What makes him such a lover?

an article by Helaine Treitman Tango

For two weeks I've been wanting to post this video with some commentary. I posted the first video of Noelia Hurtado and Carlitos Espinoza (when I talked about Noelia's amazing musicality) almost two weeks ago. In today's video, I especially wanted to draw your attention to specific improvisational choices of Carlitos.

However, I can't do it.

I keep getting swept away by observing his lovemaking.

I'm offering you this video today in contrast to Wednesday's video* of Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión. Carlitos and Noelia seem, I would say, technically "deficient" in comparison. One might even say their footwork is sloppy, compared to the other couples'.

But what matters to me, and what I want to ask you, when you've watched this video, is "What makes this young man such a lover?"

I'd like you to try, instead of observing Noelia's oozing sensuality, to observe what Carlitos is doing to provoke it.

Here are Carlitos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado dancing to "Garras", played by Anibal Troilo's orchestra, with Alberto Marino singing:

I invite your comments here below! What does make Carlitos such a lover?


Shlomo LauferAugust 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM
This video suits very well my concepts about the different rolls of leader and follower in Tango. I published a clip on the subject in Hebrew,
Follower's steps and Leader's steps (Hebrew)
and here is the essence:
The man is the choreographer of each dance.
He comes up with a general choreography for the woman, while he is only accompanying her.
While dancing, he has to listen to the music, and at the same time be very attentive to the woman. Give her all the time and support she needs to perform his general choreography with her interpretation and addons.
I compare it to two singers, singing in two voices. “Voice A” is the melody of the song and “voice B” is an accompaniment.
In tango, the woman does “roll A” and the man does “roll B”.
Each figure is defined by the woman’s steps only. The same figure can be performed with different accompaniments of the man, but it is defined as the same figure.
Likewise, a song can be performed with different accompaniments but it is defined as the same song.
Shlomo Laufer


Ginevra RossAugust 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM
Very nicely said, Shlomo.

Shlomo LauferAugust 23, 2013 at 4:10 PM

HelaineAugust 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Thank you for your interesting commentary, Shlomo! Nice!

HelaineAugust 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM
I'm coming back to you Shlomo, after responding to Batt below. Do you have any opinions on my question about Carlitos being a "lover", beyond being the choreographer of her steps?

Shlomo LauferAugust 24, 2013 at 2:32 AM
I think it's his stable posture, his clear and confident guidance, and the way his body moves, in perfect accordance to the music, that arouses her sensuality to a maximum.

HelaineAugust 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Thank you, Shlomo!

AnonymousAugust 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM
I love this question. Helaine, you're a smart woman. The answer, in my humble opinion is...Carlitos dances the MUSIC. His choice of steps is NOT complicated, walk, turn, parada...walk, turn, parada. It is MUSIC that he is using to give the couple that very special look, feel and appeal. BOTH are simply dancing the music and they ALWAYS do.
Batt Johnson - NY


HelaineAugust 23, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Thanks, Batt! Oh, does he ever dance the music. And so does Noelia, I agree! To return to my question, does that make him "a lover"? What I meant when I say "he's a lover", is that there is something very sexy about their tango, and as I say in my article, I think something he's doing is provoking that. Do you see the same thing? Do you feel his "dancing the music", and the simplicity of his steps that make that happen? Or do you have a different point of view?

Shlomo LauferAugust 25, 2013 at 1:53 AM
Hi Batt,
I completely agree with you. Carlito's choreography is very simple and basic.
But, he does it very well, and maybe that all it takes ... :-)

Ginevra RossAugust 24, 2013 at 2:40 AM
Oh my. These are some of my favorite dancers. Carlito is completely engaged to Noelia and loving her with every step. He lovingly initiates a movement with her and then he waits for her to respond to it, like a lover would do.. There is such a depth of feeling it is as if they are about to explode in it. To dance with this man would be a purely divine experience..

