Interview with Geraldine Rojas de Paludi and Ezequiel Paludi

In urma cu ceva vreme scriam eu vesela pe blog despre stiluri in tango si un alt prieten, imi trimite un alt link, cu un interviu cu Geraldin si Ezequiel, vis-a-vis de acest subiect. Iata, il impart si pe acesta cu voi aici. Ca si interviul cu Pablo Veron, si acest interviu atinge puncte foarte sensibile in tango. Eu, una, l-am recitit pe nerasuflate, pe deoparte pentru ca este acolo povestea lor, si pe de alta parte pentru ca vorbesc despre tango si despre lucruri pe care noi nu le cunoastem; si spre deosebire de acum cativa ani am priceput la cine fac diverse aluzii... foarte interesant! Enjoy!

Interview with Geraldine Rojas de Paludi and Ezequiel Paludi
By Sarah Graff
Photos by Lorraine Hart

TN: How did you learn to dance tango?

G: In the beginning it was a game, I didn’t realize I was learning something. I was just a child. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 years old that I realized I was learning something, when I was tall enough to assume an embrace (before I was too short). Then I wanted to learn to dance.
E: I went with a friend to the milonga and I saw part of my country that I hadn’t seen. I didn’t grow up knowing that tango was something I could learn. You know, since 1955 there was a revolution and the military took power and, well, for example my Father grew up with both jazz and tango but my generation did not so when I was introduced to the world of the tango it was something very nice for me. I met with my friends at the milongas and took some lessons here and there. Then I was very lucky because I met a couple that could really teach me how to be a dancer. Vanina Bilous and Roberto Herrera were teaching a seminar which I took and I really liked them and they took me in. Then I started to work with them, it was a nice relationship.
G: For me it was different because there used to be a lot of practicas and I used to go and practice different steps, but always with the old people, the milongueros. At that time it was not fashionable to take workshops or classes.
E: Geraldine and I took group classes with Omar Vega about a year and a half ago at Salon Canning. He thought that we wouldn’t come so he was shocked to see us there, and so were the other people in the class. People do not usually think that professional dancers take group classes anymore but it is useful. We learned a lot, he is a good teacher.

TN: So how old were you when you started dancing tango?
G: That depends. Do you mean when learned the basic step or when I started to dance?
TN: Well, both.
G: I learned the basic step at about 7 or 8 years old but I didn’t really start dancing until I was 15 or 16 years old.
E: I started dancing when I was 23 years old.

TN: How has tango changed since you began dancing? How have the milongas changed?
E: It went backwards, it didn’t grow up. People talk about different styles but we don’t think there are styles. The only style that exists is the tango. Not open, close, new, old – the style is tango.
G: In tango now people discriminate too much. If you are like this, then you dance this way, if you are like that then you go to the other group. Before it wasn’t like this. If you are 20-25 yrs old you belong to one group, if you have long hair you belong to another group. If you learn to D’Arienzo you are a rhythm dancer but if you learn to Di Sarli then you are a salon dancer etc. But all of these orchestras come from different periods. At that time each orchestra had a different rhythm but is wasn’t intended to separate people. Now if you like a particular music you are different from someone who doesn’t like it. Right now people think they are the protagonist of the story, its not that tango is special and it makes me dance. Now people think they are special because they dance a particular way. Its not like the tango is special and it makes me happy. People have lost this first concept of dancing and having fun.
G & E: The tango that is selling now is a European tango, it is not the real Argentine tango. People are looking for new styles and new technologies but that is not the tango. Tango is something simple, a way to be and that’s all. It is complex to dance the tango the right way, you need to study and practice and quit many things. You need to quit pretensions and egos to belong to something. These are internal things. If you say you are dancing tango and you believe in tango then it is only one way because tango is just one. Its like blues and jazz. If you listen, you know if its blues, jazz, rock, or soul. It’s the same with tango, you know what is tango. [...]

