, August 22 and the stage finals on Wednesday, August 23.

I watched the finals on Tuesday for one reason.

Isn’t that my photo?

August 3, 2017

This is the photo I took in Centro Region Leonesa in December 2011, of milonguero Chino Perico (aka Ricardo Ponce).  I’m not a professional photographer, but I don’t like my photos or blog posts being used without permission or credit.

Today I was browsing the city’s cultural agenda and found the Tango Festival and World Cup schedule.  Chino Perico is giving a class during the festival, and my photo appears in the site.

I have a photographic memory.

Live from Luna Park

August 30, 2016

Watch the World Tango Championships in the tango de pista category.  Tomorrow is the stage category.  19 hs. BA time.

They are live NOW.  Take your ringside seat in Luna Park.  People lined up a week ago at 4:00 am for tickets.

The third ronda finished at 20 hs.  I saw a dream come true for couple #039.  Coca and Cholo danced each year in the world qualifying rounds, but never made the cut to the finals.  Coca’s dream was to dance on stage in Luna Park.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them on stage tonight.  They finally made it to Luna Park!!!!

Olga Azucena Albasetti y Francisco Allo

Festival and Mundial 2015

August 26, 2015

What a great show!  I could view the entire three-hour live broadcast with only a few short breaks in transmission. They recorded the program for viewing on the site, so don’t worry if you missed it.

The new tango de pista champions are #229 Jonathan Saavedra and Clarisa Aragon from Cordoba, Argentina.  The four rounds concluded after 90 minutes, followed by a half hour show by Raul Garello and his orchestra, followed by a composite of video clips from earlier festivals.

The Maestros Milongueros were a hit.  Watch the video. First to take the stage were Ana Maria Schapira and my milonguero friend of many years Osvaldo Vicente Centeno. Others were Julio Duplaa and his wife Elsa (in white skirt), Maria Cieri (blue dress) (Rodolfo Cieri’s widow) and partner, Los Alonsos, El Gallego Manolo (missing his wife Martha Anton), Eduardo Pareja and Laura Grandi, Carlos Perez and his wife Rosa, Chiche and Martha, Nely Fernando (without Pocho) and Jose Luis Ferraro, Eduardo Masci and Claudia Codega (red dress), Blanca Biscochea and El Puchu, dancing to La Yumba by Osvaldo Pugliese.

Then all the 41 couples returned to the stage for the announcement of the top five couples.  Fifth place: #275 Jakarta, Indonesia; Fourth place: #475 St. Petersburg, Russia (and not my favorites from Moscow #368); Third place: #193 from Buenos Aires; Second place: #11 who won the Milongueros of the World title earlier in the year.

All the ladies wore lovely dresses by Mimi Pinzon (that women everywhere will be buying after the fashion show and never seen in the milongas) with their hair securely tied and pinned for stage (unlike the big hairdos worn in the milongas and played with between dances).  Splayed left hands were common, as was stage makeup.  The music was strictly for the milonga, but some couples danced the same to D’Arienzo and Di Sarli or Tanturi and Pugliese.  There is a different in musical style from each orchestra requiring a different dance style.

Each round had one Russian couple in the group, and they all had something special.  The St. Petersburg couple (2nd in the semifinals) placed 4th over the three couples from Moscow.

Everyone watching the show on live broadcast had the best seat in the house.   The site was live a half hour before the show started, so you could see Luna Park gradually filling up.

I’m sorry to say that the two seniors couples didn’t have a chance against all the young ones, but they won the right to be there.  What a thrill to dance on stage in Luna Park!

The music: round 1 – D’Agostino/D’Arienzo/Di Sarli; round 2 – D’Arienzo/Di Sarli/Pugliese; round 3 – Fresedo/D’Arienzo/Di Sarli; round 4 –  Tanturi/Troilo/Pugliese.  Rhythmic and lyrical contrasts in each one.

The stage competition is tomorrow night.  Don’t miss it.  Figure out your local time when it’s 19 hs in Buenos Aires.

Festival and World Cup 2015

August 24, 2015

If I wanted to see the semifinal rounds of the tango de pista competition, I would be standing in line now at La Usina del Arte in La Boca to get one of 1,700 tickets when they are handed out at 17 hs

The complete list of names for the qualifying rounds in the stage and dance floor categories were published with the list of semifinalists.

The stage category had 128 entries, of which only 25 made the cut to the semifinals.  The largest number of entries are from the provincias of Argentina (58) and the capital federal (27).  Other countries represented are Russia, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Brazil, France, Mexico, Holland, Bolivia, Chile, Switzerland, United States, Turkey, South Korea, Uruguay, and Spain.

The tango de pista had 286 entries, of which only 65 made the cut to the semifinals which includes 13 others from the city and regional competitions.  Again, the largest group of participants are from the provincias of Argentina (140).  The tango de pista category has many more countries represented: Russia, Italy, Indonesia, Colombia, Singapore, Greece, Venezuela, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Italia, Uruguay, Canada, and Brazil with semifinalists; in addition, Peru, Turkey, Japan, Germany, United States, Slovenia, England, Switzerland, Philippines, Austria, Spain, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, France and Holland, making it a truly international competition.

Two couples from Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had the guts to enter both categories.  The United States also had entries from Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California; and New York, New York, none of whom made the cut to the semifinals.

The festival includes free classes for the public.  Under the heading of “tango for exhibitions at dance clubs,” you can learn the styles of Milena Plebs, Juan Carlos Copes and Carlos Gavito that were taken from the dance floor to the stage.  In “new trends” you can learn to stretch the boundaries with freedom from roles.  And under “dance-floor tango,” in the days of the first milongueros, every step was a personal creation.  This legacy is passed on today by dancers following in their footsteps (therefore, no more personal creation, only copying).  Another class offers useful tips not to be intimidated by lack of space, even at the most crowded milonga (taught by someone who doesn’t go to the milongas).  A class on embrace and connection, empowered by a favorite orchestra among dancers, Carlos Di Sarli.  The “tango for stage” classes offer achieving a natural look in choreography; from improvisation to composition to find a personal style for stage; breaking the mold and finding new elements for choreography; guidelines for an inside-out creation process; blending tango dance with theater; the ABCs of stage tango; a guided choreographic laboratory; strategies for turning choreographic composition into a personal reflection; understanding the relationship of musical styles and choreographic styles.

See the finals live from Luna Park on August 26 (tango de pista) and August 27 (tango stage) at 19 hs.