StefanoAugust 24, 2013 at 5:05 AM
Dear Helaine, according to me the answer is that Carlito is dancing WITH and FOR Noelia. Carlito's presence is discrete, in the shadow. He wants to put Noelia in evidence, and that she enjoys his music interpretation. Simply he loves her (I don't know if they have a private relationship, but I think the male dancer should love the female dancer for those three minutes).

I've seen some videos of them and, even if in a show, (it seems) they always dance for themselves. Carlito knows what Noelia wants: freedom for her feet in fast rhytmic music passages.
I think that the scope of the tango is this : let she expresses (shows ?) herself.

I love these videos of them:
(look how she marks the accent at 00:32, and their shy after the performance) and this:
(as above at 00:26!).


HelaineAugust 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM
Thank you, Stefano!

If anyone's looking for it, the second video Stefano's referring to is one I also loved. They're dancing to "Mandria" and it's two posts below this one, under "This girl's amazing musicality"

HelaineAugust 24, 2013 at 3:57 PM
JOHN in Switzerland asked me to post this for him:

I experience Carlitos' "LOVE" dance the following ways:

Carlitos clearly understands and conciously and frequently uses tension and release, something women thrive on on the dancefloor and "elsewhere."
He is deeply penetrating Noelia with his manly core, his soul, and in spite of a subtle reluctance on Noelia's part at first, they seem to create an invisble third being between them.
Finally Carlitos gives Noelia the time and freedom to explore the magical fantasy world within her which she then manifests exquisitely.
It's much more than a dance or any of it's elements (leading, following, musicality, etc). It's a work of art!


HelaineAugust 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Thank you, John!! I love your comments about "tension and release". I think a lot of men today, especially in Europe and the US are afraid to invade the woman's space, or rather "penetrate", because it's been trained out of them by political correctness!

But what is the "invisible third being" you say they create?

johnAugust 25, 2013 at 10:04 AM
It's Tango.

HelaineAugust 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Ahhh.... :)

AnonymousAugust 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM
Dear Heleine.My idols Noelia and Carlitos!!!! What makes him such a good lover? Carlitos is constantly concentrate on Noelia, he follow her with all his being, but he is still the leader. He gives her all the freedom to express herself in the dance, no rush, the time he gives her feels like eternity. She is his princess. His tango is minimal, no fancy mens adornos or enrosques, just his amazing walk, and leading skils, giving all the spotlite to Noelia. He is creating what tango is about to please the women. A dream, a love story, and I love to follow such a scilled lover.... Abrazo. Joanna from amsterdam


HelaineAugust 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Joanna!

Tangueros, I hope you're reading what tangueras like Joanna and Ginevra in this thread are saying about what they appreciate and what they really want on the dance floor.

Ginevra RossAugust 25, 2013 at 12:10 AM
I love, love, love what Joanna said. So right!!

AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM
Thank you Heleine, and thank you Ginevra! Joanna

IsakAugust 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Hi all, thank you Helaine for sharing it. I couldn't help reposting it on my Facebook, I gave you credit but misspelled your name, sorry :).
I tried an experiment, as I was watching them I turned the sound off. By watching them dance I could hear the music. The way they were building up energy and then expelling it in line with the music was amazing. Their musicality was such that they were breathing the song. That, with a chestful embrace, and being totally into each other - it was as if for them there was no one else, made it awesome.


HelaineAugust 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Thanks for sharing this, Isak. I'm going to try the no-sound experiment you did.

Interesting how you talk about "building up energy and then expelling it" with the music, and John in Switzerland comments above on Carlitos using "tension and release". You're talking about this quality with regard to the music, and I think John is talking about it also with the embrace. This is a dimension that tangueros reading this can explore in various ways!

IsakAugust 26, 2013 at 2:09 AM
Thank you Helaine, on word that comes to my mind is the elasticity of the music. I know it does not sound very romantic :). It is about how at some moments the music stretches up after it lets it lose. These days I am trying to play with that as I dance. This and leading with the chest.