TN: So would you say that people who are not from Argentina, who did not grow up in a specific kind of culture, with a specific kind of music, that they can still find this tango?
E: Of course.
G: Yes, sometimes they are even better at it! There is a well-known stand-up comedian, Antonio Asaga, who is very good. He has different personalities that he portrays in his characters. There is one character who is really evil and uses a wheelchair but she is lying because she isn’t a parapalegic, she doesn’t need the wheelchair. Asaga used to go to the theater and stay on stage alone for 2 hours. It was really amazing. One year ago we went to the theater in Maipu, one of the most beautiful theaters in Buenos Aires, and he began by criticizing Argentines. He said that Argentines always say they are great because they invented so many things: they invented dulce de leche, the fingerprint, matches etc.. Some of the people from Argentina use this to say that we are good, we are special because we created all of these things, as if all of the Argentine people created these things. With the tango it’s the same. Many people say, no, I saw the real tango. Many people need to talk to introduce themselves, if they stand up nobody knows who they are. They tell people that they saw the real tango, but did they dance it? You’re lucky that you saw it but you didn’t dance it.

TN: So because they saw people dancing tango they are saying that they know more?
E: Right. The perfect example of this is the people who left Buenos Aires and moved to Paris. They say that the people in Buenos Aires don’t recognize their talent so they had to go to Paris. They claim that the French people understand them better saying, ‘I am a genius and they only understand me in Paris’. Look at Tanghetto, they will put on their resume that they played at Symphony Center in Chicago but they only played in a rehearsal room. It makes them look very successful, especially to people in Buenos Aires. The real musicians in Buenos Aires would say that this is not music because it is too easy. The electronic sounds are very simple compared to actual musical instruments. If you look at the sheet music of a pianist there are so many expressions written there, even if you can’t read music you can understand that. One time we went to Canning and we didn’t know that an electric band was playing that night. We went there with some friends, had something to drink and the band started playing. People started to walk out. Because Salon Canning was the only place that was still open during the military times. So for the people that dance tango, Salon Canning is like a chapel, its like a church of tango. Its one of the best floors of Buenos Aires.
G: It’s the place where you have the most milongas; you have milongas on many different evenings and in the afternoons. On Saturdays they start at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and finish at 2 in the morning. Its amazing.
E: The point is that there are people that say they are important and doing great things, but these are the people that would not be allowed into the disco. In Buenos Aires they won’t let you into the disco if you are a little dark, or a little fat, or if you are wearing sneakers. There are some discotheques that are only for beautiful people. Now, I don’t go to those places because I don’t like them, but the point is that the people who are being rejected in Buenos Aires are getting the recognition they believe they deserve abroad, not in Buenos Aires. [...]

TN: Earlier you mentioned that you do not talk about tango styles when you teach. Can you talk a little bit more about that. For example, many people associate you, Geraldine, with the Villa Urquiza style.
G: Villa Urquiza is not a style. I did not dance Villa Urquiza style with Javier. Villa Urquiza is a barrio. If we are making a philosophy, we’ll start with the 120 neighborhoods we have in Buenos Aires! The way that people dance in different neighborhoods is about space. In Villa Urquiza, Matadoros etc.. they used to dance in basketball courts but in downtown, Almagro, they danced in confiterias so the space was smaller. In the center of town there were more people and the dance floor was crowded so people started to dance smaller so they wouldn’t crush each other. Not about style but about space. After the military closed the milongas, people danced in the back behind confiterias. There they danced even smaller. I do not dance Villa Urquiza style. I learned in many places in Buenos Aires: Estudiantes Del Norte (Saavedra), Sunderland (V. Urquiza), Sin Rumbo (V. Pueyredon), and Club Fulgor (V. Crespo). I practiced with milongueros when I was taller, about 13-14 years old. [...]Argentine people make political divisions, money divisions etc. and they are doing the same in tango. Talking about styles in tango is bad for our country. Some people say the tango scene is sick and they don’t go to milongas anymore. The only thing we have in Argentina is our spirit. Everything else is from outside – imported. For normal people, relationships are important. Tango was designed by normal people, the regular crowd. Cumbia is the most popular for normal people now. Its Argentine cumbia. Its always on the TV, radio, everyone listens to it. Its like a new tango for people of Argentina." [...]

The source (entire interview) here 


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