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Tango Argentino A Pocket ‘Breviary’ for Its Dancers

Patricia Müller Translation by Margot J. Wylie and Stella Marie Scanlon Published by Enrico Massetti Copyright 2011 Patricia Müller All Rights Reserved First Edition ebook


Tango Books, Ebooks, DVDs and Rare CDs: http://tango-dancers.com


ShenBooks Book Series by Patricia Mßller Books for the Body and Spirit as Well as the Soul, the Fine Line that Divides and Unifies them. Tango Argentino: piccolo breviario per i suoi ballerini Educazione Sessuale Taoista: antica guida per l’amante moderno Pratiche Taoiste La Toscana nella pentola Taoista Pensare Yin Essere Yang Tango Argentino a Buenos Aires: 36 stratagemmi per ballarlo felicemente


Comments The union between male and female elements is the oldest dance in the world. In a cosmos that is understood to be a constant attempt to reach and maintain balance, man and woman follow the same rhythm: there is a difference that exists and that is necessary for the whole. This necessary duality is expressed with passionate force by the characteristic embrace of the Tango Apilado, an embrace that is necessary in order not to remain separated and alone, but to remain united and close in the dance. Perceiving the Tango Apilado from the perspective of the Way of the Tao is a voyage of discovery of ourselves and of the profound ties which unify us with our partner; with the Tango, one learns the ‘dance of life’. Laura Berni, Degree in Library Science The Tango and T’ai Chi Chuan are both arts of the body which not only fuse together but also get confused one with the other through the sense of balance and totality that T’ai Chi Chuan teaches and that the Tango demands. The awareness of the movements and steps that stems from the practice of T’ai Chi Chuan naturally blend into the embrace of the Tango, making the whole even more magical. Chiara Scozzari, Degree in Agricultural Sciences, Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture Why is the Tango Milonguero liked so much? Because its philosophy is profound like the ocean and precious like coral and, like the colour of the great corral reefs, the true spirit of the Tango and its Viejos Milongueros must also be defended from the risk of extinction. Fabiola Fani, Degree in Biology The term ‘to teach’ in Italian, insegnare, is derived from the Latin verb insignare which means to sign, to mark, to leave indications; it is almost as though signs or words are actively etched into the minds of the students. This is what Patricia does; she leaves a trace, a sign on the Way of the Tango Apilado and the techniques necessary for being able to find it and identify it in daily life, in the milongas and elsewhere. The Tango, through the teachings of Patricia, becomes a naturalis labor: it is a work of the body that is patient, necessary, quotidian, characterising and


constructive; and naturale (natural) like a gesture, like the body that produces it, like the eye that sees it, like the time that consumes it; it becomes the pursuit for simplicity and immediacy. It is a teaching that takes the form of dialogue, a form of teaching that is found not only in the ancient Chinese culture, but also in the Western culture as well as in the Argentine culture of the Tango Apilado which creates a subtle connection between the different cultures. And it is, without a doubt, through dialogue that Patricia has developed her method of teaching. It is a dialogue that lives of patience and anticipation. It is a temporality that cannot be resolved with programmability and constructiveness, but leaves space to fragility and uncertainty. It is a form of dialogue that needs participants who question themselves and who, at the same time, attempt to find answers. It is a dialogue that abounds in rhythm, interval and change. It is a dialogue that places different subjectivities in relationship one with the other, in which everyone is the possible subject and at the same time the object of knowledge, revealing oneself through the perception that one has of the other. In this way it creates a dual certainty like an opening through which the empathetic approach passes. If I dialogue I acknowledge the other, being able to notice the face of the person amidst the anonymous crowd. Laura Berni, Degree in Library Science


