Welcome to your 5th & final tarea from Tango Matiz. This week we will discuss a very interesting topic—the topic of Tango Nuevo. This term has been a matter of great controversy of the last 20-25 years, as many dancers like to describe their dancing as a “style”, and therefor also want to assign the notion of style to anything they like or dislike (to be able to say “I like/dislike this/that style of this dancer” or “I don’t want to learn that. That is not the style I dance” for example).
In my opinion there are only 3 styles of tango (as a dance family)—namely tango, milonga, and tango vals—and two directions for tango—social and stage. I specifically want to say social & stage vs. improvised & choreographed, as I do believe there is room to improvise and choreograph in either the social or stage direction.
I would like you guys to read a short essay on the topic of Tango Nuevo, written by Gustavo Naveira. It is part of a larger tango book that I highly recommend: Tango: A History of Obsession, by Virginia Gift. This book is an amazing resource for understanding tango history and culture, on par with our previous reading, if not better.
Now, about Maestro Naveira. Back in the late 80s and early 90s three extremely influential dancers came together in Buenos Aires: Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, and Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli. Together, they set out to codify and understand how Tango works and how to teach it better. With their explorations, also came, for the first time in history, and incredibly deep understanding of how tango works, and the freedom to push tango into the modern era. When they started out, they were (to a certain extent) outcasts from the tango society, but history has come to show that their influence on modern tango has been immeasurable. Pretty much all tango that is taught today, uses the knowledge that Gustavo, Fabian, & Chicho (The “Holy Trinity” of tango if you will), uncovered 25 years ago. Their style of dancing has been coined “tango nuevo”, but that title is somewhat erroneous, as you will see in the tango essay:
Download: Gustavo Naveira’s “New Tango”
I also recommend watching an interview with Chicho about his impact on tango:
In lieu of showing technique videos, I rather want to show you some amazing videos of Chicho, Gustavo, and Fabian dancing:
Chicho Frumboli & Juana Sepulveda — Borges y paraguay, Bajofondo, 2007
Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne — Pavadita, Orquesta Alfredo de Angelis, 1958
Fabian Salas & Carolina del Rivero — Milonga Tres, Astor Piazzolla, 1982
Astor Piazzolla, is arguably, the most recognizable and most associated name with Tango. I won’t dive too much into his bio, but I will say that for many, Piazzolla is their gateway into tango. Piazzolla is famous for not liking danceable tango, and his music is specifically “not danceable” in the social tango sense. That being said, as tango developed thanks to the “Holy Trinity”, Piazzolla came back into the dancer’s repertoires, as the dance evolved to support the musical complexity of Piazzolla’s Tango Nuevo (the only truly correct use of the term to describe Piazzolla’s fusion of milonga rhythms, with tango and jazz). Below are a few of Piazzolla’s most famous works:
Libertango (free Tango)
Verano Porteño (Summer at the Port [referencing summer in Buenos Aires])
That’s it! See you in class.