HelaineAugust 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM
I love the idea of playing with the "elasticity" of the music, Isak.

But I wonder why do you want to lead with the chest? (Unless you needed to correct problems of intention and torsion.) "Chest lead only" was was a "rule" established by a younger generation of Argentine teachers, I believe, against their fathers' generation of dancers, many of whom used their hands excessively or roughly. They also wanted to teach foreign beginners not to wrench the lady off her axis with independent arm movements. But those Argentine teachers themselves would lead with their whole upper bodies - down to their fingertips! And we women love how that feels! When you have your arm or arms around a woman and you want to guide her to move somewhere, you naturally use your arms and hands. When I feel a chest-only lead, where the right arm just surrounds me and the hand doesn't communicate, it's sometimes hard to understand nuances in the man's movement. Like rapid or unexpected weight changes? Impossible to understand with just a chest lead, at least for a dancer of Tango Salon. We take much of our information from you through our backs!

Whew. . . a new topic!

HelaineAugust 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM
Robert B. in New York asked me to post this:
This is an amazing video. Such beautiful musicality, and such great depth of feeling. Yes, Carlitos provides Noelia with the space (and time) to express herself fully and she does so beautifully. This is not so much a "performance" as it is an expression of mutual feeling and, why not say it, love. You cannot watch this video, even on a small screen without being moved by it. As I watched, I paid attention to his facial expression and the position and movement of Noelia's hand on his back. There are times when she clutches his back as if to pull him toward her and her hand is very expressive. Carlitos never rushes her, never emphasizes technique over their sense of a shared connection - so powerful and so much in evidence her. I am generally not impressed by pure technique. I can be amazed at its artistry and beauty, but it leaves me cold. This, this is something else. To me this is what I aspire to (in my humble way). Yes, there's a lot of energy in their dance. You can feel the build-up and release, build-up and release throughout. You can sense his desire to make her look and feel beautiful -- and she runs with it. It's a three-minute love affair. RobertB


HelaineAugust 25, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Beautiful observations, Robert. Thank you!

Pat SchaumAugust 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM
Lover, oh yes, he is slow, yet deliberate, sensual, and thoughtful of his partner, allowing her always to complete her intention. How divine it would be to dance with Carlitos.

HelaineAugust 26, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Thank you, Pat! I hope our tanguero readers are paying attention to posts like yours. :)

AnonymousSeptember 11, 2013 at 4:03 AM
Hello Helaine,
sorry for my english ... Interesting topic! What I like best in the video is Carlito's musicality. the perceived depth of the dancers connection and the care that Carlito put in that and to Noelia. I agree with many of the comments and I found some of them very inspiring but, coming back to your original question it looks (to me) like none fully respond to your original question. Could you tell us your opinion? I'm especially interested in understanding why you said that Carlito is doing something to provoke Noelia's sensuality: asking without a polemic aim, could you tell more about that and why you think that this wasn't a Noelia choice?
With best regards,

AnonymousSeptember 12, 2013 at 8:13 PM
If Helaine has a particular answer in mind, I'd guess that it has to do with the pauses.

HelaineSeptember 12, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Hi Corraz. Thanks for posting your thoughts here! To answer your questions:
- "why you said that Carlito is doing something to provoke Noelia's sensuality:" and
- "why you think that this wasn't a Noelia choice?" . . . To me Noelia is so emotionally tuned-in and her sensuality is so connected to her emotions that she doesn't need a partner's provocation to unleash that sensuality when she hears the music. But given that she's emotionally tuned-in, she is succeptible to what she's receiving from her partner. As tango people know, we dance tango in DIALOG with our partner. So my question should have ended with, ". . . to provoke Noelia's sensuality toward HIM". Men are not always tuned-in in the deep communication, and some elegant and technically superb tangueros do not give their partners the emotional platform to express their womanliness as they feel the music. I think some of women and some men on this thread really did answer my question.

And yes, "Anonymous", the pauses do play a big role. (Let us know who you are! :))


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