Interview Translation by the amazing Melissa Meza!
- He first mentions watching his dad danced, but he was embarrassed because back then dancing was not something that was considered cool, and tango was considered something for old people. When he showed up at his dad's classes the students would say it was weird that the teacher's son couldn't dance, and this made him feel ashamed too. So he had to get over being embarrassed internally and externally.
Then he tells a story, that marked him, it was about him seeing a man, he considered the husband, telling his wife,
I"'m going to the bar in the corner to watch the game,"
and her replying she would stay in class. Then a second man shows up and said hi to the woman, Javier was hung up and completely involved on this, what he considered was shady. He watched them maliciously. He watched them come together, and in his head he made up a story, thinking those people had something going on because of the way they danced. When they were done dancing they sit close to Javier so he able to hear the woman thanking the man for the dance, and adding that her husband allowed her to dance some tangos and finding him, who was a good dancer, there was just nice. The man thanked her for the dance as well and mentioned it reminded him of when his wife was alive.
He says this happened because tango exceeds the erotic, it´s a very strong giving of oneself. But to his innocent eyes, it was like watching 2 people naked. And he adds, "Without a magic spark between two people the tango does not work, one can not feel comfortable in the arms of the other"
- "There are people who come together in couples to dance the tango, but if there is not a spark, it is not that they can not live the tango as it is, it's just that they can not be comfortable in each other's embrace."
In relation to attitude; It has to do with a universal education. People in the milonga are driven by an education, there are no weird things in a milonga. It is not that one to dance tango has to learn special codes that are written in a tango bible, no. In the tango the woman is greatly respected.
The woman is in a beautiful place, and so the myth of the male, the handsome. But this is only between men. In the milonga where I grew up, I never saw a man mistreat a woman. On the contrary, I always saw very strong women in the milongas. She is a woman who has earned that place, is not a submissive woman, but she is neither a violent one. She is a woman with a lot of presence. She is a woman with a lot of attitudes. A woman who stands in front of a guy to follow the steps, with height, with respect, with desire and with the challenge of following the steps of the guy, to follow even his breath. About other codes of the milongas, they are daily things seen like tango things.
For example, at a salsa place, if you dance with a girl 5 songs there must be something there. In tango, if you dance 3 tandas with the same person, there must be something there. Another example is to arrive at the Milonga and say hi to every person you know and introduce yourself to those you don't. And when you leave you have to say good bye as well, otherwise people might think something happened, that you were mad, and the next morning when they see you they'll ask you what happened, why did you leave, you didn't say goodbye. This also has to do with respect, if you are sharing a table or at the bar sharing with people, you danced with everyone, everyone dances with everyone you can’t leave without saying goodbye, at least wave at everyone and say ciao (big wave gesture) to everyone around. This happens everywhere, this is about a ritual.
Then they move on to the next question, can someone who has never been to a Milonga danced tango and feel it the same way. He thinks there is no need to have a previous dance education and adds that people who have studied dance, for example, salsa or ballet, have more difficulty starting tango because they already an education, they already have a technique. Tango requires what’s in you as a person, obviously, you have to then learn to develop the movement, for each role, woman or man.
Next, the interviewer talks about the Tango outfit, Javier says this has to do with the attitude, that there is certain elegance to Tango. “One can’t dance with the hips down or the torso sunken in. That is why the tango has a strong attitude because it has a very high connection that is here (shows the chest area), then you cannot drop that. If I lose my torso I cannot connect with the other person. In the next topic, they speak of an expression that says: Tango is a sad thought that is danced - but I hear you talk and I do not see anything sad, says the reporter. Javier says that tango does have its sad things, for example; You are dancing and entering that ritual, in that dimension and you feel good, then you listen to the lyrics of the tango and you think - how painful is this thing that happened to the person who wrote the song. But a lot happens when dancing tango, because, I think, no I correct myself, I am sure that the giving of oneself to the other is total unconditional love.
Two people who hate each other cannot dance tango together. But two strangers can dance tango, because they like the same thing, there is a neutral stance on their part, they are two people who don’t know each other but love the same thing. They are attracted by the same thing. I have seen people of different color from different religions who do not ask how much money they have in the wallet or what religion they are or what technique they use or where they learned tango, no. There are people who don’t even speak the same language and it’s not until the last tango in the tanda they realized they don’t speak the same language but they understand each other dancing.
Then the interview continues going on talking about his learning experience, he says that his father’s partner is who as a game got him started. He doesn’t remember is he was talented or not because he was young, he says he likes dancing tango because he likes the music. She then asked how was it that he decided to go to other countries to teach people Tango. He says that he used to work as a dancer and he lived all off it. He also says that this was a little fake, because when he was young and he was a Folk dancer and started learning 3 or 4 Tango steps his father would have him teach those 3 or 4 steps, when he says he really didn’t know anything yet, but he was already teaching.
He also says there is a different to be a stage dancer and to dance at a Milonga. He says he teachers a lot more the significance of tango more than the dance, because there are people who dance tango and know nothing about it, people don’t know why there are moving like this and like that. For example, the adornos, are [art of the dialogue and not only a movement, the woman is talking to you with those movement. There is also the nothing, nothing is also part of this vocabulary, and when you understand it all you feel it all. Then then asks about this new tango; he thinks this has to do with what is happening to you, no matter the form.
If you listen to a tango and you are not wearing the right shoes you’ll dance it anyway because you really want to dance it, because something happens to you when you listen to the music. She also mentions people of the same sex dancing together, he says that is something that’s happening because people want to experience the dance that way, there are Milongas gays and that is fine.
Tango nuevo might have something to do with the consumerism, people might want something different like coke or pepsi. But tango is one thing, it does not matter how you dance it, with a new or old system, what matters is that you dance it. Sooner or later things end up happening, the embrace can be close or not, but what matters is to dance it.
Lots of things have changed not in tango, there are old things about tango that needs to be kept, but for example in the past everything was more rigid like you could only fall in love once. The old tango, the classic tango was rigid the old timers didn’t even like to be filmed. They whine a lot before understanding how important it was to pass on the knowledge. There was one generation that didn’t dance tango and when the old timers had to pass on their knowledge to very young kids they saw that tango was staying on weak and young kids.