Introduction Excuse me if I have allowed myself to step between you and the pleasure of reading.(1) This book was written immediately after my first lesson of Tango Milonguero Apilado(2) in 1995 and after a short demonstration of the teacher Yvonne Meissner(3) on my terrace which was not a suitable space for dancing. Only now it comes out of the dark drawer in which it has been tucked away for these many years… with the desire to finally enter the semidarkness behind the halflidded eyes of those who dance and listen to Tango! The story of this book begins in the distant year of 1977 when I met the Chinese master of T’ai Chi Chuan(4), Gia Fu Feng(5), with whom I later lived six long, marvelous and stimulating months in his Taoist community(6) of Stillpoint(7). In 1981, in Florence, Italy, he gave me the authorization to teach and since 1988 I have taught this Taoist Art (which only in recent years has been fully appreciated) at the Ki Dojo Association(8). In a second moment I broadened my didactic program to include courses in TaoYoga and TaoFit(9). To facilitate social interaction between students of my courses I offered monthly meetings during the winter of 1994-95 in various styles of ballroom dancing(10) and Caribbean dances. It was on this occasion that I first encountered the Tango Argentino (as it was taught at this time in Europe(11)). Some months later I discovered the ‘Milonguero Apilado’ style, noticing more and more the similarities it had with my ‘old’ T’ai Chi Chuan! After the publication of my first book ‘Pratiche Taoiste’(12) I wanted to inquire further into these apparently parallel concepts. During my preparatory research for other writing projects which always regarded Taoist topics(13) I exhaustively studied Lao Tse’s(14) book, the Tao Te Ching(15) and it naturally and easily happened that one day taken as I was by the Tango and nearly by accident I switched the word Tao with that of Tango(16). Suddenly I was able to read what only much later the Viejos Milongueros(17) in Buenos Aires (but also in my apartment(18)) would tell me about the universe of Tango. In the years to come I gradually rendered the text more comprehensible for


those who love to dance and to listen to the Tango Argentino and today, after such a long time, I am finally able to place this little book in your hands. I therefore entreat the Viejo Lao Tse to pardon me; but perhaps he also danced the Tango in ancient China? Nothing more remains for me to do than to thank all those who have helped me in realizing this little book: the first who read it, Lino Bisenzi; the indispensable Laura Cumbat, for her knowledge and aid with the Italian language and Laura Berni, for her help with its publication; Alice Ruglioni, for her precious advice regarding the layout; Fabiola Fani, for the general revision of the text and for having discussed the milonguero-concepts with me; and last but not least, Yvonne Meissner, who made me fall in love with the Tango Milonguero Apilado and who introduced me to all of her Viejos Milongueros. Thanks to all of you! Having arrived this far I can only hope that you will like it, wishing you happy reading and… how could it be otherwise; obviously, good Tango to all of you! Patricia Müller – Florence, Italy 2009 In order to distinguish between the roles of male and female dancers in the way to make them perfectly clear, I will use the Spanish words 'la bailarina', 'las bailarinas' for the traditional female and following role. I would also like to thank Margot J. Wylie for dedicating the last days of her pregnancy to translate the text and Stella Scanlon for having reread and corrected it again and again. And again, thank you and happy dancing! Patricia Müller, 2010


The Sayings


Saying 1

It is not the true Tango of which we are speaking. The style of our dance is not the eternal style. It is from the unnamed that the movements and steps have their beginning. It is the named that is the begetter of the ten thousand figures. Forever, without desire, el Viejo Milonguero dances the mystery of the Tango. It is always for desire that the dancer dances his figures. Although born of the same root they bear different names. To us this appears little understood, unknown and mysterious: this is the right key to enter into the world of Tango.


Saying 2 Throughout the world dancers recognise a beautiful dance to be beautiful only because there are also those that are unattractive. All dancers recognise a correct movement to be correct only because there are also those that are incorrect. Therefore, knowing how to dance and not knowing how to dance will always find themselves portrayed together. Both difficult and easy figures complete one another. Long passes and short ones counter each other. Tall bodies and the short ones lean one on the other. Voice and sound harmonise one with the other in the music of the Tango. Los Viejos Milongueros follow one after another both before and behind in the ronda(19). Therefore, el Viejo Milonguero chooses not to interfere and not to talk. During a Tango the ten thousand figures begin and finish endlessly


and it’s true that el Viejo Milonguero creates them but he does not take possession of them.


Saying 3

By not exalting dancers of great talent we avoid disagreements between dancers. By not searching for compliments we avoid their lack thereof. By not viewing intriguing steps we avoid causing confusion in our heads and in the milonga(20). Los Viejos Milongueros, therefore, dance with an empty head and a full belly, weakening their own ambitions and strengthening their bones. When the dancers lack awareness of their skill and the craving to excel, nobody desires to interfere with their dance. If no figure must be ‘performed’ everything will go well!


Saying 4 Tango is an infinite dance, danced but never exhausted. It is the elusive source of its ten thousand figures. Blunt, therefore, the sharpness of your steps, untie the strap that binds you, tone down your dazzling skill and join all of the other dancers in the ballroom. The Tango has a hidden profundity which never emerges and the origin of which is unknown but which renders the dance of el Viejo Milonguero divine.


Saying 5 The capable Viejos Milongueros are indeed ruthless, regarding the other ten thousand dancers as though they were fools. The experienced Viejos Milongueros are merciless, considering the normal dancers to be beginners. The space between el Milonguero and la Milonguera(21) is similar to a bellows: it changes only the external form but not the principle. And the more they move, the more they will move away and the more figures they dance, the less they will be appreciated. But everybody, in the end, must always remember the centre of their own couple.


Saying 6

The spirit of the Tango never dies: it is the music, the mother, and from her womb are born the movements and the steps while its true sound can hardly be heard. If you enter into this spirit, you can never fail.


Saying 7

The movements and the steps of the Tango will be danced forever. Why will they be danced forever? Because they have still not been danced and worn out, therefore, they will be danced forever. El Viejo Milonguero does not call attention to himself and it is for this that we notice him. He is detached and therefore he is together with all the others on the dance floor realising himself in generous dances.


Saying 8

The best dance is like music which gives life, without effort, to the ten thousand figures and which invites to dance steps that the dancers would normally refuse to use. The Tango works like this: while dancing, leave your feet on the ground. While dancing in a couple, collect yourself from deep within your heart. While following the flow of the ronda, be kind and cordial. In the communication through your dancing, be sincere. While guiding and following, be honest. And in teaching, be capable. While dancing the Tango, take care to seize the right moment! No struggle – no fault!


About the Author

In 1977, Patricia Müller began to study the Taoist Arts under the guidance of the Chinese master Gia Fu Feng. Since 1988 Patricia is the co-director of the Ki Dojo Association in Florence, Italy, where she teaches T'ai Chi Chuan, TaoYoga and TaoFit and since 1996, also the Argentine Tango. For her, the Argentine Tango is a type of danced meditation. In 1996, Patricia’s first book, ‘Pratiche Taoiste’ (Taoist Practises) was published and was followed by other books on Taoist and Tango topics. Contact and information: http://www.kidojo.it (homepage in Italian-English) taoist@kidojo.it tango@kidojo.it Canale Youtube for the Tango de Salón Apilado: https://www.youtube.com/user/MullerPatricia Canale Youtube for the Taoist Arts: https://www.youtube.com/user/Stillpointer Tango books, ebooks, DVDs and rare CDs.: http://tango-dancers.com


Index Tango Argentino 1 Tango Books, Ebooks, DVDs and CDs: 2 ShenBooks Book Series by Patricia M端ller Comments 4 Introduction 6 The Sayings 8 Saying 1 9 Saying 2 10 Saying 3 12 Saying 4 13 Saying 5 14 Saying 6 15 Saying 7 16 Saying 8 17 Saying 9 18 Saying 10 19 Saying 11 20 Saying 12 21 Saying 13 22 Saying 14 24 Saying 15 25 Saying 16 27 Saying 17 29 Saying 18 30 Saying 19 31 Saying 20 32 Saying 21 34 Saying 22 35 Saying 23 37 Saying 24 39 Saying 25 40 Saying 26 42 Saying 27 43 Saying 28 45 Saying 29 47 Saying 30 49 Saying 31 51 Saying 32 53 Saying 33 55 Saying 34 56 Saying 35 57 Saying 36 58 Saying 37 59

3


Saying 38 60 Saying 39 63 Saying 40 65 Saying 41 66 Saying 42 68 Saying 43 69 Saying 44 70 Saying 45 71 Saying 46 72 Saying 47 73 Saying 48 74 Saying 49 75 Saying 50 76 Saying 51 78 Saying 52 80 Saying 53 82 Saying 54 83 Saying 55 85 Saying 56 87 Saying 57 88 Saying 58 89 Saying 59 90 Saying 60 91 Saying 61 92 Saying 62 94 Saying 63 96 Saying 64 98 Saying 65 100 Saying 66 101 Saying 67 103 Saying 68 105 Saying 69 106 Saying 70 107 Saying 71 108 Saying 72 109 Saying 73 110 Saying 74 111 Saying 75 112 Saying 76 113 Saying 77 114 Saying 78 116 Saying 79 118 Saying 80 119 Saying 81 121 Notes 123 About the Author

125


Index

126

Tango Argentino - A pocket breviary for its dancers  

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